Condo Living in 1959 Antigonish

in 1959 or so my younger  brothers and sisters and I built the first condominium ever! Some of our friends and other neighborhood kids helped. At least it was the first condo complex  in our small town, I am sure. The summers were long and luxurious and we filled our days and evenings with so many adventures, too many to mention now but let me tell you about the first condominium in Antigonish, Nova Scotia….

The tree house of that season (we built dozens over the years) had been completed about 2 weeks before. We had all taken turns sleeping in it until the afternoon my little sister fell right out onto the hard ground and smashed her pretty little face rather badly. That put a stop to our camping out in the tree house. When one of us had run into the house to announce to our already overworked and somewhat frazzled mom that Beth fell out of the tree and couldn’t talk to us, her first response was to pray urgently (that was how this recurring expression was explained to us good little catholic children back then), “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” We knew this meant serious business and scattered out of the path of the storm as she raced to rescue her baby girl. Thankfully, my dear little sister was fine within a short period of time and to this day, she remains “The Pretty One” when referenced to the Brasset girls.

So it was this historic event in our household that gave us a big STOP in tree construction for the rest of that summer. I believe it was my younger brother Jimmy who came up with our new plan and so the condominium was sketched and planned and constructed soon after. We did not choose “condo” as a name for our invention but rather called it our multi-storied luxury home. It was a simple but brilliant design and as soon as the place was completed (in the safety of our back porch), plans were made for our first house-warming party; that is, we fought for about 4 hours about who would sleep where. Naturally everyone wanted the top story because of the view (of our neighbor’s rhubarb patch) and one darling neighborhood child/friend/cousin won out. Myra often did win, I recall now. Anyway Mom and Dad were more than happy to let us occupy our elegant home that night. Children began arriving at dusk and by nightfall there were enough pillows, blankets, snacks, flashlights, (oh the electric was yet to be done) and comic books to devour to feed and clothe a battalion of soldiers.

Mom and Dad and our older siblings seemed quite proud of us and were chuckling as they said their good nights and closed the kitchen door for the night. (our doors were never ever locked; in fact, we did not own a key except for our car and the post box).

It was exciting and another wondrous adventure for the Brasset kids and their few chosen friends and we laughed and giggled long into the night. We had trap doors separating one floor from the next and we passed coded notes to each other in our childish excitement. We snuggled as the summer cold evening air crept into our new digs. It took us awhile but we did fall into a sweet sleep at about 1 am. All was quiet on the Brasset porch until about 3am when Myra, our Penthouse tenant came crashing through her suite and toppled onto the next floor’s residents of which I was one. With all our combined weight, it was only a matter of seconds before that floor caved in and the multiplied bunch of kids broke through the final two floors almost suffocating the lower class tenants on the ground floor. There were no tears since we had somehow managed to bring our blankets and pillows with us and we were soon a mess of jumbled laughing children. It would seem that somehow we did not disturb the sleeping household so we just rearranged ourselves and all crowded together on the ground floor, we finished out the night. It was one of the best sleep-overs I have ever attended and a sweet memory to this day.

Kids today………….they don’t know what they are missing!

Myra and I in Antigonish 2011

Roughing it Senior Style

When I speak of camping out one should remember that I am over 60 years of age and so what a 15 year old, a 25 year old or even a 40 year old considers camping may vary greatly. When I was a young girl of about 12 years, I remember vividly going out camping. It was one of my favourite things to do as a child. The first time, it was a church camp. I would estimate there were about 50 or so girls at our campground and we were to stay there for a week. I was filled with excited anticipation. My first solo experience without mom or dad or my big sister or brothers. What I hadn’t counted on; however, was that my parents meant all along but only revealed to me the day before, that I was to bring my 2 little sisters and I had the responsibility of being in charge of them. Oh well, how hard would that be, I figured and so we set out for the campgrounds at some beach not too far from home. Dad and Mom dropped us off and we scampered to sign up. Naturally I was assigned to bunk in the same tent as my two little sisters, my younger cousin (you guessed it, she was under my wing too) and 2 or 3 other young girls. We had a lovely large tent and went about making it homey by placing our sleeping bags close to each other, stowing our little flashlights under our pillows and places our few articles of clothes in a neat pile nearby. We were all happy and filled with giggling. Before long a loud whistle summoned us outside to make a circle around the main area which would later act as our large nightly bonfire. Instructions were given and details ironed out as to strict rules and so on but the one item that caught my attention is that every morning we would be inspected and judged for the prettiest tent area using our own imaginations. I was agog with ideas but we had very little to work with. It seemed other young girls had been to this camp before and so they happened to have the cutest little tidbits to decorate. I was only momentarily distressed so I rummaged around for my chance to show up those richer non Catholic girls (did I mention Protestants were invited too? we were such a welcoming church family…????) On the second last day our tent won hands down. Mind you we had no toothpaste left for the last 2 days since that was our “icing” that created cute little symbols and icons showing that we were the First Class Wilderness Girls of the Camp. Those were the days.

 

 

Today my idea of camping is arriving at an RV Resort in our rather posh Class A Winnebago…..king size bed; 2 flat screen TVs, satellite service in case there is no cable available, full air-conditioning, (and heat when needed), a full bathroom, kitchen with corion countertops, double sink, stove and microwave/convection oven, all leather couches, lazy boy chairs as well as computer, printer/scanner, fully stocked full size french door refrigerator, well stocked wine cupboard, 2 pantries, oodles of storage to name the basics. We do not have a diswasher…aha! so we ARE roughing it….sort of….. 🙂

And tonight, when all the world is asleep, here I sit wide awake and just aching to be back in my RV, listening to the rain dance on the roof. I am sitting by an open window in our Vermont home, smelling the wet leaves and almost daring enough to take a mid night stroll through the puddles. almost but not quite…..

I have been blessed for so many reasons. I shan’t even attempt to name more than a few….some of which are the fact that we have a lovely permanent home in beautiful lush Bermuda where my dear children and grandchildren are eagerly awaiting our return after more than 2 months abroad. I am also blessed to have such a terrific vacation hom in Vermont and our wonderful Bermuda Belle, our home on wheels. Tonight, right now, I am probably most thankful for my husband of more than 40 years. We have travelled the course of our lives together through many trials and tribulations but in it all, we have walked together, hand in hand most of the time and sometimes fist in fist, but we are together and we are immensely blessed.

 

Thank you Lord, for happy memories of a happy care free youth and for letting us grow old together with you as our center point. Remind us daily of what you have given to us and how you have promised never to forsake us.

Good night…….

 

Wow….who me? Awe….no way? Amazing….

Thanks for this……

As you can see, I have been nominated for the “versatile Blogger” award. I really don’t deserve it but hey, THANKS to Oldgirlnewtricks……

Here are some fun facts you probably don’t know about me…..

1. I am actually quite intelligent. I just have a unique way of thinking. Yup, I am smart.

2. I have 4 children and 7 grandchildren AND 3 step grandchildren.

3. I love to make people LAUGH OUT LOUD.

4. I LOVE Jesus Christ with every core of my being

5. I TRUST in Him for all things.

6. I love scrapbooking

7. My husband of more than 40 years gives the BEST backrubs in the world!

These are some of the blogs I like to follow:

“oldgirlnewtricks”

“notquiteold”

“fit for the love of it”

they are all also on WordPress so look at them. They are terrific!

Richer or Poorer

When I was a little girl, living in a small town in Nova Scotia, I considered myself quite content and happy. I had  terrific parents who loved me; I had 7 brothers who, though often annoying, were still my heroes for the most part. I had an older sister who doted on me and two little sisters whom I cherished as they  amused and often entertained me. My youngest brother was like a real life doll to me and all my sisters. We absolutely adored that darling little fella and you know to this day, we still do. I remember my mom scolding us for kissing him too much but I think all our attention and hugs and kisses helped make him a really terrific man! (He is actually single, ladies so if you are interested…..ha ha ha Kidding)

We grew up as devout Roman Catholics, attending Mass every Sunday, going to a Catholic school and I still get the warm fuzzies when I recall our evening prayer ritual. I’m sure you will have already done the Math and noted that there were 13 of us in our home. Add to that large assembly the many neighborhood children and friends who naturally gravitated to our home and pretty well every evening we were quite a crowd. After dinner was cleared up or I should say the dishes were cleaned since with all of us there wasn’t ever a morsel of food left, my Dad would give a shout-out for prayer time. If we were outside playing baseball or a game of Red Rover, or chasing each other through the trees, we all heard the call and came scampering back home. Those who were in the household stopped wherever they were and whatever they were doing, and we all got to our knees and it began. My dad would walk along the hallway above the open staircase and would lead the prayers: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name……” from every corner of the household, could be heard voices from the very young to teens to the young adults, we would reverently respond: “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us…..”

We could have easily stayed outside saying later we didn’t hear the call and I do not remember ever be scolded into praying. We were Catholic and we were happy to do this. Our parents instilled it in our hearts and though today I do not ‘recite’ prayers per se, I place high value on daily prayer. I believe in real life communication with our Almighty God. I thank my parents that not only did they teach us to pray together but they taught us to love….I mean, REALLY love the God who created us.

One day when I was about 10 years old, I told my father that I wished so much I could be a Protestant. He was surprised but gently asked me why. I said because all the Protestants I knew were rich and had lots of toys. I have to smile still at this memory. You see, it was evident to me at that tender age that in our town all Catholics had very large familes….which equaled  less money to spend on fun things. Well Dad and Mom then told me that we were actually one of the richest families in our whole town….because we had one of the largest families. They told me that God blessed them with far more riches with so many of us children. Do you know that I really believed them? And I kind of still do….

Would you?

Travelling Buddies

Having taken numerous trips over the years with various people, I now feel I am an expert on defining the perfect travelling buddies.

Always accept travel invitations with people who like similar music. I recall a horrid experience with a couple who listened to fiddle music from morning to night. Ok so that’s a lie but I can well imagine how much I would detest that sort of companion.

Never agree to go away with someone with strange and sudden impulses to “get healthy” while vacationing. I still can recall the colour of purple on the bruises all over my body on that holiday. Me and horseback riding….well….um…. not such a great idea to mount up and trek through the desert for over 3 hours after 20 years horse-free.

On this trip here today, I discovered how terrific it is to travel with people your own age or even older. You can share medications. Late last night I was horrified to find that I had only 1 blood pressure pill left for the next week. Being out of the country, I cannot simply refill meds. So between Alda and Norman, we shared at least two similar medications. Ok Ok so I did NOT need that little purple pill, Norman. JUST KIDDING!!!! sorry but could not resist that one.

Again, my husband and I have enjoyed many trips and with different people but I have to say, in all honesty, that Alda and Norman have to be the PERFECT TRAVELLING BUDDIES anywhere. Should you require their services, simply let me know and for a price I shall consider introductions.

Writing at 65 mph….

As co-pilot and navigator of this RV, I sometimes find myself at loose ends.
Today is one such day. Ray is speeding along the I 95 South somewhere in Maine,
“Sadie” our GPS is all programmed and I am sick and tired of looking at the
millions of trees with nary a ray of sunshine. Everything is kind of grey…ok so
the leaves are green and the first smidgen of Fall Colour seems to be showing
a little but a person can only take so many pictures and exclaim just so many
times at how glorious it WILL be in another two weeks (when we shall be home in
Bermuda in the intense heat and humidity and NOT get to experience this)

Two nights in a row I composed a post of Pulitzer prize worth (!!!) on my trusty little
IPad And both times I LOST it before I could publish. SO I am fed up with those midnight
trysts between the sheets  trying to compose an exciting post for my blog. NOW because my husband refuses to avoid any and all bumps
in the road, the whole layout of this post is messed right up. YIKES, what an annoying
driver of this 38 ft RV and tow-a-long car! Tsk tsk I asked him to take it easy on the twists and turns but he insists on barreling ahead down the highway without a care for me by his side. !!!!

Oops, he may read this…..

Ah, er….um…Did I ever mention how very much I love this man? And how amazing he is to me? Did I ever
bother to state that no one ever was as good a driver as is Ray?

Enough of that

We are enjoying the last of the RV trip of 2011 with our dear friends from
Bermuda…..we travel so well together. We laugh and talk and sing and dance
together (well we would if there was some decent music on board ) and we dine and drink
together (me just a wee spot now and then) and then we play Dominos together into
the small hours of the morning. Norman has so far beat us in every game and
that is with NO cheating at all. !!!!! We finally crawl into bed in our
respective rooms and sleep soundly accompanied by the melodious snoring of Ben
and Jerry (our 2 little pugs). In the morning we awaken refreshed and eager to
begin the adventures of a new day. We have explored and visited and shopped and
explored some more until we are called once again to attention by the rigid
itinerary of that day. there are places to go and people to see….Hence, my failure to produce anything of import  in my blog. That is why the late night
ramblings  that I promise you I have authored. But sadly they have been wiped off my IPad forever….

We are heading to Kennebunkport Maine today and will set up camp for the night.
Hopefully we will have clear skies and have a nice campfire to sit around. Alda
and I have planned an elaborate meal (both of us being the amazing domesticated
ladies that we are) and there will be wine served…..

Care to join us?

48 Hours

I was wildly excited; I was trembling with eager anticipation; I was as nervous as a schoolgirl passing notes in class; I was filled with great expectation; I was totally BOMBED out!

And it has taken me 48 full hours to recover enough to pen my thoughts about what should have been a disastrous affair but which;fortunately,  turned out to be amazing anyway.

I speak here of my VERY first mini High School Reunion. This major event in my life is just another milestone in my ongoing walk of shame. Yes, that is right. Being the conceited, self-centered woman that I am, I felt sure that when greeted by dear old friends most of whom I had not seen in  44 years that I would be feted and adored for my youthful good looks. Pause here for REALITY CHECK….not one of them knew me at all. As a matter of fact and here I hang my head in shame, it was pointed out for a full 45 minutes that each and every one of my still glamorous school chums would “Never ever EVER have known you!!!!” My ragged breathing caused nary even a moment’s pause as they continued their honest appraisal of what 62 years has done to this weakened and frazzled body. I had to be thankful only that I have long since grown accustomed to startled looks wherever I present my plain ‘old’ self. And so, being the fun, eager, and good-natured person that I am, I made sure to bring some humour to the situation. After all, as a good friend I ought to make them feel totally comfortable with their assessment of my withered person….am I right? Wasn’t I kind? Yea right!!! I finally stood to attention, once I unfolded my awkward frame from the rocking chair and said in as clear a voice as any aging matronly woman with some degree of pride could, “Girls! I must say I am rather insulted….” There was a moment of silence (not unlike the silence of the lambs I would guess) and then they began chattering all at once. “Oh no, it’s not insulting; it’s just that we remember the quiet little girl in mini skirts and long blonde hair from the old days!” Perhaps my first mistake was in making that life changing decision 6 months before, to allow my hair (such as it is) go ‘natural’ and I could even have sworn that I still looked quite blonde with my now platinum locks. And I am sure my second mistake was in not sending updated photos over the years to show that “People DO age and lose their looks” but I can only blame myself for this.

It seems a bit strange to me; however, that I immediately recognized each and every one present. To me they looked exactly the same; perhaps a wee bit more mature but really the SAME!

Once the present state of my body was completely ironed out, we moved forward and had a brilliant time. These girls from my youth are still precious and dear people and though the miles have kept us apart, the years melted away as we laughed and remembered away the ravages of time (well, only me, of course!) 🙂

We started out together so many years ago and we shall continue to be friends long into forever!

 

 

And here I stand, changed forever from those old days…..

(HEY! Did you think I’d pick out terrible photos? LOL)

 

7 Degrees of Separation

It is said that there are just 7 degrees of separation between us and any other person in the world. I don’t know who coined that phrase or when it was first stated but I feel quite sure it was said after the birth of the World Wide Web. I know, I know, it could well have been before that but I mean how was that study first set up? Letters sent all over the globe? Or the Researcher travelled extensively? Or perhaps their great grandma told someone else’s great great aunt by marriage…..????? nah! the answer to it must have been the WEB!

Yesterday my husband and I made our weekly visit to the Campground Laundry facilities and therein met a gentleman passing through town in his Motorhome. He hails from Ohio and just happened to have pulled in for the night. Before he was off to his next destination, he decided to throw in a load of washing. Outside the laundry room, he ran smack into a cousin of his that he had only seen a few times in his life. (He is about 68 yrs old). Granted his people originated from this area but he had never lived here. It brought to mind the amazing coincidences I too have experienced in my life. I shan’t touch on all of them and not even many of them but one particular incident stands out in my mind and that one I shall share with you.

In 1987 my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My 7  brothers and 3 sisters gathered together for a very festive weekend in a lovely chalet in Quebec in January. We laughed and danced and sang and honored our wonderful parents who were thrilled to have us all together again at last. It was to be the first time we were together in 25 years and the first time in our lives we all sat together for a meal. (with such a large family, we sat for meals in shifts). The weekend was perfect. One of my brothers had researched (before www) and got newspaper clippings from their wedding day; we got a special blessing from the Pope, etc etc.

After the weekend, I flew home to my waiting family in Bermuda. Later sharing the news with my husband and children, I showed them the copy of the newspaper clipping with the wedding announcement in the Society pages of the Halifax Herald. He had reduced the copy size to make for easier handling and so while the print was small, it was quite readable. In the center of the page was my mother’s engagement photo. Her lovely smiling face was the focal point of the news for that day. In looking over the page, my daughter Jennifer exclaimed, “Mom, why is Mr. Gascoigne’s name in this newspaper?” (Stanley Gascoigne was our neighbor in Bermuda and my very close friend’s husband)I hadn’t bothered reading all the little society tidbits but scanned the paper then. Sure enough, it was written up, “Mr. Stanley Gascoigne, from Bermuda who is a student at Mount Allison University is visiting friends in Halifax for the weekend. They enjoyed an afternoon tea.” To think that fifty years later,  the daughter of the lovely girl in the photo would be his next door neighbor and a dear dear friend. I often thought that maybe he saw that page and in looking for his name in print admired perhaps the pretty young girl who was to be married that day in New York City. Who would have thought?

Pictou

Did you all know that this is the birthplace of Nova Scotia? Well I was born and raised in N.S. and I did not know that.

Today we took a drive to this lovely quaint little town….sitting right on the water, with fishing boats moored in the afternoon sunlight, we knew we had picked a lovely spot to sit and have lunch. Looking across at the colourful scene, we ate some of the best Fish n’ Chips ever. I know, I know I said that 2 weeks ago but I am serious, this is TOP of the list. The haddock was so fresh and crisp and delicious that I am already planning to go back later this week. I have reminded myself that I could have the Fish without the Chips and by the feel of my favourite shorts I am wearing today, it had better be sooner rather than later that I make these sorts of wise choices. Ray was a bit better behaved; he had Fish and Salad…granted it was Caesar’s fully loaded salad but it does look somewhat healthier. 🙂 After our delightful luncheon, we meandered down the street on the waterfront and poked around in various shops. I could give a brief history lesson here about the ship the Hector which brought Scottish settlers to our shores but I shall leave it up to you to Google or Bing or whatever for yourselves; better yet, visit Pictou yourselves one day. I highly recommend it for one and all!

Happy Travels to you all………………..

Packing in the 00’s

My first real out-of-town trip for longer than 2 nights was in 1965. My older sister and I were off on an adventure to visit our Aunt in New York City. Two green small town girls…she 19 and I just 15 years old. Together we packed our few meager belongings and boarded the train bound for Montreal and then onto Pelham, New York. (Hey didn’t they make a movie about Pelham 109 or something?) I believe we shared a small suitcase and probably clothes as well. It was exciting and we were ready for our first trip to the Big Apple.

Today, when we pack for any trip, even an overnight stay anywhere, we pack far more than I am sure we did on that first trip. And today when we all pack, before we even put an article of clothing in a case, we ensure we have all the vital necessities first and foremost:

Laptop computers; at least one cell phone each; iPod for our music; head-phones; bluetooth ear piece; i Pad; GPS (ours is named Sadie); satellite radio; digital and movie cameras; electric toothbrush; hairdryer; hair straightener; electric razor; and last but not least when one is over 55, a blood pressure monitor & MEDICATION of every sort. AND we have to be sure to have every conceivable charger and cord to accompany each electronic device.
So before one article of clothing has been folded, we have about 30 lbs of stuff…..AND the airlines are cutting back on suitcases per passenger!

Welcome to the 00’s!