Who Were They?

May 29, 2015 § 2 Comments

The old family albums contain photographs of people whose identity have been lost in time.  Were they friends of the family?  Family?  I don’t know.

In this first photo probably taken in the 1940’s a girl sits at a desk, a flower in her hair. Is that a pen in her hand?  It tapers off at one end suggesting an old style pen but there’s no ink bottle to dip it in.  Considering the probably time in history this girl posed while her country, Belgium, was occupied by Nazi Germany.

Girl at desk

This next photo may not show up too well but I find the woman and her dress quite interesting.  She was looking down when the camera clicked as if she was remembering something sad or painful.  Or maybe that’s how one looks when their life has been hard.  Once again, I don’t know who she is.  I assume it was taken in Belgium but can’t be sure.

Woman's portrait

The writing at the bottom of this one tells me it was taken in 1946.  That’s my father on the left proudly displaying his Canadian forces uniform as is the fellow on the right.  I don’t know who that other soldier is and am not sure of the woman.  Though she looks vaguely like my mother I don’t think it is.

two soldiers and a woman

There is a WordPress site called “Who Were They?” that, to quote the site, “looks at vintage photos to try to catch a glimpse of those who came before us, primarily focusing on the 19th century but delving into the 20th century at times.”  Interested viewers can access via the link I provided on it’s name that will open a new window.

Thanks for the visit!



May 29, 2015 § Leave a comment

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,

Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack

From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning

If I lacked anything.


“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here”:

Love said, “You shall be he.”

“I, the unkind, ungrateful?  Ah, my dear,

I cannot look on thee.”

Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,

“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them: let my shame

Go where it doth deserve.”

“And know you not,” said Love, “who bore the blame?”

“My dear, then I will serve.”

“You must sit down,” said Love, “and taste my meat.”

So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert (1593-1633)

The Doll

May 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

When I was two and a half years old my mother took my sister and I back to Belgium for a visit.  Today we would have flown from Vancouver and arrived in Amsterdam in nine hours.  Back then, however, there were no daily flights so we crossed the Atlantic via ship.  Here is a photo of myself and my sister with her doll taken while we were aboard ship on the way home.

Sister, I and doll

Here again is that doll, some sixty years later.  She sits in a rocking chair in the basement, waiting for my sister.

Doll 0043

Evening Falls

May 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

When the evening falls and the daylight is fading,

     from within me calls

     could it be I am sleeping?

For a moment I stray, then it holds me completely

     close to home – I cannot say.

Close to home feeling so far away.


As I walk there before me,

     a shadow from another world

     where no other can follow.

Carry me to my own, to where I can cross over

     close to home – I cannot say.

Close to home feeling so far away.


Forever searching; never right, I am lost

     in oceans of night.

Forever hoping I can find memories.

Those memories I left behind.


Even though I leave will I go on believing,

     that this time is real

     am I lost in this feeling?

Like a child passing through, never knowing the


I am home – I know the way.

I am home – feeling oh, so far away.

by: Enya/Roma Ryan


Family Photos in B&W

May 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been looking through my family’s photograph albums for a couple of reasons.  One was to find some old photos of Vancouver but like most families our albums are of family members, not city streets.  The second reason is to study old black and white photographs.

Photography, as you know, started with B&W and many classic photos are in B&W.  There is something about old B&W photos that are difficult, if not impossible, for me to duplicate even though I have programs like Silver Efex Pro 2 at my disposal.  Take these two, for example, that are simple black on snow photos from the 1940’s.  FYI: the originals are about 2 by 3 inches.

black on snow 1945 Mom in snow

This next one is a scan of an 8 by 10 inch photo of a man, a relation on my dad’s side but I’m not sure who, with his catch from the Fraser River.

native fisherman

Finally, here is one from 1929.  Possibly my grandparents on my mother’s side but I’m waiting for confirmation of that from my relatives there.


Learn the backward step

May 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

Learn the backward step

that turns your light inward

to illuminate your self.

Body and mind of themselves

will drop away,

and your original face will be manifest.


Coming, going, the waterbirds

don’t leave a trace,

don’t follow a path.



No waves,

no wind, the empty boat

is flooded with moonlight.


Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.

The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.

Although its light is wide and great,

The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.

The whole moon and the entire sky

Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.


Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253)

VE Day, 70 Years later, pt. 2

May 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

As it is still the week that commemorates Victory in Europe, seventy years later, I thought I’d add another post on my parents.

After marrying my mother dad returned to England to wait for his official discharge which came on October 18, 1946.

Canadian Army

He returned to Canada before my mother who was one of the many war brides who sailed to her new country on the Cunard White Star S.S. Scythia.  Here is a postcard of that liner that I found in the house.

Cunard White Star SS Scythia

According to Wikipedia the Scythia took troops to Europe during WWII and many war brides to Canada after the war.  She was launched on March 23, 1920 and scrapped on January 23, 1958.  During the war on November 23, 1942 she was hit by an aerial torpedo but managed to make port in Algiers after suffering only 5 casualties out of a ship’s complement of 4,300 men.

I wonder at the string of the number “23” in this ships history especially as my mother said that the Scythia transported her to Pier 23 at Halifax, Nova Scotia when she came to Canada to join my father.

Dad had already made his way across Canada to Richmond, British Columbia by the time mom arrived at Halifax.  I only know this because of the below CNR Baggage Check which was also found among my parents things in their closet.

Baggage check

I’ll wrap this post up but as it is Mother’s Day this Sunday I thought I’d give you a picture of my mother with her first born son, Philemon, who, sadly, passed away in his mid-thirties.

Mother & Child9x15A


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