Monday, March 9, 2015

May 20, 1921 ~ March 9, 1998

 Today I am taking a much needed change in my world
a much needed time to remember my Mom, Tommy
nicknamed by her father at birth because well her "real name" Eleanore
hadn't been chosen as quick as they wanted.

These photos were taken by my brother Michael
back in the 1970's and 1980's
when my Mom and I visited everyone in Edmonton, Alberta.

 Mom was game for anything!
I truly mean it!
She loved life and took advantage of every moment
visiting friends
helping others in need
loving her family.

Yes we are looking into a monkey cage!
(a brief moment of levity is always needed)

 With Canada being so big and with my brother's family
living many miles away from Nova Scotia
when the opportunity to visit was broached
well, we were on it like 'white on milk'.
(Corny, I know but really we were!)

Tommy's father, my grandfather Arthur was a tailor 
so the gene was passed on down.

"Looking her best" always her mantra.

Tommy was blessed with two baby boomer boys, however in 1952
her beloved Gordon, her husband died in an airplane crash
while readying for the Korean War.

So pulling up her boot straps and providing 
a safe, healthy and loving family situation
with help from her mother, Jessie 
was her focus for the rest of her life.

 Tommy loved the grandchildren Shannon and Morgan

as you can see from young Shannon's reaction
on a visit to Tommy's home.
Super giggles!

Caught in the action, Mom!
Yup we caught you!

It's summer time so it's time to get a suntan and take care of the baby!
Seems just about right to me.

Today March 9th is the day Tommy passed away in 1998.
Jim and I were with her til the very end holding her hands
and helping her along the path.
Cancer is not a friendly being at all. 
Only three years after the diagnosis and Tommy succumbed.
Multiple Myeloma
Her neighbour across the street on Prospect Street
was a poet and professor, Heather. They were very close because 
of the proximity of their homes and the many things 
they viewed, witnessed and heard on their street
throughout the years.
I have included a poem which Heather wrote for Tommy
when she heard of her passing.
You will see it below.
~ One last thing on a lighter note though
this last picture shows myself ~ my SIL Susan and Mom with her grandson Shannon
at the airport at the end of one visit. 
Just look at the way she is holding and looking at Shannon ~

in memory of Tommy Troke
a poem
by Heather Pyrcz

"When all is said and done
what have we seen on Prospect Street?
Sunrise in the east and after a fiery day
the red sun setting in the western end
We've seen the lilacs laid low crushed
by the weight of March snow and ice till
twenty years of growth snapped or bent
so low the roots heaved up
We've seen the students come and go
like Fundy tides - quick and high and utterly
predictable: in they come as green
as grass and young as spring and out
they go sobered by the weight of growing
old they hold behind their eyes
We've tracked the path of Mars, counted
moons, and heard the mourning song
of shooting stars
We've seen pilated woodpeckers mating
in the maple tree, a raccoon birthing,
skunks digging in the night yard;
one year a merlin devoured pigeons
who know all there is to know about
strutting but very little about hiding
We've picked wild flowers that grow on the
south bank where women, too drunk to walk,
have slept all night uncovered and unseen
wrapped in nightshade's poisoned dreams
Construction, deconstruction
and its appropriation
In the northern gloom we could become cynical
but then light breaks and every year
love is renewed on Prospect Street
we see this, too
No matter what happened the year before
- break up & disaster - worlds falling apart -
walls crumbling - lives shattered - it doesn't matter
love is a word on Prospect Street that spreads
like warm butter or burning oil on water
like spring grass or tulips pushing through the ice
under the lilacs

What have I known on Prospect Street? A friend
till yesterday when the black hearse pulled up to
Tommy's curb. A grey March day. Drizzling rain.
And in that moment, all I'll ever know of birth
and death and how the one engenders all the rest
And love. All I'll ever know of love. How love
is all there is between the poles"


  1. beautiful tribute and photos, she was obviously a lovely woman and those who were lucky enough to be part of her world were indeed blessed. love.

    1. Oh thanks so much Joanne ~~ my Mom so loved all her friends and really enjoyed meeting new ones too!

      Thanks so much!

  2. What a beautiful and heartwarming tribute to your mom. She was a spectacular lady and it is clearly evident how much you miss her. Thank you for sharing your memories and these wonderful photos.

    1. It's an understatement to say "I miss her" so many days go by when I think I hear her or something happens and it brings her memory smack dab in front of me. Always a good thing, but I honestly can say her presence is sorely missed. She was my rock and because we boys were brought up in a female family, no father, she had to take on that role too. Our grandmother was strict but fair. I remember my GM fondly and my last recollection of my her was at Xmas 1972 when I gave her a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry and she began laughing and laughing. I'll always remember that when this sherry is served.

      I'd love to find more photos maybe it will happen!

  3. A wonderful tribute to your Mom -- your words, the great photos and her friend's poem. Clearly your Mom made a difference in many people's lives.

    1. She was a hard worker, loved to laugh/joke, party, and travel. This just scratches the surface and her experiences influenced mine immeasurably. Her neighbour was the best thing for her because Mom could talk to someone who understood her plight of living on a university/student street. So many sounds and stories, times have changed for this street and my life too, but Heather Pyrcz's poem says it all ~ love on the street, on the banks, under the lilacs and neighbourly love that protects and make you feel safe.

  4. Love is a marvellous thing ! Marvellous tribute !

  5. What a beautiful, moving tribute to your Mom, thanks for sharing this and your happy memories.
    It's Mother's Day next weekend in the UK so this just feels so right
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

    1. I am so happy to hear that I have started off your celebration one week early. Mom loved to visit the UK and she was able to do many times. I trust your flowers are popping through and your world is gorgeous!

      Cheers and may I say "HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY" early!!

  6. Hello Ron,
    I was just shutting down my laptop for the day when I saw your comment on my blog so I had to come by and say thank you for the kind words.
    This is such a beautiful tribute to your mom and all the photos are wonderful.
    Today is my dad's birthday and I am remembering him and missing him as I know you are doing the same about your mom.
    She was a remarkable lady!

    Hugs to you,and sweet Sophie ...take care and be well ...
    Now I need to get off here and take Jake on a walk, he has been so patiently waiting for me while I was doing lots of work on my computer most of the morning , my hubby put me to work ... LOL
    Now I am exhausted but not too much so to spend time outdoors with Jake.
    Oh, I have a special request ...could you please keep Jake in your good thoughts as we have had some more bad news about him but I am hoping so much it'snot cancer , we will know more on April 16th ..

    See ya'

    1. Oh thanks for dropping by Margie ~ March 9th is turning out to be a special day in many families that follow me ~ coincidence I guess!

      Thanks for your kind words regarding my mother, she would have loved reading your poems. I sure hope Jake fares well up until the middle of April. Seems such a long time to wait. I would be stressed to the nines for sure! Sophie is getting older too, 8 years so I'm always keeping an eye on her because you just never know. I have had 3 dogs in my life and know when the time comes. SHe is very healthy we think because of her diet, so fingers are always crossed and now moreso for you and Jakey!!

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks so much Lily & Edward!! She truly was!

  8. What a beautiful tribute to your mom, Ron. She sure was one special lady♥

    1. Thanks so much M& appreciated!!

  9. Now I'll remember her forever. She lives on!
    Your Friend, m.

    1. That's so good to hear and she would've loved to meet you and gang for sure Mark!!


  10. So very beautiful Memories; what an elegant mommy you had, Ron :)
    Abbraccio forte <3

    1. She was very much so ~ elegant and graceful ~ Elvira!

      Thanks so much!!

  11. What a lovely tribute to what sounds like a lovely woman she would be so proud of what you have written here

    1. Many thanks Jo-Anne ~~ when love is given and when love is shared ~~ then the cycle continues!


  12. What a beautiful tribute - the words, the photos, the poem.

    1. Thank you so much Jean ~~ my Mother loved Victoria so much. When I was living in Vancouver 1979 - 1981 she came to visit and we spent a weekend there and especially loved the Butchart Gardens. I have pictures of her admiring all the roses (her favourite).

      I do enjoy Vancouver Island and spent some time on Long Beach as well.

      Thanks for dropping by and have a great week!


  13. This is a lovely tribute to your mother, Ron. Your words and the photos here show her to be a remarkable, loving mother and grandmother, neighbor and friend.

  14. Reading this once again today I can better appreciate the influence your mother had on everyone that met her, Ron.

  15. Beautiful tribute in words and photos, so many heartfelt thanks for sharing your Mum with us. And the poem, words that say so much of a true friendship that still lives on in many hearts and lives. XXXX


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