My mother was about 10 years old when this photo was taken in front of my grandparents’ grocery store (around 1948/49) in North Surrey, British Columbia.
As the picture suggests, North Surrey was a humble but wholesome blue collar neighbourhood. It was full of hard-working families like mine and most of the kids who grew up together then remain friends and now, most in their late 70’s early 80’s, still get together every 3 months for lunch or to see an Elvis Presley impersonator concert.
Except my mom. She died when I was 10, the same age she was in this photo.
Having retired (supposedly), and watching his pennies, last year my uncle (my mother’s brother, who raised my siblings and I following my mother’s death), gave me a Christmas present that didn’t cost him a dime. But, as the credit card commercial says, to me it is precious.
Around the time the photo of my mother was taken, the Murchison Tea Company of Victoria, British Columbia made personalized tea tins for each of their merchants for Christmas. There was only one tin made for each merchant, and this was my grandparents.
As I suspect is true of most families, a lot of cool “stuff” from my family did not survive the passage of time. My antique auctioneer uncle salivates over the long gone storefront signs in the photo of my mom. I am thrilled this tin has survived three generations and being moved back and forth across Canada.
Watching the horrifying news coverage of the Fort McMurray fires I looked at my spoiled, lazy cat sprawled across the back of the sofa with his paws dangling down and told him that if our home catches fire he’ll have to fend for himself. I’ll be running for this tin.
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