My Dad was born in 1920, on a small farm in rural Manitoba. Shown here being held by his mother, is the only baby picture I have ever seen of my father. He was the third eldest of 11 children born to my grandmother.
This picture (one of my favourite pictures ever) was taken in 1933. My Dad (on the far right) would have been about 13 yrs old. When this picture was taken there would have already been 10 children in his family.
My grandmother delivered her 11th child August 1934, and died of pneumonia December 1934 - leaving my grandfather with 11 children from the ages of 4 months to 16 yrs old.
Grandpa struggled after my Grandmother's death - it was hard times, the depression had hit, and he had a very large young family to raise on his own. One morning the older children found him crouched behind the wood stove - incoherent. Grandpa, so obviously very ill had to be hospitalized for quite some time. My Aunt Margaret who was 16, Uncle John who was 15, and my Dad at 14 were left in charge of their eight younger siblings - they struggled under the burden of caring for the family in Grandpa's absence. When the authorities threatened to split the family up and put them in homes and orphanages, my great-grandparents came from Iowa to my Grandfather's farm in Manitoba to take over the care of the children until Grandpa was able to return home to his family.
It is very hard for me to read this story and reconcile that man to the man I knew to be my Grandfather. I only knew him as a strong-willed, happy, sometimes goofy funny Grandfather. Whatever treatment they gave him in his time away from his family, obviously benefited not only my Grandfather, but his large family of 11 children. After Grandpa returned home - he, along with the help of his three oldest children raised his family to adulthood.
I believe my Father's young life shaped the person he became. Dad took responsibility very seriously all his life. He was always a hard worker, honest, caring, and always there to help anyone who needed his help. He never quit anything he started... no matter what - he saw it through to the end. The way he started his young life was they way he lived it until his death...
I am not sure what year he met my Mother, but I have this picture taken in 1940. On the back of the photo she has written "Courting Days"!
They Married in January 12, 1942 in Noranda Quebec, where my father worked in the nickel mines during the war. He did so because he had a heart murmur, which prevented him from entering the military, so instead he worked in a mine that supported the military efforts.
I have several certificates and plaques that Dad received during WWII, recognizing his efforts as a War Finance Worker in selling the Bonds of Canada's Victory Loans. .. which kind of makes me smile, because we all knew only Mom managed the finances in our home growing up.
Dad became a father for the first time when my oldest brother Wayne was born in October 1943. Here Wayne is 3 1/2 months old.
A year later he would become a father once again - to his second son, Mervyn.
After the war ended, Mom and Dad and my two oldest brothers returned home to Plumas Manitoba to farm. My parents rented a farm and settled into a life that was familiar to them both. Their third son, Norman was born November 1946.
My parents couldn't afford to buy the farm they were renting so in 1953 they decided to quit farming and move to the city...
to be continued.....