My mother was born July 1st.. She loved Canada, but by a quirk of fate, she was born in Lansing, Michigan and thus an American.
At three years of age, my mother’s family moved to Canada. Her mother passed away at the age of 29 leaving a family of five children to her husband’s care. He opted out, and the children were put up for adoption. At the age of eight, mother was received into the home of a farming couple who had no children of their own.
Mother loved the story of Anne Shirley in the book series, Anne of Green Gables. Mother wasn’t a red-head, but she identified with Anne’s circumstances. Mother, too, had been adopted by an older couple, who recognized her scholastic talents and saw that she received a good education. Like Anne, she became a teacher.
July 1st was celebrated in our family as Mother’s birthday. But as Canada Day became more recognized and celebrated, Mother proudly shared her day with Canada. Mother and Dad traveled Canada coast to coast. She loved this country its mountains, lakes, prairies, and oceans. She loved its politics. Although not a card-carrying member of a political party, she voted regularly in Canadian elections. But, when one of her sons sought American citizenship, she became aware she was an American. She had never made any application for Canadian citizenship but had been recognized as a naturalized Canadian citizen.
Mother taught Canadian history. She loved the uniqueness of this country; a small country of 38,250,000 people spread out over the second largest national landmass. creating a need for social interaction and interdependence. Social medicine, social security, employment insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Canadian National Railway, Air Canada were all early products of such thinking. Mother was an avid watcher of the nightly news. She followed world events, Canada’s role in the G-7, Canada’s significant role in world affairs.
Mother was proud of Canada’s two official languages, English and French, and this country’s pluralist society. She was open and welcoming to all kinds of people – very Canadian. She passed her love of this country to me and my siblings. On Canada Day I proudly remember both my mother and my country.
Mother passed away July 1, the day of her 93rd birthday.