My grandma Ethel. If you read the blog ‘chocolate rose’ this is her, and she is the one who shared her piano with us.

Recently with Remembrance day, my mom posted this foto of her. She was a nurse, and was excited to be posted ‘overseas’ during the war. But at that time, Newfoundland was considered overseas, which is where she served. Before she joined the army in 1943, she was a nurse in St Agatha, Quebec in a TB sanitarium where she met my grandpa who had Tuberculosis and was in her care.

She grew up in Port Arthur, which is now Thunder Bay, Ontario. Although my grandparents eventually ended up in Victoria, in her later years, my grandma, along with my mom, and aunt (and sometimes another aunt as well) would go back once a year for a few years in a row to visit her brother, in St Thomas, Ontario. During our grade 10 year, my sisters and I each had a turn joining them on this yearly trip. What I remember the most is laughing. We had so much fun. And I remember all the apples. It was late September and fall was in full display in Ontario. I am so glad I had this opportunity for this ladies trip and the memories with them. For my younger sister’s turn, they went to Thunder Bay. By then, Ethel’s brother had passed away so they made the decision to visit grandma’s childhood stomping ground.

Ethel was a lady with a lot of gumption. She loved skiing and was nicknamed Dixie as her maiden name was Dickson. In 1942, she was in the newspaper as she rode her bike 550 miles from St Agatha, Quebec, to St Thomas to visit her brother, Harold. My mom tells me they wrote about her in the paper as riding such a distance was quite the story considering she was a woman, it was wartime, and they needed good news stories during the war. We were always fed well in her house and she made a delicious cherry and graham wafer dessert. I think about her all the time and miss her. She and my mom are the reason I had the courage to leave everything I know and take a chance on living abroad for a year when I was 18. Love my influential grandma Ethel.

Sending Love,


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