Posts filed under ‘family’

Poetry from a childhood place

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Me as a 6-year-old at home, ready for my first day of school

 

I was thinking on awakening this morning of stories in my first published book—stories of home and among them the poetry that spoke of those places.

We had an attic—which many older houses do—a space at the top of the house where things to go to sit awhile or be stored. For some items, not the best place but out of the way of a busy family and all its related belongings and conundrums.

My sisters and I went up there to play the old phonograph, dress up in old clothes, sort through old school papers that became yellowed and brittle in time in that warm place. Where we could look out to the road and over the fields at our farm. This was a place we retreated to now and then for short periods of time.

The poem came much later as an adult looking back and no longer living there. And now our home belongs to someone else. But in memory, it’s still ours.

 

Attic Playhouse

Under the roof is a playhouse

with its familiar odour of heat and yesterday

leather skates lean against each other

like fallen dominoes

March through December

 

outgrown Sunday shoes wait for the next pair of feet

castoff clothes crammed in a crumbling cardboard box

yellowed notebooks   -lined with ancient scribbles

 

crank the gramophone

inside its heat blistered  black box

 

it warbles a tune

in symphony with buzzing flies

hypnotized by the light of one window

and too dazed to find another exit

 

 

© Carolyn Wilker

published in Once Upon a Sandbox, 2011

 

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My first book, a collection of stories of family and community

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February 20, 2019 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Coming: Piece by Piece

Piece by Piece Book Cover

Today my publisher and I made the last few scans of the pdf  for my book, Piece by Piece. We’d done the careful combing through more than a week ago and further refined some pieces of the text and layout.

It’s been another learning experience about the way a file of content goes and also working with the printer to make sure everything is sitting well and ready to go to print.

It’s best to take that extra few time to look over the manuscript and make sure everything is as it should be. Fortunately I have a good publisher at Angel Hope Publishing who knows the program and how it should work. Glynis also has an amazing daughter, Amanda, who helps her with the graphic design part  of the process.

I’m delighted to show off the cover and will make an announcement when the books are available for purchase. Here’s the back cover copy:

Piece by Piece is a narrative on life with family, friends and the world around us with all its twists and turns, sorrows and joys. Sometimes resembling pieces of a quilt that make up a harmonious whole.

 

I’m taking pre-orders, so speak for your copy. Contact me through my website:

https://www.carolynwilker.ca/books/

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2019 at 1:39 am 2 comments

Where Lost Things Go

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This morning I posted at The Word Guild blog as I usually do once a month. I took my two oldest granddaughters to the movies during the Christmas vacation, an event we all enjoyed.

Where Lost Things Go

During the recent holidays I took my nine- and seven-year-old granddaughters to see Mary Poppins Returns. In anticipation, them with popcorn in hand, one asked why we were there so early, the other answering her question, to be prepared.

“At some movies, there’s a line-up of people,” I said.

Indeed the popcorn was disappearing into their mouths as we waited to get into the theatre. We talked about other movies going on there and about waiting until the staff was done getting the space ready. (How much popcorn lay on the floor?) It seemed like we were the only ones at that door, a bit surprising after all the previews for this movie.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

The clean-up was done; we could go in. We’d talked about where we’d sit — not too close to the screen or at the back. Now it was time for them to choose the row. One wanted the aisle seat and so we found our place. Here we sat in a quiet and empty theatre, me and my granddaughters. They wondered if others were coming. I said I was sure more would come and speculated that the theatre might not be full (which turned out to be true). Most of their popcorn and drink was gone by that time. The girls had counted rows and seats across the middle. I didn’t expect them to sit still just yet or to be perfectly quiet. The popcorn and drinks diminished even more. Would we have to make an exit to the washroom in the middle of the movie? No, it happened before, while previews played and the feature was not yet begun.

Read more here.

January 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

The things we do as grandmothers

 

 

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on holiday outings together

 

First I’ll declare outright that I am a grandmother. Have been for awhile and our count is up to five. I don’t have to raise them or pay attention to their financial keep. But I can spend time with them and I enjoy being with them.

We bake cookies together, plant garden in season. We play, read and do puzzles together. Those things I like. And recently we had a cookie decorating session, with plenty of icing and add-on decorations.

 

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Decorating Christmas cookies with all the trimmings

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supervise their play

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Enjoy the out of doors, even the shadows the sun makes in our paths

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join in their make believe

When we dare to sit with our small grandchildren, we learn a little about what they’re thinking. When we engage with their play, they learn too.

We have no guarantee how much time we’ll have to enjoy these young ones and so it’s a good thing to build the relationships at an early stage. It builds trust too.

There’s no doubt that it takes energy to play with them, especially the smallest ones, but the time we spend together and the smiles make it worthwhile.

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Looking after the garden we planted together

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checking on the fairy garden and building the path for fairies

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climbing into his car

I’m grateful that my grandchildren all live in the same city. It takes only minutes to get there. We get together for dinner, for play and special celebrations.

I look forward to spending time with them at Christmas, to see the delight on their faces as they open their gifts from us, for the hugs too. And today we will go to the older grandchildrens’ school for the holiday assembly. We sit back and watch them perform and then see their surprise when they see us on the way out. Blessed beyond measure.

 

 

 

 

All photos on this site, unless otherwise noted © C. Wilker

December 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm Leave a comment

Wilderness Walking

This morning I posted at The Word Guild blog as I usually do, once a month. Today I reflected on what John the Baptist’s words may have felt to the people of his day. And how his being in the wilderness may have been significant to people at the time.  And how we connect with it.

 

Wilderness Walking

Our pastor spoke this Sunday about John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness, a place where all the usual rules are thrown into confusion. The mores of the day were set by priests and rulers. Everyone operated under their combined orders. Priests set the rules, according to their perceptions of obedience to God, and people followed them, or they didn’t, with consequences.
And then people heard about a man named John the Baptist who was preaching in the wilderness [Luke 3]. Word spread and more went out to see and hear him. John, it seemed, was out to turn everything upside down, smashing old rules, calling the religious leaders of the day to task, even going to the length of calling them white sepulchres. He told people of the army to be satisfied with their wages, warned the religious leaders about the practices they followed. Called others to share a coat if they had two, and for the tax collectors, to collect no more than what they were due.

The priests weren’t liking that, I’m sure. And neither were some members at the king’s palace. What’s more, John announced that he was a forerunner, that someone else was coming, and that he was only preparing the way. It didn’t bode well for John. Though many were willing to change, there were others who felt more comfortable following the rules they knew. A wilderness indeed.

Waiting this Advent season may seem like wandering in the wilderness, considering history leading up to that day. We wander around (or rush around), getting ready for the next big season and wonder what to do with ourselves. It feels that way in grief too…

Read more here.

 

 

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Imagining my parents dancing together again, only in heaven

December 11, 2018 at 2:03 pm 2 comments

Gina’s Closet

 

In late August a friend and I went to Drayton for a yard sale. The day was young and I’d found what I was looking for, browsed a bit and paid, then we set off. We had the morning to ourselves. Amanda said her day was free so we wandered around the community a bit, checked out the local flower shop and then decided on St. Jacobs as our next destination.

After a cup of tea and visit in the coffee shop, we headed into the silos and found an amazing place called Gina’s Closet.

Bridal gowns lined the walls, beautiful, exquisite designs. And a most helpful woman named Patricia gave us the history of this business.

 

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Patricia showing us an exquisite gown

We learned that a group of women had founded this business in memory of their friend who had died of cancer. Wanting to do something in her honour, they founded Gina’s closet, modelled after a similar project begun in Toronto.

They take in dresses for the bride, mother of the bride, and prom dresses, a step beyond the Toronto project. Brides-to-be can come in, try on dresses, and the money they pay for the dress goes to the charity selected by the donor. The shop is run by volunteers like Patricia who believe in the project and want to see it succeed.

Gina’s Closet is working to beat cancer. Our proceeds are directed to the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, Lisaard House, Hospice of Waterloo Region, Terry Fox Foundation and Cambridge Memorial Hospital (Breast Reconstruction Dept.) as well as Hopespring Cancer Support Centre.

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A good place for a school grad to get a pretty dress for a special occasion at a decent price. Amanda looking at the selection.

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headpieces and veils and other accessories

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racks and racks of beautiful bridal gowns

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A few photos from the latest royal wedding of Megan and Prince Harry, his mother Princess Diana, and the elegant Kate and her daughter, Charlotte

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And the history of Gina’s Closet as shown in a newspaper article

 

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A rack of special dresses for little girls, from the small to the tall

This shop is eclectic in its offerings and a comfortable space for a bride-to-be to honour her budget, get a beautiful dress for her special day.

After a varied conversation with Patricia, we headed off to look around the town. As we left a young couple came with a wedding dress in hand, perhaps to donate to the cause?

See the website and find Gina’s Closet on Facebook

Know of  a bride needing a dress, pass on the news. Have a gown you don’t want to store? Here’s a place that makes a difference.

September 13, 2018 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Kawartha Settlers’ Village

 

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Search page given to our granddaughters on paying the entry fee

On one of our days away, we went with our host family to Kawartha Settlers’ Village that’s located just outside of Bobcaygeon.

According to the tour booklet for the village,

In 1990, the dream of establishing a museum to preserve history and the development of the area became a reality when a small group of people calling themselves the Kawartha Region Arts and Heritage Society convinced the village of Bobcaygeon to lease them the land to establish the Kawartha Settlers’ Village.

 

Follow along with me on our tour of some of the buildings. Here’s the map that’s in the program booklet. It’s an easy walk through for visitors of any age.

http://www.settlersvillage.org/tour-the-village

The receptionist at the main building gave each of our granddaughters a card showing pictures of things to look for in the village and a crayon to mark off items as they found them. It became a game for all of us to help them find the items.

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Quilters meet regularly in the Wray House to learn their craft. There were many interesting quilts hanging in this home.

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A rather colourful and picturesque quilt

 

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A child’s room in another home

Our granddaughters interest was limited in some areas due to their ages of 6 and 8, although the adults could have spent more time. Another time perhaps. The girls did enjoy wandering through the village and checking off the items on their card. They awaited a prize at the end.

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The firehall housed an old engine and hoses and hats. The building is a replica of the original Bobcaycaygeon Fire Company station.

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The Fairbairn Church

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a wooden offering plate

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Inside the classroom, one modelling the dunce hat and one drawing on the chalkboard

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What’s inside this desk?

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Outside the trapper’s cabin

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A warm rug inside.

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If the printer needed a graphic for a newspaper or flyers, he’d have these images…

 

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or even these images. Not simply drawings but carvings that someone had made.

 

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And a bit of fun at the end of the Kawartha Settlers’ Village.

The girls showed their cards at the admission centre and got their little prize and could keep the cards to remember the visit.

If you’re in the area this summer, go to the village and take the self-guided tour. It was well worth the time and price of admission, which was quite reasonable.

July 28, 2018 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

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