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9-28-09 New part of this great story with pics at the bottom of the rest of the articles. Marjean says there will be one more addition later.
9-19-09 Part 4 at the bottom of this series, great story.
Gary these are the first ones. Larry tells me not to send you so many at one time. These are all of Calgary and one of Lethbridge at my great uncle's grave. Thanks, Marjean
Gary these are of Yellowstone and the Snake River as we were leaving Yellowstone I think. Thanks, Marjean
See these inserted in the 3rd edition of the story on below.
Hi Gary, I think these are of Glacier. Marjean
8-29-09 From Marjean
A Memory is a Treasure
A memory is a special treasure
Which endures and gives us pleasure,
One we cherish always, for we know..
Recalling certain times and places,
Always brings our hearts a warming glow.
Though time may pass, a memory stays,
Reminding us of happy days,
And of the people who have touched our lives..
Of favors done, and love expressed,
Of those who've stood above the rest,
A memory is a treasure that survives.
by Amanda Bradley
The Life and Final Voyage of Margherita Bruce Brownwood
Ethel Margherita Bruce was born in the Northwest Territories of Canada on February 12, 1905, which later that year became the province of Alberta, Canada. Her parents were Evalina Alice Maude Bell who became the wife of Wesley Mathison Bruce (later was given the name of James Wesley Bruce) were married in Manitou, Manitoba on February 1, 1899. They were both born in Ontario; Evalina in 1865 and James in 1869. Both sets of their parents were born in Ireland. (Funny, somehow we always thought our ancestors were Scottish.) Margherita, which was always the name she was known by, started her travels as an egg. Her parents, James and Evalina went on an ocean voyage sometime in 1904, leaving their 2 older daughters, Mildred and Jeanne, with two maiden aunts, traveling to the Holy Land. James was an ordained Methodist minister, so somehow they took this long voyage, taking a train to New York, where they boarded an ocean liner taking them to Jerusalem. Evidently on the ship men were separated from the women and it was only when they were visiting a port somewhere that the couples could be together. On this voyage which was about 3 or 4 months in length they visited Israel, then went on to Italy, where they stopped and toured the ruins of Pompeii, which were close to Santa Margherita, Italy, then on to Scotland, and Ireland before going back to New York. It was finally determined our mother “Margherita” had been conceived on this voyage and that was how they ended up naming her Margherita. So Margherita actually began her life in that distant land.
Margherita was born in Macleod in 1905 and the census of 1910 shows the family had moved on to Bethany, OK where our grandfather went to the Nazarene College there in Bethany. It also shows that 2 more children were part of the family then, Marie a 1 ½ year old and a John. We had always known that Margherita had had an infant brother who died very young. That had to have been John. From there her life gets a little bit fuzzy. She had always told us that she and her older sister Jeanne had been sent off to Pasadena with a Nazarene pastor who was traveling through, to live with their older sister Mildred who had married a GI whom she met in OK during World War I. He had since been discharged and they were living in Pasadena. It seems the parents thought it best for the girls to go to school at the Pasadena Academy (Nazarene) than to stay where they were. Of all of our records, we can’t determine if they were still in OK, or Illinois where our grandfather went on to received his PhD from Lincoln Jefferson University in Chicago, IL in June 1920, or had they gone back to Calgary, Alberta. No one is still alive who can answer that and I’ve tried to find Lincoln Jefferson on the internet and it doesn’t look like it’s still in existence. At any rate the girls ended up in Pasadena and enrolled in the Pasadena Academy which was just north of where the Brezee Church of the Nazarene is today. (The Pasadena Academy later moved and is now on Pt. Loma.) From our mother’s graduation certificate we see she graduated from the high school there on May 29, 1923.
From the time Margherita (was either 15 or 16 years old) and Jeanne left home (whether from Calgary or OK) they never saw their mother again. The plan was for Evalina to come down to Pasadena to see her (now 4 daughters) don’t know when the younger daughter Marie was sent there, after the school year was finished. Evalina taught school in Calgary and so had to finish out the school year before making the trip south. On the day Margherita graduated high school they learned of the untimely death of their mother Evalina! It had to be devastating to all the family, to learn they would never see their mother again.
Here are 2 letters I have that the sisters received from their father regarding what was happening:
Calgary, Alta, Canada
May 27th, 1923
326 – 15 Av. East
Dear Mabel, (Jeanne)
It will be a little surprise to you to find that I am writing in Mamma’s place this time. Mamma is not feeling well. She came home from her school on Tuesday evening 22nd and is now in bed. She has been working too hard for her strength and was in fit-condition for anything that came along. I was off work myself for one and one-half days but I am feeling fine again. Mamma is not so fortunate and it will be over a week before she will be around. She has experienced very severe pain all over her body so that the Doctor calls it old fashioned La Grippe. He says she has muscular rheumatism and her right lung is slightly affected.
She is next door to the house in which we have our rooms and is under the care of an experienced nurse. Mrs. Bell runs both of these houses one as her home and the other for roomers. Mrs. Bell is a fine Christian lady with lots of sense and experience so Mamma is in good hands. There is a prayer meeting in Bro. Bell’s house and this afternoon just as we got Mamma moved over to the other house a few had gathered for the prayer meeting and we had a good meeting. Sister Grant who is a great woman in prayer and reminds one of old sister Murray of Bethany--Sister Grant said this afternoon that she knew Mamma was going to get well again for she had the Victory for her.
The Commencement exercises will all be over before you get this letter. We shall be anxious to learn where and what you will each be doing this summer?
Mamma will likely have something more to add to what I have said and which I shall read to her before mailing. With much love from Dad and Mamma to all in Pasadena.
J. W. Bruce
P.S. I have come from seeing Mamma. She says, “Tell the girls I have definitely decided to go to Pasadena this summer.”
Lethbridge, Alta, Canada
June 1st, 1923 (Friday)
My Dear daughters,
After the service on Thursday afternoon I came down to Lethbridge with Aunt Jennie. Herb could not come to Calgary and he and Jennie thought I ought to take a few days and as Monday is a holiday I am staying here until Monday.
I know something of the grief you have been experiencing during these trying days. I believe God has been helping you as He has me. I could not have believed it if I had been told two weeks ago that this blow would fall on me and that I could be gloriously sustained through the trying ordeal of the service at the undertakers. Several of the near relatives sat in a semicircle and my chair close beside Mamma’s Casket banked with flower’s. For ten minutes I stood beside the casket with my eyes closed earnestly praying and pleading the promises of God for grace for the greatest trials, and surely grace came. For about 15 minutes we sang and sang and God blessed my soul so I had to praise him aloud. The following were among the hymns sung—“Rock of Ages”, “When I shall reach the more Excellent Glory”, “O Think of the Land of the Blest”, “Sweet By and By” and several others.
At the church my joy was overflowing thus quenching the sting and the grief. Mattie Edwards, Aunt Victoria’s daughter took down the sermon in shorthand and will send you a typewritten copy. The service will long be remembered. The Glory of God was on the Congregation—I seemed to be lifted up into another region and upheld by unseen hands. I forgot to say that the undertaker’s parlor after we had sung the above mentioned hymns, I said let us pray, so we knelt in prayer and with my hand on the casket I asked God to uphold my dear ones in the south with the same grace and Holy Ghost power He was sustaining me and the other friends. The whole thing from beginning to end on Thursday afternoon was more like a coronation than a funeral.
Has it yet settled down upon your hearts that Mamma is really in the glory world—seeing sights and hearing music and voices compared to which earth has no equals? What a change from two small rooms in a rooming-house with very modest furniture to a mansion in the skies!
How beautiful were the flowers. Our’s was a beautiful wreath of flowers with the name “Family” on it—Mamma’s School sent in a nice wreath, also the Wayne S. School, Teaching Staff’s. Calg. H. School—Local Alliance of Teachers, XI B grade, XII Grade—Mr. & Mrs. Tollingher, Mr. & Mrs. Hendricks and others. Mamma has lots and lots of friends who will miss her. Mamma often visited a Mrs. Glover dying of cancer. When told that Mrs. Bruce had gone on to the spirit world she shed many tears.
I am leaning on the Everlasting Arms and God is wondrously keeping me. How I am praying for my children that God will surely uphold and keep them! You must truly just let Him control your spirits and hearts. This is our only refuge through these trying weeks. He can do it and He is doing it.
Mildred and Will—you must give up to God. Just about two weeks before mamma left this earth she was at a prayer circle next door on a Sunday afternoon. God wonderfully blessed Mamma in her testimony—then a burden came on her for Mildred and Will and she asked the prayers of the people—then Mamma broke down and had to sit in a chair and she sobbed and sobbed as if her heart would break. How she loved her children and Will just like the girls. (Will was the soldier Mildred married in 1920.)
For the past year Mamma has been ripening for the Heavenly Home. Let us be brave and do just as we believe would best please her if She were with us—
God bless you more and more, Papa
Mrs. Clayton frequently asks for Mildred Aunt Jennie says.
To be continued…..
THE LIFE AND FINAL VOYAGE OF MARGHERITA
Margherita always had the yearning to become a missionary and take the word to India. Somewhere during the next couple years after graduating high school in 1923, her health broke and thus that dream never materialized. I don’t know exactly when but she met John Brownwood and they married on December 31, 1927. It most likely was through the church as I believe that is the church they both went to at the time.
Sometime in the early 1930’s Margherita had gone to night school to study to become a U.S. citizen. I recall going to her swearing in—I remember it as being at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, and Vangie remembers it at being at John Muir Jr. College. No one is still around who can tell us about that now.
The John Brownwood’s went on to have four children, Bruce, Raymond, Evangeline (Vangie) and Marjean. John was an auto mechanic and times were tough to raise 4 children, but fortunately none of us ever went hungry and our father always had a job. The family lived in Pasadena until 1943 when they purchased a small farm (1 acre) in Arcadia. At that time there were some 3000 laying hens, lots of rabbits, a cow was purchased and we had as many as 4 horses at one time. I recall in the beginning there were also about 17 geese (mean things) and dad brought in a lot of pigeons. He they planted a huge victory garden in the back half so in essence we always had lots of food right out of our yard. We also always had a dog or two and several cats. It was Vangie’s and my job to clean and candle the eggs so our father could take them to market. (I blame that job to this day on my having bronchitis so much. I’m sure it was all the chicken dung we inhaled in the process down in the cellar.)
All four of us children graduated from MAD. I was the 4th and I vividly recall an English teacher saying to me the first day of class, “not another Brownwood!” I think it was Miss Coblentz. Fortunately I made it through her class.
Korea started and Bruce was called into active duty with the 40th Division and sent to Korea. Ray had joined the Air Force and went off to training then onto Shimeya in the Aleutians to spend several months there. Our mother’s health had been deteriorating and shortly after I graduated in June 1951 she had lost lots of weight, couldn’t digest food so well and was basically really sick. Her older sister who lived in Seattle had had breast cancer surgery a few years earlier and all my mother wanted to do was to go to Seattle. So she flew up there. They took one look at her and took her immediately to see her sister’s surgeon. He did a few tests and admitted her to the hospital to build her blood and resistance up in order to do exploratory surgery. He had said at the time he first saw her she never would have made it through surgery. Finally they did the surgery which lasted about 10 hours. They found cancer of the colon. They removed lots of the colon and various other places it looked as though it had spread to, and thought they had gotten it all. Unfortunately that was not the case. She came home for Thanksgiving of 1951 and was doing pretty well until about May of ’52 when signs appeared that perhaps the cancer had returned. She returned to Seattle for another surgery. They couldn’t do anything this time so just sewed her up and said go back to your family. Bruce and Ray had both returned from their service duties. Marjean and Larry were married in November 1952. This found Margherita back in St. Luke’s Hospital with yet one more surgery to correct a blockage. It was either that or imminent death. The family was asked and we all said do it! It was probably selfish on our part but we did want her to be around as long as possible. She did accomplish several things in her last months which all of us were grateful for. She put together scrapbooks for each of the children which we all cherish to this day. Along about early March Marjean discovered she was pregnant. I made a call to my parents, talked to my dad and told him, “dad you’re going to be a grandfather,” he said to Margherita, “we’re going to be grandparents,” she said “no John, you’re going to become a grandfather.” That was a really hard thing for me to hear and I almost wished I hadn’t told them. Even though we had known for almost a year that her cancer was terminal we all kept believing there’d be some kind of miracle and she’d get over it. Finally on Sunday, March 29, 1953, with all of us present her last breath left her. She had just had her 48th birthday on February 12. Much too young to leave us. Just as she was so heart broken at her own mother’s sudden and unexpected death, we were all heart broken at having lost her so young. Her funeral was held in Pasadena at Lamb’s Funeral Home on April 2 and she was interred in Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena.
Years passed. Each of us children went on to live our own lives and raise our families. Bruce married late in 1953 and he and his wife Charlene bore 7 children and they in turn have lots of children. Ray married in 1956 and he and his late wife Joyce have 3 sons and they in turn have several children. Vangie married in 1953 and had 2 children by her first husband, she married Dick Burt in 1969 and they had Mary. Vangie has 3 grandchildren. After Dick’s death in 2001 she married Jim Regan. (So far there have been no children born of that marriage. Although I’m sure they’re trying!)
For some reason I could never find it in me to visit the mausoleum where Margherita was. Then one weekend in 1977 when we had brought our youngest daughter down to UCLA I decided it was time for that visit. This was now 24 years later. It was one of the most emotional experiences of my life and I sobbed and sobbed. I realized I’d never really grieved for my mother. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being cooped up in that little niche. When I returned home that Sunday, I immediately got on the phone to my sister, brothers and dad and told them that I wanted to get mom out of there. They all agreed. So I started the paper work. When it came time to signing, for some reason Bruce rescinded and said he didn’t want to. So that sort of ended that. I didn’t want to start a family feud. So years rolled by and I had finally resigned myself to the fact that that’s the way it would be.
In the summer of 2008 Larry and I had decided instead of cruising we’d take a driving trip and see some parts of the U.S. we hadn’t visited and go on to Canada. My main goal was to find the grave site of my deceased grandmother, Evalina Bruce, who had passed away in 1923. Because of letters I had been given by my Aunt Jeanne, the sister just older than Margherita, I gleaned that my grandmother had to be buried in Calgary. We contacted Ian and Harriet (Heisler) Campbell who have a summer home in Utah and said we’d like to visit them on our way to Calgary.
They said that would be fine and that if it would be o.k. that they’d like to go to Calgary with us. We said great. So we left here sometime in late August. I called Ian and asked him if he’d google cemeteries in Calgary for me. So by the time we got there he had a list of 5 cemeteries there. We spent 2 nights there at Bear Lake with them then took off on Thursday heading north. That night we stopped at a motel in Great Falls, Mt. From there it was a relatively short trip onto Alberta.
We stopped in Lethbridge. They had a wonderful museum/archive there and we went in and I found some information about one of my grandfather’s younger brother who was a vice-principal there at the time of my grandmother’s death. The archivist was able to tell me where he was buried and it was at a cemetery which we had passed on our way into town so we went back and found Herbert Harvey Bruce along with his wife Jean. They had both died years before in 1935 and in 1965. I never met them but it was nice to know they are in such a lovely spot. The archivist couldn’t give me any information about Calgary but said they’d have such a place there as well. He did mention however that all the offices connected with cemeteries would be closed on weekends so that we probably wouldn’t be able to find out anything until Monday since it would be past 5 o’clock when we’d arrive in Calgary. We went on to Calgary. We could see from the map that we were very close to Union Cemetery but it was huge so we would have to wait until Monday to find out anything.
So in the meantime we decided we’d do a little sightseeing. We drove north to Olds on Saturday. From Vangie’s birth certificate it indicated that was where our mother was born. It’s about half way between Calgary and Edmonton. We of course couldn’t find out anything about the town as it was a Saturday. They had little games in play and lots of things you’d see in any US town on the weekends. It’s a rather small Midwestern looking town and their claim to fame is a wonderful Botanical and Gardens University. Their plant life was truly amazing. Since it was still summer time there was hardly anyone in sight. We did see 2 students taking some kind of inventory and they told us they’d be entering in the fall—one from Canada the other from one of the Dakotas.
On Sunday we headed west to Banff and Lake Louise. Both are really beautiful sights and we realized why these are such talked about vacation spots. That was an easy drive from Calgary, probably not more than 2 hours and the roads are wonderful.
THE LIFE AND FINAL VOYAGE OF MARGHERITA BRUCE BROWNWOOD
After returning from visiting Banff and Lake Louise on Sunday we returned to Calgary. After another delightful dinner we retired for the night. I was eager for Monday morning to come and to investigate finding my grandmother’s gravesite. I think we went to O’Sullivan’s on Macleod Trail. It’s a sports bar with lots of TVs playing, pool tables all around and lots of noise. We had a nice dinner and then went back to our hotel and retired for the night. On Monday morning we awoke by 7 o’clock, dressed and went down for breakfast. We met Harriett and Ian and discussed our plans. I couldn’t call the cemeteries office until 8 o’clock as they didn’t open until then. I told Ian and Hat, and Larry that my main goal on this trip was to find my grandmother’s grave, Evalina Bruce. She had died in 1923 and from letters I had been given from my aunts written by my grandfather, I knew she had died in Calgary. So we went back to our room and on the dot of 8:00 a.m. I called the number, and got a recording! I told them my cell phone number and why I was calling but somehow knew I’d never hear back from them within a few days. So I told Larry, “We must go to the main cemetery! I can’t wait for them to return my call.” So off we went, some 30 minutes away. When we arrived we parked and I jumped out of the car. I was followed in by Larry, Hat & Ian. In the meantime a receptionist asked “may I help you?” I said that I was trying to find which cemetery my grandmother Evalina Bruce was buried in, that she had died in May of 1923. Within 5 minutes she returned and told us where she was. She said that Union Cemetery had fallen into disrepair back in the 40’s or 50’s, she wasn’t sure that she had a headstone, but that she was buried in such a plot, next to someone named Barrett. So we hopped into the car, and headed back to Union, which is the cemetery I had concluded from the ones Ian had sent me, where she most likely would have been buried. We knew the way because it was within walking distance from the hotel where we had been staying for the weekend. With a plot map in hand, Larry drove right to it.
We got out of the car and within 3 minutes, we found Evalina’s grave! It definitely has a beautiful grave stone, standing erect and it is marked: “Evalina Bruce”, “1865-1923,” “At Rest.” I can’t begin to tell you the emotions that came over me! Here I was, at the gravesite of my grandmother who had passed away 10 years before my birth, and whom my own dear mother Margherita never saw again after leaving her sometime around 1920! It was a very touching moment and one I still hold dear to this very moment. Larry, Hat and Ian all shared in my moments and it was like “mission accomplished!” Shortly after, we departed Calgary. Ian said “why don’t we drive back through Glacier National Park, instead of going back the way we came!” so we all agreed. On our trip north when we stopped in Lethbridge, and went to the cemetery where my great uncle, Herbert Harvey Bruce is buried, Larry’s camera had no battery and we couldn’t take any pictures! I was dismayed and said if we were going back through Glacier National Park, we’d first have to head back to Lethbridge then west again towards Glacier, so that’s exactly what we did. It was only a matter of an hour or so, so no big deal.
After leaving Lethbridge we headed east to Glacier National Park and entered from the United States side. I’m not sure exactly where we entered the U.S. from Canada but it was only about an hours drive. It was very picturesque and not very heavily traveled. I recall there were lots of TP looking facilities, most likely campgrounds. They were working on the roads in many places and it was very narrow so one can see why they do this during the summer months, rather than winter when there would be lots of snow and ice. We drove through the park and ended up staying in Whitefish, Mt. for the night. I think we stopped about 5 o’clock so it had been a full day’s drive from the time we left Calgary. The scenery was beautiful but we’d seen many more beautiful and larger glaciers in all our travels over the years—to name a few in Alaska, Chili and Greenland. We had a restful night and then got up and on the road around 8:00 a.m. Ian said, “You know we have lots of time, why don’t we drive back through Yellowstone?” We all agreed and thought that would be fun because none of us had any schedules to meet. So we headed a little south, through Kalispell where we found a Costco to get gas, then on past Flathead Lake which Ian says is the largest natural lake in the U.S. We all agreed as it seemed to take us hours to pass it. From there we drove south to Missoula where we got onto US 90 and headed east through Butte and Bozeman and stopped for the night in Livingston a small town outside Yellowstone National Park. We had called ahead and learned that all the motels in Yellowstone were full so thought we had better stay in Livingston. It was a nice Midwestern town. We took a walk and went down to the Snake River. It was so peaceful and serene. We thought these folks couldn’t really have a lot to do with the reality of what was happening in our world! It was getting close to the election and we saw lots of Obama signs in yards. We wondered where their visions of reality were. At any rate we had a nice evening and very comfortable lodgings.
The next morning we were up early, had breakfast and were on our way to Yellowstone. Neither Larry nor I had been to Yellowstone before. I believe Ian and Hat had. We entered the park and had a nice drive through it. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and stopped and took photos along the way. When we got to the geysers they had just finished erupting and it would be another hour’s wait so we decided to go on our way. Ian and Hat mentioned that we must get to the Grand Tetons before dark. Well, to our dismay it started raining and the Tetons were covered with clouds and we couldn’t see one thing. That will have to come at another time. We drove on to Jackson where we stopped for the night. We had a great evening exploring the town, seeing the sights and realized it would be only a few hours drive to the Campbell’s the next morning. We got up early and headed back to Utah and it was a beautiful scenic drive along the Snake River and back to their lovely home in Bear Lake, Utah. We spent one night with them before bidding them adieu and then headed for Park City, Utah only about 4 hours drive south from there. We had exchanged 2 weeks of our time share in Tahoe for Park City and were looking forward to a nice peaceful and restful time there. After leaving Park City we went west to Tahoe and spent another week at the Ridge Tahoe. By that time we were ready to go home to our desert heat! It had been a wonderful 4 weeks or more away but now we were ready to come home! There’s No Place like Home! And that’s the truth!
The Life and Final Voyage of Margherita – Part 4
Shortly after returning home from our vacation in 2008 I was struck with the notion that now was the time to remove our mother’s cremains from the mausoleum in Altadena and take them to Calgary to be buried with her mother Evalina whom she never saw again after she left home in 1920.
I called Vangie and Ray and told them of my strong feelings that we should do that and they both agreed. So Vangie said that she and Jim could go with us to do that. Since Ray was in such poor health he was sure he couldn’t make it. Since Union Cemetery had closed in 1923 it never dawned on me that we could do this legally. At first we thought we’d go in sometime close to dark, with a flashlight and a small shovel and accomplish our task without anyone knowing. I felt sure if we asked for permission that we’d be denied and we didn’t want that to happen. Since it was now approaching fall and the weather would soon be turning cold in Calgary we decided on summer of 2009 to accomplish our mission.
The fall and early months passed and then I knew it was time to get things started. I called Mountain View Mausoleum and spoke with a clerk in charge of having someone’s cremains removed and he told me the process to follow. He sent me an email with forms to be filled out and signed and when that was done then they were sent back and he said there were two ways it could be handled. Either I could pick them up or they could be mailed. It was only necessary to have my signature notarized, he’d accept emails from Vangie and Ray and then when we paid the necessary fees the cremains could be released. It seemed the best solution to pay them the fee, even though they’d be making considerable money on the transaction—first having sold the niche in 1953, and now they would be reselling it. We didn’t want to be bothered with trying to sell it ourselves and it would just be easier all the way around to give it back to them. So the fee we had to pay to them for having the cremains removed, a fee to the city, and postage was the easiest way to go. It took about 5 or 6 weeks for this all to come about. About April 20 when I got home in the afternoon there was a package that had arrived in the mail. I asked Larry if that was what I thought it was and he said yes. The next morning I called the representative at Mt. View and asked what could I expect to find when I opened the box? He said you realize it’s been 56 years and so will be quite tarnished. He said it would be a copper box.
I realized that we were planning a visit to San Diego over the weekend of May 1 so I called Vangie and told her that I thought it would be a good idea for us to bring the box with us and that she have Ray come over to her house, and the 5 of us could open the package together. She said that would be a splendid idea so that’s what we did. We drove to San Diego on Friday late afternoon on the 1st, then Vangie, Jim, Larry and I all went to a Kentucky Derby party on Saturday afternoon, and when we got back to the Regan’s Ray came over. We had a nice dinner and then it was time for the opening! I went and got the package, the 5 of us sat around in a semi-circle in the Regan’s living room and Ray, Vangie and I all 3 took part in opening the package. We got to a box and then a knife was required to break the tape so we could get to the inner package. We lifted the urn out and laid it on the table in front of us! We decided we’d all express our feelings to our dearest mother, Margherita and I asked Ray to go first. He shared his feelings and emotions very well, then it was Vangie’s turn and she expressed herself beautifully. I then asked Larry if he wanted to add anything and he said yes. He had been the one son-in-law who had known her the longest and he shared his thoughts. Then it was my turn and I’m afraid I broke up spilling out emotions that had been hiding inside me for some 56 years. Before we had started I had asked Jim if he’d close our little ceremony with a prayer which he did beautifully. Jim is such a talented guy, in every way, and when it comes to prayers he could have been a preacher! The entire evening was such a special occasion and we each felt good about what was happening and what we were about to do in the next few months. It was that night that Jim suggested I contact the cemetery in Calgary and ask if we couldn’t do this legally so that we could have a gravestone placed where we were planning to take Margherita. I told him I thought that was a really good idea and that I’d check into that the following week.
So sometime in early May I contacted the Cemetery Division of Calgary. I spoke with this wonderful receptionist Terry Tremblay, and told her what we’d like to do. I told her where Evalina’s grave was located in Union Cemetery and she said they’d be in touch with me. I got an email back that the grave was owned by a James W. Bruce and if I could get his permission we could do this. I emailed back saying my grandfather James W. Bruce had passed away in February 1947. She emailed back and said all the remaining heirs would have to give their consent. The remaining heirs were Vangie, Ray, cousins Duane who lives in Burlingame, Bob and Jim who live in Washington and me. I emailed all frantically telling them what was necessary. Vangie & Ray sent emails immediately, as did Duane, to Terry Tremblay, but I couldn’t get responses from Bob and Jim and was getting very anxious. After about 2 weeks I finally got an email from Terry saying that the emails she had received from the 3 would be sufficient so we could proceed from there. Whew! Was I relieved! Now that we could do this legally I told Vangie & Ray that I thought we should have some kind of gravestone made for Mom. They agreed and I contacted someone Terry had referred me to in Calgary. I learned that there can only be one gravestone per grave but that we could have a footstone. So we went from there. By this time it was probably the middle of June and when I told the stone makers the date we’d like to have it by he said he’d put a rush in to get it before we planned to have our ceremony on July 20. The cemetery department told me to contact them about a week before we wanted to have this done, but since we were planning on about a 2 week trip before having the ceremony I called them and told them when we’d like to have our ceremony on July 20. They asked what time so I said how about 10 o’clock in the morning. I also asked them if they could have the footstone installed prior to the ceremony and they said they’d put in a request but that they couldn’t guarantee it because there was such a backlog of burials! Guess in the winter months they bury no one so when it comes spring time there is a huge backlog of burials. The stone maker could get the footstone to the cemetery but he couldn’t guarantee the cemetery department could get it installed by our burial. So when we left Rancho Mirage on our trip north we weren’t exactly sure how things were going to work out. I also contacted a florist in Calgary recommended by Terry Tremblay and arranged for an arrangement to be picked up on the morning of July 20!
The photo I’m attaching is of what our rear yard looked like in Rancho Mirage when Margherita arrived from the Mausoleum in Altadena in April of 2009 – what a change from being locked inside a niche for 56 years! I think this made her very happy! At least I want to believe that to be the case.
The Last Leg of the Final Journey for Margherita Bruce Brownwood
Finally the long-awaited day of July 11 arrived for us to get started on our trip to Calgary. We were planning on being gone from home for 5 weeks so it required much thought and preparation. We loaded our bags and hanging clothes in the car and a secure and covered spot for the urn in which Margherita’s cremains were in. (I had found myself talking to my mom almost daily since the urn had arrived at our home—maybe a little crazy but I felt so close and in touch with her.) So I said “here we go mom, off to places you’ve never been, to visit relatives, some of whom you were never able to meet, but it is certainly something you never expected would have happened when you left us in March 1953! I feel you’d be ecstatic to discover what lies ahead in the next few weeks.”
We left Rancho Mirage at 6:30 a.m. on Interstate-10. As we drove through the San Gabriel Valley I realized this is the area where Margherita arrived when she was no more than 16 years old, so it would have been most likely in the fall of 1920. Many changes have taken place in the beautiful valley since she arrived, and many more changes have occurred since she departed this world. The beauty of the mountains of this lovely valley still remains however, and today was one of the beautiful clear days most of us remember as kids growing up in this area! It was smogless, and because it was a Saturday the traffic was light and we sailed through. I was reminded of many happy occasions in this valley and know that Margherita had some happy times during her years spent in the area also.
Our destination on Saturday was to be at my cousin, Duane Spence’s home in Hillsborough. We drove north over the grapevine on Interstate-5. As we passed the parched and empty fields in the San Joaquin Valley we noticed all the signs along the road “Congress, please turn the water back on!” Up until this time we had had no inclining on what was taking place there. Just in the last few weeks it has been in the news that our wonderful congress has been protecting some small fish that they say is an endangered species. They have to be insane to be so afraid of the special interest lobbyists for the environmentalists that they have let our once fertile farmlands turn into wastelands. It reminded me of what it must have been like during the days of the dustbowls back in the Midwest in the 1930’s! We surely hope this situation can be reversed quickly and that these fields can return to providing food and employment to the citizens of the U.S. and probably too much of the world as well!
We took the same route to San Jose we had done so many times in years passed when we lived in San Jose and would visit Southern California. We exited Interstate-5 onto Highway 152 just west of Los Banos. As we passed San Luis Reservoir we noticed that it was very low and much of what used to be covered with water was now covered with grass, etc. It was interesting to see how things have changed between Casa de Fruta and Gilroy with a new turnoff to Hollister. However, there is still the two-lane road west of Casa de Fruta and it looks as dangerous as ever. It is a beautiful drive however, even during summertime when the hills are all covered with straw-colored growth and those beautiful big old Oak trees! It made me homesick for San Jose, even after 18 years since we moved to Rancho Mirage. We took a short time out to go by our houses in San Jose and many memories came flooding back as we passed the schools our children attended, remembered all the sporting events we’d been too and the swim meets we’d attended every Saturday during the summer months as 3 our of our 4 children had been on a swim team! Those were good old days with lots of pleasant memories.
We got back on the freeway and took Interstate-280 out of San Jose up to Hillsborough. We arrived around 4:30 at my cousin’s home. Duane is the youngest son of Margherita’s sister Jeanne. They have lived in the Northern California area all of Duane’s life so while Margherita didn’t know Duane well she surely would have remembered him. Duane was very interested in what we were doing so after dinner that night he got out some old scrapbooks and photos he had received from his mom and we had lots of fun going back over events of years gone by. We had planned on spending 2 nights with them, but on Sunday morning I mentioned to Larry that I thought it would be a very long drive from Hillsborough to Portland in 1 day and that perhaps we should plan on leaving Duane’s late in the afternoon on Sunday and getting a place for the night somewhere around Chico or further north. He agreed that that would be the best thing to do so we bid our cousins farewell around 3:30 p.m. and took off. What a traffic jam we encountered on I-280 in San Francisco and realized it would have been just as bad, if not worse on Monday morning so we were pleased we’d made the decision to leave when we did. We crossed the bay bridge and took Interstate-80 north to Interstate-505 just north of Vacaville. This took us to Interstate-5 interchange which is the highway we’d take all the way to Portland. We stopped for dinner somewhere, and then drove on to Redding where we stopped for the night. The Sacramento Valley looks much greener than the San Joaquin Valley so they must not have the water problem that is going on to the south.
We got up and on the road by 7:30 on the 13th of July. As we drove past Lake Shasta we saw beautiful jagged mountains on the west side of the road. Mt. Shasta was covered with snow! We crossed the Klamath River about half-way between Yreka and the border. The Siskiyou Mountains were rising in all their majesty to our west! What a beautiful country we live in! We crossed into Oregon at 9:08 a.m. The landscape between Ashland and Grant’s Pass is heavily forested and it’s easy to see why this area is noted for its forestry and sawmills. This was a nice easy drive that day and we called our daughter Linda, who was visiting her son David, his wife Rachael and their daughter Pearl, for 2 weeks at their home in Troutdale, OR which is a suburb of Portland. (David is attending the Western Seminary there, in his 3rd year and is also working as a Pastor at a small church they have been attending since their move to Portland 3 years ago.) Linda would have been Margherita’s first grandchild and David would have been her first great-grandchild. Unfortunately this was not to be as she passed away in March 1953 and Linda wasn’t born until September 1953. We had a reservation at a motel close to David’s and our plan was to stay two nights before heading northward. We had a great time seeing all of them. David had a class on the 14th but Rachael took us all on a grand excursion on Tuesday to Multnomah Falls which is the highest year-round running falls in the U.S. The falls flow into the mighty Columbia River. We went to a look-out at their visitor’s center and climbed the stairs to get a breath-taking view of the scenery. What a beautiful part of the country this is and I know Margherita had never been here before, nor had we. B E A U T I F U L is all I can say! On Wednesday evening we had a birthday dinner for Larry as the 15th was his birthday. We all sang and clapped and no one enjoyed the party nor the cupcakes any better than did little Pearl who was just 18 months old! What a lovely visit we had and it was nice to see our grandson David so nicely settled and happy with his lot in life and with his beautiful family. They are expecting another little girl in December so that pleases all of us. While Linda lives here in Rancho Mirage close to us, we saw more of her in those 2 days than we do in weeks at home as she is so busy as a Hospice Nurse and in many other activities.
(Before we had left home I had called David and asked him if he could come up with some sort of a prayer or message that we could read from him at the burial of Margherita. He said he’d do that and I asked him if he could get Linda to record something also. I told him we’d get some kind of CD player that we could use so that he could record his message on a CD. Some of the other nieces had written things too and had sent them via email to David so he said he’d handle that. What a good idea that was. It would bring other family members into our planned service without them being there.)
We bid them all farewell on Wednesday night. We got up and on the road by 7:30 a.m. headed for the Seattle-Bothell area. We planned to meet with my oldest cousin, Jim Horsley for lunch at his retirement home in Bothell. He is Margherita’s oldest sister Mildred’s oldest son. Jim grew up in the Seattle area, attended U of W and worked for Boeing before going to work as a ceramics engineer for Glady-McBean. At one point in his career he was transferred to the Glendale area but shortly after retirement he returned to Seattle. His wife of more than 60 years was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 3 years ago and he had to have her placed in a care facility which is within walking distance of his home. He shows true devotion to her and has lunch with her almost daily. He says she is happy but some days she doesn’t recognize him! How sad. We had a delightful visit and I told him of our mission later that afternoon. I had discovered through a few emails and phone calls where our grandfather’s grave was located in Chilliwack, B.C. in Canada. Jim said he had visited it many years ago but couldn’t remember anything about it. Anyway I knew they closed at 5 o’clock so we wanted to be sure to get there in time to locate it so we wouldn’t have to spend a night there.
We left Jim’s a little past noon heading north to the border. We crossed into B.C. at Sumas, WA at 3:06 p.m. The border-crossing agent asked for our passports and wanted all the details of our trip! We told him about trying to find my grandfather’s grave and also about what our mission in Calgary would be. He said that sounded like we were good people and he wished us a happy journey in our days ahead. As we drove along the Canadian side it turned into a beautiful valley of farmland and lots of trees. We could see the Cascade Mountain Range off to the south and noticed one of the mountains was completely covered with snow, to a relatively low point. Where there was no snow they were covered with pine trees and other vegetation. We arrived in the small town of Chilliwack around 4 o’clock. We went right to the cemetery (the Magellan is a great invention) and went to the office to seek help in finding my grandfather’s grave. We were given good directions and after a little looking around we found his gravestone. (I still can’t get over the fact that he was buried as Wesley Mathison Bruce! We always knew him as James W. Bruce.) This Chilliwack Cemetery is located on a hillside overlooking a lush green valley below. The cemetery if filled with trees of all kinds and the gently rolling hills add to its natural beauty. I’m not sure when I started thinking of cemeteries as beautiful. I have an idea it was a year ago when we discovered Evalina’s grave in Calgary. At any rate I felt so good to be visiting my maternal grandfather’s grave, bringing Margherita along since neither she nor I ever saw him after he left our home at the end of World War II sometime in late August of 1945. He had come to live with us in Arcadia for 1 or 2 years, I can’t remember exactly, and that was only the 2nd time we children ever saw him. He had visited us in Pasadena in the early 40’s but I barely remember that visit. I think my mother learned of her father’s passing away through a letter from someone who knew him. That was in February 1947. He had never remarried and I don’t know what ever took him to Chilliwack. It was most likely connected with a bible school as he devoted his life to the ministry and teaching. It was a most touching moment for me and it’s nice to know he’s in such a beautiful peaceful setting and I’m hoping somehow he knew that we were there. I’ll bet he’s had no other visitors other than the one from my cousin Jim in the late 40’s or early 50’s.
We had looked at the map and thought we could make it as far as Kamloops B.C. for the night. So when we left the cemetery we got back on the highway and headed east. It was a beautiful drive; the valley was surrounded by high mountains on both sides. They had many tree farms and know they must do a big business by selling their trees to nurseries all over Canada, perhaps even to the U.S. I’m not sure. As we approached Kamloops we couldn’t believe how the terrain changed. It was quite flat with barren landscape. We heard they have a large university there but aren’t quite sure what else. It was a rather large city out in the middle of nowhere! We got to our motel, checked in and then had dinner. We retired fairly early as it had been a long eventful day and we were pooped.
The next morning we got up and left Kamloops. We were actually a day ahead of our schedule but decided we’d like to spend an extra day in Calgary anyway. We headed west with more barren mountains and farmlands. We drove on the two-lane highway out of Kamloops where a river runs parallel to the roadside. It comes out of Lake Shuswap, flows west into the Straits of Georgia which is the same body of water as Puget Sound, and eventually into the Pacific Ocean. Lake Shuswap is surrounded by a beautiful country club and golf course and looks as though it’s a resort area. Salmon Arm is the heartland of the Shuswap. It’s a quaint modern town overlooking the lake--similar in beauty as Lake Tahoe but on a much smaller scale. From there we went into higher elevations with lots of forested mountains on both sides. Still it was only a two-lane windy road so a little hectic driving. Around 10:15 a.m. we crossed the Colombia River in Revelstoke. Mt. Revelstoke National Park and Albert Canyon were on the north side of the road and lots of high mountains were also on the south side. Many were snow covered. These are all in the Canadian Glacier National Park. (If this were a river we were on, rather than a highway, we’d be sure we were in a Fijord. There were many tunnels on the road as they were going through rather than over mountains. The scenery was absolutely magnificent and was so enjoyable that we didn’t mind the drive at all. Gorgeous, gorgeous country! One bit of interest is that they have Elk Crossing signs posted along the road. Something we are not accustomed to seeing. We crossed the Alberta border just east of Field and a little west of Lake Louise. As soon as we crossed the border the roads turned into beautiful four-lane divided highways and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. That’s about the same place as where you cross the Rocky Mountain Range. We drove through Banff and it was so packed with tourists we couldn’t even find a place to park. We had been there the summer before so decided we’d just skip it this time. So on to Calgary we went. It’s really a fairly short distance to Calgary, I think about 1 ½ hours at the most. We had called ahead and asked if we could have our room one night ahead of our reservation and they said all was fine. This gave us lots of time to do some things and get organized before Vangie & Jim’s pending arrival on Saturday the 18th and also that of our son and his wife’s arrival too.
Since we’d driven so many miles to Calgary our car was filthy, so on Saturday morning I asked Larry to go to the car wash. We had seen several around the place and so he went to Bubbles Car Wash just one block south of our hotel. He came back a short time later and said he couldn’t believe the charge! I said how much and he replied $49.00! I almost fell over. This was just the run of the mill car wash with lots of workers who cleaned inside and wiped it all down outside but nothing special! Guess if one gets out of work and can find the where withal to move to Canada, the car wash is the business to get into! I thought I could finish this story today but it will take one more segment to finish the Last Leg of the Journey of Margherita!
The Final Leg of the journey of Margherita, Part 2
On Friday, July 17 we drove to Union Cemetery to see what was taking place there at grandmother Evalina’s grave. They had prepared the burial spot for Margherita, and covered it with a green cloth, but no footstone yet. I called the cemetery department and asked again if they couldn’t request that the footstone be installed prior to Monday morning’s service. They said they couldn’t make any promises but that they would put in a request. All we could do was wait and see. I visited the florist whom I had ordered an arrangement from over the phone some weeks before. When I saw what the arrangement would be like I asked that they make it a little larger for an increase in price of course. On Saturday we checked the cemetery once again and still no change. I was really getting upset as I knew they wouldn’t be working on weekends. Larry and I went to the Archives in Calgary. There we found old telephone books and year books from schools and I found out several things about my grandfather Bruce’s brother, Thomas who had been a dentist in town, and a sister, Ethel who had been a teacher. In these books it listed their addresses so we went by the houses they lived in during the years of 1923 to about 1925 or 1926. After that there was no mention of Thomas again nor of Ethel. I learned that my grandfather had taught school at Calgary High School and learned that they were in a building in Calgary for about 2 or 3 years which belonged to another school. We visited that site which is still standing but has been abandoned. I have no idea when my grandfather left Calgary but I know he taught school there during 1923 and possibly 1924. At any rate it was an interesting day of discovery and site seeing and I realized these were the same grounds my grandparents had worked and lived in so many years ago. From there we walked across the street to the Tower where we had lunch. We decided then and there this would be the restaurant we’d take the Regans and the other Larsons to dinner on Saturday night so before leaving we made the reservation for Sunday evening.
Vangie and Jim arrived sometime around noon on Sunday and our son Gregg and his wife Kathryn were due in around 4 o’clock. We drove to the airport and picked Vangie and Jim up, took them back to the hotel to get settled then went back to the airport later that afternoon to pick up Gregg and Kathryn. After everyone had a chance to check in and freshen up a little we took off for the Tower. It was built during the Olympic Games held in Calgary in 1988 and probably is similar in size to the Space Needle in Seattle. We had a delightful evening and the dinner was wonderful. The service was impeccable and the scenery in all directions was spectacular. Off to the distant west were the Rocky Mountains and as far north, east and south that we could see were the plains. It was a beautiful clear evening.
Monday morning arrived and the long anticipated moment was at hand. We all met for breakfast in the hotel’s lounge where they served a modest continental type breakfast. After going back to our rooms we met in the parking lot around 9:40 a.m., we went to the florist’s to pick up the flowers and then headed for Union Cemetery. (My stomach was churning as I was wondering what we’d find when we got there!) To all our surprise they had installed the footstone on the grave and had placed a podium by the burial spot for us to use! All was well.
We started our service with my reading the poem “A Memory is a Treasure”, which was the forward to this story. I followed that by reading the following poem Margherita had written in April1937 dedicated to her mother, Evalina. It is as follows:
“Mother, O, the depth of the meaning implied:
Mother, whose influence has never died.
Why, I can remember, not so long ago
As I played at Mother’s knee,
She sang and smiled at me;
But now she’s gone.
Oh, that I could look upon her face;
But she is in another place.
On that blessed and happy shore
Some day we’ll meet to part no more.
‘Till then mid the din and strife,
I’ll be content to reflect upon her beautiful life;
And try myself to be as good a Mother and wife.
So in memory of her whose name was spoken,
Please accept this little token
From a Motherless girl, whose heart is broken;
But finds healing in doing for another
What she’d like to do for her own dear Mother.
Larry read Ray’s message and recollections. Next we played the recording from David, which was a message written from Mary Margherita Burt Godwin, Vangie’s youngest daughter, then David’s message about Margherita which was a beautifully interpreted message of how he knew Margherita to have been through her poetry. That was very special. Then Vangie proceeded to read a message her daughter Laurie had written, even though she wasn’t sure she could get through it, (she did beautifully I might add), then Gregg read a poem our daughter Jana had written about Margherita. These were all very touching and meaningful. Vangie then spoke from her heart about what her mother had meant to her and how she’s missed her all these years. Larry then spoke about how he knew Margherita and how she had impacted his life. Then it was my turn. The tears burst forth and I spoke from my heart how the longing for my mother has never waned and how much I’ve missed her all these years. The fact that she never knew even one grandchild—now there are 17! But to this day Ray, Vangie and I have always felt her presence and know she has been our guardian angel, watching over her flock! She has had a very busy assignment, so while we’ve all missed her dreadfully we realize she’s been with each of us in some way. Following my message we played a piece that our daughter Linda, Margherita’s oldest granddaughter had picked as her contribution to the ceremony. It was Perry Como’s rendition of “In the Garden!” When it began Vangie and I both burst forth in tears as we remembered it as one of our mother’s favorites and we could both recall her sitting at her piano playing and singing that song! Linda of course knew nothing of this so it was so ironic that she would have chosen that as her message to the grandmother she never knew! Somehow we all know that Margherita has finally come home to be with her mother Evalina, and that they are happy to be reunited for all eternity some 89 years later! It was one of the most touching and meaningful moments of my life and one I know will never be surpassed. Vangie and I are so happy knowing that Margherita is there with Evalina and that she is in a much better place than Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena where she had been since 1953. I’ll do one more segment to this story telling the history of Union Cemetery in Calgary. It is truly a beautiful place and has lots of history.
9-22-08 The great travel piece was sent to Dick Keck and forwarded on to me. This is from Rocky, class of '38, one of Donna's buddies.
Can you post this on the Travel page?? Was Rocky's question to Dick, he sent it on to me and here it is, I did this with about 2 hours sleep so hope I got it somewhat correct. Gary
Flying to Ankorage with a day to spare before I joined a group of 16 on a Joe Van Os photo tour , i took a shuttle to the Zoo to get my first images of the BIG Brown Bears , Ursa Arctos Horriblis
Flying west in a Saab prop jet for a couple hours we landed in the huge Kamai National Park (5 times bigger than Yellowstone) at Big Salmon on the Alaska Penninsula, which is the start of the Aleutian Island chain, and transferred to a small float plane for our final half hour to Brooks Lodge.
The wilderness enroute had boocoo lakes and swamps and rare habitations and roads
Landing at brooks lodge was conditioned on no bears on the beach since the bears own the park and suffer the homo sapiens to stay out of their way.
First thing ashore was in the park headquarters where the signs and the lecture emphasized the point and made sure we all knew that 50 yards was as close as we should get to a bear on the trail or road or beach.
This is what a sleeping bear on the beach looks like at 50 yard with a 450 mm lens .
Soon after, standing in front of the dinning hall, this bear walked by on the beach at about 20 yards
The beach gravel was filled with tracks
Our accommodations were in these cabins and often a bear walked through where the red coated man is walking
These cabins face a view of one arm of the shallow lake with marsh edges and islands where often we could see 10 to 15 bears fishing or playing and several fishermen out in waders.
About 300 yards from the dining hall along a broad path, inland from the beach about 50 yard was a bridge across a narrows and at the far end the first of three safe viewing platforms monitored by rangers at it land point and on the platform to determine safe crossing times since the were always bears in view .
This one on the left
and this mother and her yearling on the right just below the platform
From this platform it was a 1.6 mile walk along the lake, the through woods to the Brooks river with one platform at the falls and one 200 yards downstream in the riffles. The river and the lakes were full of Sockeye Salmon and all the bears were eating most of the time.
At the Falls were usually two or three bears with others just downstream
Some were in the fish ladder right under the platform
and so the end
ps many of the groups at the lodge were there for the fishing
A great trip and as usual great to be home
Rocky Rockwood - MAD '38