So often, so many times, it comes back to balance. A bit of time on health (mental, physical, etc) and a bit of time on the essentials.
So hard to keep the balances.
In today’s crazy crazy world, you both passed 50 years together when divorce is so common.
Mary and Fred made it to 71 years, so you have 21 more years to go!
And congratulations to Paul and Mary Lou as well, 50 years is truly Golden.
Thank everyone for coming, from near and far. Some of this story is familiar to you, as you lived the journey with my parents, like Mary Lou, Judy and Linda, Cathy who have been dear friends along all or most of this journey. Fred, Paul, Gord and Marlo, rest in peace, as well, brought such joy to my parents lives over the last 50+ years. Tonight will be a lot of memories. And for those of you who have met my parents in the recent years, hopefully these tales provide you some insight into why we have so much to celebrate today.
My parents, Mom and Dad, Norbert and Margit, met at a bus stop in old town Beverly.
She was 15, dad was 17. This was the regular bus stop for kids going to East Glen high school, and O'Leary High. There were always 4 or 5 kids at this bus stop, and one day my father approached my mother and spoke to her in German, but she ignored him, thinking he was a smart ass.
Unbeknownst to mom was that dad knew mom understood German, since his father ..Opa Wentzel ..and my mothers father ...Opa Wohlmuth ...worked together at Stelco, which is now Alberta steel.
The next day, dad came to the same bus stop, driving his black and white 1956 Ford. Everyone going to East Glen piled into his car, leaving mom alone at the bus stop. Dad persisted in this meeting at the bus stop, until one day Mom finally agreed to get in his car for a ride to O'Leary. This was special because it cut the commute time to school by an hour.
Regular school rides began, and Dad taught my mother to have fun, fun, fun..skip classes, play cards, go duck hunting... One year later, In 1966 dad and his family immigrated back to Germany, but within 6 weeks , my father returned back to Canada, his story "he was to come back to his true love" AAAWWW
1967 was Canada's centennial year, and in December 1967 dad presented mom with the signature centennial rose engagement ring. Dad had started work with the surveying dept of CN, and then transferred to signals and communication in 1968.
A very very small Wedding followed in early 1968. Their first daughter, Kathy, was born December 1968.
Norberts family had remained in Germany, but the siblings returned to Canada one by one in the following years.
Christmas 1971 was mom and dads first trip to Germany and it was the first time dad seen his family in 5 years, and also the first time oma and Opa Wentzel seen their first born grand daughter Kathy.
There were changing times within CN, and in 1973 dad was told he would be laid off ...or ....to remain employed he would have take a job in the remote village of Red Pass within Mount Robson Park.BC. This was a small railroad community, and at one time even had a school and hotel. The red pass train station was a very active station since this was the railway junction splitting CN rail, with the main line going to Vancouver, and the other line going to Prince Rupert. CN maintenance and signal gangs passed thru this region doing rail line work, and sometimes CN work gangs were stationed temporarily in this location.
It was also home base for the warden and assistant warden of mount Robson Park. It was a beautiful spot for summer camps, with cabin facilities for underprivileged children. There were two families employed by trans mountain pipeline at a pumping station plus 5 families that were employed by CN and based in red pass.
Life was dramatically changed and very different. There was no radio, tv, or phone. But there was a post office and Mom became the postmistress of redpass. The small community was very tight knit, and they made their own creative fun, parties, contests, challenges...and many babies were born.
there was even a Red Pass bowling team, and once a week they would drive the 43 miles to Jasper to have dinner out and participate in the jasper team bowling. Players and families rotated weekly either to bowl or stay back to babysit all the children.
Shopping was done either in Jasper or Valemount, and these were considered day outings.
There were many outdoor days, fishing, hunting, exploring, and berry picking, sweet mountain strawberries and blueberries. Years back, folks would catch the train called the Blueberry special from Edmonton to Valemount so folks could go to canoe mountain to pick buckets and buckets of blueberries. My parents had a lot of company, family and friends who were curious about their new home.
Red Pass was poorly marked from the highway and was well hidden in the valley. If you blinked, you would miss it. Visitors would stay the nite, or stayed extra days to go fishing in the Fraser river which flowed right behind their house, or go berry picking, or just visit and play cards. It was a convenient 5 hr drive from Edmonton , a perfect time to rest, for anyone travelling west or to Vancouver. These visits were appreciated because of how isolated the location was.
Not everyday was sunshine. Sadly Kathy passed away March 1974, and then to make matters worse, Dieter was born a month later in April 1974, but luckily Cynthia was born a year later in 1975 and things started to get better. Red Pass was a perfect place to raise children. The memories and experiences of those 3 yrs in RedPass has become a very special memory in their lives.
Mom and Dad moved back to Edmonton in 1976. Dad worked at Calder yard and Mom worked part time evenings at the post office in Londonderry mall.
Dad thought it would be nice to try camping, and mom said as long as it is not a tent on the ground. So Dad bought a school bus and rebuilt it into a camper bus, which we called the Jolly Green because the bus was painted bright yellow and green. There were many interesting camping trips with that old bus.
In 1983, Oma and Opa Wentzel immigrated back to Canada. Only one sibling, Wolfgang, remained in Germany, and it became an impossible mission to bring him back to Canada. Over the years, there were many trips back and forth over the ocean, for family celebrations and holidays.
1983 was also the year mom and dad purchased the cabin at long lake. It was time to retire the old bus and try cabin and lake life. So many stories, family gatherings, and memories ....over a 30 yr span, is in measurable. In 1985 my mother went to work full time with Borden Chemical, and Dad remained with signal and communications as a signal technician at Calder yards.
Life was very busy and in 2006, Mom and dad both retired. In the following years dad worked part time on various special railroad projects. Mom took care of aging parents and enjoyed her time with grandchildren.
In 2012 Mom and dad moved to a senior condo complex called Carlton Villas and the cabin and house were sold. New friends were made, ...the Carlton group...<which are here tonite> , and fun times began with BBQ's, lunches, and game nites.
So that is their story, and I have a few comments to add.
I was about 13 years old and catching the bus home on a Sunday morning. It was so odd, as my parents would usually drive Cynthia and I around. It had been a strange evening, staying overnight at a friends place. He wanted to play video games - all night. I rarely played video games. I rarely took the bus. I had already been learning to drive, I drove at the lake occasionally, and may parents would give me my first car on my 16th birthday.
That is the earliest memory I have of realizing that I had a very special childhood. While not always legal, my parents raised us more at the lake cabin than at home, teaching us to fire guns, drive boats and atvs, play card games. And i have started to notice that our place, or our cabin, or our trip to the blueberry hill, or our fireworks celebration at the beach- it was often the center of the action- with my parents inviting people to join. It was awkward talking about my weekends to my friends, as they didn't understand ’driving the barge to the blue lagoon’ or ‘riding to the trappers cabin’. So many times my stories were hard to understand by my friends- toy rockets fired off the beach and crashing on roofs, or our summer math classes in the basement, or delivering flyers in the winter from the back of a moving truck.
I had a very special youth, with much travel, much financial support with my studies. Thank you, mom and dad.
After high school I travelled to Germany for almost a year, and lived the life of a lumberjack and a bartender. I was very fortunate and it was a special time, but i didn't understand nor appreciate how special my trip was. When I returned to Edmonton many of my friends had taken what jobs they could, and they had started to grow up. My friends and I had grown apart and parted ways.
I realized then, once more I had a very special time growing up. So many times my parents would arrange for some family trip, or travel to Europe, or the East Coast, or the West Coast. And when they celebrated a 50th birthday in San Diego it wasn't a surprise to me, it was just what our family did when it was a special time.
Now I am starting to raise my boys, and trying to provide them with the youth I experienced. I am teaching them to swim, knowing that one day they will swim across Long Lake like I did, with their parents in the boat cheering me on. On the weekend mornings when it is Heidis turn to sleep, I take the boys to the trains, or the lrt, or the bus so that when they are older they will enjoy the bumping of a ride through unfamiliar locations. My boys and I read books every night because I want them to enjoy learning in a way you have instilled in me- a love of learning. I don't think they will learn to shoot guns or hunt though. And I sure as hell wont set up a zipline in the front yard- Fred- how are your balls? And I sure as hell wont got atving at full throttle, right Paul? And I won't pour gasoline on the weeds between the cabins, running with a jug of gas in my hands while the flames rip through the ditch. And I wont go fishing and flip the boat and lost the motor, right Gord?
Thank you for your endless support, you kind words, your guidance and your love. My family and Cynthia's family are truly blessed by your kindness. Through your fifty years together you have raised a wonderful family, have four amazing grandchildren who love you so much, a room full of friends and family. A toast, to the couple we are honouring this evening- to your 50th Golden wedding anniversary!
~I love you mom, and dad. Happy #50!
The haircuts are a simple fun time. I let the boys dictate the pace, and I get my haircut too.
Another morning of memories with the boys.
Another coffee at Starbucks with my MBA.
Initially I wanted this blog to be a reflective moment of shared insight and new found knowledge. I wanted this to be a reflection of who I am and what I value and the insight I collect, like the pebbles in the pocket of a wandering child.
Lately the MBA drama has trashed the house and foundation of who I am. Normally a failing mark on a proposal wouldn't set off frustration and resentment. But as I look down and kick the sand, I realize they are the same thing. I am sharing my insight and new found introspection, though often shrouded in complaints and frustration. This MBA is but a test, and I am not doing well in it, and that is ok.
This is the biggest challenge I have, and it is self inflicted. It is one short email to quit the MBA and drop this albatross. But it doesn't align with my values or represent who I am. I usually complete things, and usually at a high level of quality and value. So, dear reader, this guy will finish the MBA and then rest before I take up the next challenge. And this blog will continue to serve as a platform of reflection. The brand of who I am is seen in my voice, my posture, my health, my children, my work and in my blog. Time to step up and close off the MBA.
Another weekend. Another lost day in the sun with the boys and instead looking at this screen. Almost spilled my coffee just now- funny.
Gonna show this MBA who I am, then I am gonna celebrate in November with the family. And in April, Disneyland with the boys.
I will show you.
I think I have a sprained toe. From my son, by accident. Kicked my foot.
Anyone else working on a paper until 230AM? I am still tired from Tuesday night.
New job? Sure, load me up- I have capacity.
10KM run/ race last week? Yup, I did it last Sunday.
3 year old that doesn't want to sleep? Sure, we can deal with that. Gimme two.
Vegan? Well, the diet management is suffering, and the journal is incomplete for a few days, but I can start that tonight.
Happy spouse? Mostly! Ha! We have a date night tonight. Or maybe we will play games at home.
Self care? Well, sometimes.
Finances? Well, yeah, that. Ok, life wouldn't be adequately stressful without tight finances.
Family? Most are healthy or close to it. Or something.
MBA? Well, that is the reason I have a vacation day today. To sit at Starbucks and chop wood and carry water.
"Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar,
You're gonna go far,
You're gonna fly high,
You're never gonna die,
You're gonna make it if you try"
Dieter Wentzel, CHRP