The Uncles’ Great War

Charlie-Scanlon-1950-London-ONAn uncle and two great-uncles are my touchstones for the First World War. The one I knew best was Charles Scanlon, husband of my mother’s older sister Ada. He was 20 years older than she. Uncle Charlie told wonderful stories, but I don’t remember any being about the war. I knew only that he was a veteran of the war before the one in which my father had been.

2nd Battle of Ypres

Looking through my aunt’s photos and papers recently, I found out Uncle Charlie had been wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres, in April 1915. That was the battle in which the German Army first used the First World War London Free Press 1997 re 2nd Battle of Ypresweaponry of poison gas. At Ypres, it was chlorine gas. I remember the tone of voice adults used, whispers almost: “he was gassed, you know”. Although I didn’t know what it meant, I knew it was awful and that it explained a lot. I don’t know if Uncle Charlie had been gassed. I don’t remember him having the chronic lung or eye damage that I’ve read are major effects of it, if you survived the initial blast.

Lymburner brothers

My mother’s mother had two brothers and both were in World War I. I knew one of them, Uncle Otto Lymburner, from visits to my grandparents’ house. But I never knew his brother Edmund. I mistakenly thought that he had died in the war. But Uncle Eddie came home, married and had a family. He had been wounded, and he died in 1948 at the age of 49. They both Otto Lymburner 1960 First World War veteranjoined the Canadian Expeditionary Force early in 1916. I don’t know what they did in the war. Maybe my grandmother told me, or would have had I asked. I just remember her with eyes filled with tears, saying “poor Eddie.” It was a sorrow that came from the war, I knew, and it scared me seeing her sad.

We learned about the world wars in school. To me, they were ancient history. If we did any projects that connected us to veterans among our families or friends, I don’t remember them.

If we’d had such projects, or if I had paid attention if we did, maybe I’d know the cause of my grandmother’s tears. I might know if Canadian Army physician John McCrae had First World War monument with In-Flanders-Fieldstreated Uncle Charlie’s injuries. I remember memorizing the poem In Flanders Fields in school. Lt. Col. McCrae wrote it during the Second Battle of Ypres, where Uncle Charlie was wounded. I loved the poem’s sad beauty, but I never in my wildest dreams connected it to my uncle’s life.

Canada entered the war 100 years ago Monday, August 4th. CBC Radio is airing a 10 part series about Canada’s war. The Bugle and the Passing Bell, produced by Steve Wadhams, is here.

On eBay – Canadian Expeditionary Force WWI items

 

Corrie Street July 27/14

Five Minutes

In the final five minutes Wednesday, two scenes we’ve all been waiting for.

 final five minutes where-did-you-get-the-braceletRob squirms as Tracy tells the cops that he gave her the charm bracelet that Steph claims was stolen from her apartment the night Tina was murdered. Steph barges in and gives the story of each charm, and notices one is missing.  Where did you get the bracelet, Mr. Donovan, asks the police officer.  Rob looks like he wishes the floor would swallow him up.

Outside on the street, Todd saunters arm in arm with his new man. Marcus comes around todd-says-nothing-going-onthe corner with little Liam in tow. Todd and new guy kiss. It’s not a ‘good to see you’ cheek peck. Hard for even Todd to sweet-talk his way out of this. Marcus leaves Liam in the dust and runs across to knock Todd against the wall and tell him what he really really thinks.

Liam headed out almost to the street, and maria-sees-liam-alonefortunately Maria appeared from the salon in time to grab him. And she didn’t go off the nut about it afterward to Marcus, who indeed had totally forgotten that he was minding a child.

If you pvr episodes, it would be easy – and unfortunate – to have missed these. Corrie Street started late that day due to the Commonwealth Games running overtime. “Hmm, just a couple minutes missed, probably nothing much but we might as well record it todd-against-the-wallagain later.” After watching those missing end moments, we thanked CBC for their late night rebroadcast.  There are some things you really want to see.

More thanks to CBC for now posting episodes online daily. When they started putting them online, that’s what they did. Then, for reasons never adequately explained, they posted the whole week on rob stressedSunday. Inconvenient if you miss, say, Tuesday’s episode and want to watch in sequence. See their website for details, next week’s social media “Corrie Week” and video specials.

Corrie Street July 20/14

Designing Todd

My husband does not like Todd, at least not the manipulative and nasty Todd who designing gym-flyerreturned from London. But he grudgingly had to agree with Todd’s critique of the flyer Alya made to advertise the gym.

Too wordy and the wrong font, Todd told Alya. Jim hadn’t paid attention to what Todd was actually saying. He often ignores Todd’s words. I replayed it, saying listen carefully and look at the flyer.

Working in graphic arts, Jim often has advised clients against cramming too many words font-is-shockingin a small space. It looks cluttered and people just don’t read it. He agreed with Todd that “small print is overrated”. Of course, we can also read into Todd’s words a commentary on himself. Perhaps Marcus should heed the ‘fine print’ warnings that Todd carries. But his words to Alya are wise in terms of design if you want to “grab the punters”.

Jim’s advice to Alya was, if all the information is actually needed, put it on the back. Keep the front clean and simple so it catches the eye. In addition to the wrong font choice, Jim added that the blue and pink were the wrong colour choice alongside the others used.

never-grab-the-puntersDon’t crowd too much detail in, choose the right font in a big enough size to read easily and a pleasing colour scheme. Good tips if you’re designing flyers or pamphlets for a business or signs for your yard sale. Alya didn’t thank Todd for his help, but she should have.

Corned Beef Macaroni

A ‘how we think it was made’ recipe for corned beef and macaroni that my grandmother Burwell cooked. It should look like a stew or thick soup. Grandma said it was Pennsylvania Dutch in origin, as was she, and it was something her mother made.  I learned how she made it from my niece via Facebook messages.

Chat_bubbleAre you there?

Hi – I am now.

I was making Gramma’s corned beef pasta stuff and couldn’t remember if potatoes went in! All is well, it turned out :)

ok good. You’ll have to tell me how you make it. I don’t know how. Your dad and I have talked about it but can’t remember. We thought potatoes were in it.

Yes that was my question – potatoes or not! I added small cubes and onion. Dad doesn’t think there was onion but I’m sure there was!! He thought there was cubed cheese too but I don’t think so. lol

Ha! I don’t think there was onion, but I would put it in. No, I don’t think cheese, but that would be good. I don’t know how she creamed it – flour and water? I don’t remember mom or grandma using milk or cream. I’d use milk. When I made it, it wasn’t like hers. It was kind of like cream of macaroni soup. lol

eating macaroniNo cream or milk! Cook your potatoes and the potato water thickens with the macaroni. So yummy! :) Now you must remember. I was about 4 when I cooked this with great-grandma!!

Well, I never! (as Grandma B would say). No wonder it didn’t taste right. Can you send me what you did, including the kind of corned beef.

Corned Beef Macaroni Recipe

corned beef and macaroni* 4 cups water, to boil
* Add 2 potatoes cut in small cubes and 1 small onion diced.
* Add 1 can of corned beef ( I just used no name – looks like spam)
* Let boil another 4 min.
* Add 2 cups of elbow macaroni. You may need to keep adding water as the noodles cook but don’t make it too watery. Stir often because noodles will stick.
* Add salt after cooking as the beef is salty!! Yum yum, the kids even enjoyed it!

corned beef canYou mean the rectangular cans of corned beef? Do you just plonk the whole lump in or chop it up first?

LOL sorry, yes, the rectangle one. I break it up first but it usually falls apart after a while in the broth :)

So, there is the recipe for our favourite meal at Grandma Burwell’s house.  I don’t remember my mother making it and, although I knew it was simple, I could not replicate it.  All this time, my niece could. Fortunately she had a memory lapse so I found out how.  Grandma, I think, would snicker and say “Land o’ Goshen!” if she knew we were doing this.

Corrie Street July 13/14

Happy 40th

who-decides steve on 40th birthdaySteve looking right in the eye of the big milestone birthday. The one where you really can’t pretend you’re young anymore. You’re really not old either but, at the time, you don’t know that.

40 years old, and what have you done. That’s what poor Steve is bemoaning in the cab office. Lloyd is doing well with the encouraging something for the houseand supportive noises. But he’s having trouble being truly sympathetic, still recovering from another type of milestone event himself – a heart attack.

Steve puts everything everyone feels about aging in a nutshell. It’s easier to confess fears and innermost feelings to a friend than to a lover, even a parent. Telling Lloyd helps him organize his thoughts, and decide on an immediate course of action. Forget it’s his birthday, forget the crappy presents he got (slippers and a coffee table) and take the long cab runs. So Lloyd has to tell him about the surprise party. Oh yeah, he really wants a big hoopla!

Michelle pursues him because that party is going to happen. So trapped with her in his cab, he bares his soul to her. For once, she listens in an understanding and caring way. Still, though, the only thing scarier than Michelle ranting at Steve about his schtupidity is Michelle being understanding.

I hope he doesn’t head down the slippery slope to 50 with Michelle constantly repeating i-specifically-saidback to him his words about ‘doing better with his life’ and ‘making something of himself’. Better to keep a big protective wall around your emotions, I think, than let Michelle actually see into your heart and mind. Happy birthday, Steve and Andy.

Corrie Street July 6/14

Memorials

hearse-windowIt was the side funerals for Tina that I liked best.

Steph missed the real funeral because she had second thoughts about her pink dress. Then she became distraught over what to wear instead and about losing her friend. For once, Katy had a moment of empathy and common sense. Let’s have our own commemoration of Tina, she said.

toast-to-TinaSo Steph, Katy and Luke told stories about Tina while drinking beer and listening to Tina’s favourite songs. Perfect, until Luke started casting lecherous looks at Katy. Ick, especially when she returned them. It’s not surprising coming from him. He’s been girlfriend hunting since he arrived on the street, and he didn’t really know Tina all that well aside from having put the makes on her. But Katy? Maybe not surprising either, despite her having known Tina better. Katy, despite the high horse she’s on about Anna ‘selling’ herself to Phelan, sets a far lower price on herself, I think. A compliment, a can of beer, and she’s all yours.

Roy-looks-at-dead-flowersBoth Roy and Mary were on the street to see the hearse off but neither went to the funeral. Looking across the street at the memorial bouquets in front of the building yard, both were saddened by how quickly they too had died. Roy quoted from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and an idea formed in his mind while he and Mary played chess. He suggested a trip to the garden centre.

ready-to-release-balloonsSteph too thought of something. She went out to the store, leaving Luke and Katy to cozy up together. And she was back. The three of them wrote messages to Tina and tied them to helium balloons. Then from the balcony that Steph had not been on since Tina plunged off it, they sent the balloons aloft. Lovely.

Roy-and-Mary-finish-planterRoy and Mary finished up their garden box. Hoping the flowers would do what we ask of perennials: give new beauty each year and remind us of when and why we planted them. These two groups celebrated Tina’s life in their own, and fitting, ways.

So did others. Deirdre consoled Eccles. Liz, with Tony’s help, got everything ready at the Rovers for the reception. Michelle took Deirdre-with-Ecclessome me-time and went shopping.

Everyone at the funeral did pretty much as they pleased too. Rita was gracious, respectful and heartbroken. David was rude. Peter was drunk.  Simon had a tantrum. And there was a fist fight at the cemetery.  Fortunately, no one fell in the grave.