This is a season filled with happy memories and enjoyable experiences as families gather, special foods are eaten, gifts are exchanged, and songs are sung. It can also be a time of poignant memories, loneliness and sorrow. Sometimes we don’t get to be with the ones we love. But whatever our circumstances, we can reach out to others in kindness. We can remember the first Christmas — a little baby born in a humble stable, a star shining in the night, the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks, and the angel’s proclamation. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” The joyous news echoes through the ages and still brings us peace. Merry Christmas.
Alice Caroen, Alice Heron, Alice Isabella Rafuse, Alice Rowan, Alice Simpson, Alsask, Ancestry, Arthur Maine Rayfuse, Arthur Rafuse, Baptist Alfonso Caroen, Bridget McAnulty, Bridget McInulty, Calgary, California, Canada, Catherine Rowan, census records, Closeburn, County Mayo, David Nicholson, DNA kit, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, emmigration, family, family research, genealogy, Gladys Mendez, Gladys Rafuse, Henry Heron, Ireland, Irish history, Isabella Caroen, Janet McCulloch, John Rowan, Joseph Parker Rayfuse, Josephine Caroen, Kirkcudbrightshire, Mary Ann McKeen, Mary Isabella Rayfuse, Mary Nielson, Mary O'Connor, Mary Rowan, Maxwelltown, Morengo, Patrick Rowan, Robert Welsh, roots, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, Scotland, Troqueer Parish, Walter Gordon Rayfuse
I recently sent away for a DNA kit from Ancestry.com. I was curious, although I figured I was 75% Scottish, with a smattering of English, Irish, German, Dutch, and French. Imagine my surprise when my results came back 39% Irish. That got me wondering where all that Irish DNA came from, so I started researching one of my known links back to Ireland, the Rowan family. Through a lot of painstaking searching, this is what I’ve come up with. If anyone out there knows more about the Rowan family, or has photographs, I would appreciate your input.
My great-great-grandparents were Patrick Rowan and Bridget McInulty (spellings differ depending on which record you look at), both born in Ireland, possibly County Mayo. Patrick was the son of John Rowan and Catherine Violent (Giolent? — the handwriting on the old records is a bear.) Bridget was the daughter of John Joyce and Bridget McAnulty. Their first daughter (that we know of), Bridget Rowan, was born in 1845 in County Mayo, Ireland. I don’t know for sure why they moved to Scotland, but I am assuming it had to do with the Great Famine (1845-1852) when potato blight destroyed Ireland’s main food staple. A million people died of starvation and disease, and another million people fled their homeland. I can only imagine how hard life was for them. They may have lost other children during this time too.
The Rowan family emigrated to Dumfriesshire, Scotland, where their daughter Mary Rowan (1849) and son John Rowan (1851) were born in Closeburn. Sometime after that, they moved to Dumfries, where my great grandfather, Patrick Rowan Jr. was born on April 3, 1856. Later, the family moved to Maxwelltown, Troqueer parish, Kirkcudbrightshire, and their youngest daughter Catherine Rowan was born on November 13, 1858. They lived on Broatsch’s Close for the rest of their lives, where Patrick and Bridget ran a lodgings house, and Patrick was a general laborer (or labourer if you’re Canadian or British). Maxwelltown was a small town on the west bank of the river Nith, which was the boundary between Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. Just across the river was Dumfries. (Maxwelltown merged with Dumfries in 1929.)
The 1861 census gives a glimpse into their lives: Patrick was 40, Bridget 34, daughter Bridget is 16 and working in the fields as an agricultural labourer, Mary is 12, attending school, John is 10, also going to school, Patrick is 5, and Catherine is 2 years old. (Keep in mind that census ages can be off a few years, especially with adults.)
On October 10, 1865, their oldest daughter, Bridget was married (Catholic church) to David Nicholson, the son of Alexander Nicholson and Sarah Cummings, who lived at Kirkbean, Kirkcudbrightshire and then Dumfries, Dumfriesshire. David was a farm worker residing at Chapel Hill, Carlarverah, Dumfriesshire. He and Bridget went on to have 11 children (John, Margaret, Alexander, Mary Jane, Sarah Jane, David, Janet, Mary, James, Catherine, and Francis, all born in Troqueer parish except for the last child, Francis, a son born in Galashiels, on the Scottish Borders. Bridget died in Selkirk, Selkirkshire at age 73.
On October 28, 1869, their second daughter, Mary, was married (Church of Scotland) to Robert Welsh, a mill worker from Dumfries (son of James Welsh and Jane McQueen), at Dumfries, Dumfriesshire. They had 11 children (Jane Robson, William Kirkpatrick (died young), Robert (died age 4), John, Robert, Douglas (died age 4), Mary, William, Catherine, Francis, and Douglas.) The Welsh family lived in Dumfries until 1881 when they moved to Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. Robert became a railway traffic inspector. Mary died at age 70 from diabetes at Glasgow.
The 1871 census shows us that Patrick is 53, Bridget is 50, John is 19, working as a plasterer, Patrick is 15, a piecer in a factory, and Catharine is 12, going to school. Sometime in this year, Patrick Sr. went blind, and had to deal with this struggle.
The 1881 census shows Patrick Rowan 60, unemployed and blind, Bridget is 56, Patrick Jr. is 24, working in a woolen mill, and Catherine is 22, a sewer in a woolen mill. They have 6 lodgers staying with them at this time. John Rowan, their son is in Ayr, Ayrshire, age 30, a plasterer, boarding with the Conton family.
On March 16, 1885, John Rowan (age 33) now a mason’s labourer, is married to Janet McCulloch (age 35), a cotton winder, both living in Glasgow. She is the daughter of William McCulloch (a stone quarrier, deceased) and Elizabeth Weir, both from Ireland, who settled in Maybole, Ayrshire and had 8 children. (I couldn’t find any children for John and Janet, except for the 1891 census in Glasgow, Goven parish, Lanarkshire, where it lists a son William age 17, born 1874 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, a plasterer’s apprentice (Perhaps step-son to John?). In 1901, John (50) and Janet (56) are living at Glasgow, Goven parish, Lanarkshire. And an E. McCulloch, daughter, was the informant on Janet’s death record.)
There are different nefarious stories for John Rowan, but I think he is mistaken for another John Rowan, for when Janet died on September 24, 1920 (age 82) at Glasgow, she was married to John Rowan, plasterer. When John died on four months later on January 15, 1921 (heart) at Glasgow (at the same address), he is listed as the widower of Janet McCulloch. More research is needed here.
On October 9, 1888, Catherine Rowan died from gangrene in the foot, complications of diabetes. She was single, working as a darner in a tweed factory, living in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire near or with her sister Mary. Her family must have mourned her deeply.
On January 30, 1891, at the Troqueer church, Patrick Rowan Jr. (age 33, general labourer) married Alice Heron/Simpson, age 22, a field worker living at Broatch’s close, Maxwelltown, the daughter of Henry Heron and Alice Simpson. I’ll tell more about them later.
In the 1891 Census, Patrick Rowan is 75 and Bridget is 65, lodgings housekeepers with many people lodging with them.
On June 8, 1892, Patrick Rowan Sr. died at Maxwelltown, at age 72 of heart disease, bronchitis, and dropsy. His daughter in law, Alice, was present at his death. On September 24, 1892, Bridget followed her husband, at age 65. Her son Patrick Rowan was present.
Patrick Rowan Jr.
My great-grandfather, Patrick Rowan Jr., was a general labourer and a Corporation Employments lamplighter. The marriage certificate says Alice was a spinster, but further research showed she wasn’t.
Alice Simpson/Heron has a great deal of mystery surrounding her. When she married, she was a field worker age staying at Broatch’s Close, but I haven’t been able to find her birth record or birthplace. In the 1891 census, she is 21, but there is no birthplace recorded. Her father was Henry Heron, and her mother Alice Simpson. None of the census records prior to 1891 match the few details I have for them. On the birth records for the children, when Patrick was the informant, he said her maiden name was Heron, but when Alice gave the information, she said her maiden name was Simpson. I concluded that her parents weren’t married.
Alice Simpson was born in 1869. At age 16 she married Baptiste Alfonso Caroen in 1885 at Berwick-on-Tweed, a town on the Scottish/English border of Northumberland. As she was underage, I am guessing that they eloped. Baptiste was a French polisher, or a person who prepares and finishes fine furniture.
(Baptiste was born in France about 1860, and emigrated to England and eventually to Scotland. He shows up at age 12 on January 1, 1872 in Herefordshire, England before a judge for stealing 2 cloth leggings from a Theodosia Delahey living at Staunton-on-Wye on Dec 26, 1871. (He was probably hungry and cold.) He is sentenced to one month hard labour and 4 years in reformatory school. (Just the sound of it makes me shudder.) In the 1881 census, a Baptist-Allfounsi Curon age 24, born France Paris, confectioner, is in Whitehaven parish, Cumberland Co, England, with Ann McGowin or Curon, age 23, peddler, born at Montrose, Scotland.
After marrying Alice in 1885 at Berwick-on-Tweed, Baptiste and Alice went to Dumfries, Dumfriesshire, where two daughters were born.
Josephine Caroen was born October 20, 1887 in Dumfries to Baptiste Alfonso Caroen and Alice Simpson. She married 1st Edward Graham, milliner, in 1908, and 2nd, in 1910 married James McGuire, labourer, of Dundee. She died June 10, 1929 at the Royal Infirmary, Dundee, Scotland age 42, and her parents are listed as John Caroen, French polisher, deceased, and Alice Caroen MS Simpson, deceased. Informant was her husband James.
Isabella Caroen was born September 22, 1889 at Dumfries to Baptiste Alfonso Caroen, French Polisher, and Alice Simpson. She married Albert Rivers in 1912 in Wantage, Berkshire, England, and then Frederick Rivers. They had a son Thomas Rivers born in 1921 and a daughter Winnifred Ann Rivers, born in 1925. Isabella died in 1973 in East Hendred, Berkshire, England.
Shortly after 1889, Baptiste and Isabella split up, and Josephine disappears from the census.
On January 30, 1891, at the Troqueer church, Patrick Rowan Jr. (age 33, general labourer) married Alice Heron/Simpson, age 22, a field worker living at Broatch’s close, Maxwelltown, the daughter of Henry Heron and Alice Simpson.
In 1891 census, Patrick Rowan Jr, is 33, married, a lamplighter working for Corporation Employments, with Alice his wife, age 21, and Isabella Rowan, daughter, age 1. Patrick might have adopted Isabella. But where is Josephine?
In 1891 census, Alphonso Caroen is a lodger, age 26, French polisher, living at New Wynd house, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland. No birthplace given. (Jean Baptist Caroen, labourer, died 14 July 1922 at New Buildings, Springfield, at age 63. (Not sure if this is the right man, but on Josephine’s death record, she lists her father as John Caroen, French polisher.)
Patrick and Alice Rowan had three children, all born at Maxwelltown:
Patrick Rowan III was born March 17,1892. John Rowan was born September 22, 1893, and died on February 5, 1895 at Maxwelltown. Alice Rowan was born July 21, 1895.
Sometime in the next five years, Alice Simpson Caroen Rowan died. I have not been able to find a record of her death. With all the deaths in the family in these few years, it must have been a very hard time for them, especially the children.
In the 1901 Census, Patrick Rowan Jr. is 41, living at Old Bridge Road, a lamplighter and labourer, widower, and has Bella C. daughter age 10, and Patrick, a son age 8. The big question is, where is his daughter, Alice, who would have been only 6 years old, and his step daughter Josephine, who would have been 14?
In 1911 Census, Patrick Rowan is an inmate (of where it doesn’t say), age 57, widower, lamplighter, born Dumfries, listed as having 3 children.
Patrick’s son, Patrick Rowan III married Mary Ann McKeen (b. 1895 in Belfast, Ireland) on 13 February 1920 at Blythswood, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was the daughter of John McKeen and Catherine Gough, both from Ireland. They had 7 children – Alice, Patrick J., Samuel, Frederick, Catherine, Joyce, and Patrick. (Patrick J, Samuel and Frederick died as children.) They lived in Lochwinnoch and Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland, and Oxford, Oxfordshire, and East Hanney, Berkshire, in England. Patrick III died in 1953 in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, and Mary Ann died in 1972 in Nr. Stroud, Gloustershire, England.
On December 7, 1923, Patrick Rowan Jr. died at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, age 67 yrs. He was a general labourer, the widower of Isabel Heron. Patrick Rowan, his son was present. (We are left to wonder if Patrick married a second time, or if he meant Alice Heron, and Alice’s middle name was Isabel.)
Alice Rowan, my grandmother, was born July 21, 1895 to Patrick Rowan Jr. and Alice Heron/Simpson. She is missing from the census until 1911, when she shows up in Colvend, Kirkcudbrightshire, age 18, a general domestic servant to Joseph and Margaret Bigham and their three children.
In 1912, at age 20, Alice Rowan emigrated to Canada. Why did she leave? Perhaps she felt as if she had no one left. She sailed aboard the Pretorian, departing from Glasgow, Scotland, and arrived in Montreal, Quebec on 27 June 1912. She was single, intended to live permanently in Canada, could read and write, and intended to go to Seaforth, Ontario. (Now Huron East, Huron County, Ontario) She was a confectioner in Scotland, and intended to be a Domestic servant. She lists her religion as Catholic.
The photo at the top was sent from Alice to her half-sister Isabel.
On 11 October 1913, Alice May Rowan (age 21, residing in Saskatoon) married Arthur Mayne Rafuse (Rayfuse) age 20, chauffeur residing in Saskatoon (born 10 December 1892 in Liverpool, Nova Scotia to Ephraim Rafuse and Charity Pentz) in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She lists her mother’s maiden name as Alice Simpson. They are married at Mrs. Ovenden’s residence, 334 Ave, D Smith (South), Saskatoon, by Rev. John G. Gurchy of the Church of England. Witnesses were Mrs. L. Ovenden, and C. Robilland of Saskatoon. We are left to wonder how Alice and Arthur met. Was she a “mail order bride” or did she come to the Saskatoon area to meet relatives? What brought them together?
They moved to a homestead near Alsask (near Morengo) Saskatchewan, (NW ¼ of 17-28-17 West 3rd) where Arthur farmed for a time. They might have lived in a sod house, for this was flat prairie land. On the land next to them was Arthur’s brother, Joseph Parker Rayfuse.
Their children were all born at the homestead, and JP Rafuse was the informant on the birth records:
Gladys May Rayfuse, born 19 October 1915, Parker Joseph Rayfuse (my father), born 24 October 1916, (A Miss Rayfuse was in attendance, possibly Arthur’s sister Florence?), Alice Isabella Rayfuse (later named Mary Esther), born in 26 April 1918.
In the 1916 Census, at 28-27-W3, near Milton P.O., Saskatchewan, Arthur Rayfuse is 23, farmer, b. NS, Alice wife is 21, b. Scotland, Gladys, daughter is 8 months old, born Sask, and Joseph P. Rayfuse, brother to Arthur, is 30, b. NS., farmer.
Alice and Arthur divorced, 9 July 1920. Arthur was 27 and she was 24. We may never know what happened, but I can imagine that life in a sod house in the middle of the prairie, with poor land, little water, no other women to talk to, and three small children, must have been very difficult. I don’t know why she didn’t take her children with her when she ran, but the tragedy affected them all. For some reason Arthur didn’t keep the children.
Alice went to Calgary, Alberta, and the children were fostered or adopted to various families in the area. They grew up not knowing about each other or their family, and it was only as adults that some of them were able to reconnect with each other. Joseph Parker (age 4) was adopted by the Kidd family and known as Richard Kidd. When the Kidd family went back to Scotland, they left him behind and sent him back to his father, who put him on a train to British Columbia to live with his uncle, Thomas Rayfuse. He changed his name back to Parker Joseph Rayfuse. He served in the army as a mechanic during WWII, married Margaret Maclean in Winnipeg in 1956, and had 4 girls, all born in Red Deer, Alberta. He later divorced, remarried Olga Workun, and lived in Camrose, Alberta. He died August 11, 2004 and is buried in Calmar, Alberta. Gladys May (age 4) became Gladys Phyllis, and ended up in Los Angeles, where she married Dan Mendez and had 6 children. She died on July 8, 1979. Alice Isabella (age 2) became Mary Esther. She lived with the O’Connor family for a time, and then was in foster homes until age 21. She joined the navy, and eventually ended up in Vernon, British Columbia, where she married Ray Neilsen. She had 4 sons and 1 daughter, and they lived at Silver River, Chilliwack, Harrison, and Langley. Mary Rayfuse Neilson died on 25 November 1957 at Langley, BC age 39.
Arthur Rayfuse had one other child that I know of. Walter Gordon Rayfuse was born December 9, 1922 to Nellie Dorothea Lutz, who later married James Charles Wilson. James adopted Walter, who was an adult when he learned about his birth father. Walter married Ethel Beatrice Digby in Vancouver, BC, had 4 children, and died in 2001 in Reno, Nevada.
In Calgary, Alice changed her last name to Rowan. She lived at 1614 – 20 Ave NW Calgary. In 1927, Arthur’s brother, Joseph P. Rafuse, also lived in Calgary at 117 – 11 Ave. W., and I wonder if he made contact with her. Alice died on 30 January 1934 in Calgary, Alberta, age 38. She was buried by the welfare at Burnsland Cemetery, Calgary, as no relatives were known at the time. My father said once that at one point he was in Calgary. If he’d known she was there, he would have gone to see her and got to know her.
Arthur Rayfuse later married Margaret Berndston (b. 1903) on 14 Feb. 1927 at Los Angeles, California. Arthur was a carpenter/building contractor and travelled frequently between Los Angeles, California and Saskatoon. I have found 11 records of his border crossings while traveling to California, from 1926 to 1956. Arthur Rayfuse died September 1, 1966 (stomach cancer) in Monterey Park, Los Angeles, California. His will states that he was a widower, with three living children: Gladys Rafuse, Joseph Parker Rafuse and Walter Gordon Rafuse, and one deceased child, Mary Isabelle Rafuse. He gave his estate to his friends, Florence Odell Hyndman and Mary E. Shafer. He is buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, California.
This is what I know about the Rowan family. If anyone has any other information about them, please contact me.
bigotry, bullying, Celeste, character, David, David: The Unseen, Eleanor, ethical dilemna, ethics, family, friendship, gossip, hatred, helping others, honor, Jamesford, Johnny Worthen, kindness, loneliness, Love, magic, mystery, Native American legends, Native Americans, peer pressure, prejudice, purpose in life, racism, reservation, science, scientific experimentation, shapeshifters, skin-walker, truth, Wyoming, YA, YA fantasy
Book Review: David (Book 3 in the Unseen series), by Johnny Worthen: I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this series. Eleanor was amazing, and Celeste was a heart-wrenching, action-packed cliffhanger (Ahhh!), so I have waited impatiently for David to come out. This third and final book did not disappoint me.
After assuming the shape of a cat and being held captive for months, Eleanor thinks she is beginning to forget what it means to be a human, to be Eleanor. She misses her true love, David, and she worries about the good people she left behind. So, she changes back to human and returns to Jamesford, the small Wyoming town where she first came to know love and all its opposites — prejudice, bullying, and hatred — that turned her life into a battlefield. There she finds that some mourn her “death”, some use the event as a cheap tourist attraction, and some still hope that she’ll return. Eleanor learns more about her skin-walker heritage, which makes her wonder if death and misery are all that is in store for her and those who befriend her. Eleanor also learns that she has more friends than she thought as they reach out and help her. David is an amazing person who sees into her heart and loves her no matter what she looks like on the outside. But there are others who still mean to harm her, and as evil forces gather, bent on her capture, Eleanor is once again in danger. As she struggles to survive, Eleanor tries to do everything she can to make things right.
I loved this story, from the beginning of Eleanor to the end of David. She became real, and I mourned and rejoiced with her in all her experiences, which dealt with issues that far too many regular humans face every day. Eleanor may be a skin-walker, but she is good, and she cares about people. Johnny has created a fascinating, complex character whom I will miss very much. Five Stars.
clean reads, clues, courage, DeMott Fielding, desperation, Drew Levinson, exciting, family, geology, home life, insanity, intelligent women, Love, mystery, observation, Raleigh Harmon, Sibella Giorello, Stone and Spark, suspense, YA, YA Contemporary, YA fiction
Book Review: Stone and Spark – by Sibella Giorello:
Sibella Giorello goes back in time and gives us a new mystery/suspense series featuring Raleigh Harmon as a teenager.
When her best friend, Drew, goes missing, Raleigh is sure that something terrible has happened. However, no one will believe her — not even the police. Her only ally is a gruff but good-hearted teacher who encourages her to observe, learn, and keep on seeking answers. Raleigh uses her budding interest in geology to help her uncover the clues and soon finds herself in danger.
I loved this book. I’d already read the adult series, and I was so impressed with it. This book reveals the home life that Raleigh struggles with – an insane mother, a desperate sister, and a father who refuses to see the truth about their lives. Raleigh suffers so much angst, yet she refuses to give up, even in the face of overwhelming odds. She meets DeMott Fielding, who has good manners, a stable home, a kind heart and a willingness to help. You understand why she is so drawn to him. Stone and Spark is well written, with incredible attention to detail that makes the story rich and full. The suspense never stops. I could not put it down. Five Stars.
Happy Father’s Day to my foster father, Gardiner Smith.
Gardiner and Fay were a young couple with two small children when they felt inspired to move to a village in central Alberta, where he began to teach science at the local school. One day the teachers had a staff meeting, and a social worker told them that two teenage girls needed a new foster home. Gardiner went home and talked to his wife about it. They felt strongly that they should take us, and after Christmas they welcomed me and my sister into their family.
For the first time, we had a normal, stable home with parents who loved each other and were committed to each other. They taught us through word and example what the gospel meant. Gardiner was a humble person who had seen his own trials in life. He observed the world around him and thought deeply about things. We helped him in the garden, watched as he crafted furniture from wood in his workshop, and listened to his stories that illustrated the things he was trying to teach us. I appreciated his efforts, his dry humor, and his insight. Listening to his stories was like sitting at the feet of a wise master teacher. Through the years, they added seven more children, and we so enjoyed interacting with them. In this loving environment, I grew and flourished. A light had turned on in my life, and I was thirsty for knowledge. Gardiner gave me the confidence to apply to college and pursue a teaching degree. Because of their example, I had the courage to marry and have children. When I left home for college, he and Fay continued to write, call, and provide a summer home. It wasn’t until Sam and I had two small children of our own that I understood the sacrifice they had made and the great love they had for us. Because of them, I knew how to parent my own children. The great blessings I enjoy today are because of their wisdom, guidance, and love. I am who I am because of him and Fay. I will never be able to repay this debt, and my heart is full of gratitude. Happy Father’s day to a wonderful man.
On February 11, 2016 my aunt, Mora Beryl Maclean, died at Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Here is her obituary:
June 13, 1931 – February 11, 2016
On Thursday, February 11, 2016: Mora MacLean, who was born and raised in Ottawa (Westboro) and most recently lived at the Redwoods Retirement Residence, Ottawa. She had an undergraduate degrees from Queens (BA, English) and McGill Universities (Bachelor of Library Science, BLS), and she received a Master of Library Science (MLS) from the University of Toronto. She was retired from the National Library of Canada and worked most recently with the Government Printing Bureau. Mora was predeceased by her parents, Murdoch and Myrtle MacLean, and by her sister, Margaret. She is survived by her sister, Isabel Rozins, of Toronto. She will be missed by her long time friend, Anne Perdue, and by her nieces and nephews: Michael Coxon, Bruce Coxon, Carol Nicolas, Kathy Janzen, Beryl Cullum and Alison Demeter and their families. She was a lover of opera and classical music. She was an avid reader and traveler. Mora was known for her wit, strong opinions on many issues, and her ability to recite Gaelic toasts and sayings at opportune moments. Family will be receiving friends and family at St. Johns Anglican Church, South March, 325 Sandhill Dr., Kanata, on Friday, February 26 from 10:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. at which time a memorial service will be held, followed by a reception in the church hall. Tributes, condolences and donations may be made at http://www.tubmanfuneralhomes.com.
Aunt Mora cared about her nieces and nephews. Mora, her sister, and her mother provided love and stability to us when our family was in upheaval. From the time we girls were little until just recently, Mora kept up a steady correspondence: she wrote letters, sent books, called, and offered encouragement.
Because of the distances involved, we didn’t get to see our relatives as much as we wished. However, we were able to come out east and visit occasionally, and I treasure those times. I have vivid, wonderful memories of the summer when I was in Grade 10, and Granny and the aunts paid for us to fly to Ontario to visit them. We had such fun. In 2000, Beryl, Kathy, and I visited her and once more enjoyed her company. Alison and Beryl were able to come out and visit her as well on different occasions.
A couple of years ago, Kathy, and I flew to Ontario to visit the aunts once more. I listened to Aunt Mora’s stories about her life, childhood, travels, and schooling, and then I went back to my room and wrote them down. We dined together and enjoyed her sharp wit and humorous observations of people and life. I admired her ability to quote in Gaelic and recite whole selections of Shakespeare and other poets. She was strong, independent, and brave. Even in her later years when her body was full of pain, she refused to give in to it. Mora had a great sense of humor and playfulness. She shared Beryl’s and my fondness for stuffed animals. As we talked, I remember thinking, this is what my mother might have been like if she had been mentally well. I enjoyed our visit so much.
And now she is gone. Another person I hold dear has passed from this life into the next. Aunt Mora, I wish you an interesting and exciting journey. I love you, and I will miss you greatly.
angels, Bethlehem, Books, carols, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas movies, Clement C Moore, family, food, fun, It's a Wonderful Life, Jesus Christ, Joseph, kings, Love, Mary, music, Nativity, pagent, sheep, shepherds, star, The Night Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, traditions, wise men
Our family has many Christmas traditions. Holiday songs and traditional carols fill the air. The house and tree are decorated with lights, the teddy bears wear their Christmas scarves, and there’s always a new nutcracker standing by the doorway to guard our home. A handmade, wooden Nativity is set up where the children can see and touch. I send out hundreds of cards and buy too many presents. I prefer to give homemade gifts, but I usually run out of time. But at least one person gets a homemade gift. Last year it was a quilt for my niece. This year it’s a painting for my husband. Everyone in the family gets a personal letter expressing my love. We sing in the choir at church and enjoy the Christmas programs, parties, and music. On Christmas morning we’ll wake up to a mound of presents under the tree, and if I’ve been diligent, homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We open the gifts one at a time, and enjoy the expressions on each other’s faces. We have a ham dinner and too much pie, and we play board games together. Later I’ll sneak off and call my loved ones who couldn’t be with us, and then I’ll dive into that new book that someone thoughtfully gave me.
One of my favorite parts of Christmas happens on Christmas Eve. It isn’t unusual to invite friends, relatives, and strangers to celebrate the evening with us. We start with a candlelight meal of clam chowder, croissants with ham and cheese, salad and pie. Then comes the best part: the Nativity.
When the kids were small, we would all dress up and act out the events that happened on that night long ago, with the youngest boy and girl playing the part of Mary and Joseph. A handy doll became the baby Jesus, wrapped in a blanket and laid in an upside down stool covered in a blanket. The donkey had paper ears, the angels wore sheets grabbed from the linen closet, and the shepherds wore bathrobes and towels secured to their heads with a tie from Sam’s closet. The kings got those nifty paper crowns from Medieval Times and carried a gift grabbed from under the tree. Our dog got to be the sheep. Grandma played the piano as we sang, and the narrator (usually Sam) read the scriptures to accompany the actions performed by the little cast. Aunt Teri usually got a little rowdy, and the jokes about ‘Lo, the angel’ etc. began. Afterwards we would go around the neighborhood, hand out homemade goodies, and sing carols. The dog got to wear antlers and accompany us. Later, the stockings were laid out, milk and cookies set out for Santa, and the kids went to bed after reading aloud Clement C. Moore’s ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ It was great fun.
As the kids got older and the family spread out, we settled for just reading and singing, and afterwards, a Christmas movie, such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘The Santa Clause.’ But I missed the pageantry, the giggles, and the sticky, smiling faces. This year we go back to the traditional celebration: my grandchildren will be here, and we will do the play once more. It will be a lot of fun, and the child in me who never grew up will be very happy.
Whatever your traditions are, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. May peace and happiness be with you.
My 2015 NaNoWriMo project is called The Sea Child (working title). It’s a YA Fantasy/Mystery.
Here’s the blurb: When their parents die in a car accident, Maddie, Jack, and Barney are sent to California to live with their grandmother in her beach house in Carlsbad. But one day Grandma goes missing, and Maddie finds a note in her car saying, ‘Tell no one.’ She is left to take care of her brothers and pretend that all is well. A week later, after a storm, they find a strange, beautiful girl washed up on the shore, barely alive. She carries a sealskin and begs them to hide her, but she refuses to reveal anything about herself except that her life is in danger. Then Grandma’s body turns up on the beach. Maddie is named as heir to her grandmother’s wealth and property, as well as guardian of her brothers. Maddie is determined to discover the secrets of the house which seem to be connected to their mysterious guest, but when people start pressuring her to sell the house and sinister things keep happening, she realizes that her grandmother’s killer may be after them as well.
abuse, book review, car accident, Christian fiction, clean romance, communication, cook, cooking, family, friends, Georgia Tate, healing, Jace Lowe, Kisses in the Rain, Krista Lynne Jensen, LDS fiction, Love, loyalty, memories, memory loss, recipes, remembering, restaurant, romance, seafood, Seattle, true love, trust, women's fiction, YA
Book Review: Kisses in the Rain, by Krista Lynne Jensen:
After a car accident claims her fiancé and her most recent memories, Georgie Tate moves in with her aunts, who live on a small island outside Seattle. She begins to reshape her life as she struggles with the knowledge that something bad happened, and she can’t trust a man ever again. When she finds work at a local seafood restaurant, she meets the grumpy cook, Jace Lowe, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. Both of them are wounded, angry, and confused. But they can’t deny the attraction between them either, and they gradually form a friendship as they work on a project together. Georgie must remember what happened with her abusive fiancé and work through her issues, and Jace must resolve his pain and family issues before they can find the courage to love again.
I loved this book! The imagery is so vivid and stunning that it made me want to visit the island and walk on the shore, and eat the foods they cooked. I love the way their lives and hearts are gradually revealed — two people who are real and down to earth, who struggle with their problems, yet find positive ways to overcome them. They are both good people of faith, but their religion is part of their background, and the book doesn’t preach. Georgie is dealing with the effects of abuse, and her healing is insightful and helpful to the reader. The romance between Jace and Georgie is sweet and clean. I closed this book with a smile, and then I went back and read the whole thing again. Thanks, Krista, for a beautiful story!