Patience Ingram 1896 – 1983

Kingwell By Kingwell, 14th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1q0wwj7n/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

A tribute to my mother - One of the great influences in my life.

The Early Years

My mother was born on Hann’s Island in Harbour Buffett, Newfoundland, on June 30, 1896. She was the third child of Thomas Hann and Victoria Smith but neither of the first two children had survived beyond a few weeks. Later there would be another sister and a brother. It was the year that the Klondike Gold Rush began and Henry Ford test-drove his horseless quadricycle in the streets of Detroit, but the improvised people of outport Newfoundland, most of whom led a hand to mouth existence, knew nothing of such things and cared less. At age seven Mom began her schooling but after just three years, had to leave and go to work as a servant or “in service” as it was locally known. She fell in love in her mid-teens but the young man, like so many of his generation, died on the battlefields of Europe in World War 1. Later she married and had a daughter, only to be widowed at the age of 21. She was twenty-four when she married my father then a widower with four children. He was also seventeen years her senior. When my father died in 1974 at the age of 95, they had been married for fifty-four years and had begotten another five children of which I am the youngest.

Her Greatest Challenge

Like most women of the day, she accepted her role of wife, mother, and homemaker, leaving all major decisions to her husband. With such a large family, she was always busy. There were nine or ten sheep which she would shear every spring, then there would be the washing, carding and spinning of the wool. Everyone in the family wore socks, mittens and at least one sweater that she had knitted. There was a vegetable garden in which she took great pride and a separate potato garden with which all of the family were expected to help. Like most women of the time, she helped her husband cure the fish each summer and sometimes went in the boat herself to catch some cod for the family table. Sunday was her only day of rest and even than there were meals to prepare. In 1956 at the age of sixty, my mother faced her greatest challenge to date and one that would change the rest of her life. she was diagnosed with stomach and bowel cancer. If many consider Cancer a death sentence today, it was even more so fifty-four years ago but my mother beat the odds by making a full recovery, though she had lost two-thirds of her stomach and part of the bowel. Never again would she be able to do the physical work that had been so much a part of her life. Fortunately Newfoundland had become a province of Canada in 1949 and life, even in remote communities, had improved greatly. My father, who was now 77 and blind, received a pension from the Canadian government and my mother was now eligible for some monetary assistance herself. One of my brothers purchased a washing machine for her which, since we had no electricity, was operated by a small gasoline motor. In my final year of high school, I nevertheless helped with many of the household chores, which still included fetching water from a nearby well. A year later the family moved to a smaller house in another part of the community where they had running water.

The Later Years

There was no more gardening for mom, no fish to be cured or sheep to be sheared. She was still able to cook and do most of the housework however, and now being able to purchase wool, she continued her knitting. In 1963, together with one of my brothers and his family, dad who was now 84 and mom 67, moved from the island to the mainland of the province and shortly thereafter, would enjoy electricity and other modern conveniences. When dad passed away, mom came to live with me and my family. A burden to no one, she would live another nine years doing much of the cooking, baking and continuing to knit. She joined a seniors club and would never miss the weekly meetings. Once a year the local Lion’s Club would host a luncheon and dancing for the seniors and my mother, who loved dancing as she loved life, was always there. One day in April of 1983 as she was preparing lunch, mom suffered a stroke and was rushed to the nearest hospital. Her family visited every night and although she remained in good spirits, she knew that her time had come to take leave of this life. Less than two weeks later and trusting in the one to whom she had prayed every day, mom slipped away peacefully in her sleep to join her family and friends who had gone before, leaving behind a legacy of kindness, compassion and love that more than all else, best defines the word – Mother.

Tags

Battlefields Of Europe, Cancer, Cod, Compassion, Dancing, Europe, Henry Ford, Homemaker, Kindness, Klondike Gold Rush, Knitting, Love, Mother, Newfoundland, School, Servant, Shearing Sheep, Stroke, Wife, Wool, World War I

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
15th Jul 2014 (#)

Absolutely beautiful Kingwell- both legacy and history shared...thank you.

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author avatar Kingwell
15th Jul 2014 (#)

Thank you Delicia. How times have changed!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
17th Jul 2014 (#)

Truly inspirational life Kingwell, thanks for sharing her life with us. Mothers are always special and your mother more so going by your narration of her life. A life hard to emulate nowadays - they made what we take for granted possible - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
17th Jul 2014 (#)

So true Siva - thank you.

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author avatar Utah Jay
19th Jul 2014 (#)

Thank you for sharing this with us, it reminds me of just how hard those before us worked and sacrificed so we could have better lives.

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author avatar Kingwell
19th Jul 2014 (#)

So true Utah. Thank you for your visit.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Nice tribute to your mother and God Bless her soul, she's still with you in spirit mate!

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author avatar Kingwell
10th Sep 2014 (#)

Thank you Fern. I believe that too.

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