Sunday, 23 October 2011

New listing new posting.........

A friend of mine started a blog the other day and her second posting was about inspirations.

It was a really wonderful post and I loved everything she spoke about.

This weekend, for some unknown reason, I was inspired to make a Mickey Mouse Hat for my Etsy Shop.

Hmmmm, maybe I dreamt about it............

My cat and my hat

Friday, 21 October 2011

A week in the life.........

In my last posting, I wrote that it had been a month since I blogged.......and now it's two months after that!  I don't know where the time goes, but if anyone finds it can you send it back to me?  I'd really appreciate it.

I am so little Etsy shop ( is doing better than I ever expected or dreamt.  I'm thrilled!

I am getting compliments from my customers that I never expected or dreamt also.  It's so wonderful!

John (my husband) and I are leaving for Florida for the winter in 7 days and I'm really trying so hard to get my act together.  If you know me at all, you know my organizational skills are the best....but lately I seem to be falling down on the job.

I have lists EVERYWHERE!  Lists of what I've sold....lists of what I've bought (bookkeeping-wise), lists of names, lists of items to make, lists of items I have made, lists of things to buy to take to Florida, lists of things to buy in Florida, lists of things to bring back from Florida and of course, packing lists galore!!

Some of my lists

I don't like lists, at least not ones that don't have checkmarks beside everything......I like having everything organized and done......especially with only 7 days to go!  Heavens.....I used to be all packed and ready to go at least a month before and now.....don't remind me....7 days.......eek!

On Tuesday we went to a wonderful luncheon for a 50th Wedding Anniversary for a great couple who live here in Sandycove.  There were 21 of us and it was really so nice to see everyone before we leave.  3 other couples are heading south too so that gave a lot of people an opportunity to say "so long" until the Spring.  We were there for just over 2 hours......I was joking with some of the people that I had to get home to see if I got an order in my email and they laughed.

I got home and it wasn't funny...........I had FOUR ORDERS waiting for me!!!  Holy Cow, I have to leave in a week!  I have to get organized!  I have to pack!  I have to make:  One Sock Monkey Hat,  two Firefighter Helmets and a Hat and Bootie set.

Okay, I can do this no problem!  Then I noticed that 3 of the 4 orders were for Halloween so I had to get them done immediately in order to get them in the mail on Thursday morning so that they'd arrive in time!  Holy cow!

I sat myself down...took a deep breath....then got back up again....I'd better check my yarn supply to make sure I have enough of the yarn I need to make these Hats/Helmets.  Whew!  I had enough for the sock monkey hat and lots of red for the two helmets so everything was fine......remain calm and start crocheting!

I thought I'd make the Sock Monkey first because it is the most finicky with having to sew on the ears, mouth, eyes and make braids for the ear flaps......good idea, get the hard one out of the way and then on to the helmets.  I decided to multi-task so when I was making the Monkey, I checked the helmet order to see if there were any special instructions such as size and numbers for the shield.  Uh oh!  Trouble.

One of them wanted the helmet to be YELLOW.......YELLOW?  Why yellow you say?  Dad is a Firefighter and his helmet is yellow so he'd like it to match his real helmet so they can go out together on Halloween...... also would like to have his number "31" on his baby son's helmet too so they would look alike.  Aww, how sweet!

I turned to my retired Firefighter husband and enquired "honey?  What colour  yellow would a yellow firefighter's helmet be?  Would it be bright yellow, pale yellow, golden yellow?"  He said "I've never seen a yellow firefighter's helmet".  WHAT?

Okay time to email "Dad" and ask him.  **working away on the sock monkey**  No reply.
Waiting and working on the sock monkey.  Still  no reply.

I finally finished the Sock Monkey Hat and by then it was getting really late,  time to go to bed.  No reply to my email yet.  No sleep.  Oh no!  I need to sleep so I can get up and make these and get them in the mail by Thursday at the latest!  No sleep, can't stop thinking about the yellow helmet.  I get up and Okay!  There is an email from "Dad"........"sorry I don't know what colour you would call it....I didn't realize there were different yellows" response "Please send me a picture of your helmet right away"...........back to sleep.  I really want to help this guy and his son have a great halloween but I can't sleep for thinking about the damn helmet!  Argh.

I guess I finally fell asleep and when the morning came I jumped out of bed (not really, I have bad knees and that would really hurt).....I roll out of bed, walk to the living room, turn on the computer and there it is!  A picture of the yellow helmet!  Wonderful........

"Dad's" Yellow Helmet!

UH OH............!

I don't have any yellow that colour in my stash!

I have my breakfast....and we make a run over to Michaels to get some yellow yarn.....easy right?  Wrong!  They don't have the right colour either!.........OH NO!  What the heck am I going to do, I don't want to disappoint my customer or his precious little baby boy.  I know, I'll run over to Walmart and see if they have any!  "Marilyn!!" husband yells "I found some"......I go over to the next aisle and there is a HUGE ball of the right colour of yellow yarn!  I'm saved!  Holy crap it's $9.99 plus tax!  I'm only charging the guy $25.00 for the helmet.  Oh well, it's for a good I buy it and we head back home.

I thought I'd make the red one first because it was going to the U.S. and I wanted to be sure that it was ready to mail in the morning.....the yellow one was going to a town in Ontario near the Quebec problem, it will get there on time........right Canada Post?

Next I start on the yellow one.  I've never used the yarn I bought before and I can only hope that it's the same as the regular yarn........I measure as I go along and everything is starting to come together, and it's looking good!  Yahooooo!   Hours later I make the shield and start the numbering.....why oh why can't it be a zero?  Just a simple zero?  No, it's a 31........going to take longer, of course.

It's time for dinner........I'll do that and relax and then put it all together and give it to John so he can get it ready for the mail (he's my wrapper and get-it-ready-to-ship unpaid employee).

After dinner, I sew on the shield and stand back to look at it............I've done it!  And it looks great if I do say so myself.  And all 3 items are going to get to their destinations in time for Halloween!

I'm exhausted, but so happy, 3 more satisfied customers!  Now tomorrow I'll do the hat and booties......good night......zzzzzzzzz..........

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Where does the time go.........?

Holy cow!  I just realized that it's been almost a month since I last blogged.....unreal......

What have I been doing all this time?  

Well, I've certainly been doing a lot of collaborating with Tim on my website.....he's loving it, I'm finding it very stressful......and I'm not doing anything!

We have gone through quite a few scenarios, added some things, subtracted some thing, hated some things, loved lots of  things.......and now, it's almost time to go "live".

I've also been crocheting up a storm.  Not only for my Etsy shop and my website but also for a huge Craft Sale here in our community where I live on October 15th.

It will be my very first craft sale since I started making baby booties in June.  I'm going to take lots of my baby things and a few things not related to babies such as dish/face cloths, a couple of wrist cuffs that I really like, a few headbands and a few coffee mug cosies.

You see, we live in an "Adult Lifestyle Community" which is a nice way of saying that everyone who lives here is old.  Not very many people interested in Baby things so I make the others hoping that they sell.

A lot of people from outside our community also come to the Craft Sale from Innisfil, Barrie and even Bradford and's been held at the same time, same place for years and years.  They also advertise on T.V. and Radio which helps get a lot of people coming.

Hopefully a lot of people who know people who are pregnant......having baby showers, etc. will come and be interested in my products.

If you've visited my Etsy shop and seen the pricing on it......just to let you know I will be lowering the prices for this sale..........wanna come?

I'll post more about it as it gets closer to the date just in case anyone reading this would be interested in coming.  Loads and loads and loads of vendors......they also have a cafe set up so you can have a tea or coffee, sandwich and a cookie while you take a break from shopping!

I will of course, also let you know when my website is "live".......!!!

That's about it for this time, short but sweet..........I didn't want to leave it much longer without writing something!

See you soon...............

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Addictions, Obsessions and Love..............

So let's see, where were we on this voyage.........oh yes......

I've told you about my love of crocheting and I must tell you that it has now turned into an addiction or an obsession.

I cannot go one single day without making SOMETHING......

I take my bag of yarn and hooks, etc. with me wherever I go.  Even if we are just going grocery shopping....only because ultimately we will make several unplanned stops for which I am left sitting in the car waiting for John.......L.C.B.O., Curries Art Store, etc.

So, I take my bag with me and crochet while we're driving along (feels like we get to our destination faster) and whenever we make a stop along the way.

I take my bag of goodies to the pool every day.......swim for a while....get out and crochet.....repeat.

We're usually at the pool from 1 o'clock until 3:30 and I can get a lot done in those couple of hours.
Addiction?  Obsession?  Love?

It's not only the act of crocheting, it's the yarns and the hooks and the patterns.
Not quite every day but close.....I go to Michaels, I go to Walmart and I shop online.
Yarns and Hooks and Patterns, oh my!

One day in early June, I googled " Crochet Baby Blankets", looking for some new pattern to make because I was tiring of granny squares.

It must have been the words "Crochet and Baby" that prompted a picture of one of the cutest, sweetest baby booties I had ever seen!

I clicked on the picture and there they were!  I had stumbled by mistake onto my next crochet addiction/obsession/love: making baby booties, hats, beanies and diaper covers!  It was love at first sight!

The site I had stumbled on was a place called ""......I'd never heard of Etsy but boy I sure know it well now.

It's an online shopping EXTRAVAGANZA..........BEWARE my friends, it is addictive but just wonderful.  Similar to eBay but better because you don't have to bid on just buy!

The patterns for the all of booties were created by a woman named Elizabeth Alan, an air force wife from Tennessee, living in Maryland with her husband and 6 children.  SIX?  Yes six, five girls and one boy.

I loved her story and I ADORED her patterns.  I immediately ordered one of her bootie patterns.  She emailed it to me and I instantly started to make the bootie and it was so well written I was amazed!  I'd never made anything closely resembling anything like a bootie and within 25 minutes I held this gorgeous little thing in my hand and held it up to the sky and said "Kunta Kinte".......well no, to be honest, I didn't hold it up to the sky and say that, but I sure had a HUGE smile on my face........and was totally addicted/obsessed/in love with these tiny little shoes.

Baby Ribbon Mary Janes!

Next day, I ordered another one of her patterns and the next another and so on.  Elizabeth and I emailed back and forth whenever I had any problem with the pattern....even the tiniest problem and she was there within minutes.  Not that the patterns were a a problem, just me doing things wrong.  She has the patience of a saint!

All I could think was "how can this woman have 6 young children and be there for me whenever I need her?"  If she took like 2 hours to reply, she apologized for taking so long!  Imagine! What a wonderful woman!

As I would finish a pair of booties, I would post them on Facebook and the reaction from my friends was  immediate and overwhelming......everyone commented and just raved about them!

I couldn't get over how beautiful they were and that other people thought so too....I was thrilled......

.....and becoming more obsessed/addicted/in love with crocheting........

Where would all this lead?  Stay tuned............

Oh yes, and I must let you know that Elizabeth's pattern shop on Etsy is here:

Take a visit, you'll fall in love!

See you soon..............♡

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Short but sweet!

Yesterday was a bad day and a good day........

Some of you know, that I have several medical issues.
I have atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and P.A.D. (Peripheral Artery Disease).
I inherited these genes from both of my parents (my sister got the good looks, I got the bad genes).
My father passed on at 61 and my mom at 65.
I'm now 64 and I'm doing the best that I can to surpass them and live to 89 like our Nanny.
Whether that will happens remains to be seen but I have great doctors and a good attitude most of the time.

Yesterday was my heart testing day..........I always get nervous whenever I have to have tests and believe me, I have to have them often.  These ones were ordered by my cardiologist whom I will see for the results at the end of August.

The tests went well and I came home wearing the portable heart monitor which isn't too bad but can be uncomfortable at times.  I'm allergic to the sticky things and the itchy!

I was feeling kind of bluesy and extremely tired when I received an email from my friend Tim that he was back from Newfoundland and going ahead with creating my web site!

This perked me up and was just the news I needed to hear!

He told me he had done some investigating and found that the name I wanted "" was available and that I should register it at some point.

Well, he didn't have to tell me twice!  I immediately went to the Webhosting site and registered the domain.

It is now mine!!!! is mine!

It's all uphill from here!  Stay tuned...........I'm so excited!!!!!

Oh yes and that monitor is off this morning and on it's way back to where it came from!

I'm off to have a shower!

Friday, 22 July 2011

I'm baaaaacccckkkk!

I'm sorry I was gone so long but sometimes I just have nothing to say for myself.......

I received an email from a dear friend the other day who had read my last post and thought that it was kind of depressing and asked if I would write something happier.....just for her.  I said I would.

So here you go Susanne!

We have been stuck in a heat wave, as most of you know, for the past few days and yesterday was the hottest and muggiest day that I ever remember in Ontario.  I've certainly felt hotter and muggier days in Mexico, especially two years ago when we got to Bucerias on October 31st.  For two weeks we could hardly breathe and the pool at our bungalows was under repair so we couldn't even swim.  I don't swim in the ocean so I just kept taking cool showers and sat in front of the fans for relief.

I did the same here at home yesterday, had two cool showers and sat in front of the fan......I didn't even go to the pool yesterday which is very unusual for me.  It was windy so we wouldn't have been able to put up the table umbrella and I didn't want to sit in the sun in that repressive heat!

John toddled off to the pool by himself though.....he loves the sun and can sit in it for hours and hours.  He's so tanned right now....he looks so sexy!  Hmmmm maybe I should have gone to the pool with him....can't have all those ladies gawking at my man!  ha! ha!  Go ahead ladies, enjoy the view.....but remember.......he comes home to me!

My web site is at a standstill just now as my wonderful artist friend Tim has gone off to Newfoundland for a vacation get away........I can picture him in my mind sitting at his easel, down by the ocean, painting away.........nice life.   If you'd like to see his work you can visit his website at

Tim and I were a couple way back in the 70's when we were both young and hippy-like.  We never did drugs though, we were high on life.

Tim would sit and paint or draw for hours on end and I loved watching him create....such a talent.  He also played guitar.......not as good on the guitar as with the brush and pencil but I enjoyed whatever he did at the time.

Tim in 1971

Our relationship wasn't long lived but it was certainly memorable........I can't recall why it ended but it wasn't one of those bad splits, I guess it had just run it's course.  Our lives never crossed paths again until about 6 or 7 years ago, some 30 odd years later.

Tim was at home watching 60 minutes or another show like that and they were talking about a computer site called "Classmates" and for some reason he though of me and went to his computer and put in my name......there I was!

He contacted me through Classmates and I was thrilled to hear from him again.  He was now a very successful painter, married for over 20 years and very happy and content with his life.  This made me feel so good to know that the young part-time painter was now doing what he loved for a teaching art classes.

A few months later, we met for lunch in Markham.......I was so nervous to see him again because I wasn't that young, skinny blonde that I had been on our last meeting.....some 50-60 pounds heavier, still blonde and wrinkled!

I didn't know, but he was thinking the same thing about himself.  He was never blonde, but you get what I mean.

He picked me up at the hospital where I worked.......I got into the passenger seat, and we embraced and then just stared at each other for the longest time.  Seemed that neither of us had noticed how we had changed in looks.

We got to the restaurant, sat across from each other in a booth and it was like the years just melted away.  I guess people never really change......a bit on the outside yes, but inside, we are still the same as we were.

We sat and talked, gabbing about everything and everyone for over two hours and then he drove me back to the hospital. What a great reunion it was.

We remain great friends to this and Facebook mostly but just knowing that we are still friends, happily married to our respective spouses is such a good feeling.  So very many people's relationships fall apart and they never speak again........our friendship makes me feel like this is the way it should be.

Tim in his studio

I'm so looking forward to seeing what he creates with my web site and now you all know the story that goes along with it.  I'll let you know when it's done and I do hope you'll come for a visit!

And I hope Susanne enjoyed my upbeat post today! xo

Monday, 4 July 2011

Time for a rest.............

This past week has been very tiring..........I think I'm trying too hard to get my business going and need to take a break.

For three days I had irregular heart beats, which are nothing new for me, but they are so unnerving I can't stand when it happens.

So, when I woke up on Sunday morning I told John I wanted to go to hospital to get checked out.

Long story short, I'm fine.

I've been taking Ativan to calm me down and it really makes me tired and a bit depressed at the same time.

My sister and her husband are on vacation for 2 weeks and I was going to go visit with them on Wednesday for a few days but have decided instead to go tomorrow.

I just don't see the sense in sitting here waiting for Wednesday to arrive when I can just go tomorrow!

I'm really hoping for a fun, relaxing few days so that I will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the next phase of my little business........making a web site.

A dear, dear friend of mine who is a fabulous artist has agreed to collaborate with me and as I have no idea what's involved in creating a web site, I'm hoping when I return my creative juices will be flowing once again.  I'd love it if he did the whole thing for me but then would it really be mine?

I'm so looking forward to having my very own website and it will be nice to be able to say I had some input into it.

Exciting times!

So, I'll be off tomorrow just after lunch but not sure when I'll be back......probably Saturday......

I'm taking the car so John will be stuck at home alone.........he's not used to that but I'm sure he'll be fine.

So, take care my friends, my dear followers.........I'll be back!


Picture me lying on that swing.....ahhhhh

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Knitting and Crocheting......

If you know me really well, you know that I learned to knit when I was a child.
My paternal grandmother "Nanny" taught both Lynda and I to knit, as they say, practically before we could walk.

Over the years I've knit everything from Afghan's to sweaters, hats, mitts, gloves, scarves and slippers
Nothing hard like socks, never could get the hang of using 4 needles.

When I was in my 30's, my sister showed me that she had learned how to crochet!
Someone had showed her a simple Granny Square, which you just kept going around and around and around until it got to the size of blanket you wanted.

So simple, so fast!  I tried my hand at it and found that it was indeed very simple and VERY fast.
Much faster than knitting and I really liked it.

From the simple Granny Square, I picked up some patterns for other Afghans or blankets and I taught myself all of the stitches other than the chain and double crochet used in the Granny Square.

The more I learned, the more I liked crocheting much more than knitting!

My sister Lynda, preferred and remains a great knitter.  Her 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren can attest to that!

One year I found a pattern for a thigh-length crocheted coat.  I made one for myself, one for my sister and then about 4 more for friends.  Wish I still had that pattern..........

I didn't make any other clothes that I can recall.....crochet patterns just don't have the same styling that knitted patterns do for some reason.  I guess crochet is to "square" and I don't mean old-fashioned kind of square.

As the years went on, I made all different patterns of Afghans for everyone I knew and they all loved them.  If people wanted a particular colour, I simply asked them to buy the yarn and I would not charge anything for my time.  See how much I love crocheting?

One year I entered one of my Afghans into the Markham Fair......I didn't win any prize but I was so proud when I saw it under the glass cabinet at the fairgrounds!

Fast forward to 2001 when I met my future husband John.  I didn't crochet much at this time because I was too busy doing other things (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Over time, we travelled to places such as the Dominican Republic and Mexico.  We would either rent a car or hire a taxi for a day and travel off the resorts and into the "real" D.R. and Mexico and see the "real" people of those countries.

I was always sad when we'd see these "real" people, because they were so very poor it was heartbreaking.  But I did notice one thing with each and every person we saw........they always had a smile on their face!  Made me realize that even though they had what we perceive as "nothing", they had the most important thing and that was was a beautilful realization!

After John and I got married in 2004, I started to crochet once again......I made many, many Afghans and blankets........lots of happy friends and family later, I wanted to make something that was quick, easy and small so I could work through the summer without sweating with a heavy warm blanket on my lap.  I started to make Granny Squares......4" square.  Then I would sew the squares together to make.....BABY BLANKETS!

I found out that if I went to Walmart and bought the big balls of baby sport yarn, they were only about $8.00 with tax then, that one ball would make one blanket....not a great expense for an entire blanket!

Thus began my baby blanket era.........I made square, upon square, upon square.....I had squares everywhere in the house.  When people came over they would say "oh look at all the cute squares"......then I would sew them together and have lots of wonderful baby blankets.

Small sample of my blankets and squares.

John and I retired in 2007 and the day after Christmas that year, we said goodbye to our friends and family and drove 5 days to Mexico.  I had taken 10 or 12 baby blankets with me on that trip.

When we got to the bungalows where we were staying for 3 months, I asked our landlady who was a Mexican married to a Canadian, if she knew anyone that would need a baby blanket for free.

The town we were staying in was called Los Ayala, a very small town with dirt roads, no sidewalks, no streetlights, etc.  We were living in "real" Mexico.  Most of the people in that town were very poor but as I said, very happy.

Some of the Mexican families in need.

Romy sent the word out that a "Gringa" from Canada was giving away handmade crocheted baby blankets to anyone who was pregnant or had a baby and was in need of a blanket to come to her Casa on such a day at such a time.

That day, there they were.....10-12 women, some with babies, some with big bellies soon to be babies.....they were so grateful it thrilled me to no end.  I thought there would maybe be 1,2 or 3 women, but there were as many women as there were blankets.  Perfecto!

(You may be wondering, why would babies in such a hot climate need blankets?  During the winter, when we Canadians and American love to travel to the warm south, the local people find it cool during the day and very cold at night, especially those who live up in the mountains away from the ocean. While we are in bathing suits sweating in the sun, some local people wear jeans and sweaters!)

The following year, we changed locations and were living in Bucerias for 4 and 5 months at a time.  Our landlady at these bungalows introduced me to a lady doctor who ran a free clinic in town.   Our landlady had been donating the worn out sheets from the bungalows to the clinic to put on the stretchers for the patients so it would be a bit more sterile.   I met Doctora Nilda and she told me through our landlady, that she was sending new mother's with babies born at the clinic home with just a sheet to wrap the baby in.

When I handed Doctora Nilda  a huge pile of baby blankets, she started to cry and just repeat "Muchas Gracias Senora".........she was just thrilled for her patients.

All, in all, I think I made and gave Dra. Nilda over 35 baby blankets.

My heart was fingers were sore............the babies were warm!

Baby Delphine....snuggly warm in her blanket!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


I know some people liked hearing my memories of my young life and I tried to continue but had to stop.

I started a post about my Mom, actually got quite a long story going but it was causing me a lot of stress.  I loved my mother so dearly and she had such a hard life.....I don't want to blog about bad things that bring me to tears so I deleted it.

Too many bad memories.

So, for a change, I'm going to back to my original reason for this new little business "The Baby Crow".

I may go back to memories later, we'll see.

I hope no-one minds.......if you want to unfollow me I totally understand.



Sunday, 19 June 2011

Why I love the "Original Six"..........a tribute to my Father

My father was a sports fanatic.  Not because he watched it, because he was involved in it.

He was a speed walker, hope you know what that is.  In 1929, when he was 19 years old, he won the Toronto to Guelph speed walking race.  Yes, he walked all the way from Toronto to Guelph and did it in the fastest time.

Unfortunately later that year he was pole vaulting and had a bad accident, breaking his hip.  He wore a body cast for months.  He would never be a participant in sports again.

But that didn't stop him from being involved.

In his spare time, away from his regular job as a Sheet Metal Worker, he was a sports trainer, for numerous sports teams, both baseball and hockey.  He was not a doctor but he was the next best thing to it if someone got hurt on the field or the ice.  And he was loved by "his boys" as he called the athletes he worked with.

He was involved with The Toronto Maple Leafs of the old International Baseball League down at Maple Leaf Stadium which stood at the foot of Bathurst Street.  They tore the stadium down years ago and there are town houses there now but the street is still called Stadium Row.  He met all the great baseball players, coaches, scouts, etc.  One of his best friends was Bob Prentice who was a scout for the Detroit Tigers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was the trainer for The Toronto Maple Leafs Inter-county Baseball Team who play out of Christie Pits.  When he died in 1971, they honoured him by awarding "The Forbes Walkey Memorial Trophy" which goes, each year, to the MVP of the team.  Over 40 years later, they still award the trophy to "his boys".......the guys weren't even a twinkle in their mother's eye when he was with the team but they are honoured to receive it just as if they knew him.  Every once in a while we go down to Christie Pits to watch a game and soak up the memories from yesteryear.

Dad's jacket

My Dad was also the trainer for several minor hockey teams over the years and would take Lynda and I along to some of the games.  By the time she was 16, Lynda had a boyfriend she was smitten with so she  told my Dad she didn't want to go to hockey games any more, but me being younger, I still went and loved it!  I would even get to sit in the dressing room (after the players were dressed in their uniforms of course).....and can still remember the noise and smells and excitement in the air!

In the Summer of 1959, when I was 12, my Mom and Dad told me we were going on a trip to North Bay for a long weekend baseball tournament and that Dad would be the team trainer.  We didn't have a car but we were going with the coach of the team. Mom, the coach's wife and I sat in the back seat while Dad and the coach sat up front.  Such a long drive.....but I loved it and we would be staying in a motel which I had never done before!

What I didn't know but learned on the drive there, was that the team was called "The 7-Up All-Stars", the sponsor was 7-Up and the players were the All-Stars........THE N.H.L. ALL-STARS!!!!!

Hours later, we pulled into the Motel in North Bay and the entire Motel had been reserved for the team.  We had full run of the place!  It was late when we arrived, so I had to go to bed right away so I could get up early the next day to meet "the boys" I ever got to sleep is beyond me!

When morning came, the first thing we did was go to the motel restaurant for breakfast.  This fellow was sitting by himself eating and asked Mom, Dad and I to join his table.  Dad introduced him to me as Brian Cullen of The Toronto Maple Leafs!  Wow!

Other guys started to come in......and as they did, they stopped at our table and introduced themselves to me and shook my hand (I of course, didn't know that this had all been pre-arranged the night before by my Dad)........Ed Chadwick, my favorite Leaf goalie, Carl Brewer and Bobby Baun!  I couldn't believe my eyes!  The next fellow's name was Cal Gardner, I didn't know the name but my Dad quickly told me that Mr. Gardner plays for the Boston Bruins.......What????

Brian Cullen
Carl Brewer
The last fellow from the Leaf's to come up to me was...........The Big "M"!  Frank Mahovlich!  I thought I had died and gone to heaven, he was EVERYONE's favourite and he was holding on to my hand!

Me and The Big "M"
We spent most of the weekend attending games and it was so much fun seeing all these hockey players playing baseball!  They didn't win a lot of games but I think they raised a lot of money.

On Sunday morning, Dad asked me if I would like to go and watch some of the team play Golf.  Cal Gardner had his two sons with him, and he would be looking after the three of us kids so Dad said it was okay to go while he and mom stayed back and rested at the motel.

I heard a loud voice say "hey kid, wanna ride in my convertible to the golf course?"  I turned around and it was Bobby Baun in a beautiful, brand new red convertible.  I picked my jaw up off the ground and walked over to the car and Bobby came around and opened the door for me as if I was his date!  I know I was only 12 but I felt so much older being in this gorgeous car with this good looking guy, scars and all!  Luckily my Dad was right there to get a picture of it!

Me and Bobby Baun in the
Red Convertible!!!!
Frank Mahovlich couldn't play golf that day because his kid brother Peter was sick so he had to stay at the motel with him.  I liked Peter too, he was a tall gangly kid and it would have been fun to hang around with him.

The rest of weekend was spent watching baseball, buying souvenirs, eating and sitting in one of the motel rooms with all the guys (and their girlfriends or wives).  Whenever someone would start to tell an interesting story, my Dad, or one of the other guys, would send me to the store to buy something for them.  I know now that they were most likely jokes not meant for my young ears.

Before we left on Monday afternoon, I made sure that Dad got a picture of me with all of my favourite players.  52 years later I still have most of those pictures, although they are pretty worn out from showing them around.   That weekend meant the world to me and that's why I love the Original Six!

Happy Father's Day Dad and thanks for the memories!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Father's Day 2011

My next Blog post will be on Sunday in honour of Father's Day.

Dad and I in 1965 on my (1st) Wedding Day

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A New Chum........

When I was 3 or 4, I was walking up the street with my Mom, when a small dog jumped out of the bushes and bit me on the wrist.  It didn't break the skin, just a scratch, but it scared me badly.  My mother tried to comfort me by telling me that she too had been bitten by a small dog of the same breed when she was a child.  She hated that breed because of it.  I won't name the breed because I love all dogs and don't want to tarnish any breed's reputation because of something that happened so long ago.

From that day on, I was scared to death of all dogs.  If I stepped out of my house, onto the sidewalk and saw a dog 3 blocks away, I would start to shake and cry because I was so afraid that it would run down the street and bite me.

This was a real fear, a deep fear and it ruled my young, innocent life.  Any dog, big or small was a monster out to get me.  No-one could tell me that it was just a one-time thing, not all dogs bite, dogs are good, etc. etc. etc.  I knew that they were all going to bite me no matter what anyone said.

They told me if I act afraid, the dog will sense it.  Well, the dogs were right, I was afraid, more than afraid I was terrified!

After we had moved to our new house, one day my Dad said we were going out for something.  Mom was staying at home, it was just Dad, Lynda and I.

We got on one streetcar, then another, then yet another.  When we got off at our final destination, we saw a huge sign that read "TORONTO HUMANE SOCIETY".  I, at 10, didn't know what that meant.

We went inside this Toronto Humane Society place and were greeted by a man who showed us to a big room in the back.  Suddenly we could hear dogs barking!!!  I was terrified!  My Dad told me that the dogs were in cages and they couldn't get near me, no matter what.  He promised.  Crossed his heart and hoped to die if he wasn't telling me the truth.

Tears started to come to my eyes as we entered this huge room full of cages of dogs.  Big dogs, little dogs, hairy dogs, smooth dogs.  So many dogs I couldn't believe my eyes......and Dad had told the truth, they were all in cages and couldn't hurt me even if they wanted to.

We walked around and around to each and every cage and once I was used to them, Dad announced that we were here to buy one of them.  Really?  I started to cheer up at the thought that maybe a dog of our own would like me and not be tempted to bite me!

Dad showed us one cage with 3 Beagle pups and said that we should pick one of them to take home.  When we had been walking around, Lynda and I had spotted one dog that as soon as we got near him, he jumped up on the cage door and had asked us to take him home.  We loved that little dog already.

We showed this dog to Dad and he said "are you kidding?  That dog is ugly.  These Beagles are beautfiul, pick one and we'll take him home."  Lynda and I protested and said that we really, really wanted the ugly one because he had told us he wanted us by jumping up.  The beagle pups had just curled up and gone to sleep.  Our dog was wagging his tale and smiling!

Dad gave in.  We went to the front and bought a collar and a leash and gave it to the man.  Dad did the paperwork, paid for him and the man went back and brought out our dog with the collar and leash on!
We were so thrilled and so was the little ugly dog.

When we got home, we shouted with joy "Mom, we have a puppy!!!"  Mom took one look at the little ugly dog and said "Oh My God, what is THAT?"  He had really wirey looking hair, sticking out all over the place, he was smelly and they had fed him so much he looked, as Mom said, like he had swallowed a football!

We took him to the bathroom, gave him a bath, combed and combed his hair.  Dad was drying him with a towel and this little dog was so happy!  We put out his bowls of food and water and he found them and had a taste and then started to run through the house like a madman.

We took him for walks, he peed on literally every bush and tree there was.  Later that night, all 4 of us had on our pyjamas and housecoats and sat in the living room with our new best friend.  We were trying to think of a name and Mom said she didn't care what his name was, that dog was not coming near her.....she still thought he was ugly.  We thought he was beautiful.  We decided that his name would either be Buddy or Chum.  After much discussion, we settled on Chum.

Chum had made a decision of his own and that was that he loved Mom.  When she wasn't expecting it, he jumped up in her lap.  She looked shocked at this but started to laugh and said "well, I guess he's not so bad".  Right after she said that, he made a little pee in her lap!  Mom wasn't very pleased at all.

My Dad said it was just that he was excited, took Chum and put him on his lap.....yup, he peed on Dad too!  Lynda was next, you guessed it, turn was last, where the heck did all this pee come from?????  We laughed and laughed and Dad said he had marked his territory and that it meant that he loved us all.

Mom wasn't very happy as you can imagine with all this laundry to be done.

We all changed our pyjamas, and went off to bed, Lynda and I were told, "the dog sleeps on the floor".
When we got in bed, he laid right beside it on the floor, happy to be in his new home.

The next morning, we got up early and were very quietly calling " Chum"....he didn't come when we called him so we went looking for him.

There he was, sound asleep right beside Mom, and right up on her bed!

Our beautiful Chum!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

New Beginnings...........and some oddities

When we were all settled in to the new house, Dad decided that the place needed decorating.
There was horrible wallpaper in each room and the floors weren't in the best of shape either.

Dad suggested that Lynda and I should invite our friends over for a wallpaper removing party!
I invited my best friend Penny Boyd, and Lynda invited her best friend Patsy Baird.
This was going to be fun!  (Keep in mind that we're still 10 and 14.)

We had all the equipment we would need, buckets with warm water, sponges and scrapers.
Since Lynda was 4 years older than me, she decided that her and Patsy would do one room and Penny and I would do another room.
Dad thought it was a good idea that we be separated too, so there would be no fighting and we'd get lots of work done.

Dad showed us how to soak the paper with the wet sponge in a section, wait for a few minutes, soak another section, wait a few minutes and then go back to the first section and start scraping.  Easy!

Since Dad had showed us in the room Penny and I were working on, we got a head start and let those other girls know it by taunting them "we're going to finish first, we're going to finish first".  A loud "Shut up" came out of the other room and Dad told them not to say Shut up, it wasn't nice......and everyone should get back to work.

No fancy chemicals or scrapers back then!
We started to scrape the wallpaper off and found out that it wasn't going to be very easy as it was not just one layer of wallpaper, there must have been at least FIVE layers!  If this was my Dad's idea of a good time,  we were in trouble.  Lynda and Patsy soon discovered that their room was the same and they weren't too happy either.

We kept at it and scraped and scraped and finally got a small portion that was down to the bare walls!  This was going to take forever!!!

After a few hours of this it was time for lunch.  After lunch, Penny and Patsy announced that they really wanted to stay, but they had to go home.  Lynda and I looked at each other and then looked at Dad and he said "it's okay girls, I'll help you with the walls."  He had been in yet another room and had made a lot more progress than we had.

By the end of the weekend, all the walls were bare and ready for whatever decorating was coming up.  We prayed that it would not be more wallpaper!

I must tell you now, that before the war, my Dad had been an artist....a painter.......and you know artistic types can have some odd ways of thinking (no offence but it's true).

Dad decided that tiling the floor with linoleum tiles, would be the easiest, quickest and nicest way to go and he could just glue them right over the awful sheet linoleum that was on the existing floors.  They would be easy to keep clean too.

When he was finished, they looked amazing!

After he was done with the floors, he had to decide what to do with the walls.  The artistic part of his brain told took over and he came up with an idea.  He decided to put the same linoleum tiles on each and every wall, from floor to ceiling in every room except the kitchen and bathroom!!  What????  My Mom was mortified at the thought of it, but there was just no stopping Dad when he got these ideas in his head.

It took him a few weekends of working all day Saturdays and Sundays but he finished and there it was, just like he had said, floor to ceiling in each and every room.  You couldn't tell the floors from the walls!  But you know what?  It was easy to clean just as he had said, and since he did most of the cleaning (remember I told you about Mom not being well).....he would get out the mop and go from floor to wall with one swipe!  He was so proud of what he'd done.

Mom, Lynda and I were embarrassed at first but after awhile, when you got used to it, it really wasn't that bad and when our friends came over they simply said "I see you've been climbing the walls again!"

One thing I'm grateful for is that those walls and floors stayed exactly the same for all the years we lived there.  God Bless whoever bought the house after us and had to remove those tiles from the walls!

Miniature Rose painted by my Dad....maybe 80 yrs. ago

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Big Move........

Well, finally the day came when we would move from Nanny's house to our very own house!
How thrilled and excited we all were.
We all had jobs to do and mine was "special" to me at least.
We lived on a street with parking on one side only, which happened to be the side of the street where our house was.
So, my job was to stand on the sidewalk (too young to be on the road) and if any cars came to park where the moving van was going to be, to kindly ask them not to park there.
I was very good at my job.
Whenever a car would come to park, I would tap on the window and wait for them to either roll down the window or step out of the car and explain "could you please not park here, we are moving today to our very own house and the moving van needs to park in these spots."
Some people were very kind and just moved along, others thought it was their right to park wherever they wanted.  For the ones who didn't want to move I would tell them that it would be best to move the car because I wouldn't be in the neighbourhood anymore and that would be good for them!
They kindly obliged but I didn't know why they were laughing.

Waiting and waiting for the moving van, I was so excited I thought I'd burst.
Finally here it came down the street and I ran back and forth and back and forth yelling "here comes the truck, everyone keep back!"

They started to load up our furniture and then Mom came out and said that we should leave and go to the new house and wait for the moving van there.  We said goodbye to Nanny and she looked very sad but, I haven't told you yet.....we were only moving 3 blocks away!

Our new house was at 4 Emerson Avenue which wasn't far, but it was on the other side of busy Bloor Street.  Mom, Lynda and I easily made the 10 minute walk to our new house and on the way, we stopped at the Real Estate Office and picked up "The Key"!  To me it was a magic key because it would open the door to the rest of our lives!  We could eat popsicles or gum or anything else that our parents would allow!  Imagine!

Mom had the key and off we went, across Bloor Street and over one block to Emerson.  We were so happy Lynda and I kept running ahead and Mom was saying "don't get too far ahead, I have the key so you can't get in!"

We were finally there and we walked up the 3 stairs to the front porch, Mom turned the key and we were home!

4 Emerson Ave (right hand side) the new owners have turned it into a  Triplex
We were so excited we ran through the house from front to back screaming with excitement.  Mom told us we had to be quieter because (we didn't know) there were tenants living in the apartment above us.  That was one of the ways they were able to buy the house, having rent money to help with the payments.

We quieted down as much as we could at 10 and 14 and waited for Dad and the moving truck.  Not long after the truck arrived and Dad took control telling the moving men exactly where to put things.  The house wasn't very big and Lynda and I would share a bedroom but we didn't care because we shared at Nanny's house too.

It seemed to take forever until the moving men were gone and we were left on our own.  We put away as much as we could, Mom made sure that all beds were made first and then we went to a restaurant for dinner which was a very special thing!

I don't remember much after that as I must have fallen fast asleep exhausted from all the excitement.

As my Dad used to say "Night Mare, hope you don't have any"...........

Monday, 13 June 2011

Allow me to digress, if I may....

Before I get on to the "better life" we had.........

One of the good memories I have of living with Nanny, was that in her backyard she had a huge Double White French Lilac tree.....just at the top of the vegetable garden.

French Lilac

Funny how some memories stay with you because of the look and smell of things......this Lilac tree has always been there in the back of my mind.

I feel bad speaking negatively about Nanny.  After all, she tried her best to help out my parents with my sister and I when our Mom wasn't able to.........not really her fault that we didn't like the way she handled some things.

I think I challenged her more than Lynda did.  Like the time she came upstairs to use the washroom and saw me in the living room dancing around with one of my Mom's cigarettes!!  I think I was about 8 at the time.  She was so upset and I felt so ashamed.  She chose to deal with it in a way that would mean more to me than getting a spanking.  She had a beautiful watch that had a blue sapphire on the part that winds the watch, and she stood Lynda and I in front of her and said that she was giving the watch to Lynda because she didn't smoke.  I was so upset I cried for hours.  But, being the defiant one, I went back upstairs and at the first opportunity, danced around with another one of my Mom's cigarettes, but made sure that the door was closed this time so I wouldn't get caught!  And this time I actually puffed on it!  I sure showed her!

This morning I went off to the nursery in Barrie, and I bought a Double White French Lilac which I am going to plant in our backyard in her memory.  I will call the Lilac "Elizabeth", after Nanny.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Today I write.......

Welcome to my Blog!
I don't exactly know why I'm doing this, but here I am.
All my life I've been told "you should write a book".......well this isn't a book, but I'm writing!

Allow me to tell you something about myself.
I was born in Orangeville, Ontario 64 years ago.

My father was Forbes Walkey, my mother was Dorothy Jones Walkey.
Unfortunately, both of my parents died in their early 60's and I miss them both but especially my Mom.

I have one sister, Lynda Mills, who is my life's blood.  I love her more and more everyday.
My sister has 4 daughters, Natalie, Lisa, Kim and Stacey.  These girls are my beloved nieces and the only children who have been as close as my own children you can possibly get.
Natalie has a daughter Charly.
Lisa has a son, Taylor and a daughter Brett.
Kim has two sons, Ben and Zachary and a daughter Emily.
Stacey, is like her Aunt and has no children of her own.

More about this part of the family later.......

During our young life, we were raised in Toronto at Lansdowne and Bloor, not a good neighbourhood now, but back then it was a good,  ethnic (Italian mainly), family neighbourhood.

Nanny's House
My sister and I didn't have the greatest lives when we were young due to the fact that our mother was very ill during most of our childhood, our father was very strict and for a long time we lived with our paternal grandmother who was the strictest woman I have ever met.  I guess we are grateful that she helped to raise us, but most of my memories of Nanny are not very pleasant.  No abuse or anything like that, don't get me wrong.  Just so strict with everything.  Example:  my mother would go grocery shopping (when she wasn't in hospital) and buy us popsicles which she would have to hide in the bottom of the grocery bag so that she could sneak them past Nanny on her way up to our part of the house on the second floor.  Nanny didn't believe in buying sweets like that for children.  So, you get the idea.

When I was 10 and my sister 14, our Mom went out on her own and bought a small house.  She had had enough of living with Nanny.  Ever grateful for the help but wanting to raise her children herself, her own way.

This would be the start of a new life for us be continued.............