Through Gardens & Stories: A Morning with Nana & Grandad

October 2014 | Photographs by Cheryl | Stories by Judah

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Nana: beautiful, thoughtful, a listener, sharp, and often witty. She has a way of putting a smile on my face. I remember – at 19 – being at her cottage, doing dishes with her. My brother, Josh, had already fired up his blue K-car in preparation of driving me off to my first day of living on my own, under the bridge, in residence at the University of Windsor. As I lifted the final dish from sink to drying rack, she looked at me with that smile in her eyes, “You know you’re special don’t you”.

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On the occasion of their 50th – a little while back now – Nana: “To make it work, you have to be married to your best friend”.

 

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Grandad: resilient, warm, creative, and an engaging storyteller. Darts in the basement, and cribbage in the living room. Fishing. A new art project to study: wood-burning, painting, carving, photography. Skipping stones at the beach. Everything a young boy could hope for from a Grandad: I admire him. Born in Scotland, but raised by his aunt and uncle in Montreal, he again crossed the Atlantic during WWII to fight in Holland. His stories from this time exhibit his character: extra food he’d collect for a Dutch family, cigarettes for a German POW, a refusal to dehumanize. Later his work took him to many places in Ontario: Brantford where he met Nana, Sudbury, Toronto, St. Thomas, London where my mom and aunt were born, Woodstock, and others I’m sure. At times when I take my work too seriously – as I am prone to do – I think of his wise words, whether factual or mythical, imparted with a twinkle, “I always kept a fishing rod in my trunk”.

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Nana and Grandad, to me. Great Grandad and Nana T (because “great is too much pressure”), to my girls. They continue to share a legacy of love.

October 27, 2014 - 10:55 pm

Sandi James - Well Aileen is incredible…so kind, unselfish, loving, smart there is no one quite like her not even her two sisters which I must say are very amazing too!! Bill is just wonderful, witty bright kind and loving. My aunt and uncle. I love them both so dearly

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