Grandma’s Family Roots

My Grandma Dicke is an amazing woman. In May, she celebrated 94 years!

She’s kind, gracious, and extremely generous. She gives more than she takes (in fact, she rarely takes), and takes care of other’s needs before her own. She’s always been that way. She has a talent for knitting, and she lays out hand-made mittens and washcloths for our family to choose from at family functions…just because. She’s an incredible role-model for our large family.  We are blessed to have Grandma as the matriarch of our family.

I was thinking today that she must have learned so much about life in her 94 amazing years, so I decided to call her and ask her a few questions.

Chrissy (as she calls me): What is your earliest childhood memory?

Grandma: “Walking to school at 6 years old. I also remember driving the team of horses. I rode horseback to the school and the church which was on the corner. The church yard had a barn where we put the horses.  It was 2.5 miles from home. As soon as were big enough to sit up, we rode horseback.  “Freda” was my horse’s name.”

C: What did you do for fun as a young girl?

G: “We played ball at school: soft ball and foot ball. We had a swing, I loved to swing.”

C: What chores did you do on the farm?

G: “I  milked cows and drove horses. One year we had 4 horses, and another year we had 6 horses and a cultivator.  We worked hard, but we still seemed to have time to play. We had a big loft and Mom would send us out there to play so she had some time to herself.”

C: What was life like when you were raising a family in the early years?

G: “Things were pretty tough, we didn’t have much money. We had a lot of second-hand clothes given to us.”

C: Was it hard raising 6 kids?

G: “Yes, I was always tired! I worked hard in the field.”

C: Can you share an important life lesson you’ve learned through your life experiences?

G: “To be responsible for your actions.”

 C: What was life like during the depression?

G: “During the depression, it was pretty hard getting food.  We had a beef ring and we took turns once a week taking in beef. The butcher would cut it up and separated it into bags for us and we would pick it up on Saturday morning.”

C: What’s a Beef Ring Grandma?

G: “A beef ring is when you each raise beef and when it gets to be a certain size, you would take it in to get butchered and we would split it up amongst us. There was 20 of us neighbors that did this. Some people would have poor beef and you wouldn’t get much beef one week, and then sometimes a neighbour would have one with lots of fat, so we had lots of meat.

Life now is pretty different living in one-room. I read through my bible once a year and that keeps me strong.”

And then she laughed. The from-the-belly kind of laugh that works into your heart and mind and then lingers there for a while like a melody.

2010: Looking over old photographs at the 100 yr celebration of the farm
My Grandma and 4 of 6 of her Children at the 100 year celebration of the farm...The same farm land Grandma helped work.

I could tell she was growing tired, so I thanked her for all the interesting life stories, and we said our good-byes.  My Grandma continues to teach me so much today. I have no idea how fortunate and spoiled I am. I have all the modern-day conveniences which I take for granted.

As I was listening to my Grandma recall memories of her childhood, I realized something. The reason she’s such an incredible woman today is because of all she went through in her life. The good and the bad both form character, and Grandma’s character is something to aspire to.

I also realized how important it is to find out about one’s history ~ rich in knowledge, tradition, and wisdom. If we don’t ask questions and learn from our elders, that history can’t be passed down. Thank you for sharing with me Grandma. I love you!

From my heart to yours,


Here’s to Different

I stumbled across this quote today.

“If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own . . . how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.”
William Allen White

You know those moments in life, when another kind soul shares an encouraging word that you will always remember?  In time, the encourager may not remember the words they’ve shared, but the receiver of encouragement will always remember and treasure those words…locking them forever in their memory to be recalled when they need it most.

Through out the years, I’ve had many of these amazing kind souls share their words of wisdom with me at times when I least expected it and when I needed it most.  One of these amazing souls happens to be my sister Roxy.  She is my second Mother.  She taught me that different is beautiful, and that it takes courage to go against status quo.  She knew who she was early on in life, where as it took me years to figure it out…I’m still figuring it out.  She had the tenacity to stand up for her beliefs.

She raised my little sister and I to love and appreciate music, live theatre, and all facets of the amazing world that is the Arts. A world of colour, imagination, depth, and diversity.  We called ourselves “The Sisters 3 Club” and we used to put on little drama productions for anyone who would watch.  My sisters and I grew up in a small town where the flair for the unique wasn’t always embraced; however, Roxy embraced different and owned it.  I always knew she would grow up to enjoy a life full of the Arts, which she has.

I grew up watching her perform at the Fringe festival, and various other productions she was part of in University. She later went on to be a Drama Instructor guiding those who share an appreciation of the Arts. Today she transforms spaces in homes to reflect who the owner is through interior design. I’m so proud of her.

Her love for the Arts was passed on to me as well and I’ve kept many of the stubs for productions she either took me to, or that she was a part of.

One of the words of wisdom that she shared with me when I was a little girl, has stayed with me to this day, and it’s something I tell my daughter often.  While I can’t remember it verbatim, it went a little something like this….  I asked Roxy “Do you think I look nice in this outfit?”  She looked down at me and replied “Do you think you look nice?” I nodded my little girl head and she followed with “Then that’s all that matters. Wear what you want to wear. Whatever you think is beautiful, is then beautiful.”  The lesson I took from her words in relation to something as insignificant as “what should I wear” is to be the woman I want to be, and Own it.  Even if it’s different…actually, especially if it’s different.

She taught me to believe exactly what one’s heart and soul leads them to believe. The transformation of a belief morphs from a question, to a feeling of peace that comes when one follows the only path that is right for them because it’s their own truth.

So here’s to different…

Here’s to the ability to understand and appreciate others who come with a different point of view from our own. May our understanding come without judgement.

Because different is refreshing, and it not only brings about change, but it can also solidify what you know is your own truth.  That is exactly how we all grow in life.

Thank you Roxy for all you’ve done to influence and inspire me in this crazy ride we call life. I love you.

From my heart to yours,