Tag Archives: parental teaching


1942 c. Thompsons--Will, Belle & Marjorie

A strong sweep of emotion rushes over me when this picture appears. There I am, a 20-year-old, home for a visit with my beloved parents. It is the summer of 1942. I am delighted to be “home”, and it shows. Being in this house with those I love is a great tonic for me.

Unbelievably, that is 72 years ago. I remember, and feel again, many of the same emotions which stirred my 20 year-old heart then. But something is different. What added emotion am I sensing from my 92-year-old reality? Gratitude! That’s it!

Then, I took it all for granted. I was as sure of my welcome when I came home in trouble, as when I came home celebrating a success. My parents were loving and full of fun, but level headed and direct. I did not always like their advice, but always respected it. What a priceless gift life handed me – a home, a dependable home. It was a comfortable, safe touchstone, always there, always within my reach.

Did I recognize it then? Not fully.

Did I ever express it to them? In words, probably not. Hopefully, they knew. I believe that the actions and attitude of my sister and me made that clear to them.

Still, sometimes I regretfully wonder. There is a saying: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” It’s a mite late, Mom and Dad, but here’s your present. I deliver it with much love, gratitude — and memories, which never die. Love, Marjorie


Filed under Photographic memory


“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Daddy does, Mommy does
you need it too!”

“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Teens are so active, so busy
you’ll need good food to stay well.”

“Eat your porridge.” The refrain rings
in my ears.
The microwave is fast, still time to walk
to work along the river path, so beautiful right now.

“Eat your porridge.” Now I’m the one
throwing out the old refrain.
My children, they must learn. Many of the simplest habits
pay great dividends through the rest of life.

“Eat your porridge.” It is part of the rhythm
of my life. Around our breakfast table, I join my friends.
A different group of souls, we share one trait,
we all are old. Life is lived and enjoyed from a different view.
We appreciate –

Porridge – served with coffee, laughter, and toast.
Porridge – dished up with world events and doctors’ appointments.
Porridge – with grave concern for friends ill or suffering, mixed with cheers for the birth of someone’s great-grandchild!
Porridge – accompanied with “Pass the salt, please” and “Who’s heard the weather forecast?”

Porridge – a lifetime – and still with joy I hear
a loving voice calling:
“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Daddy does, Mommy does,
you need it too!”


Filed under Poetry, Prairie Childhood

Survival Guide for Old Age: Sequel #2

My follow-up on “The Survival Guide for Old Age” is almost complete. The first sequel covered most of the points of interest to me and my age group. In this final work, Sequel #2, the scope widens. Looking back, I recognize that over and over as I wound my way through life, big changes entered the picture.

In the summer of 1937 my Dad moved our family from the farm to the city. We traded the freedom and expanse of the country for a small city apartment – and the opportunity to continue our education. My sister started grade 10 in a High School. I walked a block down a city street, and enrolled in grade 9 in a Junior High School. The country one-room school’s enrollment was about 14 children. My new school was an old three-storey brick building with 400 students! I was in shock – as if I were in a free-fall over a cliff. At any age, drastic change can be traumatic. It takes time to adjust.

I was on a steep learning curve, that first year in the city, but the stars were in my favour. My home-room teacher was an excellent educator, and a caring and compassionate person. No one in his classes went without help and understanding, including myself. With his guidance I learned to adjust to the changes. He also opened my eyes to the endless opportunities education offered, and excited me about further scholastic ventures. My parents were delighted.   Continue reading


Filed under This & That

Raising Little Savages

My mother never lived on a farm until she married Dad.  The rolling, treeless prairies where one could see for miles, under big skies and puffy white clouds, were all new to her.  She came from Iowa in the mid-west USA – an old established area where the trees were many and old, where the corn grew 6 feet tall, and there were no coyotes howling in the night.  Moreover, she had lived her whole life in small cities or large towns.  She took to her new life like a duck to water, and never regretted her choice of husband, farm life, or new citizenship.

Despite all that she remained a town girl living on a farm.  Everyday life continued to hold surprises for her.  At the top of the list was raising two daughters who knew only the life that was so new to her.  Years later she confessed to me that many times she despaired, “I thought I was raising little savages!”  That remark surprised me.  I could not see anything so strange, and certainly not savage, about the childhood Doris and I had lived.  We were just ordinary farm kids on the prairies!  It is some 40-odd years since that conversation with Mom, and I view things somewhat differently now.  My clearest memories of my pre-school years are, of course, of the times I got into trouble…    Continue reading


Filed under Prairie Childhood