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Carmen and Therese: Sudbury, Ont.: Day 22: July 6, 2016

Louise Speaks:  Day 12:  Well today is the last morning I will wake up under Canadian skies.  It is a sad day in so many ways.  I have two aunts left to see, and what a coincidence that both aunts are in the same care facility.

Denise once again came to pick us up to take us to the care facility.  One of the aunts is her mother.  We wanted to get a head start and get to the care facility early as we need to cross the border today and hope to stay in Michigan tonight.

100_9780We stopped to see my Aunt Carmen first.  This is my mothers sister, 7th younger than her.  I was told not to expect much as she doesn’t remember anyone…not even her own sister just down the hall.  As we arrived she was having breakfast so I approached her and said hello.  She looked at me for a 20160706_092618second and I said, “it’s me auntie…Marlene, Simone’s daughter”.  She immediately got the biggest grin on her face and said Oh My God and she hugged me.  It was very touching and Denise said, she remembers you.  IMG_0927Aunt Carmen doesn’t speak much English or at least she didn’t to me.  Maybe it was because Denise was talking to her in french so she just replied in french.  Carmen has 5 children but I was only able to meet two of them Anne and Norm.  At any rate I am so glad I got to see her.  There are only 6 of the 17 left.  I do say I have 7 relatives left on my mothers side because I count Aunt Helene who is an aunt through marriage.

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From Aunt Carmen it was off to see Denise’s mom, my Aunt Therese.  She is in better shape and is just getting old.  My mother was the 4th born and Aunt Therese was the 5th, so my mom was pretty close to this sister.  She speaks English so we were able to talk.  She asked what I was doing 100_9782there.  It was pretty funny really.  I do know that Aunt Therese knew who I was because she asked about my brothers.  I don’t remember how many children my Aunt Therese had but there were a bunch…I think more than my grandmother and she had 17.  I was only able to meet four of them, but I have met some of the others before.

I had tears in my eyes as I left the facility because I’m wondering if this is the last time I will see either of these 100_2221aunts.  Again, I have to start coming back to Canada more often than once every 10 years.

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Denise then took us back to the RV and we were on the road.  We hadn’t gotten gas once while in Canada but we thought we might get a few “liters” to get us across the border.  We were now heading home.  I’ve seen everyone but Aunt Claudette and Aunt Bea that I wanted to see, and I saw more that I didn’t even knew existed.  It is fun having a large family, 24 aunts and uncles, but sad that I was not able to see them while I was growing up.  I guess I’m going to have to hear about my aunts and uncles through the memories of my cousins.  Lets keep in touch family…I miss you already, and love you bunches.

USA….here we come!


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Sudbury Sites: Sudbury, Ont.: Day 21: July 5, 2016

Louise Speaks:  Day 11:  When Glen took us back to Warren to pick up the RV we were off to Sudbury, the town where I was born.  I do have several relatives that still live there but I will only be able to see a few.

Driving from Warren to Sudbury some of the sites were familiar.  The smelter smoke stacks of the mines.  Mining is the biggest industry in this part of Canada and I remember seeing these smoke stacks when I was young.  I remember coming from my Grandparents place when we saw the smoke we were close to home.  You can tell how close Warren is from St. Charles…maybe 5 miles.  One set of grandparents lived in Warren and the other set in St. Charles.  So as a child on Sunday’s we would have lunch with one set of grandparents and dinner with the other set.  Warren is about 38 miles from Sudbury so going home seemed like a long way.  Once we saw the smoke we knew were close.  Today was no different.

Our first stop coming into Sudbury was to try and find my Aunt Claudette.  We saw her husband Foxy yesterday but today my aunt should be with her daughter, my cousin, Christine.  We found the house but no one was home.  When I tried calling my aunt back, turns out she had already returned to Warren, so we must have passed on the road.  I’m so sorry to have missed her, but I guess that is yet another reason to come and visit Canada again.

We have nowhere to part the RV tonight so we have to stay at an RV Park.  We parked the RV and then called my cousin Denise to come get us.  She is going to be our Sudbury tour guide.  I told her of the sites I wanted to see and she has mapped it out.  It wasn’t long before we were set up that Denise and our taxi were at the gate to pick us up.

100_2270Our first stop…the Worlds Largest Nickel. It is an exact replica of the Canadian nickel…just much larger.  When I was here in 2007 it was in a grassy park, but now they are building some sort of science museum around the nickel.  So even though there is construction around the nickel we were still able to see it.

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INCO which stands for the International Nickel Company is where my dad worked when I lived in Canada.  They produce nickel for the entire world.  It is also the biggest form of employment in the Sudbury area.  We moved to the states because my dad did not want my brothers to have to work in the mines.  Basically in this area the men worked in the mines and the woman became teachers.  My dad wanted better for my brothers so we moved to the States.  The mine is still going strong and it is where most of the men go to work.

100_9763From the nickel I wanted to see my old school which is now a pile of bricks.  It was just recently torn down to build a retirement home.  I then wanted to see Mary Mount College which was a college at the top of the hill behind my grade school where we used to toboggan down the hill in the winter.  It is all 100_9762built up now so no more hill for snow play.  However from the hill I could see the towers from Christ the King Church, where I went to church as a child.  The french church next door, St. Anne’s had burnt down but they were able to save the bell tower and it is now out back.

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100_2276The last thing I wanted to see in town was the Sudbury Water Tower.  That has been a landmark for years, and it is now for sale.  As we drove by and around we could see the tower from many directions.  We then discovered the tower is for sale.  Now would 100_9766that make a great restaurant?  There could be an observation deck on the outside and all the sides made of glass.  From there you could see for miles.  Now why hasn’t someone thought of that?

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100_9768Since I had seen all I wanted to see, we went back to Denise’s to meetup with Marta and have dinner…and of course wine.  We actually stopped at the LCBO to buy wine and Thelma bought several bottles of the Ontario wine we had tasted along the road to take home with us.  If you are wondering what the LCBO is, well in Canada you cannot buy alcohol just anywhere.  It is all controlled by the government so you have to go to an actual alcohol distribution place to buy your alcohol.  But not to worry…they are everywhere.

20160705_211003We had a wonderful dinner and the best strawberry rhubarb dessert imaginable.  I guess Marta saw how much we enjoyed it as she sent us home with a big bowl to eat later.  Since Denise had to drive us back to the RV my 20160705_210707last request was to go by Lake Ramsey.  This is where I came almost every night after dinner as a child.  Airplanes used to land at the lake so we could either play in the water, play in the grass or just sit on a blanket 100_9772and watch the planes land.  The park has changed quite a bit as there is now a playground and other buildings renting boats and other recreational supplies.  I still saw the swimming beach but didn’t see any planes land.  The grounds are just beautiful with flower gardens of many varieties.

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It was getting dark and Denise had to get us back to the RV.  This is our last night in Canada.  Denise will come back to get us in the morning to go visit her mom and another aunt who are both in the same care facility.  That is going to be hard.  Until then I will have to lay back and dream of my last dreams under the Canadian stars.  It has been a great 11 days…and a trip I will never forget.


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St. Charles Sites: St. Charles, Ont.: Day 21: July 5, 2016

100_2252Louise Speaks:  Day 11:  My cousin Glen from my dad’s side of the family is coming to pick us up this morning to take us to St. Charles to see my dad’s childhood home.  My dad was the oldest of 9 children and grew up on the family farm in St. Charles.  The farm was sold to someone years ago 100_2243but has since been bought back by a few other cousins, children of my Uncle Bobs.  Originally, the farm was actually divided.  My Uncle Johns boys, Glen which is one, bought part of the farm and turned it into a hunting lodge.  I had come here before with my dad when we were visiting in 2001.  The

Polsky Hunting Lodge

Polsky Hunting Lodge

other half of the farm, the part with the house, was sold to someone else.  Now both parts of the farm are back in the family…just two different families.

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The farmhouse itself is beyond repair.  It is well over 100 years old and is still standing but barely.  The last time I was here I was able to go inside and actually walk part way upstairs to see the upstairs bedrooms.  This time Glen suggested I not try, as the wood is just breaking apart.  When I 100_9745think of all the memories I had at this house it is sad to see it in this condition.  It would be nice if my cousins would take the time to restore the old farmhouse, but I doubt if that will ever happen.

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100_9753From the farm I asked Glen if he would take us to the St. Charles Cemetery.  This is where his parents are buried, or will be.  My uncle John, my dad’s brother, is the uncle that just recently passed away.  He was cremated and the family will be burying his ashes next month.  So even though I am 100_9754visiting his grave, he is not here…yet, but my Aunt Lucille is here.   Glen showed me where my Aunt Bertha, Bobs wife was buried as well.  Again a very small cemetery and I now have 3 relatives buried here.

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Glen then took us to his home in St. Charles and we had a great lunch with him and his wife Jeanette.  Glen doesn’t live on the water but he has a beautiful home surrounded by trees and flowers.  He has a small garden, and a peaceful oasis which makes a great place to sit and just enjoy the surroundings.  Glen built his home himself, and you can tell where every detail is just perfect…especially the screened in porch.  Thanks so much Glen for driving me around and sharing your day with me.

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Uncle John

Uncle John

Glen then had to drive us back to Warren, as we still had the RV parked there.  He wanted to meet my Aunt Helene as he is also related to her, even though is two different sides of my family. Just to show you how small Warren and St. Charles really are let me explain.  My Aunt Helene, through marriage, is cousins with Glen’s mom, my aunt Lucille, also through marriage.  So in some way my Aunt Helene is a cousin or aunt to Glen as well…small world.

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Once Glen and my Aunt Helene were done talking it was time to pack up the RV and head out to Sudbury, the town where I was born.  It is our last stop before heading back to the states.  It has been a great visit and what an opportunity to meet and visit with so many of my family.  I have had the best time.  Thank you to everyone for all you have done to make this trip such a memorable one.