My life is a journey that began the first time my mother held me in her arms. Mom was hoping for a girl. She was already a mother to two little towheaded boys. It was the nineteen fifties and the Royal Family of England was very popular. There was the birth of Princess Anne in 1950 and the upcoming Coronation of Queen Elizabeth in June of 1953. That is how I came to be named Anne Elizabeth, a name I no doubt share with many other little Canadian girls of the same era.
My mom, Helen was, and still is, my hero. She believed in love, in loyalty, in family and, above all, she believed in her children-all five of us! “Littlest Sister” liked to refer Mom to as “our little mother” And little she was, but oh, was she mighty. I always said that she was made of steel when faced with a challenge, but very vulnerable in matters of the heart.
These are some of the things I remember Mom saying:
“Anne, charity begins at home.” (This, after I had given away to a friend a doll and all the clothes Mom had made for that doll. The friend in question friend wasn’t even a close friend. Mom said I should have given the doll to my sisters. I guess she was right.)
Young people should have all the money-old people don’t need it.
Families should live together in compounds.
I don’t want to miss anything.
My tummy is tickling – (when something fun was happening-always family related).
Isn’t that enough to rot your socks-(when something crappy was happening).
I am so glad you are here. When are you leaving?
Is it time for a drink yet?
I love peanuts.
I thank you for calling.
I hate exercising.
Look at the price of that dress-should be for the whole rack.
Things Mom loved to do:
She loved to dance. She taught all of her children how to dance in the kitchens of our various homes. Sometimes there was music playing-sometimes she would just sing; because that was another thing she loved to do. Mom would sing while banging away on the piano, while driving in the car and just because.
She loved sports. When Mom was in primary school, she couldn’t wait for recess so she could go out and beat all the boys at whatever game they were playing, mostly baseball. She walked home from school once on two sprained ankles after winning whatever game was on the go that day. She knew she would get in trouble from her mother for playing ball with the boys again, but, to her it was worth it. She loved being faster than everyone.
Golf was her game of choice when we were old enough to grant her some personal freedom. She was what I would call a natural. I asked Mom once if she ever took any lessons. She replied, “I think that I asked the pro a question once”. That is all she needed, I guess.
Gardening brought her much peace. She loved flowers. Every year she would say, “I am not going to buy as much. It is too much work”. Every year she bought as much or more than the year before-there were always with pansies in the mix.
Playing bridge with her friends and cribbage with her family brought her great enjoyment-of course, she liked to win at these too.
The loves of Mom’s life:
Her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren
Her diggity dogs, Sal, Birdie–Dog and Daisy-Doodle. She said of them, “They are my friends. I can talk to them-they listen to me”.
Roast beef, gravy and potatoes, chocolate cake, Lazy Daisy cake, scampi and peanuts and BUTTER!!
Red roses, no ferns, no baby’s breath
Some of the things Mom did for me:
She made my bridal veil from an idea when I couldn’t find anything that I liked.
She encouraged me at golf when the occasional shot went flying thru the air heading straight for its target. “Well done, Anne”, she would say.
She loved my kids like they were her own.
She finished some of my art projects at school so that they would be displayed above the chalkboard.
She helped me pass my geometry matriculation by correctly guessing what the questions would be and by coaching me the night before the exam. I didn’t get a good mark, but I did pass.
She took me to downtown Montreal for special days just with her. She would buy me a package of gum for the train ride. We would shop at the department stores and have lunch at the restaurant on the ninth floor of Eaton’s. I felt very special on those days.
The most personal things Mom ever said to me were:
I love you “muchly”.
I would swim the seven seas for you, Anne.
You are my pal!!!
The most important things I remember saying to Mom are:
When we would go shopping in later years, I would drop her off at the mall entrance so that I could park the car. I would say to her, “Don’t go off with anyone-Moms and Grandmas like you are in great demand”.
You are my best Mom.
“Do we float your boat Mom?” To which she would always reply, “Yes you do”.
Don’t worry Mom, I will always be back.
When I was a child, I thought Mom was the most beautiful person in the world. I feel the same way today. My mom is the inspiration in everything that I do. I wish to dedicate this labor of love-my vegan webiste, to her. Some may think it an unlikely choice because Mom was raised on a fruit farm in Southwestern Ontario where they also raised nonhuman animals as food. She loved meat, cream and butter! Would she have approved of my being vegan?-most likely not. But, she would have supported me, as she always did with a Tsk-Tsk! and a shake of her head.
Mom was all about love and isn’t that what defines veganism? Love for all! The red rose, Vegan Grammie Annie’s logo, is for you Mom. I miss you everyday. And I thank you for teaching me about the true meaning of love. I will always, always remember.
May all beings be happy and free.