Making Memories

Fireworks at the Calgary Stampede

Every year I take my grandchildren to the fireworks at the Calgary Stampede. The first year it was my oldest grandson — a babe in arms, barely a year old. He fell asleep during the display.

In the morning he woke me. “Mamma. Fire.” he said. “Where?” I asked, more than a little alarmed. “In a sky,” he said, followed by a lot of animated gibberish, which I understood to mean, “That was awesome. I’d like to do this till I’m forty.” But, I could be wrong.

My grandchildren came along like stepping stones, boy, girl, boy, girl…

At twenty-two I was a single mother with two daughters (Sooter Studios)

I was married at eighteen. The rule in my home growing up seemed to be ‘no dating until you are sixteen’, and then no guidance, whatsoever.

My preparation for marriage was Harlequin Romance novels.

That was back in the day when ‘he’ would kiss ‘her’ at the end of the book, sometimes in the middle if you were really lucky, and he would press his manhood against her and they would live happily ever after. I didn’t even know what that meant. Well, I understood the happily ever after, but it wasn’t until my nineteen-year-old boyfriend pressed his manhood that…

Lessons I learned in Sunday School

Getting ready for Christmas pageant Photo by Shawn Johnsen

I taught Sunday School for many years. I introduced myself the first day as Brenda. Some of the parents did not like the idea of their children addressing an adult by their first name, so I became Miss Brenda to my five and six year old class.

The children would come into class and be greeted by one of three staff. Mrs Foster was there every week. She was an older lady, who didn’t want to lead, but was there to offer any assistance that was needed. The third teacher changed often. Sometimes it…

Caring for you parents

Author with her mother — photo by family member

My mother lived with me for eight years before she went into a seniors home. I kept her with me as long as I could, but in the end, she needed more care than I could provide. I was still working full time, and even though she had homecare in the morning, it was a long time for her to be alone.

She often called me at work in the afternoon. “What are you busy at?” she would say, and I gave her a quick run down of what I was working on.

One day she asked, “What channel is…

How I came to sew my daughter's wedding dress

Bride and her Father Photograph by Max Noseworthy.

My daughter was getting married and we were on a tight budget. This was in 1991 when the dress she wanted was $2,500 and our budget was $500.

We went shopping. I saw the less-than-enthusiastic look on her face as she modeled the affordable dresses. None of them put a sparkle in her eyes, so I suggested she try on one which was not exactly the one she wanted but made by the designer of her dream dress.

Her face glowed in that dress. I knew she had to have the dress she wanted. …

Wiebe Family Reunion

Photo by Joyful on Unsplash

My mother's family came from Russia in the late eighteen hundreds (1870–1891). They immigrated to Manitoba, and later into Mennonite communities in the Hague/Osler area in Saskatchewan.

My grandfather was Henrich Wiebe and he married Anna Goertzen. They had fifteen children, the first Heinrich died at six months, Agatha at three years, and Abraham at six years. The rest grew up, to have families of their own.

My mother’s oldest sister was Elizabeth — Aunt Lizzie to us. She was a strong woman with a big heart. She loved to be surrounded by family. …

My unlikely angel

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

I got stopped by the police at a check-stop and did not have my wallet. Though I could provide my drivers license (which I found floating around at the bottom of my purse), I did not have my insurance slip or proof of registration. I guess I’m lucky they didn’t tow my car, but even though I did show proof the next day, I got a hefty fine. Way too hefty for a single mom who was a part time student with a part time job. I could not pay the fine so I did the only thing I could…

Lay Down and take your rest

Poem and Photo by permission CB Harder

Death is such a quiet place.

Absolute silence seeps into my awareness and I know that my brother has passed.

Seconds before, and indeed last night and this morning when I sang to him, the steady rasping breathing gave proof he was alive.

That last night we had FaceTime with siblings from out of town. I held the phone with the camera facing him, while they talked, sang or played songs for him. I read aloud the messages from everyone who wrote to say goodbye. I sang to him. Every song that the family requested. My oldest brother joined us…

How my preteens answered a personal ad to find a dad

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Saturday in our house was cleaning day, and the girls hated it. We were still at the breakfast table when the complaining began.

“Why do we have to clean on Saturday. It’s our day off.”

“It won’t take long to get this place cleaned up and you can go and ride your bikes.” I finished my coffee and put the cup in the sink.

“Can we ride our bikes first?” Carleas asked. I didn’t respond. She already knew the answer.

“Mine’s broken,” Candice said.

“I thought Mom fixed it,” said Carleas.

“ It didn’t stay fixed. When Billy Millar’s dad…

Brenda Verwey

Story teller, writer, dreamer, single mom, and my grandchildren's favorite wind-up toy.

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