Going Home

I’m going home!

 

“There by the sea it stands,

The home that sheltered all my dreams…”

(From a poem, written by my father, George Brasset.)

 

I was born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

When I was 20, I left my seaside home and over the decades that followed, I fulfilled many of the dreams that were nurtured there. I explored the world, living in Africa, the US, and nearly every province in Canada. I married and had four wonderful daughters who in turn gave us eight amazing grandchildren.

On my next birthday, I will be 70 and I am thrilled to say I am going back to NS for a visit. I am being accompanied on this short trip by my two youngest daughters, Carla, and Monica.

My heart is full as I contemplate seeing the home where I used to live, and visiting the many beaches where I spent so many happy days in the summers.

I am looking forward to showing my daughters where I went to school, where I went to university (St. F.X.) and the beautiful St. Ninian’s cathedral where I was baptized, confirmed, and was married.

I want to show them the streets where my friends and cousins lived and the store where my father worked.

They say this trip is for me and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Even if it rains every day that we are there, I don’t mind.

Because I am going home!!!

 

Thank you for reading and have a fabulous day. – Maureen

 

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48th Anniversary

Today is our forty-eighth wedding anniversary.

I met my husband-to-be in September, 1965, in Edmonton Alberta. I had just graduated from university and John was in his 4th year of engineering. We were 20 years old.

That December, we drove to his family’s home in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, and we decided to get married. In the next few months, John graduated with his engineering degree and I finished my first year teaching. We also both turned 21.

We travelled to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where we were married on July 16.

Three days later, we left for Zambia, East Africa, where we would work as volunteers for the next few years. Our first daughter, Michelle was born there. Lindi, Carla, and Monica were born over the next few years. We lived in:

  • Antigonish, Nova Scotia
  • Fort Smith, NWT
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Naperville, Illinois
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Oshawa, Ontario
  • Ottawa, Ontario

We have five grandsons and three granddaughters. We are retired and very happy.

 

July 16, 1966.

July 16, 1966.

 

Thank you for reading. – Maureen

 

Tales from an ESL Classroom – Part 1

It was the funniest of times; it was the saddest of times.

I taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The school I was working at was a language school, where most of the students were adult refugees.

My first class was a group of fifteen men and women from Poland. They were a great group who were eager to learn all they could about Canada.

The course lasted 20 weeks and in that time we were usually able to bring the students from having no knowledge of English to knowing enough of the language to get an entry-level job. We started with the alphabet and progressed to single words and sentences. Near the end of the course we started writing simple sentences. Grammar was a bit of a problem, though, and some students were never able to quite get the hang of it. And idioms, like “get the hang of it” were a real problem for most.

During one morning’s lesson, I asked a man, “How are you today?”  He answered, “Today is Wednesday.”

Sometimes I would write words or phrases on the chalkboard and the students were supposed to write a simple sentence, using the correct verb tense.

  • “every day” – The sentence I got from one man, “Every day I put two sandwiches in my briefs.” prompted a quick lesson on the difference between “briefs” and “briefcase”.
  • “bigger than” – This man must have been using a dictionary, probably a British one, when he wrote, “My cock is bigger than your chicken.” This time the teacher was blushing more than the students!

Occasionally, a student would miss a class and I got some pretty interesting “sick” notes.

One started, “My darling Maureen…” and ended “I love you, darling.”

We worked hard five hours a day, five days a week, and by Friday afternoon we were exhausted.  Sometimes we played BINGO, which helped them with their numbers but also gave the “caller” a chance to practice speaking.

One day my teen-aged daughter and her friend came for a quick visit and two men stood up and said, “We are single.”

The students, men and women, made wonderful progress and one of the women even named her new daughter after my daughter, Monica.

I heard over the years that they all got jobs, had families, and became Canadian citizens. I grew to admire and respect these people so much and they will always be in my heart.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.