Saturday, July 10, 2010

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND.....

"those were the days, my friend,
we thought they'd never end......"

Those lyrics by Mary Hopkins totally sum it up.........In those days, my four children and I lived in a little cottage on Ethel Street in Kelowna. It was our only real home as a family. I planted a huge garden there, to feed my kids, and I had every type of fruit tree, (and planted fruit) imaginable....watermelon, grapes, cantelopes, strawberries, raspberries, plums, cherries........and veggies galore. We had no car, so we went everywhere on bikes, me in front with Stephanie sitting behind, the other three stretched out behind me. We'd sail through intersections like a mother duck and her brood and all the drivers would smile. They'd smile harder at me bringing home actual fruit trees on the front and back of my bike, me peering through the branches, trying to keep from toppling over. Hated those stop lights!!!! Getting back on such a challenge.

Jon was taking the photo above, Lisa is halfway out of the frame, Stephanie (otherwise known as "NODDA-baby!!!!") precariously hanging onto Mom, and Jeff on the right. I see Snacks in the basket. Gotta have 'em on a long bike ride.

Those days had the endless dream-like quality of childhood to them. It truly seemed they would last forever. But it all vanished way too soon. Thankfully, I have my memories, and good ones they are - and photographs to document that special time.

What was there to do in that little house? Why, everything!




Sit on the stairs for endless group photos.........so many
pictures in that house were on those stairs. You havent seen it yet,
but soon you'll meet The Hat. Every kid has photos of them in a big old leather Mexican hat.


Work in the garden..........it was HOT, weeding was BORING,
but we sure enjoyed the produce.









The squash were especially fine that year.




Maybe our favorite thing was hikes up Knox Mountain to fly kites. Here is Lisa
looking pretty in the grass.




















Jeff in his backpack.









Stephanie



This is my favorite photo of the kids and I. Jeff, plunging ahead into life with his big grin, Lisa hesitantly approaching her teens, Jon being Mr. Man, and me bringing up the rear with Steph on my hip. All of us have always loved the wilderness, and to this day all of my kids are happiest out in nature.













Even in winter, we could bike out to Gyro Beach for a picnic.


Jon: "Mom, can you hold my pop?"
Me: "No, that's what God gave you two hands for: one for a pop, and one for a sandwich!"
And they laughed.

Stephanie was pouting because I wouldnt let her climb the tree for fear she'd fall out.
If it was now, I'd have let her! Climb, that is. At least a little ways up.



Jon has been a fisherman since he was ten. On this glorious fall day, I let him stay home from school and we went fishing at Mission Creek out in the country - reached by bike, of course. He caught a fish, it fell off the hook and leaped back into the water and, while I was cracking up laughing, I took a series of photos of him looking for the fish, holding his hands up like "where's the fish?", spotting it, plunging after it, and finally catching it with his bare hands.





I have rarely ever laughed so hard,
in a lifetime of hilarity.



Here's that garden again - everyone looks happy. Must have been my day to weed!
(I did 99 per cent of the weeding, and I loved the peaceful hours in the garden, our big fat rabbit munching and dozing along the paths beside me........but every now and then I would decide the kids needed to learn about Chores. Remember On Golden Pond where the adults said "what's the use of having dwarfs if they dont do chores?" I tried that line on the kids once and they pointed out I was by then the shortest member in the family. Go figure! )

There was lots of music, lots of all-night sleepovers, lots of dancing!














Lots of love.




Lots of birthday parties!






And what better way to spend a summer day than going to the lake for a swim and getting a nice big cone?



Back on the mountain again. We loved that mountain which, sadly, now has
houses built all over it. All of the orchards we biked past are now condos............
Sigh.


Here is Jon happy on the mountaintop. His photo belongs up higher, but this blogging template has a mind of its own:)



Siblings in happy reverie.......



Baby Steph. Oh, sorry, I forgot.
"I'm NODDA baby!!!!!!!"
Hard being the fourth child. She wandered around singing
"Leave me alone, this is my life" at age three. It was
pretty funny. My mom did such a double-take!

Happy days. So glad we had them. We've all had rocky roads, but in those years our family felt fun, and safe, and happy. Some hard stuff safely behind us, some very hard stuff, up ahead and thankfully unknown........... the kids started growing up and scattering.................learning about life...............When I look back, it is these days in that little house on Ethel Street that I think of as home. And they were happy days.

3 comments:

  1. ahh, this is nice :) you've included some of my fave pics too! i love the one of the four of us in that big tree. I always love the garden pictures too. i remember you on the bike, 2 big paper bags in the basket - sailing past our classes at school, my classmates running to the windows shouting hi mooommmmmmmmmmmmmm! lol When i think of the best of being a kid, i definately think of our house on Ethel st. Remember Jeff and the Muppet Show drumset? ahaha i could go on and on...

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  2. The bicycle in the top photo looks really tortured :)

    Beautiful pictures, the light's absolutely glorious and it seems that they had a great time growing up!

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  3. That bike worked hard for its keep:) Things got traumatic through the teen years, but these were the happy days, for sure!

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