Friday, March 9, 2018


I have been thinking about my mother all day. Her birthday coincides with International Women’s Day so I get to read a lot of posts about women and equal rights on this day. I wonder what parts of the women’s movement Wyora would be active in if she were still alive. My guess is that she would be taking food to the women’s shelter: new bread, cinnamon buns or maybe seven or eight pies. I didn’t know that a person could make one pie at a time until my daughter Mary told me it was OK to make a single batch of cookies. I grew up thinking every recipe had to be doubled or tripled. The last of the apples had to go into pies, no matter how long it took. I don’t know where Mary got her information from. Not me.

Wyora was good at organizing women to make money. In the name of the Relief Society they would make chocolates and hold bazaars, sewing in the evenings for months. One day she came to work at the bazaar, took off her coat, laid it on a table and went to work doing whatever had to be done for the day. When everything was over and the money counted, she went to get her coat. But it had been sold.

A woman who needed to go to court had no one to tend her baby. The child was left at Wyora’s house. The baby was blind. Glen laid on the bed beside the child and sang songs to the baby, reading the pictures of each song to know which one he should sing next. He was so little, he hadn’t gone to school yet. That is why the pictures matter. Why I like that story is that much later, maybe even years, someone came to Wyora and thanked her profusely for reaching out when the woman could find no one to help her.

Today Moiya reminded me of a family who still remember and adore Wyora. “We came to the city and we had absolutely nothing. Just nothing. Wyora took us home from church, fed us and then helped us in so many ways. We will never forget her.”

Wyora had cancer and died just a few days after her 55th birthday. I always wish that she could have grown old so that I could have seen a model for old age. I was left with an indelible imprint which I am reaching to describe. I do know what it is to be alert to those around who need care. Thank you Wyora for that.

To celebrate Doral’s birthday they would invite anyone in the ward who had a birthday in January to come to a party at their house.Lots of tables were set up, treats were set out and people played Rook until the wee hours of the morning.

When Doral and Wyora played together they were an unbeatable team.

She knew when to hold the 5 or the 14 in Rook so that Doral could sweep in with a less than adequate hand.  For some reason I didn't stay up or go into the room where the party was held.  But I did get up early the next day, for the left-over treats even extended to bridge mix.

What I haven’t said about her is that when Doral came home, Doral always came into the house, found her and gave her a kiss.

A hug and a kiss.

Now that is a love story.


  1. Thank you.

    I like to think about my mother on her birthday. Mostly I wish that I could have known her when I was in my 40's and 50's so that she would have been in her 60's and 70'.

    Age 28. That feels young to loose a mother.

    But for my siblings, they were even younger. Glen 13, Richard 14, Moiya 15, Darla 17.

  2. At Glen's birthday dinner this year, the year he turned 62, the conversation turned to Wyora. Moiya was saying that her love of opera comes to her from Wyora.

    Wyora had a selection of vinyl records and Moiya can remember laying on the carpet in the living room and listening to classical music. As well, Wyora had tickets to the ballet and to the symphony -- tickets for two. Moiya can remember just waiting for her turn to be the person that mother took with her.

    A wonderful legacy. The best part is that Wyora's gift to Glen and Moiya has extended fifty years. She gave the gift that keeps on giving.

  3. Thank you for taking the time to type all this up. One of my favourite moments of your last visit to Ottawa was Leo asking you about your parents, saying how he has only ever heard amazing things about them and you telling us so many stories demonstrating their quiet generosity and ability to reach out to those in the most desperate need.

  4. That was nice of Leo to ask. Since my parents seem to still live in my mind, I think they are in everyone's mind, just as they are in mine. I forget that people may not know them.

    I was in Superstore with Wyora and we were looking at the pies: rhubard-strawberry, apple crumble pie, a lattice-topped pie. Beautiful pies. There were 5 of them there at $10 a piece. I counted to Wyona, 10, 20, 30, 40, $50 for those five pies. She must have read my mind. Yes, she replied. There is no use making just one pie at a time.

    I was 30 when my mother died. I wasn't that smart. For example, I didn't know how to take the time to get into a parent's lives and let them tumble out who they are, not as a parent but in the other part of who they lived. Perhaps a child has to just pick that up they go. No one watches you closer than your kids. So I should have caught on a bit more.

    What made me think about this is that you said perhaps my parents had quiet generosity. I think the pie was the hook that took Wyora deeper into the private lives of people. A gift.