Friday, February 17, 2012

29in29: 7teen

February 17th is one of the saddest days of my life. I don't think about it ahead of time but when I looked at the calendar and noticed that tomorrow was the 17th, my thoughts turned to saddness.

I had a sister, born on February 17th, 1950 . I think we had a normal family life, we lived in a modest home, we didn't have a family car and I remember we had to take the bus everywhere. One such time we took the bus to Stanley Park and I must have had my Brownie 127 camera with me, and I snapped a photo of my sister, Louise


On the Stanley Park train ride. This must have been around 1954, give or take a year. Little did I know that my world would turn upside down as my parents decided to divorce shortly after when I was about 8 or 9 years old. As with any Oriental family, males were cherished more than females so I remained in Vancouver, British Columbia, while my sister went with my mother back to her home in London, Ontario.

I wasn't sure whether I should have posted this or not as I am having an emotional moment trying to key this stuff in and try to give you enough information without boring you all to death.

My dad was heart-broken and couldn't handle it very well so I went to live with my Aunt & Uncle. So even though I had a roof and meals I didn't have the cozy feeling of a united family and I also had to earn my own money. Eventually my Dad remarried and I decided to remain with my Uncle until my senior Uncle decided that I should live with my DAD and kicked me out of the house. I had no where to go except to my Dad's so there I was in a cramped house sharing a room with my step brother.

I wasn't well received by my new half step family and I always got the feeling that I was an outsider as I noticed the favoritism towards my step brother and step sister. Eventually I just moved out and left home

During all this time I was not allowed contact with my Mom, or my sister Louise. I had not seen her since about 1954 or 1955. It wasn't until I got married to Mrs Skoot when I decided to try and make contact with my Mom and sister. So after around 20 years I managed to find them living in Toronto. We exchanged a few letters and some phone calls.

I told Mrs Skoot we had to take a vacation to Toronto. It was something that I HAD TO DO and during the summer of 1972 we travelled to Toronto to visit my Mom for the first time. It was my intention to also see my long, lost sister, BUT it was not to be. She, being a hippy type decided to travel in a VW van with a friend to come to Vancouver. I was really hoping that she would arrive before we left for Toronto but fate intervened and she was delayed. We went to Toronto and she phoned home from Vancouver thus we got to talk on the phone, but not physically able to meet each other.

We finished our holidays and returned to Vancouver, however by this time Louise was already heading East on her way home (to Toronto). A few months later, October 1972 I received a phone call late one evening from my Mom to inform me that Louise had died from an infection. Money was tight so I decided not to attend her funeral. I often think about this and it brings tears to my eyes.

Even though I had not seen her for nearly 60 years I still feel that we are our only family. I don't have many memories of our early years at home (with her), and I don't have more than just a couple of photos of her, but I am grateful that I had my Kodak Brownie, or otherwise I would not have been able to take this photo of Louise, my sister. I miss her a lot, and every year on February 17th, I get all chocked up and emotional.

Louise, my sister circa: 1954

Just the way I remember her . . .


  1. I'm glad you posted it. You did a beautiful job getting it all down. I am very sorry for your many losses over the years. So many people (me included) take families for granted.

  2. Oh Bob, now I'm a little choked up.

    It must have been hard to go through that as a child. You were very brave to put it down into words.

    Your sister was adorable and I am sure she would have loved you had you the chance to spend some time with her. Fate can be cruel.

  3. Oh, Bob - My heart goes out to you. Thanks for sharing your story with us. I know it must've been so hard to commit to print and share with the world.

    Many blessings to you~

  4. If it'll make you feel better about it Bob, all families, I've found, are dysfunctional in some way or another....mine's a doozie but that's another time and story..

    good post


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  5. Very touching, Bob. Very intimate to share. Thank you.

  6. Thanks Bob.

    Tomorrow morning, make some Hollandaise, poach some eggs, toast an English muffin or two or three, slide some nice yummy bacon in there, and put the 17th behind you for another year.

    All the very best, you've got a heart of gold.

  7. Such lovely pictures of your sister - she's beautiful. I'm glad you have them. I'm sorry that you had to suffer these things as a child - very hard. And I agree with others, very brave to post up. Beautiful post. Wishing you the very best today and always!

  8. Group Reply:

    thank you for your kind comments. For some reason this year, this day is making me much sadder than before. I have come to realize that I am the end of our immediate family. I am the elder, I have no more Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents, I have no sister, nor any brothers . . . but I am very thankful to have ALL OF YOU

  9. Bob

    My heart aches for you and I understand why this was hard for you to post about your early life. I could not imagine the feelings you go through each February 17th. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Dear, Bob,
    My heart feels your grief for days long lost. I'm sorry the reunion didn't go down as planned. It may be something that will probably always bother you, but try not to let it.

    Apparently, she was a free spirit and hopefully she lived her life with little regret.

    I'm glad you were able to reunite with your mom. Life doesn't always play fair, and we have to take what we can get.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Hopefully, your loss is more bearable when you have friends to help shoulder the burden with you.

    Take care my friend,
    Lady Di

  11. Bob, We must always realise that when we say goodbye it might be for the last time - that is why I hate saying goodbye to anyone I cherish.

  12. Hi Bob,

    Thank you for sharing, and I am sorry to hear this happened. Thank you for teaching all of us to cherish and love our own family.

  13. Thanks for sharing ... the story of our lives is similar, yet so very different. Reading this particular post touched me deeply. You teach me so much and help me "feel" what others are going / have gone through.

  14. Words from 8000miles away will always be inadequate. But hey mate, thinking of you. Bless ya. Rog

  15. Your sister had such a beautiful and open smile! Divorce can be so hurtful sometimes.