As a young girl it must have been extra special for me to be able to remember all the weeks I spent visiting my uncle and aunt in Deer Lake. They were such sweet people that I begged mom and dad to let me go, and they did. Uncle Gerald and Aunt Lill had boys, but no girls at that time, so they cherished their time with a little girl. And I, in return, adored them both.
To say I remember very much about my time in their home would be a lie. But I do remember the most important things. There was a coziness about their home and also something that was lacking in many families-a big sense of humour, on both their sides. Laughter is the best thing I remember about all the hours I loved being treated like a princess. I got lots of hugs and kisses, but laughter was a part of everything that happened. Uncle Gerald saw the funny side of everything, and Aunt Lill laughed heartily at all his stories and jokes, as he did with her stories and jokes. I saw more smiles and heard more laughter there than I have at any other time in my life.
They were a well matched couple with a sparkle in their eyes for each other. I noticed that when I was under five years of age, so I’m sure it had been there forever, perhaps the moment Uncle Gerald met his wife and she eyed him. Aunt Lillian was a Jeddore, and I may need to be corrected on this, but I believe a Micmaq native from Conne River, a fact I only learned recently. She would leave in the summers to go to the pow wows, and of course Uncle Gerald would be happy to see her come back so happy and rejuvenated after spending time with all her relatives and friends. I met all of Aunt LIll’s family during my visits and then later went to high school with her sister Kaye.Her parents always welcomed me into their home, too. They are a very close family and have great love for one another.
Uncle Gerald is the younger brother of my father Albert, and also the sibling of Bill, Tom, Joe, Theresa, Vince and Val. Bill is his only surviving brother, who is currently living in Trepassey. Uncle Gerald left St. Shotts shortly after my father, and joined him in the lumber woods on the west coast at a very young age. He lived for many years in Deer Lake and then later moved to St. David’s, near Stephenville. In recent years he’s been living all over Canada with his sons for a few months every year, until he moved to Victoria, British Columbia, with his son Bob and his wife Maureen. So, Uncle Gerald, you were born in a small place called St. Shotts, but in your lifetime you met many people and visited many parts of Canada! And with your partner in life by your side!
To say that my aunt and uncle enjoyed life to the fullest would be an understatement. There could be no better people on this earth than them and wherever they went, they made new friends. They have a certain joy and energy about them that they draw people to them. There are few people that you meet that you know when you see them again, they are going to treat you with love and friendship, but these two never change their demeanor and light up when they see a friend or relative! The salt of the earth they are in my mind, and they have raised a family who they have passed on their love of life to, in every way possible. In my opinion, it would be difficult to be brought up in such a loving home, and not inherit all that affection and character that existed every day of their lives.
No matter what comes my way, I can honestly and sincerely say, that I am fortunate to have had these two extraordinary individuals in my life. Thanks Uncle Gerald and Aunt Lill, for treating me like one of your own! I could never forget either of you!