Canada's history is a tapestry of anecdotes and events; a work in progress to this very day, as a comparatively young country struggles to escape from the cocoon of its past, and to arrive, full-blown and vibrant, on the ever-changing world scene. "Tempus fugit" inexorably, as it has from the days of the ancient Romans, and long before…minutes, years, centuries, all gone in the blink of an eye, it seems, right up to the present moment, which will soon be yesterday. That past will then be history, and our present-day lives and actions become "History in the Making."
Each personal experience and contribution adds a unique square to the patchwork quilt of Canadian history, as does the following story of three young brothers, Thomas, Samuel, and John, who left parents, siblings and loved ones in Devon, England, in the late 1880's, to seek their fortunes (or perhaps misfortunes) far across the sea, in the emerging country of Canada. Mixed emotions must have gripped the intrepid trio, as they bid goodbye to all they held dear, and set off on their ocean voyage to an unknown land, which promised adventure and a new beginning. Would it prove to be "The Impossible Dream?"
Their parents, Thomas and Dolly, must have been experiencing feelings of wrenching loss and profound anxiety as they watched three of their six children depart from their comfortable farmhouse, perhaps never to return. This separation would have been a truly significant and poignant moment in all their lives. "History in the Making!"
As it turned out, the three brothers returned to England from Canada only once, and then very briefly, to attend the funeral of their father. When Dolly eventually remarried, her three sons, all with families of their own, were unable to make the journey across the pond for the wedding; nor, sadly, were they able to attend her funeral, when she died a few years later. Perhaps it is true that "you can't go home again."
The three pioneering brothers did not have a crystal ball, and did not dwell on the distant future, concentrating solely on their immediate present and its challenges. The youngest of the trio, John, was my grandfather, a strikingly handsome individual, tall in stature, with piercing, intelligent eyes and a courtly manner, according to all the accounts I have of him. His two brothers, Thomas and Samuel, were well-respected men of integrity, and in a sense, protectors of their young brother, John. Like the Three Musketeers of classic literature, their motto appears to have been, "One for all, and all for one," as they set off on their voyage to the unknown.
How I wish that I had taken the time (precious time!) to ask my parents for more information about their parents and siblings! A simple question and answer could have lifted the veil, shrouding the past in mystery, and shed light on the activities and locations of my migrating forebears. Careless youth! I guess I thought I would live forever, and, more to the point, I probably assumed that my parents, who could have satisfied my curiosity in an instant, would also. Of course, they didn't, so it was off to the archives and some heavy digging for me.