A Big Day

Willena & Jim - December 1955

Willena & Jim – December 1955

June 20, 2015…

It’s been an emotional day of spending time with my husband’s family, and also thinking of my own family.

4000 km away, in Barrie ON, my brother celebrated his 60th birthday.

I’ve told the story before of how I was the firstborn, and born on Mother’s Day. Jim, the first son, was born two years later, on Father’s Day!



Willena holding little Jimmy and Jim holding little Willena

Willena holding little Jimmy and Jim holding little Willena

So perhaps there’s more than one reason why I’m named for our mother, and Jim is named for our father!

Jim was a merciless tease when we were growing up, and our different interests and personalities led us in quite different directions with different friends. I’m so thankful for Facebook, because I think we know each other better now than we ever did when we were growing up.



June Flewelling (1917-2015)

June Flewelling (1917-2015)

Here in Alberta, we remembered Aunt June Flewelling, who passed away on June 4. Today would have been her 98th birthday. Instead of celebrating her birthday, we celebrated a life well lived.

Aunt June was married to Dad Flewelling’s brother. I first met her at a family reunion in Cold Lake AB, in the summer of 1987. Aunt June was a tall lady with a huge heart and a big, welcoming voice. I was immediately drawn to her. I never got to see her many times, but she made an impact on me that lasted through the years.

It was a pleasure to meet family members today that we haven’t seen since either December 2009 (at the funeral of our son James) or June 2007, at Aunt June’s 90th birthday. At that time we also met her sister Alice, who was 99 years old!

It’s a good thing my husband, Ian, doesn’t have a really big family (like mine on my mom’s side), because it was hilarious at times, helping our sons to know who was who, and how many cousins how many times removed each one was! Consider this: our Nathaniel, age 15, has a first cousin once removed, who is 79! And the three who are his age are second cousins once removed in the next generation down from him.

I don’t think there will be another time that this particular family group will be all together at the same time. I’m so glad I let Nathaniel loose with my iPad, and he took scores of pictures. He didn’t care that he didn’t know who they all were — he took the pictures and we can sort out who’s who later. And that, in itself, is a great blessing.

© Willena Flewelling


  1. a very personal blog article thanks for sharing with us, must of been difficult to write
    Dexter Roona recently posted…Tsu Sign Up – How To Grow Your Tsu DownlineMy Profile

  2. Willena when I read your stories, they remind me very much of my own family.
    Maybe it’s because they both came from New Brunswick, where larger familys
    were rather common back then. We haven’t had a family get together in such
    a long time. Seems to only be weddings and funerals. Keep writing your stories.
    Kathryn Maclean recently posted…Female Entrepreneur AssociationMy Profile

    • Thank you, Kathryn.

      My family is from Georgetown ON, but my stepfather was from New Brunswick. His younger brother still lives there. We had a lot of folk in our town from NB, because there were more jobs. My stepfather was from Plaster Rock. I had the pleasure of visiting there twice. The second time was at Thanksgiving in October, so you can imagine the stunning beauty of the tree-covered hills with their flaming reds and golds!
      Willena Flewelling recently posted…Timothy the AcrobatMy Profile

  3. Willena, It’s always great to visit your blog and hear about your family and the personal stories you share. I have a big family too so it’s so nice when I have the chance to get together with them. I’m glad you were able to capture pictures of everyone. Thanks for sharing!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…Apple Lemon Ginger Infused WaterMy Profile

  4. Hi Willena,

    What a great share about your family. It is so wonderful that you have even shared pictures of them to illustrate the story.
    It reminds me of when my family was huge. But as years went on, many passed away and I have lost touch with the other half.
    Donna Merrill recently posted…YouTube Marketing Drives Free TrafficMy Profile

  5. Hello Willena, Your Aunt June sounds like she was quite the lady Wow 98! Great Genes HUH?

    I just love your stories and do come a big family and NO we could not all get together in one place any longer WAY TO Many of US!!

    Thanks for sharing my friend.. Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…Exposed! Team Building For SuccessMy Profile

    • Chery, it’s both amazing and sad to realize that I don’t even know how many there would be if all of my mom’s side of the family were to get together. I know all of my cousins, but don’t know their spouses’ names or how many children and grandchildren they have. The last reunion we had was around 1972. Once the grandparents are gone, it’s too easy to lose touch.
      Willena Flewelling recently posted…Blast from the PastMy Profile

  6. Very special Willena! I enjoy how you share yourself with your readers. It does sound like it was a great day!
    Becky Ryan- Willis recently posted…Addiction it Can Happen to Those That May Least Expect ItMy Profile

  7. How wonderful Willena to have spent that day together… it is rare that family’s get to see each other, and because of that, those dates do stick in your mind as you mentioned above. It is a good thing to make the most of them and it sounds like you had some fun working out the family relationships and taking photographs!
    I had a similar experience earlier this year at a cousin’s funeral, and the wonderful thing was I got to meet my other cousins, their children and a few of theirs! Like you many photographs were taken. We have to take the best from those opportunities 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your story
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