Sunday, September 22, 2013


For the past few weeks, I've been writing (privately) on Prompt Questions for "The Book of Me".  Click on the link for more information; perhaps you might want to follow along.
  - Prompt Question No 1:  Who Am I?  (20 answers)
  - Prompt Question No 2:  My Birth  (8 answers, details)
  - Prompt Question No 3:  My Physical Self (i.e., as of now; many details)
And here is No 4, Favourite Season(s), and I decided to share this particular one: Fall or Autumn, if you prefer... [check link for Canadian preference(s)]

Sweater-weather!  Yeah!!

There’s something refreshing and inspirational about Fall in Vancouver, BC, with fresh air, cool nights, warm days in the sunshine, deciduous trees turning colours and dropping their leaves: Autumn - or Fall - as I always knew it.

The time to put away my freshly cleaned and folded summer clothes with a smile, and pull out the sweaters, long-sleeved t-shirts, some with turtlenecks, plus the sweatshirts and warmer pants.  Turquoise, purple, black, red – strong colours are for Fall, somehow.  My whole body is covered with warm soft toasty clothing.  Oh, and I’d better put that blanket back on my bed, between the duvet and top sheet.  Warm.  Ummmm.

The perfect weather to sit in my big chair with an afghan or stole I crocheted tossed over my legs as I read another book, drinking hot tea, or occasionally, hot chocolate, while the furnace hums quietly in the background. 

No more hearing the loud whines of lawnmowers and leaf-blowers working up and down the block every single weekend.  Ah, quiet.  Well, except for those new-home builders down the block, racing to finish the outside and roof before the truly heavy rains come in a few weeks.  

I sit at my desk by the south and west-facing windows and watch the huge weeping willow just down the block, as it now turns from beautiful green to yellow and brown, dropping leaves off its long drooping branches.  A gorgeous tree to watch at any time of the year.  A few maple and birch trees along the streets are dropping dry leaves to crunch underfoot – a lovely sound.  The dry crunch doesn’t last long – soon it will be the swish of wet leaves underfoot, or perhaps splashing through puddles – my all-time favourite activity with any young children/grandchildren.  Splish-Splash!! Yeah!!  Let’s do it again!!

This fall photo (copyrighted) was taken in Falaise Park in the far eastern side of Vancouver, by my brother, Jake Gillespie, a realtor with a passion for photography.  We lived over to the right of the photo.

Fresh BC-grown apples and other fruits are on show at all the produce stores, spilling over their displays.  Nothing is like the bite into a fresh apple.  A family one block over has a lovely apple tree in their front yard, and after I’d been chatting to them for a moment on my way home from the library, they handed me a big bag of apples!  Ambrosia – no, that wasn’t the apple type, it was a type of Delicious, and it tasted like both!

I’m watching my carrots and parsnips slowly growing thicker in the garden, and happily snipping more parsley and chives, putting the last tomatoes on the window sill to finish ripening.  Our winters are usually so mild that many herbs keep growing through the winter.

Fall.  The start of a serious season, somehow.  Time to hunker down, pull up my boots, and get to work – whatever that work is that I’m making to-do lists for.  Serious goals, serious thoughts, enough play time.  Oh, the Ant and the Grasshopper syndrome – I read Aesop’s tale too often perhaps.

This morning, it's raining, and the wind is tearing any loose dead leaves, sending them flying down the street. It will be raining even more very soon.  Pacific storms come regularly: the “Pineapple Express” from the Pacific Ocean, dumping rain on each mountain range it meets.  But even when it rains heavily, there’s often an hour or so of lighter rain or no rain.  And, really, it’s only water.  Good boots, warm socks, a sweater, and a Gore-Tex type waterproof jacket with a hood, and I can go anywhere, anytime.  I usually don’t bother with an umbrella.  I know I have one somewhere in that closet, but don’t need it. 

Fall!  My favourite season indeed.  Comfort - in so many ways - comes with Fall. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Edward McCABE, b. 1767 according to a small personal gravestone stating his age at death on 1 April 1814 as 47 years old.  Too young, isn't it?  I haven't found any record of why he died at that young age.  His age at death is listed as only 42 on the large KUHN obelisk stone with his wife (their daughter married into the KUHN family in Pennsylvania).  The KUHN obelisk states he was born in 1767, and died at 47 years of age; the smaller stone states he was 42 years old at death.  This age-at-death discrepancy is not resolved, as yet.  Both stones may be seen at Conewago Chapel Basilica Cemetery, Adams, Pennsylvania.  

All that I know of his origins is that it is stated he came from County Monaghan, Ireland, and that he was likely born there in approximately 1767.  He married Rebecca HUDSON (b. 18 Mar 1777) in Morgantown, Berks, Pennsylvania. Therefore we can assume that he was in Pennsylvania approximately a year or more before then.  I'm still searching through all the pages of any 1790, 1800, and 1810 censuses for any McCabe families, in case he came with some relatives! Chester county, Lancaster county, Berks county, and Adams counties - all to be searched.

Rebecca, his wife, was born in Morgantown where her parents settled, and was the middle child of 7 children. Her parents were Jonathan HUDSON & Mary MORGAN, and her grandparents were all early Welsh settlers in Pennsylvania, living at times in Caernarvon, Churchtown (Chester county), and Morgantown.
He is found on the 1800 Census, living with his family in Uwchlan Township, Chester county, PA.  No details of his possible occupation are available.  And I have yet to find more records - wouldn't it be wonderful to go visit?  Unfortunately the 1800 Census is transcribed from the earlier original records, as it is listed alphabetically - Sigh!! So no friends or family relationships are available to be researched.

Next, I will be writing to the Uwchlan Township Historical Commission to request several possible histories which might be practical for researching the early settlers. Hopefully, including a sentence or three about my McCabe ancestor. A long shot, but perhaps something will show up there.  Land records so far show no results, but I'm at early stages of searching.

Edward & Rebecca had only 3 children before he died in 1814:
1.  (Sister) Maria Cecelia McCabe b. 1798 in Morgantown, PA.  I believe she died in MD, but I don't have details as yet.
2.  (Dr.) Edmond Hudson McCabe b. 1800 in Morgantown, PA.  He had 5 children (4 boys, 1 girl), no grandchildren! All his children died before the age of 56.
3.  Jane Rebecca McCABE, my ancestor, b. 25 Oct 1803 in Downington, Chester, PA.  Jane married Joseph Jacobus KUHN in 1826, in Conewago, Adams, PA and they had 9 children.  I am descended from the 2nd son, (Dr.) Louis DeBarth KUHN, b. 22 Oct 1829 in East Berlin, Adams, PA.

If any of this information is related to your ancestors, do not hesitate to contact me, either by leaving a comment below, or by emailing me  calewis at telus dot com -- I would love to hear from you!  Or, if you have more information on any of these ancestors, I'd be thrilled to have even a small clue to work with!  Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, September 2, 2013

LABOUR DAY - My Work History

Randy Seaver did a great summary of his work history for Labor Day (USA)  and I thought I'd do the same... as best I can remember!  I've lived in Vancouver BC Canada almost all my life, so assume the jobs are in Vancouver unless I mention another place.   And the spelling is of course, Canadian!

My first job started when I was about 12 years old, babysitting all the many little children and babies living near where we lived, on Matapan Crescent in Renfrew Heights.  "Maternity Crescent in Diaper Heights" was the nickname - 600 rental homes built specifically for married Canadian veterans' families having at least 2 children.  All streets had WW2 battle names: Dieppe, Falaise, etc.  Whew!  Lots of babysitting jobs there, for many years.  And when that one year old baby woke up and threw the poop from her diaper all over the bedroom, wall, and floor... well, Mom was just across the street to help!  I made lots of money in those early days:  25 cents/hour, 35 after midnight.  Enough to help me start buying my own clothing, music sheets of the Top 20, and more.

When I was 14 years old, I somehow got a summer job in the Kraft mayonnaise factory a few blocks away from our home, on Grandview Highway.  Unloading clean jars onto the conveyor belt for an hour, then sitting on a stool beside the conveyer belt making sure there were no broken/chipped/misplaced jars being filled, finally loading the filled mayonnaise jars -- 4 at a time -- into clean labelled boxes.  Boring job -- very.  Paid quite well.  One summer was plenty!

The next year, both my older sister and I worked at Kitsilano Beach at the Fish'n Chip concession stand.  Everything done by hand - potatoes dumped into the unit that scrubbed them and cut them, the batter made fresh for the fish fillets cooked individually.  I still love battered fish fillets with malt vinegar on them!  A great job for the summer.

Ohhh, a "real job" when I was 16.  I worked for Canada Safeway stores as a cashier on Friday evenings and all day Saturday.  Great wages - $1.25 per hour!  Each week, we had to memorize not only all the specials, but all prices in the produce section -- actually ALL prices in the store.  It's quite amazing how one could touch a tin or an apple and know immediately the price.  The Canadian government began the Social Insurance Number card system in 1964, and since I was still working part-time for Safeway, their head office in Ontario did all the paperwork for all their Canadian employees.  My SIN card starts with the Ontario code rather than the BC code - something to confuse an ancestor-hunter in the future!!  This job was essential for my being able to go to university - I continued to work off and on for 5 or 6 years.

After high school, I went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver; after completing a year of sciences, I was accepted into the Nursing School in Applied Sciences.  I graduated with a BScN from U.B.C in Vancouver.  I received a substantial bursary for my final nursing year, from the Victorian Order of Nurses who did home nursing, baby clinics and follow-ups etc., with the proviso that I would work for them anywhere in Canada for one year.  I used some money from the $1500 bursary to buy myself my very first new coat - a black blin'n blin wool coat with shawl collar and deep pockets plus cuffs.  I ended up in tiny Leamington Ontario - the home of Heinz!  Carts of bushels of tomatoes heading along the farm roads to the Heinz factory.  I was the one and only VON nurse in the area, teaching classes for new mothers, as well as doing home nursing (strokes, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, post-surgery care, diabetes care, wound care, etc.).   I was able to pay off my university loan in one year!

Back home, and I took some time off - first time off in 6 years.  Got married, then worked at St. Paul's Hospital in the Newborn & Premature Nursery.   Then followed a few different nursing jobs interspersed with babies of my own.  Public Health nursing for the City of Vancouver.  Psychiatric Nursing at the new UBC Psychiatric ward of the not-quite-yet-built hospital.   After which I worked on and off for my (now-ex) husband and his brother's [Bill Lewis] music store - guitar store, with repairs, and students.  I was the pregnant one behind the cash register, booking students, selling music and guitar accessories, talking with the parents while balancing a baby on a hip.  Memories - wonderful musicians came through our store... Johnny Cash was such a treat!  And being Canadians, we were all soooooo respectful while he bought several solid-top guitars to practice on in the hotel room.  No requests for autographs until he was totally done.  People kept sliding into the store very quietly, whispering, talking very softly, watching.  Amusing.  Very sweet.  So many other musicians as well.

Divorced, sharing the care of our 4 kids, I raced back to UBC for yet another degree - this time an M.A. in Counselling Psychology.  Since my nursing degree was in Sciences, I had to take many arts courses to get enough arts credits to eventually be accepted into the MA programme.  And I took whatever jobs I could take.  The first job I found at UBC was selling at the Thunderbird shop - terrible wages, so that didn't last long.  I found a counselling job out in Abbotsford, working with parents and their teens who were in 3-6 month temporary foster care due to behavioural/family challenges.  Another job was doing research jobs for several different UBC professors - one in nursing, another in psychology, another in medicine.  Another job was using a computer typesetting programme (TeX) for an introductory university mathematics textbook.  Oh, the things I did.  Money was so tight, and the 4 kids needed every bit I could find! 

When I finally graduated with my MA (original research thesis: Social Support-Seeking Behaviour of Fathers of Elementary School-Aged Children Diagnosed with Severe Learning Disabilities)... I started work at the Vancouver Neurological Centre (VNC) - now known as the BC Centre for Ability.  I ran the Parkinson's exercise and group program, helped begin support groups especially the young-onset group, counselled adults with epilepsy, was team leader of teams of rehabilitation therapists providing services to children with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.  Later I became one of 2 provincial coordinators for a community/home-based rehabilitation program for children and teens with recent brain injuries; I also developed and edited/wrote the newsletter, and various handouts for parents.  I stayed at the BC Centre for Ability for almost 23 years, before retiring.  Whew!

Labour.  It means different things to different people.  For me, it was freedom.  Freedom to care for myself, to care for my children, to bring more knowledge to my volunteer work.  None of the 'jobs' I had were my passions, however one does what one needs to do.  And, I learned a great deal.  Cheers.  Do leave your comments below. 


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis