Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meeting & Marrying Lilian C. Wallingford

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.

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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