Looking back, I have realized that I have never written about my Grandfather, father of my father.
So here is what I know and what I remember about my Grandpa.
Gordon was born on Mar 3, 1903 on by a Dr. J Argue. He was later christened in the McLeod St United Church by Rev Wm Timberlake. He was the younger brother of Walter Russell, who had been born 2 years early. Their parents were Robert Rutledge, son of Irish immigrants and Annie Dicks, daughter of English immigrants.
Sadly, 4 years later, their life would change for the worse, Annie Rutledge died of tuberculous on January 12, 1907. I often wonder who stepped in to Mother my Grandpa during those years and how different he would have been had his Mother have lived. Was there a woman in his world or was it just 3 men surviving through their grief?
This is Grandpa in about 1911, a few months after he got a step-Mother and soon more heartache.
On June 29, 1910, his father Robert Rutledge was to marry Georgina Gifford and in May of the following year, she gave birth to a daughter, Verna Eileen Hope. Sadly, she passed away less than a year later. Two years later, another son, Grant was born. The thing I find strange is neither my Grandpa or Father ever mentioned them while I was growing up. In fact, there was nothing ever said about his teenage years or how he met my Grandma but meet her he did.
And within a few years, my Grandpa had the first 2 of his children — his only daughter — Verna (named after his sister and Robert (possibly named after his Father)
It was sometime after that the Grandpa with Grandma, 2 kids along with her parents and possibly her sister and her family left Toronto to drive across Canada and settle in Burnaby, BC. What was happening that made them travel across the country? Was he already set up for a job? What had happened that he left the City he had grown up in? I don’t know if he ever went back for visit.
He settle around several different houses in Burnaby, and soon the family expanded with the birth of 2 more sons — my father, Walter and then my Doug. The little family was complete. In time, they settled into the house on Smith Avenue. It was in the shadow of Central Park and the train tracks. He started working for Woodwards Department Store as a Grocery Clerk and he was there for close to 40 years — below is on his day of retirement in 1968
Over time, his children grew, moved out, married and then as life does, the next generation came — the grandchildren. And then there was another great loss.
On January 15, 1963, his wife, my Grandmother passed away. In many ways it was the beginning of the end for the close family ties. I don’t remember any large family gatherings at Christmas, like the one in the following picture. It was like she was the glue that held us together. I have to believe that it was the lack of a Mother in his early years that made him not as loving. But as a family we held some things together.
My Mom and her sister-in-laws stepped in to cook meals for him, as my Mom once said he didn’t know how to boil water for an egg. He had his job, his woodworking and his garden.. oh his garden, it was a beautiful, magical place — with berry patches(raspberries, salmon berries), flowers and the fish pond that had a little trail circling it. It was still there years later when my daughter visited him.
But the garden was special because it was through his love of gardening that he met the next love of his life, he met and married Mabel. She was a wonderful lady who brought with her a teenage daughter, Roberta. Then life went on — small little family dinners with one group or another, visits at Christmas time, the arrival of Great Grandchildren, and some Great-Great Grandchildren.
The house on Smith Avenue was sold and no longer is the little house with the red stairs and magical garden in the back.
Grandpa passed on October 1993. He was cremated and several years later I learned that his ashes had been scattered in the Indian Arm. Mabel moved to be with her daughter in Alberta and she passed several years later. I don’t know where her daughter or children are now.
The family here is gone and scattered as well to the many corners of the world but I like to believe that the many ones that have moved on are together again, having tea (or a beer) and looking down at us all and protecting those that are still here.
Below are a few of the legacy that came from him — a complicated man who had losses throughout his life but will always just be my Grandpa.
this has been a sad year, so hopefully 2016 will be much better than 2015 was.
This was the year that I lost 2 men in my life that were the only men that really made me realize that not all were jerks.
The first was my Dad. It was a sudden and shocking end to the man that has always been there for me, no matter what I did — he was there. It has been 9 months and there are times that I will still feel my eyes water up and an ache in my heart that doesn’t seem to want to go away. But I realize that he is watching over me and will be there with open arms when my time comes.
Then, I lost a best friend just a few weeks after my Dad. Doug was the husband of my best friend and was, like my Dad, a father figure to Nancie. He was a wonderful man who could make you laugh and cry at the same time. He was a wonderful husband and father as well as a Father to numerous kids over the years. A true heart of Gold.
Both these deaths did throw me for a little loop and I put most things on hold for awhile. Family Tree just didn’t seem all that important to write about, but as time has gone on, I have written about a few things including the Actor that is a distant branch of my tree.
So, unfortunately, the Stats are small — not a large jump in the number of people but mostly working in adding dates, burial locations, etc.
although you don’t always know how the tree will grow in a new year — this I am sure of — I am getting a new little branch this month (if he decides to come on time)
So, hopefully it will be a wonderful new year for family — close and distant this year.
as most of you all know, my Dad passed away on March 26, 2015. I did a memorial for him on findagrave which is:
When I need to, I go there and have that connection to him.
I have written and re-written this several times as I had the need for it to be perfect, but you know after several attempts, rewrites, tears and more, I have come to a conclusion — it does not need to be perfect, it needs to be my memories, my feelings about my Dad and nothing else. If people don’t read or comment, or anything, it is my release of my feelings for the man I love (I can put loved because I still love him).
Things that I remember.
My Dad was a truck driver — driving the big rigs as they say. There were times that we did not see him because he was doing a long haul but most of his work was in the Lower Mainland, so he left for work in the morning, just before we left for school and then was home for dinner.
Breakfast for my Dad for years was always the same: Frosted Flakes during the week and eggs and bacon and toast on the weekends. Oh, and coffee but though I don’t think all too common for men of his age, he liked a glass of milk.
Dinners in our house, when I look back could be funny. You see, he taught us that what was on your plate, you eat. Your Mother worked hard cooking that meal, you eat it. Well, kids being kids, we didn’t always want to eat what was on the plate — so that would bring out the bell! My Dad would set the clock on the stove for so many minutes and you had better have eaten. And if all 3 of us were still at the table — no talking!!!!!
So, we would make signs — like a ticking clock — tick tick tick then the bell ringing and getting in trouble for not eating. But you know, I don’t think we ever really got in trouble. Mad, sent to our room but nothing really serious.
My Dad use to bring home the most interesting things. Comic books with half the front cover gone was one of them. Apparently, back in those days, when comics were being returned because they had not been sold, half of the front cover would be cut off, so they could not be sold in other places. But somehow, my Dad was always able to get us some.
Another memory is when my Dad worked for a bar in New Westminster. It was called the Eagles Club, just up from Columbia on 4th, I think.
When on a Saturday, after my parents had been shopping or something, sometimes, my Dad would stop at work and take my Mom in for a drink. We 3 kids would have something to play with in the car and Dad would bring out pop and these little sandwiches — I think they were called Cubans but they were so good. I have never found anything that tastes like it now.
Today, you would be in major trouble for leaving your 3 kids in a car, in an alley behind a bar. But we were looked after and never had any problems.
Camping — Dad loved to camp and fish. And he would work all day, while my Mom loaded up the camper. Depending on where we were going, we would either leave right after he got home from work or leave early the next morning. And my poor Dad — if there was one thing that bothered him about camping — it was the driving because at least once or twice or three times or more — he had to help deal with the fact that either Gaile or I would get car sick. Sometimes, we managed to get to a spot where he could pull over and we raced out to get sick at the side of the road but most times, we had paper bags that we used, unless you count the time that I threw up on Gaile’s head (sorry about that sis) and it was something that Ron never forgave me for. While my Mom would deal with us, my Dad would have to clean out the car — something that I know he didn’t enjoy but did.
Then he would loaded his sick girl or girls, his son (who never got sick) and wife back in the car and on the way. And this would be after a day of work or early in the morning.
Our favorite place was owned by people he had known most of his life — The Stockdales — they had a campsite just past Daisy Lake. We camped there every summer for years — weekends and then sometimes 2 weeks if Dad got holidays. We had a tent camper that was parked at the beginning of summer and left til as late in the fall as possible.
There were times when Dad would leave us up there and go home and work for the week and come back on Fridays. I think he missed being up there with us.
He taught us how to fish up there, cooked the best breakfasts over an open fire, made the best campfires where we would sit til late at night laughing, talking and roasting marshmallow with the Stockdales, their family and other campers.
I wish that it hadn’t been developed like I have heard it has, it would have been the perfect place for his ashes.
But before crying and wishing it was so, here is another story about Dad and Charlie Banana — the not so wild Chipmunk.
We were always feeding the squirrels and chipmunks at the campsite or out in the woods. Well, there was this one little Chipmunk that seemed to stay with us for the entire summer. We named him Charlie Banana. He loved his peanuts.
When I was out with Mom this past weekend, she reminded me of a story about him and Dad. It seems that Dad would make him work for his peanuts by hiding them in his pockets. It seems that there was this one time that Dad forgot about the peanut in his shirt pocket and was standing there and Charlie decided he wanted the peanut that was hidden — problem was he ran up Dad’s leg — which at this time, he was wearing shorts!!!! Ouch!!!! As Charlie ran up his leg!!!
And then there was the time that we ran out of peanuts . . . . . .
But this post is getting long and I need to get to work, so that will have to wait for now.
Hopefully, finishing this post, I will be able to get back to things here, that the grief will not last forever but will become happy memories of him instead.
short and to the point, I am a Daddy’s girl. I have never married because I think that I will never find a man like my Dad.
Now I have a photo of my Dad when he was about 5/6 months old on a bare skin rug but he would kill me if I posted it, so I won’t.
But this is my Dad as a little boy:
He was the 3rd child of Gordon Rutledge and Gladys Compton, born in Burnaby on a September evening, many years ago.
From stories he has told me, I have a feeling that my Dad was a little bit of a hellion when he was younger. He has told us many stories of his younger days but the one I love the most is the Rabbit Story.
When he was a young lad, he decided that he was going to raise and sell rabbits as there was a butcher down the street that would buy them from him. So, my Dad (who was a boxer) raised a bunch of rabbits and when it came time to sell them, he boxed them up and took them down to the butcher. He arrived and showed them to the butcher and the butcher agreed to buy them BUT not until my Dad had killed, skinned and cleaned them.
So, what did my brave Dad do?? He took them and let them all go in Central Park in Burnaby. To this day, when I see a rabbit there, I have to wonder if it is a descendant from my Dad’s rabbits.
Then as young men of that time do, my Dad meet a young lady named Nancie and he has told us the story of the geese that my Mom’s Dad was raising. I loved this story when I was younger because my Dad would tell it so well.
He would talk about showing up at my Mom’s family home in North Burnaby and that he would try to be very quiet so that the geese didn’t hear him. But they always did! He would be walking along and would suddenly hear this thumping coming at him — thump, thump, thump — and he would turn around and there would be this pack of geese running towards him making the noise that geese make. Enough to scare a guy away.
Luckily for me and my sister and brother, it didn’t and they became engaged.
So, at the young age of 21, my Dad began his life — as a husband, then father, grandfather and soon Great-Grandfather.
In between, there there have been many other things.
At one time, he and his older brother, Robert ran a Pie Shop that I believe was called Best Pies. They sold to grocery stores and others. It was located on what is now Edmonds and Canada Way in Burnaby. He had many different jobs including working at the Port of Vancouver in the Grain terminal, he was a truck driver for many, many years as well as a Bartender.
Growing up, he was the BBQ Master (except maybe doing a duck), the Stuffing maker for the turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, he could build just about anything and did, he was the man who yelled at the TV when he didn’t like the play on the Saturday night hockey game or the call at a boxing match. He was tough as nails on us kids when he had to be and caring and concerned when needed (like all the times my sister and I got car sick).
He taught us to laugh at things some might not — like when he “passed wind” and would blame the noise on the geese in the picture above the couch.
This is my favorite picture of him and I — I say that is why I am short with a little neck, he will say it is because he had to hold onto me somehow as I was always running away/around.
And despite his tough, Teamster exterior – he is a softy at heart. To this day, beside his bed is a picture of his Mom and a picture of my Mom.
I think that I have only seen my Dad cry 3 times in my life — the first was at his brothers’ funeral — that shocked even my daughter as she said she had never seen her Pa cry before and then the following year at his sister.
The last time was in 2009, when I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting to find out what was wrong with me. Nancie and I had been there for awhile and she had called them to tell where we were. I opened my eyes to see my Dad leaning over and kissing me on the forehead with tears in his eyes. And for the next 11 days, he came out to see me there and even now, lectures me when I don’t do what I should.
So, here is to my Dad — the only man who has been there through it all — skipping school, the rotten teen years, the loosing of my mind in my twenties, the baby at 30, then watching both my daughter and I grow up.
Well, it seems like everybody always talks about bucket lists – they either have one, are making one or have done one.
I don’t know if my bucket list is about life, genealogy or research.
Visit everywhere my family has lived – Sweden, Finland, Ireland, England, Australia, all across Canada and the US
Find the marriage record for my Grandparents – I am beginning to believe they lived in sin — Oh my!!!
Find the time to add all the names that I have – about 10,000 into my database
One day, have pictures of all of my family – including long gone family
Visit the graveyards where family is buried
Find someone that I can leave all the information to and they will carry on where I left off
Visit all my living family – whether they are cousins, distant cousins or very distant cousins
I guess that actually most is a dream that will probably never come true though the new family in Victoria seems to be helping fill in quite a few spaces.
Who knows, maybe some of the bucket list will be filled up one day.
It has been awhile and the branches of my tree have changed during these last few months. It truly is like a living tree that adds new branches, some change and some are grafted in.
The summer started with a wonderful time as my parents celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. It was a quiet afternoon BBQ with just them, their children & spouses and their grandchildren with their boyfriends/soon-to-be husbands.
It was something to see – 2 people who started out all those years ago, now surrounded by, I guess you could say the fruits of their branches. There are not many that make it 60, but I know there are several in the family tree that have.
And then, we added a new branch as my niece, Julie married Marty bringing a new branch into this ever widening tree. And it was a beautiful day filled with love, laughter and tears (ok, tears mostly on my part). My wish and prayer is that this branch blossom and bloom so that in the year 2073, Julie and Marty will be having their 60th Wedding Anniversary surrounded by their children and grandchild.
Then comes the joy of another new branch starting. A cousin in Sweden became a Grandpa with the birth of a beautiful baby boy.
But sadly, sometimes tree branches must, while not ending but becoming a sturdy limb to hang memories on.
First came word that my cousin, Carol had lost her Emil. They were together for years and although I never got to meet him, I could tell by how she talked about him that he was a wonderful person who loved her and she loved him.
I then saw a post that a cousin (I don’t like calling them distant – miles are a distant, family is family no matter what the generations apart you are) — she passed away. She was through my Compton line, living back East. She was a wife and a Mother and loved.
So, as the summer starts to close, that would be all, right? The family tree isn’t going change anymore because of a passing. Sadly, life, as it does, carries on and I got word that a cousin in Australia had passed. He and his wife had just celebrated their 58th anniversary close to when Mom and Dad celebrated theirs. I was in touch with them through their daughter, Sandra, as we both research the Compton Family Tree. That is how we are related, through the Compton side.
And then sadly, Sandra posted that her Aunt (on her Mom’s side) had also passed.
So, the Family Tree – we add but we never subtract. I always hope that even with the passing of a Family member, as long as they are remembered, they are never truly gone, they will live on, helping make my Family Tree bigger and stronger as the years go by.
I wish that I could get at least each family member to write me a letter — no email, a real, hand written, sent in the mail letter. Sounds strange but no.
I think that the best thing that anyone can have is a handwritten memory of family. It doesn’t have to include me or my direct family, just something that you remember about the past, or even the present would be wonderful.
I wish I had sat down with my Grandparents and Aunts and Uncle to get information about life.
At Christmas, while visiting with my parents, my Dad talked about the Christmas parties that my Uncle Bob use to have. There was always so many people and the table, as my Dad told me, went from one end of the house to the other. I know that I have at least one of these parties on a VHS tape and the table does look that long.
Occasionally, someone in my family mentions something from the past and I don’t remember it at all. Whether it is old age or the stroke I had, the memories are gone.
So, a wish – that I could get letters from family telling me stories of our lives, our childhood, the present, stories of cousins I never met.
I would love to add them to a book and just call it Memories of a Family . .
sorry this is late but been majorly sick.
But anyways for the 2013 Year
So that is my hopefules for 2013, what are yours??
While Christmas memories of the past are a wonderful thing, new memories or traditions are good as well.
I don’t remember when Nancie and I started this tradition but for the last few years, it has been a standard for us.
We have always loved to watch a Christmas Carol (B&W version with Alastair Sim), then we would load the tree with the presents, fill the stockings and off to bed to get up in the morning and open everything and then go to someones place for dinner.
Well, we started having Christmas dinner at home, it was just more relaxing for the two of us and with Nancie working most Christmas Eves til late, it was about the only time that we could be together as our little family.
But things got a little changed a few years ago, and now we have a, what some might find strange, but our little Christmas Eve tradition.
One Christmas Eve, I had worked in the day and Nancie had worked til around 10 or so but we still wanted our Christmas Carol movie night, so we put the presents under the tree, filled the stockings, got in our PJs and then curled up and watched the movie.
By the time the movie had finished, it was just after 12 and I don’t know who said it but the comment was made “Hey, its Christmas, lets open presents” So, we stayed up and opened the presents, laughed and had fun in the early morning hours. Then we went off to bed and slept in on Christmas morning – walking into a living room with paper, and ribbons and boxes everywhere and unwrapped presents under the tree.
So now, every Christmas Eve, we put the presents under the tree, filled the stockings, get in our PJs, curled up and watched the movies (our DVDs now have A White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and of course, A Christmas Carol). And when midnight comes, we open our presents, sometimes watch a new DVD if we get one, and then leaving the papers, etc we go off to bed and sleep in.
So, do you have any traditions that your parents didn’t have that you have started with your kids???
And if I don’t get back before then:
Happy Christmas (for those traditional English family)
God Jul (Swedish)
Hyvää Joulua! (Finnish)