B. Hidden in the Closet

"Where did you ever get these letters?" This is the question I am often asked when I describe my project of organizing the family archives and transcribing the letters Aunt Bess brought when she emigrated from Ireland. The experience of touching these fragile sheets of paper containing messages written over a hundred and fifty years…

Alone in Kathmandu

Alas, the new friends that we met on our amazing journey through India and Nepal left Kathmandu one by one during the day. Fond farewells, best wishes and hope to see you agains swirled warmly around the lobby of our hotel. On our own! What now as we are used to the cocoon of our…

The Blog Resumes

After an eight month hiatus, I am back to the blog again. While my life continued to be compelling, I took a detour from chronicling the lives of my family - in particular my grandmother Jean Kaine to carry out 28 free workshops in jewellery making and other arts with groups of children, women and…

10. The Whole Turkey

As mentioned in a previous episode, after Gramp stopped being a Presbyterian minister and became a hearing aid salesman, life changed for Nan. Around 1963, Irving and Jean Kaine, my maternal grandparents, rented out their home in Toronto and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a time where Gramp got a job at Gimbels Department store.…

9. Disasters Averted

No one makes it through childhood unscathed but sometimes I wonder how me and my brothers made it through alive! As I feel the first hint of summer this year, I am filled with visceral and indelible images of my grandmother’s cottage at Waubaushene, Ontario, a small town on Georgian Bay about one hundred miles…

8. The Matriarch Emerges

The photographs of the Kaine family from the 1940’s show Doris and Helen growing into beautiful young women and Irving and Jean as a mature established couple.  The family moved from Dunnville to London, Ontario when the Reverend Irving Kaine, a Presbyterian minister,  took a position that covered a number of rural churches. My Aunt…

7. God Save the King

Jean and Irving Kaine, my maternal grandparents moved with their two daughters Doris and Helen to Dunnville, Ontario from Grimsby just before the outbreak of the Second World War. These quiet rural towns were located on the Niagara Peninsula about an hour and a half west of Toronto however life in this bucolic area was…

3b. A Trip to Bermuda 1920

Journey Down the Rabbit Hole The other day, as I delved once again into the many disorganized boxes of family photographs, letters and papers, I was pleasantly surprised to come across a document that my grandmother, Jean Wilhelmine Inglis Kaine had written about her trip with a friend to Bermuda in 1920. Based on the…

6. Life Goes On

Like all young couples, Jean and Irving Kaine wanted children but had to wait for five years after their marriage for their first daughter, Doris Marilyn (my mother) to arrive followed two years later by Helen Jean. The girls were born in 1932 and 1934 during the time of the Great Depression in Canada when…