Remembering Edna

The phone rang early Monday morning at which time I received the news my sister had passed away during the night. Whether expected or not, this type of news always comes as a shock. So, while preparing to make the journey back to Manitoba for the memorial service and some family time, I’ve been looking over old photos and remembering.
edna 1
She was a happy child, playing with the Raggedy Ann doll that Mom had made.

gertrude elliott and edna

We had an older sister and brother who doted on her.


Later, myself and another sister made the family complete. (That would be Edna in the front with a large bow in her hair).

edna and lillian

This is one of my favourite photos – can you tell which is Edna – and which is me?

gertrude and edna with accordians

At the age of four she started learning to play the accordion, sometimes joining big sister, Gertrude, for a duet.

Later, other instruments, were added to her accomplishments – she lived for music – often choosing to play the piano rather than rushing to the table when called for supper.


I’d forgotten that she learned to play the tenor horn with me prior to switching to the cornet (that’s Edna right in the middle of our Junior Band).

singing company

In addition to the band, we were involved in the Singing Company (that’s Edna in the front – far right)


She was academically inclined, and could almost always be seen with a book in her hands (even while doing dishes –  by hand – we didn’t have a dishwasher, it was us who had that chore to do every day).

Following the break-up of her marriage, she went back to school as a single mother of two, to graduate and go on to take teacher training – a career that lasted many years to retirement. She also spent countless hours at summer school in order to get her university degree.

edna playing cornet
In addition to all the music at the local Salvation Army, she was faithfully involved with the school orchestra for a number of years, and would be seen playing at Memorial Day and Remembrance Day services.

Following her retirement from teaching, she also became involved in an after school program for children and a support worker for those seeking help through the prison system.


Here she is singing silly songs with Josiah, albeit she often did this with other children as well.

edna and charlie

She married Charles Cookson in 1972 – and they celebrated over 43 years together.  Tragedy struck in 2007 and again in 2009 with the deaths of two of their sons – not to mention from 2002 to 2015 the number of parents, siblings, and other close relatives and friends who passed on.

Mom used to call herself “the coast-to-coast” grandma, as we lived all across this vast country.  But, whenever there were family get-togethers, it was Charlie and Edna who hosted the whole gang in their backyard.  We will certainly all miss those gatherings.

Mom's Bday

Fortunately, we were able to gather this past summer, not knowing it would be for the last time – and we have good memories of playing games until all hours (Edna didn’t want to quit until she won at least one).

siblings3While most memories would end with “Rest In Peace”, I would say to Edna – learn to dance on those golden streets as I expect to join you one day – and also – make sure you get to participate in the heavenly choir and orchestra.  Who knows, you may even get to play a harp.

The Circus Fence

Mom had always wanted a white house, with a white picket fence. We had the white house, on a huge corner lot, but there was no fence. As children we knew that it was Mom’s dream to one day have that white picket fence. As I think about it now, I don’t think I had ever seen a fence that wasn’t white. It was most certainly the norm.

As our custom was, Mom took my young sisters and I to Vancouver to Continue reading

Can You Picture It?

As I write this blog, I’m watching a TV show called Ancestors in the Attic where people have pictures or a document of a family member and they search to find out more about that person. Photos have a way of helping us to ‘picture’ what life might have been like for our ancestors (pardon the pun). Continue reading