Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Happy New Year.
When Cheryl and I and the boys moved out here to New Brunswick about 12 years ago it was quite full of our Scammell family.
We were moving to a place that actually had a whole bunch of us in reasonably close proximity to each other, give or take 50 kilometers.
My grandmother Annie was living in her house in Fredericton on Hansen Street near the University of New Brunswick. She was entering her 90’s and still getting around and living quite independently.
Her house was, and still is, the one that I associated with Fredericton for my whole life.
As I was growing up, whenever my family travelled here this house was our destination.
When I think about Christmas I will always think about Fredericton and being at Granny’s house.
I always hated that drive from Ontario to Fredericton but man did I love it when we got here! I have so many wonderful memories of the Christmas season in Fredericton I could fill pages of a separate entry on that topic alone.
I’ve mentioned this before but throughout my life I always felt more at home when I was in Fredericton than anywhere else in the world. When we decided to move out here it was quite easy for me.
Of course when we were in Fredericton we drove across the Saint John River to Devon to visit two of my favourite people in the whole world, Uncle Maurice and Aunt Dorie. They were actually my great-uncle and great-aunt, my father’s uncle and aunt. It was always such a fantastic treat when we went to visit.
Sadly, Dorie passed away a few years before we moved here but Uncle Maurice still lived alone on School Street in Devon.
Just prior to our moving here Maurice was moved into a home in Oromocto but the house sat empty.
My dad’s older brother, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Margie had moved back to New Brunswick when Jim retired and bought a house in Beaverdam. Beaverdam is about 5 minutes further out of Fredericton than New Maryland is. Uncle Jim also passed away a few years before we moved here but Aunt Margie stayed in the house in Beaverdam.
My lovely cousin Megan and her husband Peter lived in a great place just outside of Stanley. It was a hobby farm where they had all sorts of different animals such as horses, dogs, cats, chickens and whatever else roamed around the place.
It was a bit of a drive and lousy during bad weather but we loved visiting them. The boys loved interacting with the assorted creatures and would help with whatever needed to be done.
We would have a delicious dinner then head out to the back for a bonfire when it became dark.
Peter worked for Fundy National Park in a little place called Alma which was down on the Bay of Fundy. During the week he would stay at a cottage that they had bought on Mechanic Lake just outside the park. This saved him driving many hours every day to and from home to work.
Many times in the summers Peter and Megan would let us use their cottage during the weekend and our family would have a Fundy weekend in the park and surrounding area.
These trips were priceless with the beautiful scenery and trails to explore.
On one of the trips the boys rented kayaks as Cheryl and I watched from the shore. While they were on the water a mother and two young moose came to the water’s edge for a drink and look around! The boys were able to get within 30 feet of them!
That’s a valuable rare opportunity for certain.
Very shortly after moving to New Brunswick Uncle Maurice passed away and we were robbed of the opportunity to spend more time with a great man.
Their little house on School Street was sold and the “SCAMMELL” letters that Uncle Maurice had put up beside the front door were taken down.
One of my thoughts when we were coming to live here was that the boys would get to spend time with Maurice and enjoy being around him as I had growing up. I think they only saw him 2 or 3 times in their lives. And that sucks.
In late 2013 Megan was taken away from us. Another huge hole was punched into the family that could never be filled again.
Understandably, it was difficult for Peter to remain in the home and life that they had made together without her. Peter sold the place at Mechanic Lake and in the end of 2014 sold the house near Stanley and moved to Toronto to take a great job.
A few days before my birthday in June we lost my grandmother. She was 102 years old!
I thought that perhaps she would make a run for a few more years but she decided that she had done well enough. She used to tell people that she wanted to beat her sister who had passed away in her 90’s.
Now that she had done so she was okay to go any time.
It may have been okay for her but it still hurt like hell for the rest of us. One thing I am very thankful of is that we were able to spend a lot of time with her while living here.
I think that I met my great-grandmothers once or twice before they died but I don't remember them at all. My sons saw Granny quite a but and are old enough to always have clear memories of her.
But it’s a strange feeling when we realize that someone that has been here for our whole lives is now gone.
Granny’s house had sat empty for several years when she moved into the home. My dad told me that even though it was empty, nothing would be changed as long as Granny was alive.
As of this moment, her house on Hansen Street is up for sale.
A few months ago it was decided that my Aunt Margie would sell the house in Beaverdam and move into a place in Ottawa to be closer to my cousin Jamie. The house was put up for sale and sold just a little while ago. The deal actually closes today.
So, in a few short months New Brunswick has gone from having our Scammells in many areas to only two. My father and step-mother in Lower Queensbury and ourselves in New Maryland.
It would be great if someone in the family would move back to New Brunswick someday but in the meantime let’s not get any smaller, okay?
I don’t like goodbyes and don’t want to say any more.