My Life Story

By Diana Neilson

 

Dad: Henry Ross Neilson
Aberdeen University M.B., C.H. B., D. P. H. Dad's degrees.
1908 Married Jan 3rd.
Grandfather and Great Grandfather Dr in I.M.S.
Dad's mother died in India of blackwater fever
Grand-dad remarried a woman little older than my Dad.
Married Jan 3rd in Aberdeen 1908.
Cornwall in 1908 - Jean born Oct 10 - 1908.
Worcester in 1910 at Sanatorium for Mental People.
Also doctor to prison - hangings, etc.
Bill born on Oct 5th 1910 at Worcester.
Dad off to Africa in 1913 - no trains so walked to Kampala.
Given car to ride to Gulu.
Mu joined him in 1915.
Hal born on Jan 6 1916. Dad delivered. Only three white people there. (A.D.C.)

Self: Evelyn Diana Catherine Neilson
Born Jan 31st 1918 in Gulu.
Got malaria at 3 months old - still in my blood.
Wasn`t christened till 3 years old when Dad moved to  Kampala.
Dad got his D.H.P. in Aberdeen.
Christened by Bishop Sheldon Thomas in Namurembe Cathedral.
Earliest recollection at 3 years in Aberdeen photo and beach.

Jean was thru school so came to Kampala when I was 5. XXX I was bridesmaid at her wedding at age 6. She and Eric went to India for 3 months honeymoon. Stayed with them when they got back and helped unwrap wedding gifts. They had a beautiful house. Eric gave Jean a brand new car for a wedding present. (1924). Jean & Eric moved upcountry to  B.Z.S where the famed Mountains of the Moon are. Could see them from their bungalow. I was 7 by now.

I used to sleepwalk and sometimes wake up and be terrified.
From age 6 went for 3 months leave to S of France, spoke at this time.
Quake-rattling. chickens killed and chasing me in trees.

Alone in the house one day when there was an earthquake - books fell from shelves - doors fell off their hinges - ran outside scared to death.

One day while taking my bath the raindavel (little house) I was in caught fire - my Ayale ran outside with me. Raindavels are built of reeds and mixed with cow dung, in the shape of (x) These were usually used as servant quarters apart from the main house.

When I was 8 I was sitting on the 2 wheel cycle on the veranda watching a terrific thunderstorm when suddenly I saw a huge ball of fire rolling along the veranda towards me. Fortunately I had covered my cycle with a raincoat or I`s have been dead. The rubber raincoat and rubber tires acted as a ground. The tree near me where my pet monkey was - was also struck.

Rode my cycle so much I got a boil on my inner thigh so had to go to hospital for a check up.

From the age of five I had to go with my Dad twice a year for 3 months while he visited outlying areas. I would walk ahead and in the dialect tell the Chief  the Great White Witchdoctor was coming to make them better.

Dad would inoculate against smallpox and yellow fever and leave medicines for the witch doctor to use as he saw fit. I enjoyed these trips with my Dad as we ran into all sorts of excitements - like a Mother and Father Elephant standing in the road while baby elephant passed across. We`d see Rhinos- Zebras, Wildebeest, Giraffes and of course all kinds of monkeys leaping from tree to tree. (White and red colobus. XXX)

I was 8 years old I was given a baby Belgium congo monkey whom I named NKIMA (Lugandan for monkey) by a famous naturalist who later gave me his book `Toto` which was all about his Chimpanzees. [Note: This would have been Naturalist Cherry Kearton, 1871-1940] I left Nkima chained to the tree outside my bedroom window where I`d watch out each afternoon while I was supposed to be taking my nap - and let the monkey play with my hair. Now and again he`d get loose and wreck the house.

I was in a car crash with my Dad - the car flipped over on us. Dad hurt back.

About this time my Dad was given a baby gorilla so he chained him to another tree and my Dad, my brother, and I would put bananas in our pockets then go to the Gorilla and he would ferret them out and eat them. When he grew to be full grown the natives and my Mother were terrified of him so one night my Dad took him away and shot him. My brother and I were very sad. We also had cats, kittens, turtles, rabbits, and a mule each 0 which we rode everywhere we could.

Both my parents, and sister Jean, were big game hunters - especially my Mother who shot Elephants, Rhinos, crocodiles, buffalo, and wild hogs, and lions and leopards. We had beautiful ivory ornaments made out of the tusks of elephants.

When I was 9 we went home to England and I was put in a convent called the Clever Sisters at Windsor. I was very unhappy. for 2 XXX and cried myself to sleep every night. I had never been away from my parents before except to stay with my sister in Uganda.

The day times were taken up with schoolwork and sports - I played on the field hockey team and one day jumped at the wrong time and got hit on the XXX by the ball and it hurt so I cried. I also took track and swimming. One day while out for a walk I splashed a teacher and had to write 100 times on a blackboard "I will not step in puddles and splash Miss Corbett." I never did that again! I spent the holidays with Miss Corbett and her family on a farm just out of Windsor.

During the Easter holidays there my brother Hal and I were skating on the frozen pond when he knocked me down accidentally and I couldn't get up. He ran to the house and fetched Mr Corbett who carried me into the house. This was March 26th, 1928, For 3 days I laid in bed getting worse so they sent for an ambulance from Windsor which took me to the hospital there. I don't remember very much of those few weeks except I was always being taken to X-ray or to the operating theatre for an operation. Finally after 5 operations on my left hip and down to the knee they called an orthopedic surgeon from Oxford and he came and knew instantly I had osteomylitis as he had 2 cases in his hospital. All three of us were the same age and the boys went to school at Eton College in Windsor. So after a few weeks I was taken from Windsor to Oxford in an ambulance. I was completely encased in plaster except for my head. I spent almost a year in hospital and had 133 operations on my left hip. I was given gas everyday to put me to sleep. While my dressing was done by Mr Gridlestone, the wonderful man who saved my live by knowing what was wrong with me. I had cups of formula put in my cast everyday as the smell of pus was so awful. My cast was changed twice a week. Then after I came out of the cast I was put upon a steel frame which encased my chest, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles.

All the children in my ward were T.B. cases. My girlfriend who was in the next bed to me had T.B. of the spine and both hips. She was an orphan and had red hair - we called her Ginger. We were both 10 years old. I was able to meet her in 1939 when I visited Mr Gridlestone and his wife. Ginger was married and had a baby by this time. She still walked on crutches.

We had some wonderful friendships with the other girls and with the nurses. One especially - Sister Walker who was with me everyday when my dressing was changed and who came with me when I went for my operations. Gwen had rites 3 times.

I left there in Jan 1929 to live with a doctor and his wife and son and daughter, Jean and Donald - in Cornwall. During the summer we went to a seaside place. I was taken out in a long basket on four wheels where I laid inside. When we got to the beach I was lifted out of my brace (which was exactly like my old frame) and taken to the water where I swam around. Then lifted back into my brace. I slept and stayed in that brace till I was almost 14. As years went by I had to wear a built up shoe on my left leg. By the time I was 13 my left leg was 5 1/2 inches shorter than my right leg. I had to go for a checkup every six months to Mr Gridlestone.

In 1931 I went back into hospital to have 3 further operations. I really enjoyed myself this time because every Sunday the Doctors would make their rounds and we'd have a water pistol fight with the doctors. We got our water from our hot water bottles. Those were fun times. I used to love roast potatoes and the nurses would XXX me about 8 which I'd keep warm under my frame which was held up off the bed by wooden blocks. When I left there 5 months later I walked without a frame or crutches.

I lived with the doctor and his family for two years. We had a tutor who gave us our lessons. Then I went to live with a Church of England minister and his wife. They took in children whose parents were either in India or Africa. We lived in a town called Titchfield in Hampshire. I was very happy here. There were 12 of us children - I was the oldest and the youngest was 3 months old. I took piano lessons for 3 years. We also had a woman tutor. We lived in a lovely old Vicarage with 9 bedrooms. The only thing I didn't like was having to eat rice with sugar on it - or sweet pudding and spinach and turnip.

Dad had a thyroid of XXX so I stayed with him on my trip to Scotland, aged 12.

At age 14 I was given a Bicycle by Uncle Mike Moses. We all had pets - mine was a baby blue rabbit.

We had lessons each morning and nature walks in the afternoon where we'd pick lovely bouquets of wild flowers. Then after supper we had homework, then off to bed by 8 pm. I was taken every six months for a checkup to Oxford. I stayed there till I was 16, then I went to live with another doctor and his wife and son and daughter. I stayed there till Aug 1934 when my father retired. We lived in a hotel in London for several months, then we rented a house in East Acton, London.

When I was 17 I got a job as an extra at the film studios. (Also got engaged to Frank) Which was great fun. I was in 3 films. I also did some photographic work - having my hands photographed for magazine advertisements. I left the house at 6-30 am and usually got home by 9 pm.

One evening I was going to the mail box to post a letter about 10 pm when I was accosted by a man who said he was looking for me. Being naive I didn't realize how serious it was, so I told him I'd mail my letter and come back. My girlfriend's house was right near the mail box so I called in and told her about this man I'd been talking to. She made me phone my dad who walked to her house to take me home. Then he phoned the Police. We heard later this man was caught as he raped two girls. From then on when I came home from work I was met by a policeman and walked home.
We had lots of fun at the local country club where they held dances every Saturday and one could play tennis everyday or ping pong and billiards. I was a ping pong champion in those days. I had 10 boyfriends so was never at a loss for a date. I had to be home by 10-30 pm or I got heck from my Mother who was always washing up.
When I was 18 we moved to the Isle of Wight to a small village called St. Lawrence. We had a lovely big house with 7 bedrooms - 20 rooms in all.
I soon got to know some of the young people who lived around there and once in a while my special boyfriend Eddie came down from London and stayed with us for a weekend. We were right near a lovely beach where we spent all day swimming.

When I could I'd go up to London and stay a few days with my girlfriend Peggy. We'd go to the stage shows and movies. She lived with her Dad and an older sister.

When I was 19 I met a young man (10 years older than me) who was the son of some friends of my parents from Africa. He and I only had one date when he took us to a dance in Newport, the capital of the Isle of Wight. Then he left for Lagos, Nigeria on the west coast of Africa. We wrote to each other and he proposed to me. He came home in 2 years and we were married on June 22nd, 1939. In October we sailed for Lagos arriving Nov 9th. I became sick with malaria and spent a few weeks in the hospital. I also became pregnant with my first baby and had mourning sickness all day for 3 months. We went to some lovely homes for parties and did a lot of entertaining too. It was funny having Christmas without snow and the hottest time of the year in Africa. We joined some friends at their beach house which was on an island. We traveled over and back in native canoes. After a swim - not too far out because of sharks - we would all have a nap during the hottest time of the day from 12 till 4 pm. We went to dances and bridge parties and played golf and tennis. I was so sick by the end of February that the doctor said I'd have to go back to England - so I sailed alone on Feb 26th, 1940.

I went to live with my parents till just about the 8th month of my pregnancy when I went to Oxford, where Sheila Diana Margaret Richardson was born Aug 14th 1940. We stayed in hospital for 5 weeks as I'd had a caesarian section for her delivery. The war was on by now and we had frequent bombing scares. When the siren sounded an alert all the babies and walking mothers were taken to the basement of the hospital. As I couldn't get out of bed I had to stay where I was and pray alot.

When I was 20 I got the red measles XXX and became unable to eat or drink. Daddy got a surgeon to come to the house and examine me. He said I had to go to a nursing home at once where he operated on me that evening. I had a growth inside me the size of a grapefruit so he did a colostomy. I was in the home for 3 months and still had to drain, so wore dressing for another 3 months. Then into another nursing home for another operation and sew it up.

When I got back to my parents home with Sheila they were thrilled with her. Of course she was a beautiful baby and I was breastfeeding her. I did that she was 4 months old when the bombing became more severe and my milk dried up so I had to put her on bottles and favex, which is a baby cereal. She was a colicky baby and my Mum would walk the floor with her at night to get her to sleep. This went on for several months then she settled down and was a very happy baby.

Her father rented a flat in Ryde - Isle of Wight while he was on leave for 3 months. I wouldn't go back to Nigeria with him because I couldn't take Sheila as no white children were allowed in West Africa because of the climate.

This is really were our marriage started to break up. I was so lonely just having Sheila as company, but I made some friends in the downstairs floor. Her husband was away too, he was in the Navy. We would have makeup parties just the two of us. We'd spend times making each other's faces up.

One day an enemy fighter plane came down our street with it's engine off (so no one could hear it) and strafed both sides of the street. My girlfriends windows were shattered with bullet holes. I lived on the top floor which was 3 storys up and when there was an air raid on Portsmouth at night, I'd get a lovely view of the searchlights and tracer bullets lighting up the place. They would bomb Portsmouth because it was a Naval base and submarine base.

I met Bob on Jan 11th 1943 and we knew it was love at first sight. I invited him to spend his next 48 hr leave at my place on George St, Ryde. This happened to be Valentines weekend and Bob asked if I'd marry him if I wasn't already married and I said yes I would.

During the coming week I sent a telegram to Rowley asking for a divorce. His reply came in the form of cabling my landlord to evict me (which he didn't) also a cable to the bank to stop any money coming to me - which it did. Also a cable to his sister to come and take Sheila from me. She wrote to me instead. I went to a lawyer and found out he couldn't take her from me without a custody case. So Bob sent me part of his pay every two weeks for 4 months so Sheila and I could eat. I sold most of my jewelry including some lovely sapphire and diamond rings Jean had given me years before. And my engagement ring.

Every so often Sheila and I would go to where Bob was stationed for the weekend. We spent some happy months together before he was suddenly sent overseas to Italy. At the time I was living in Hope with Sheila in a little house I'd rented. He was due a 76hrs leave a few days hence when he left supposedly on an exercise. But when weeks went by and still no word, I phoned my Dad and he told me to come home. By this time Rowley had been told by his lawyer he must pay me back the money he owed me for those 4 months and continue paying me until the divorce before final.

Bob left on Nov 5th 1943 and Bobbie was born 10 weeks later in Oxford on Jan 25th 1944. Prof Moir delivered her by caesarian at 5-45 am.

All the time I was carrying her I called her Bobbie thinking she was a boy, so when they brought her to me later that night I said "she'll still be Bobbie, I'll just add an A to Robert." We were in the hospital for 6 weeks. She weighed 6.9 at birth and was such a couXXX baby. I breast fed her till she was 2 weeks off a year old when she cut her teeth!!!

We moved back to my parents and lived with them. While I was in the hospital a lady friend of mine in St. Lawrence (where my parents lived) looked after Sheila for me. The night Bobbie was born - in fact an hour before the operation - I had a letter from Bob telling me where he was. I was so relieved to hear from him I went hysterical and cried and cried. Finally the doctor who was going to put us to sleep came to see me and told me to make up my face as tho I was going to a dance. This made me laugh so I made up my face with everything.

I used to write Bob a letter every single day while he was away. Nothing exciting happened except one day I had the children out for a walk and there was a dog fight between a german fighter plane and one of ours right about us. A piece of shrapnel just missed my face by inches. I knelt down and picked it up and still have it. Another time one of our fighter planes crashed in flames in an apple orchard. My Dad rushed to see what he could do for the pilot but he was barely alive he was burnt so badly. Mu phoned for an ambulance which took him to hospital. We heard later that he died in the ambulance. Another plane crashed into our wall in the upper garden but the pilot had bailed out safely.

Once in a while I'd take the children to my lady friends and she'd baby sit while I went to a show alone in Ventnor, a town 4 miles away.

My nerves were getting really bad so the doctor said I had to get away. So I left Sheila with friends and I went to my sister-in-laws Jill who lived in a town near Manchester, taking Bobbie with me. I'd only been there a few days when I got a telegram from my Dad saying Bob was home on leave. So I phoned home and asked Bob to pick up Sheila and come to where I was. This was a wonderful meeting after such a long time. It was also the first time he'd seen Bobbie who was 13 months old by then. We had 3 wonderful days then he had to go back to Holland where they were fighting the Germans. I stayed on with Kill for another two weeks and then went home - quite refreshed.

We'd only been home a few days when Sheila came down with red measles and was very sick. Dad left her in his room at nights so I could sleep. But then Bobbie came down with the measles too. The doctor gave me penicillin for then in huge tablets which I had to crush and put in a spoonful of jam to give them. This was the first time it was XXX. I had to give them both this every four hours, day and night which meant setting an alarm clock to wake me up.

A few months after this I got housemaids knee in my good leg (right one) so the doctor would come to the house every second day to massage my knee. He made a special bandage to fit the knee. He also told my parents I wasn't to go up and down stair which actually was virtually impossible with a left stiff hip, and a right stiff knee!

This was the year the war was over so Bob got home on leave every 3 months. Being the summer we would take long walks with the children and go to the beach where the girls and I would swim. Bob didn't like water even in those days - added to which he didn't have a bathing suit.

Bob returned to Canada in June 46 and I was to follow. But the custody case still hadn't been heard and so I reluctantly told Rowley's lawyer that I would give her up. Things moved fast after that and Rowley came on Augest 8th to take her away. On Sept 1st Bobbie and I left St. Lawrence and spent one night in a lovely old mansion in London where the Canadian war brides were. We sailed from Liverpool Sept 2nd and arrived in Winnipeg on Sept 14th. Bob was there to meet us. We stayed in the St. Regis Hotel and had a lovely room.

We were supposed to go to visit some relatives of Bob's but I was so sick I had to stay in bed. Poor Bobbie had been sea-sick and train sick the entire journey.

A friend of Bob's called Weldon Hunter had XXX him in so we went to Neepawa with him and stayed for a couple of weeks at his parents home. Then we went out to Mr and Mrs Hunter's farm where Bob was working. They were wonderful people and so kind to me.

Soon after we arrived there was a shower at MXXX Georges and we got some lovely gifts.

We bought a small house 12 x 24 and moved it out to a lot we had bought on Davidson St. We were so happy to be alone at last. We moved in on Oct 31st 1946 and that winter a very nice couple moved their small house near to us. Their names were Walker and Lorraine Kidds and they had 4 children. We had some great times tobogganing on the road after the children were asleep. We had some great parties too. Over time Dorothy Pollack (who was Walker's sister) Lorraine and I got feeling pretty good so we put on our husband's work overalls and went tobogganing. Loraine looked so funny because she was barely 5 ft tall and her husband was 6.2 and in his overalls she kept tripping over and we'd laugh ourselves silly. We came in and went down to the basement to undress as we were soaking wet.

By this time I was expecting again and was very sick on and off for 8 months. I was put in the hospital 3 times. Finally I had a caesarian on July 22nd 1947 and had twins - Judy and Jennie, who weighed 4.6 and 4.15 at birth. They brought them in to see me that evening and I was so distressed at them being girls because Bob left saying "if it's a girl I'll drown it." I asked him that evening what he thought and he said he was very happy as they were so tiny and cute. The girls were only 11 inches long at birth. We stayed in hospital for about 5 or 6 weeks, then home to our wee house. After a few days I was tempted to get the doctor to put me back in the hospital for a rest as the babies had to be fed every 3 hours day and night. I was worn out. After we'd been home a week Bobbie came home from Bob's sister who had looked after her. During my stay in the hospital Bobbie got chicken pox, so of course she had to stay with Velma.

The next spring Bob decided to build a bigger house so one day 12 men arrived to pour the cement for the basement. I had to give them a snack during the morning- then lunch, then a snack in the afternoon. Thank goodness it only lasted two days.

Bob got a friend who was a very good carpenter to help him build the house, so by summer he was ready to tear down the walls of our little house to XXX on the new house. During this time the children and I stayed up at Birnie with Muriel. Then we moved back when the outside walls and roof were on. One very hot day interspersed with rain about 12 men helped shingle the roof so again I was on hand with goodies for snacks and a lunch at noon. We lived in the house for months without any paXXXX up for walls. But we were happy having our own big house which was much easier to cope with 3 children.

When Judy and Jennie were abot 16 months old they were playing in the back yard walking along a ladder which was lying on the ground. Suddenly Judy started screaming so I picked her up and took her in the house. I managed to get her snowsuit off amidst howling. I felt for any broken bones but couldn't find any. She lay on the couch and cryed for about 3 hours. When Bob came home he decided to get the doctor - who came to the house and told me she had a broken collar bone. We put her arm in a sling and she finally settled down. In a couple of days she got up in her crib herself and was outside before I realized what had happened.

When they (the twins) were in their 2-3s and 4s they would wander off up town, so Bob built me a fence with a gate so they couldn't stray. One day before the gate was up they had taken off and I found them walking hand in hand up town.

When they started going to school at age 6 they caught all the childhood diseases - chicken pox - measles and mumps (except Judy). Every summer regular as clockwork all 3 of them would get the German measles. When they were sick they insisted on sleeping with me so we all would move out to the couch which was made into a bed. I got the mumps Christmas day I remember and was able to eat the dinner before the glands closed up. I wasn't even allowed in the back shed or outside for several weeks. They all teased me and said I looked like a chipmunk!

At school one day when Judy was 6 she was playing football and got tackled and it hurt. So the teacher got Bobbie to take Judy to the hospital and she had broken her collarbone in the same place as before. I knew nothing of this till Jennie came home after 4 and said Judy went to the hospital. I was frantic, but not having a phone there was nothing to do but wait till they arrived home. There was never a dull moment in these days as the girls were always jumping over something and getting their knees out of joint. I'd have to get the doctor. I just thought they were clumsy! Bobbie was involved with a dance band as their singer at school. She also took singing lessons for two years. And she played basketball once she got to high school. I would go down to all their home games. It was great.

Both Bob and I were members of the Parent Teacher Assoc. I was the sec-tres for 3 years and we never missed a meeting. Bobbie and the girls used to babysit small children for their spending money.

After Bob left Hunters Farm he drayed with his own team of horses for a few years, then he went on the milk route for another few years. Then he delivered bread for another few years. Then he got on at the airport with the Government. He used to come home for lunch as the airport was only a couple of miles west of town.

Then in Dec 1960 he went up to Southampton Island in the N.W.T. for a year. In April he broke his foot so was sent home for several weeks. Then in Dec 1961 he came home and we went to Winnipeg to look for a house to rent as he had been transferred to Winnipeg as the Neepawa airport had closed down. We went to Diamond Realty and Max himself drove us to see one on Bannerman Ave. It was a very large house with lots of rooms so we said we'd take it. We left Neepawa on Dec 23rd and came to live in Wpg. It was so dirty it took all five of us over a day to wash floors and get the furniture moved into the right rooms. This was Dec 61.

After having Christmas dinner Bobbie took the bus out to Eden to stay with Dick and his parents for the Xmas holidays.

We were all miserable in a big city XXX in the middle of winter. Every chance they got all three girls would take the bus to Neepawa and stay with friends when they had a few days holidays. They hated Winnipeg, their teaches and children.

I got so lonely with everyone away all day I decided to take foster babies so Bob and I had our medical checkups and interviews and finally in May 1961 we got our first baby who was right out of the hospital and only 8 days old. I was to find complete joy in my 36 babies I had over the next 10 years. I was never happier in my life. Bob loved all of them as much as I did and it was his playtime with the babies while I was doing dishes from supper. He would feed them their 8 o'clock bottle and put them to bed in the little crib for the night. By the time I'd had the babies for 6 weeks I could guarantee they'd sleep all night. So really it was only those first few weeks that there would be night feedings. On the average we'd have them 3 or 4 weeks. Some I only had for a week before they were adopted. One pair of twins, Dodie and Diane we had to within 2 weeks of their first birthday when they were adopted by some people up north who had two little adopted sons aged 2 and 3. We sure put in a miserable weekend, but on Monday I got another baby to love. When Laurie came to us at 6 weeks she had yellow jaundice and was exactly like a pixy with a pointed head and pointed ears. She looked so tiny and frail that I said "Well someone has got to love you and it might as well be me." Little did I know we would later adopt her as our very own. She was such a good baby and ate well so grew and by the time she was 3 months old she was like a little pudding - all cuddly and cute. Meanwhile I kept taking other babies up until we started the adoption proceedings, when they wont let you have any babies. She was 8 weeks old when we decided to adopt her, but the papers weren't thru till the day she was 2 years old. She was very jealous of the first baby we had after not having any in the home for 18 months or so. But after that each time we got a different baby she'd get so excited.

During the 10 years fostering I had two operations to myself. I had my thyroid out in Dec and in June 1 had a hernia operation. While I was in the hospital and recuperating some friends of ours in Transcona looked after Laurie for about 6 weeks. After having her they missed her so much they decided to take foster babies and did. Every year there would be a big night put on by the Children's Aid Soc. and Bob and I would go while one of our daughters would babysit. The last 3 years they had the night at the International Inn which was super as the food was delicious.

During this time our three daughters got married and moved away. Bobbie had gone thru the Miseracordia Hospital as a Lab Tech. Judy was working at the Manitoba Medical in Polo Park. Jennie was working as an accountant at a grain company. Before getting these jobs all three girls worked at various places before settling down.

Meanwhile Laurie was going to school and doing well. Then in July 72 whilst down at the beach with Laurie and Bam-Bam (a precious 8 month old foster baby) I took very ill. Bobbie and Dick arrived to spend a week at the lake with us but I was feeling too sick to even get up and greet them. Bob came in time for supper. I went to bed early with the babies as I was so cold yet burning with fever. Next morning I got Bob to run me back into Winnipeg with Laurie and Bam-Bam. This was a Saturday. He went back down to the beach. On Sunday I was feeling worse so I phoned Dr. Burgess so he said to come to Grace Hospital the next morning and he'd see me. I phoned to the beach and told Bob so he came back into Winnipeg. Next day, Aug 1st, at noon we got to Grace and Dr. Burgess told me he was admitting me as I had a temperature of 105. He went out to the car and told Bob. From then on I remember leaving admitting and for several weeks after there is blank.

It turned our that my osteomylitis had come back after 43 years, and that I had malaria too. They didn't operate for 2 to 3 weeks after I was admitted. I was in the hospital for 4 months then home to stay in bed for several more. All this time Laurie had stayed with Judy till Aug. Then when school started she would go down to a friend Ellie Hul's place and go to school with her daughter, then Bob would pick her up and go home for supper.

During my convalescence Laurie was such a help and wonderfully understanding that I just had to live and see her grow up into a young lady. Several times I was tempted to end it all, but I'd think of Laurie and the books she'd read to me at night and the card games we'd play, and decided to try and buck up. Meanwhile we had a lady friend MashXXXXX come in twice a week to do the house. During the rest of the time Bob would do the housework and cooking and went to work as well.

We had a happy Christmas as I was on crutches by now and could get about a bit. All the girls came home - Bobbie and Dick from Hamiota and Judy, Dave and Jennie from in the city here. I was like a ghost as I only weighed 90 lbs. As days went by I got stronger and more able to move around. By the summer I had a wheelchair which we took to the beach with us.

That same year my sisters son Douglas Genders came to Winnipeg with the Bisley Shooting Team, so we saw quite a bit of him. It was the first time I'd ever seen him. Such a nice guy.

Jennie had met Terry in the March of 1973 and got her divorce from Paul. In November 1973 I again went into Grace for another operation on my hip which had still been bothering me all year. Jennie and Terry were married on November 18th and the wedding party came up to the hospital to see me and have wedding photos taken. 5 days later (23rd and Terry's birthday) I had the operation to remove the lesion from my left side. Jenny and Terry came up that evening to see me. I was feeling fine except my hip felt as tho someone had sat on it!! I was only in the hospital a few weeks, but was back 3 times in the first week as pus would gather in the wound and they had to asperate.

Jan 17th 1985. I lost my beloved husband Bob to cancer on Sept 25th, 1984. He didn't have to suffer and went into a coma 4 days before he died. We had a memorial service for him and all his friends turned up. Laurie is still with me but looking for a job. Once she gets one and gets an apartment of her own, I'm moving to a Senior Citizens block in north Kild. Thank heavens I've had Laurie with me since Dad went as I don't think I could have carried on. She does the cooking, wasking, housework - everything.

 

[transcribed from her handwritten notes]