Monday, June 20, 2016

Memory Monday: Going to the Farm


I've always enjoyed drawing.
I majored in Art in High School, put together a portfolio for art courses in college, and intended to go but had no funds. After getting a job at Canarim on Granville Street downtown as a credit clerk I discovered the joy of the weekly paycheque, so although I saved a great deal of money, I never did get to art school, and instead after 4 years of office work I got married and used the money as a down payment on a house, which in Vancouver BC was a wise investment, and maybe much better than two years in college!
Here are two hand drawings of a look at every day life in our family.
I wish I'd drawn more, but at the time I didn't think our life was all that exciting.


However, each summer as soon as school let out, we headed South to the USA. My Mom loved to visit Amity Oregon, where her brother Ed Brutke lived on the family farm where she had been born, and had grown up. To this day she misses the fields of Amity, and the quiet peaceful life of the farm. She only lived there for 19 years but it's still in her blood. She's now been in Canada for 60 years and is truly more Canadian than American! The drawing above shows the family car loaded up, with my Dad not shown as he's inside the garage locking up. Poor Dad never had a modern door with a remote garage opener; instead he had a heavy wooden door which had to be locked from the inside. Rain or shine he had to go inside the garage first, open the door, and heave it up with his arms. Poor man....Sugar was Leona's pet rabbit, bought in Richmond when she was 8 years old. At the time of this drawing Sugar was 5 years old, and I believe she died shortly after. Leona always loved pets. My Grandma Williams, who lived just two houses up the lane, took care of our house, garden, lawn, and any pets we had.
We usually stayed for 1 - 2 weeks at Uncle Ed's and had a marvelous happy vacation.


Another drawing...actually hand painted by myself with a simple paint set. I was only 13 and I was really proud of this drawing in my sketch book. The farmhouse is still there, with a new owner. It was sold in 2005 and we visited in 2006 with my parents. The place is changed but basically the same, yet not the same, as strangers now live there. But I'm happy someone bought it. I believe it was only $125,000 for the house and the acreage. A secret dream of mine was always to live in it, but of course, I'm not a farmer and it would be too difficult for Robert to commute to work, as I'm sure he could find work with his expertise in software design, but I don't think there is good WiFi in the area.
We visited again last summer in 2015, and the whole area is now greatly changed with the trees chopped down and many new large homes built. Uncle Ed and my grandparents, Adolph and Helen Brutke, would be horrified. 
Change is inevitable, so these old drawings which bring back such happy memories are a sweet blessing to me. I'm glad I didn't throw them out!

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Dad, Jack Williams.


Here is my Dad, Jack, known as Jackie when younger.
His father's name was John, and he was named John, but called Jackie to differentiate. 
Isn't he handsome?
 He has always been a spiffy dresser. He liked to wear a suit and tie to church, and he has never worn a pair of jeans in his life! I wanted to buy him a pair when I had my first job, but he said no way. All his life he's been a hard worker. He was a fork lift shipper at Glidden Paints for 30 years. When he left for work each day at 7:30 am he would grab his lunch bucket in which my mom had placed two sandwiches (one of which was always peanut butter and jam) and a banana and apple, plus dessert, and he would give us a kiss, run down the wooden stairs into the basement, and yell "Bye, be good!" He'd return home at 5:30 pm, and my Mom would have a delicious hot meal ready. We'd always eat together around the kitchen table. 6 of us would squeeze in. Dad's job was wiping the table down after the meal, and doing the dishes, until Leona and I were old enough to do them. Dad was a member of the church choir, and an usher, and he took his duties seriously. Every Wednesday night he would shave and dress up in his suit and head to Bible study. He never missed a meeting. He also drove the church bus for Sunday School when he was younger, and he was involved in street meetings (when they had them many years ago) and in the Seaman's work at the docks. He would read his Bible each evening in the kitchen, and get up early to pray in the mornings in the living room. I've always felt surrounded by his love and care for me and our family. I'm blessed to have had a Dad like him. Although he was quiet and not very talkative when I was growing up, recently in his senior years (due to his blindness) I'm getting to know him very well, as he enjoys talking and he has a phenomenal memory for things in the past. Happy Father's Day, Dad! God bless you!





Jack met his sweetheart, Susie Brutke, in Oregon in 1955 and married her later that year.
She moved to Canada, where all their children were born.


Here is my Dad in his workshop at 3382 Monmouth Avenue in Vancouver BC, just before they moved after selling their house in 1998. They lived there for 35 years.
I always loved my Dad's workshop. It was filled with quite an array of stuff!
Dad would often listen to his radio while working here. Just past it was the cellar where my Mom kept vegetables and fruit and all her canned jars of preserves.
I'm thankful for my precious memories.
By Loretta Houben


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My 56th birthday.


Today is my 56th birthday.
Each birthday is a special gift.
I used to take them for granted, but ever since 9/11 I have accepted every day as a gift from God.
He alone is the giver of life.
I'm very blessed by Him.

Today I had a phone call from my parents who sang happy birthday to me, at least...the shortened version! Then my aunt Ruth (Dad's sister) called, and chatted for one hour!
I went out for a while to Metrotown where I had lunch, hot coffee, and a raspberry donut. I browsed in a book store and bought a genealogy magazine and a doll magazine; it doesn't get any better than that! I also bought 4 really cute items for my dolls from Build-a-Bear shop. 

I visited a favourite $ store too, then headed home. It was only 10 C this morning. That is really chilly! The sun came out in the afternoon. Matthew called and chatted for 1/2 hour, then Leona called. I spoke to my Mom again, then Robert took me out for dinner at Boston Pizza. We shared a large pizza, and a hot baked cookie for dessert. Mmmm...
It's not fancy but one of my favourite places to eat.

Robert gave me a dozen crimson roses, and a lovely card.
On the weekend my parents gave me a pretty card, and a gift of cash. This is the first year I didn't receive any cards in the mail. I'm old-fashioned and I still LOVE to get real cards, but recently Carleton cards at Metrotown closed. I didn't even know it was closing until it was gone. 

I feel like my life is changing so dramatically and swiftly, that some days I can hardly catch my breath.
Tonight we paid our property taxes ONLINE. It was tricky to set up, but easy to do. It will be really easy to do next year. My head sometimes feels exceedingly dizzy.
In the year ahead I hope to slow down even more, and not become overwhelmed with all this change around me.
One thing which never changes is the constant love of my Heavenly Father.
By Loretta Houben

"Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass." Job 14:5

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

RCC newspaper photos....


I'm quite tickled!
Four of my photos were included on page 4 of the June edition of the RCC newspaper.
Collingwood Days was a complete washout, yet we still managed to have fun in our Heritage Booth.
I made a collage type display using old photos found online, British flag style duck tape, and a bit of red and black poster board. My scrap-booking skills came in handy!
I bought the board at the dollar store for only $2.00, and added two BC flags, three vintage school readers to be won in a draw, and a slate board. It was so wet, I couldn't take proper photos with the slate board, so it was only used once in the Heritage group Committee photo.
That's Paul Reid, Jennifer Gray-Grant, Tom Goodin, and myself in the Heritage Committee photo.
We've been meeting for over one year now.
I've learned quite a few hints on how to do researching etc.
But my longing to scan in old photos in Bobbi Senft's collection never materialized. Sigh...
 I didn't realize that the original location for the school was close to 41st Ave!
I'm always learning new things, which is why I enjoy being involved in my community!
Our MLA, Adrian Dix, paid us a visit. We meet in his office once a month.
Dev doesn't attend Carleton, but he was the only one to show up and he sure enjoyed winning a prize!


Here I am on May 15, 2016 in front of the old school building. I edited out the power lines.
They didn't belong.



By Loretta Houben


Monday, June 6, 2016

Memory Monday... remembering our old house on Monmouth Ave.


I haven't done a Memory Monday post in a while!
I often dream about this kitchen.
Many a time I washed dishes at this sink.
Many times I had my hair washed in this sink.
I would stretch out on the counter, and my Mom would suds my hair and rinse it.
Oh the happy days!
I learned how to bake at this kitchen counter.
I made pancakes on Saturday mornings.
The first cookie I baked was "Joe Froggers".
I made a chicken and rice dish for Robert when I was dating him in 1981.
There are just so many happy memories associated with this room!
I did all my homework at the kitchen table, and I learned how to sew on Mom's sewing machine at this table. I wrote in my diary, I composed poems and stories, I coloured for hours, and I had good chats with my Mom here.
That's my Mom, Susan Williams, in the photo above, dated Feb 13, 1998.
She and Dad had sold their house for the vast sum of $285,000.
They bought a lovely brand new condo in Burnaby, and are still there.
I love how my parents kept their house so nice and spotless. The house sold in one day.


And here I am many years ago, when the house was brand new.
We'd moved in at the end of 1963. I can still remember going to look at this house at 
3382 Monmouth Avenue in Vancouver BC. There was brown paper on the floor and I had to stay on it and I couldn't figure out why. I remember the drain holes in the basement and outside the basement door. The whole house seemed huge! At first Leona and I had our own bedrooms, but in 1965 Marlene came along, and then Leona and I shared. I didn't get my own room until 1977 when my Dad built a room for me downstairs. I stayed in it for 5 years when I got married in 1982 and went on in life to acquire my own houses.
What memories two photos can bring out! 
My parents re-did the cupboards in the 1990's, and had a new sink installed.
In both cases the sink was white porcelain. It's much better and much prettier than stainless steel!

By Loretta Houben

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016


This is my beautiful mother, Susan Williams, known as Susie. She was 29 in the above photo. She had a little son, Martin James in Dec 1957 but he only lived for 2 days. Then we came along!
Leona on the left, myself on the right.


Here we are 54 years later!
Leona on the left, myself on the right.
Two more daughters joined us; Marlene in 1965, and Marie in 1970 but they couldn't be with us yesterday when we got together for lunch with Mom.


Leona brought the lovely roses. I gave Mom a pretty nightie and a book about prairie girls in the 1880's and the quilts they made. Tee hee...the book has quilt patterns and I'd love to make a quilt with my Mom. She's always wished to sew one.


My dear Mom and I...I love these blurred photos!
I used my cell phone and a selfie stick. The light was bad, so the photos have an odd old-fashioned look.
Happy Mother's Day, dear Mom.
I'm so thankful for my godly Christian mother who with the help of her Christian husband raised 4 daughters. I'm grateful for a happy childhood filled with laughter and love, and glad I was taken to church where I learned about Christ and His love for us. I never take these precious gifts for granted. Thank you, Mom, for all your sacrifice and love for me.

By Loretta Williams Houben



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another Renfrew/Collingwood newspaper article published.



I had another newspaper article published in the Renfrew Collingwood Community newspaper.
I've written many articles for them and I really enjoy it. I find that the shortness of articles and limited word count, plus the pressure of a monthly deadline, works very well for me. Maybe I should write my novels like this; maybe each chapter should be looked upon as a newspaper article!
Please click on the link above to read it on page 11.
Sometimes over the years the link will no longer work, which is why I "snipped" the article to the best of my ability and included it here.

By Loretta Williams Houben