Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lilian C Pedley Passes at 101 Years Old

My Sister, Sylvia Wiens Memories
Sylvia Wiens' Memories of Mom
  • In her 80's Mom would remind us that she was ready  to "go" because she was well past her "due date".
  • She would say, "Don't feel bad when I die because I have had a good run and I can't kick"
  •  In their more mobile days, we enjoyed taking Mom and Aunt Mary out for lunch-- it never failed that when their very full plates were placed in front of them, they would both comment that it was way too much food, and that they would never be able to eat all of it! It also never failed that their plates were so clean they almost didn't need washing.
  • After Mom moved to Arborview, (a Wellness Suite in Pleasant Manor) and received regular baths, the PSW's (Personal Social Workers) informed me that Mom, always a teacher, would try to teach them the names of the body parts in French.
  •  During one of my visits, Mom and I were "trapped"in the hall outside of  the chapel with a few other residents. She decided that would be a good time to break into a lusty rendition of the French National Anthem. Fortunately the residents with whom we were trapped, were used to odd behaviour, and didn't seem to mind.
  • As Mom aged, she occasionally lamented the changes that were happening. On one occasion , she stated , "My hearing's getting worse every day. So is my eyesight. I'd better die soon, or I'll be a terrible nuisance!" Just one example of how Mom so often put the needs of others before her own. 
April 28, 2019

Charles Pedley says ....

Today, April 28th, 2019 my mother Lilian C Pedley né Wallingford, passed away quietly in St. Catharines General Hospital at 6 AM.

 I will miss her a lot. I feel lonely because no Pedleys are left in Canada or the USA that I know of, that are connected to my Dad!

She will be buried in my father's grave at Lakeshore Cemetery, on Lakeshore Road, Niagara on the Lake. 

Dad's Purchased "Property"

Dad called me in the way back and said, "We just made an investment in some property!"

 I asked, "Really???"
 Where is it? How big is it?

Dad said, "Oh about 6 feet long and 6 feet deep and about 3 feet wide! :) He got a great deal because up to that time back in the 70's (?) no one wanted Plot B13. 

I guess they thought it was unlucky! If you are dead, how much "unluck" can be left over??? :)

Because my wife Ellen is sick this Spring 2019, I had to cancel our planned trip to the U.K. just to see all the beautiful places Dad talked about and we have seen on TV on shows like "Doc Martin" and "Escape to the Country"

Maybe we can go next year, 2020!

My niece Kim Salierno's & Other Grandchildren's  Memories of our mother Lilian C Pedley.

April 2013
Yes I am just getting to it now :)

That is the month my book, Joyful Mourning - A True Love Story was printed!

I am almost ready to have it posted on Amazon. I used CreateSpace and am awaiting the final (I hope!) proofs to arrive. Below is my Kindle cover found on Amazon.

Kindle Link on


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meeting & Marrying Lilian C. Wallingford

Today, April 28th, 2019 my mother Lilian C Pedley né Wallingford, passed away quietly in St. Catharines General Hospital at 6 AM.

I feel lonely as the last of the Pedleys in Canada, at least the ones connected to my Dad. Lots of Pedleys in England!

Even tho she had bad eyesight, and could not hear well, she was always thinking of others before herself. I will miss her but believe she will be re-meeting Dad in heaven on this day. 

At the seniors home where she was for the last few years, she would just start singing a song often at mealtimes when people were being served and a number of others around the room would join in and sing with her. The staff at Pleasant Manor said to me, "That's your mother's choir! :)

My mother has said a thousand times that she respected dad. She knew that he was a very good man and she loved him But she didn't fall head over heels in love with him before they married. She says that she learned to love him after marriage because of the kind of person he was.

Interesting how even back during WWII, my parents married in a very intelligent way unlike the trends in society of "falling" in love. Remember, if you fall INTO love, you can also fall OUT OF love.

I believe that is what our Western society has fallen into. I do not know where the idea of Prince Charming arriving from out of the mist and the female swooning over him and immediately "knowing" that he was "THE ONE" came from. Wherever it did, it should go back since it has been at the root of our troubled marital system.

Of course physical attraction is the bait or lure to want to get to know someone better. But getting to know someone better by having intimate relations with them 'whenever it seems right' has certainly not reduced the divorce rate, has it?

In fact the more the late 60's idea of "free" love to see if you are compatible has taken hold, the more the divorce rate rises. Interesting how we never learn from our mistakes.
[Just had to mention one of my favorite topics of discussion.]

Picture right is of Mom and Dad after they were married I believe it was in St. George's Cathedral in Kingston in 1940 [???]
[The following may need some checking..]

My understanding is that Dad met Mom in a boarding house in Kingston. My dad was working for the locomotive works in the 30's where they made the giant steam engines in the golden age of steam before we all got two cars in our driveway. During the war when they met, the locomotive works was converted to making shells and armaments to rescue Europe from the tyrannical grip of Hitler.

Mom was working at Metropolitan Life I believe until she was old enough to go to 'normal school' and become a teacher. How they ever came up with the name 'normal' for teachers' college I will never know since it takes a bit of insanity to be a teacher!

Our family is blessed or cursed as the case may be to have more teachers than a staff room in it: my Grandmother Wallingford, was a teacher in Ottawa. In fact even when she was in her 80's and being the short little lady she was, she would stand up to students who were a foot taller than she and command their attention and got it. They liked her so much, they asked her to work full time! Imagine an 80-year old great-grandmother, not much more than five feet tall keeping good discipline in a class of lanky long teenage guys and you have the picture. Even she thought it was funny and told them "No thanks".

Mom saw ads in the paper for teachers up north and asked Dad if was interested. At first he wasn't because he didn't even have his high school papers. He had to go to work at age 16 since his dad was killed in the Halifax Explosion of 1917.

However she convinced him and he applied for and obtained a job in 1943 when my Mom was pregnant with me up north in a small community only accessible by rail called Oba. Oba is located near Hearst in Northern Ontario. Hearst is where the closest hospital was.

Dad taught Grades 1-11 all in one room. Whem Mom could she helped him. After being initiated into the frigid, northern winters, so far away from anyone they knew, they decided closer to home would be nice.

Dad obtained a job at one room schoolhouse in Coxvale, named that due to the abundance of familes with the last name "Cox" who lived there. It is located about 80
miles West of Ottawa, up road 509??? on the way to 'greater' Plevna.
Even though we left there when I was about 5, I still have many memories indelibly impressed on my mind of the area.

One of the photos to the right shows the value of the house Mom and Dad bought and the taxes they had to pay to the Township of Oso centred in Sharbot Lake, a small village I would guess about 20 miles away.

Ah Sharbot Lake which mushroomed every summer with the influx of fishermen and tourists to this beautiful area in the Rideau Lakes. Some of my most cherished memories are from that time.

Above tax bill for the Coxvale house. Don't you just wish it was the same now? (:-)

Left, Mom and Dad in front of the first house at Coxvale with pictures of me and my little sister Sylvia. Mid-below - one of the goats they kept for milk just HAD to get into the picture!

Then Mom became a teacher about 1950 when Dad's sight had deteriorated to the point that he could not see the blackboard clearly.

She taught until ..... Then I, my sister Sylvia, Ted her husband, my wife Ellen, and now Kim have carried on the "Wallingford teacher corps" tradition. Even Uncle Neil, mom's brother taught for a year or so until he realized it was not for him.

Coxvale has several memories. One, after following the goats into the swamp where they decided to stay and eat the luscious plants, I suddenly realized that I was away from home and did not know how to get back since I had forgotten my GPS in my kiddy-car. I started crying my head off which alerted some students who were on the way to the one-room schoolhouse where Dad taught. They told him and he appeared on the bluff on the other side of the swamp, which adjoined our property.

I can still picture it now as the relief started to set in knowing I would be rescued from certain death from the 'swamp monsters' just lurking in the shadows ready to pounce!

I also remember the night that I was awakened and ran to the window to see all these lights and a loud noise as some kind of tractor or bulldozer was dragging the shed that Dad had purchased to keep the goats in. They had put it on wooden skids, the only practical way of transporting it at the time and had pulled it from its place of rest to our backyard [which of course was several acres].

The lights, and the noise of the engine and the very loud skidding as the shed tried to stay where it was still rings in my inner ears.

The Wallingford 'Dynasty'

Dad had married into a very picturesque and strong family, the Wallingfords. From the protestant preacher of Quebec through the drunken uncle to the Wallingford brothers that owned a mica mine and shipped it around the world until Bakelite and plastics took away this additional source of family income, it was an unreal story. On my grandmother's side were interesting characters as well. I believe it was Robert??? Vessot who invented a piece of farm machinery which I saw in the Museum of Man and Technology in Ottawa, through the professor at MIT, there were colourful characters of family history on each side.

Pictured below is the cottage that my grandfather, George E. Wallingford built with his own two hands on a point overlooking MacGregor Lake near Perkins, now called Valle Des Monts so that it matched the Quebec French language law. In addition to my grandfather are several of my uncles, mom's brothers. The cottage had to be big enough to accommodate the family of 9, 5 boys and 4 girls. I still remember the ice box and Grandpa going down to the ice house, where they had stored huge blocks of ice buried in sawdust from local saw mills. In winter, the blocks were cut with chain saws from the lake. No refrigerators at first, even in the early 50's.

Many memories come back for my mother of the wonderful times at the 'cottage' in the foothills of the Laurentians that she spent as a child and even into adulthood with her new family and Dad.

I too have many cherished memories of racing my cousin Wayne in the rowboats and playing boat hide-and-seek in the rushes in Blackburn Bay, visiting Wallingford Beach near the bridge where the uncles ran a canteen to earn some summer money, rented rowboats and allowed people to sun and picnic on the beach. I also remember going with my grandmother up onto 'the mountain' just behind the cottage to find fresh berries to pick. I believe I ate more than I picked. I was introduced to the wintergreen plant there with its minty slightly sweet red berries and the even more minty leaves.

The photo on the left shows: Uncle Neil, Aunt Myrtle, Uncle Richard, [cannot see who is in the back], Grandma Irene Wallingford [nee Vessot] and Grandpa Wallingford who graduated from university with two degrees: geology and aeronautics.

You can see the large upper open porches where the uncles and even we grandkids slept in wonderful summer weather. A few of the uncles and aunts are hanging out on the verandahs which went all the way around 3 sides of the cottage. The closed in part was used as the kitchen. You can see the rails and many posts were made from debarked pine logs abundant on the property.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Listening to Music

I grew up often hearing the sounds of my dad's guitar as he was doing an arrangement of one of his songs, or of some of the old classic folk songs which he had collected.

Because of that, I have an inbred affinity for guitar music. I absolutely love it! Perhaps all those hours of hearing him had something to do with that!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gleaners to Stonefort Singers - In The News!

[Proper date is December 13, 2008]
News Clippings and Memories

Date Unknown - Late 50's or Early 60's Dad working on song while one of the local papers photographs him - The photographer was Marge Mikkelson - have no idea which paper

Photo to left - Stone Fort Singers - from St. Catharines Standard - July 22, 1967 when they were to be heard in Montebello Park, St. Catharines - Also explaining that the group started out as the Gleaners.

Stone Fort Singers in order, consisted of Marlene Pentaluke, Sylvia Pedley [my sister], Clodagh and Derek Bancroft, and my dad, Charles W. Pedley

The article is explaining that the songs are mainly composed of original compositions by my dad usually in reference to some Niagara historical event.
Three songs are mentioned: Moseby [1837] , the story of an escaped slave who came all the way from Kentucky and found refuge in Niagara-on-the-Lake where slavery had been abolished.

The Burning of the Peel
in 1838 was another historical event occurring as revenge for the burning of the ship, Caroline above Niagara Falls during the Mackenzie Rebellion.

The Pedlar of Blenheim - The words are taken from a "Wanted" poster of about 100 years ago [as of 1967] which was on the wall of the history room at Rodman Hall Arts Centre in St. Catharines when it first opened . Dad used almost the exact words of the poster in his song which recounts how the pedlar was murdered.

The group besides singing at the first Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, has sung at numerous coffee houses and in some locations in Toronto. Their specialty was pure folk music.

Clipping to right from St. Catharines Standard entitle Peninsula Parade from June 18, 1970

He was 63 at the time. It explains about him losing his sight and information about the Stone Fort Singers, formed in 1967 to entertain and inform local audiences in clubs, schools, churches and folk festivals.

Dad goes on to explain that he likes classical folk music because it tells a story, usually based on the true life of early settlers. They represent standards of integrity of the day and give hope.

The group had at that time about 200 pieces in their repertoire, all of which could be performed for any family group.

The article goes on to explain that my dad was a self-taught singer who went on to learn some finer points about music through a correspondence course through the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He learned counterpoint which is a process of writing two individual melodies to harmonize with each other.

He was first motivated by the song stylings of Burl Ives, about 1945. After he heard Ives, he went out and bought a guitar and some music. Songs by Alan Mills [which I personally remember on CBC Radio] and Ed McCurdy, two early folk singers, also influenced him greatly.

The article goes on to point out that my dad had learned to edit and rearrange old music as well as having written about 25 songs himself.

At the time, the Stone Fort Singers were composed of Clodagh Bancroft, Carol Mooridian, who had won awards at local music festivals, Jane Sweingard who was lead voice in the Grantham High School choir and also plays piano and guitar, Sylvia Wiens [my sister] who has sung solos and played at some coffee houses as well. Derek Bancroft, Clodagh's husband, who had played and taught drums.

It explains that my dad was finishing up a folk opera, based on a local Indian legend regarding the maid of the mist. The folk opera was called Nee-Oh-Ah-Gra which has been performed at Westdale school in West St. Catharines and Virgil Public School with the help of my sister, and many other students and adults at both schools.

Clipping at right below from the Niagara Advance of July 6, 1988 - Obviously part of the first word is missing. I found it in the other part of the clipping to the left below. This is when my dad was 81 years old.

My dad is explaining that he still hopes to continue his folk music career when the time is right. [Unfortunately that was not to happen on earth as he passed away in January 1990 in his 83rd year, of oesophogal cancer. ...any details here need confirmation]

[More clippings and memories to come ....]

Editor - Charles Pedley

The Halifax Explosion Song Written by Daniel MacIntyre

Honouring the Life of Charles Wesley Pedley

Honouring the life of Charles Wesley Pedley, My Dad, a grandfather, a great-grandfather after his death.

What do I say about my dad?

He was from that old English stock, a gentleman, a blind man who learned to be cheerful and happy in spite of becoming blind, a musician, a composer. a wise man, a father who had no father, well at least not after his 11th birthday when the Halifax Explosion took him.

He did not talk much about his personal feelings. That was a characteristic of the age he grew up in. I do not ever remember him saying that he loved me. I don't remember him hugging me. I had to start those two things with him as I grew older and longed to hug my dad.

It is not that he didn't love me or my sister, Sylvia Wiens. He did. You could tell that by his other actions. But he lived without a father-example, he became a man in an age of revealing personal feelings as perhaps being weakness. And as a parent, you COULD NOT be weak.

I loved him, admired him but I just didn't know him on a personal level until he was dying of oesophagical cancer when he said, as I watched over him, "They are all dead now." I asked. "Who?" "All my old friends like Joe Wilson, and Harry Lowrey" (the farmer on whose farm my dad worked and the man who treated him like a son I am told) in Eastern Ontario.

Then he said, the most revealing thing, that even my mother who is 92 as of March 29, 2010 said, she had not known until I told her. He said, "I prayed for them, every day!"

For my nieces and nephews on my sister's side of the family, he was the only grandfather they had ever known and they loved his cheerful sense of humour. My sister's husband, Ted Wiens lost his father when he was young [??], and he grew up I guess much the same way but in a different age.

The picture here is probably my dad's most cherished memory and perhaps the highlight of his folk music career. He got to write the official ballad of Niagara-On-The-Lake's Bicentennial, [included later] AND got to sing it for the Queen Mother!

She shook his hand and he told my mother, "I'm not going to wash it for a week!" He was a monarchist. A historian. A man of passion under control. A Christian. A man who learned to cope so well with his blindness, that when someone explained something to him, he would say, "I see!"

He became a comfort and source of cheer to another blind man, in Niagara on the Lake, Mr. Jones, I believe.

Without knowing it, on a subconscious level, because he was always so healthy, his cancer sneaked up on us. I took him too much for granted. He got sick and passed away, in 1989, January, a few short months after seeing his oldest granddaughter, my daughter, Ann get married to Jon Guinn of Attleboro, Massachusetts. [It is so hard to say 'died' for some reason, maybe because we want to hold on to his memories as all that is left of this humble but accomplished man!].

Suddenly I thought of the times I had neglected phoning him, of visiting him. I resolved NEVER to do that again and let my mother be so alone. But I had regrets for some time that I had to deal with because of my neglect of him.

So if you are reading this, please do not neglect your parents, your mom and dad. They will not always be with you. I don't want you to have the regrets that I had to deal with for some time.

And now it is time to celebrate his life!

The life of Charles Wesley Pedley, MUI

[My dad had to go to work when he was 16 because of losing his father, so he never completed high school and of course, not any college. But he knew all kinds of stuff and he used to joke that he had his MUI. "Master of Useless Information"]

-Charles G. Pedley, the son
-For Sylvia Wiens, his daughter
-For Lilian Pedley, in 2010, in her 92nd year in March!
-For And all the grandchildren and great grandchildren that he never got to know and who never got to know him.

-I hope some others will contribute memories of dad, or grandpa as well. His oldest grandchildren were perhaps just pre-teens. Therefore they do not have many memories except the ones I mentioned about him having a very good humour about his blindness.

Halifax Explosion Actual Video

Explosion 1917: Explosion Now! 2000's

Halifax 1917: Shattered City

Halifax Explosion: Where My Dad Lost HIS Dad 1917

Halifax Explosion: Where My Dad Lost HIS Dad 1917