Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Story with No Point

My grandma, Edna Hyde Pilling, doesn’t have much written about her.

When I was a teen I typed out a couple of pages for her as she told me about her life.

I was doing a genealogy assignment; I was only a Beehive but I could type.  I was probably filling requirements for a felt sticker to put on a bandelo which really dates me.

Now I can't figure out how someone got me to want to have a bandelo, still not knowing its function today.

But back to grandmother. Anything else that I know about her is apocryphal and comes from whatever others have told me.

She never held a paying job.

She didn't hold a church job.  She was too shy for that.

She finished Grade VI and then her family moved to Alberta, finishing her formal education.

Any money she had came from her husband when he was flush with money, which happened on occasion.

She would put that money away in a sock, and  then bring it out of a drawer when he needed money again.   Later in life when she was old enough to get the old age pension, she kept that to herself.

One thing I do remember. She wanted lots of flowers at her funeral. I heard her say that often.

She didn’t have a lot of money, but she had in the bank enough money so that there would be lots of flowers at her funeral.

My grandfather wanted that money so that they could go on a trip to Hawaii.

He must have put pressure on her, but she was firm.

No trip.

Lots of flowers at her funeral.

Bushes like this are in many yards as I 
walk in the neighbourhoods close by.
The petals have fallen and are 
strewn on the ground.
My dad said to my grandmother, go ahead, take that money and go to Hawaii. I will see that there are lots of flowers at your funeral.

So off they went to Hawaii.

The trip wasn’t as grand as my grandfather imagined.

By the time they got there, Hawaii was more of a tourist destination and not the Hawaii of the early days of colonialism that he had imagined.

My grandmother died of a stroke when I was in my teens.

She died because unbeknownst to others, they were short on money and she didn’t buy her stroke medicine.

She had her stroke in Shelby, Montana. They brought her to the hospital in Calgary, where she lay for about 30 days in the hospital and then finally died.

Aunt Erva came to Calgary, stayed with us, and spent her days in the hospital with her mother, Edna.

Fiddleheads -- in bloom as
seen on my walk this morning.
Now I can’t remember anything that was said at my grandmother’s funeral.

I do remember thinking, "So that is what 'a lot of flowers' means.  I am happy for her."

When I see a lovely arbutus tree or the magnolia bushes here in Victoria, anything green bursting into blossom I think about the joy of having many flowers.


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