Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

spagetti and apple crisp.


I have mentioned before about my Grandma’s guild ladies who came for tea when I was growing up..One of the ladies was Mrs. Howard. Mrs. Howard had a sister named Cecily.   Cecily would visit Canada once every three years from Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

I always looked forward to her visits.. She was a sweet elderly lady who as I understood it, spent her life alone in a three-story walk up volunteering at her local Anglican church. I pictured her spending her winters knitting sweaters for the poor. Kind of an Anglican Nun type of lady. She spoke with a soft soothing voice.

In the winters at my elementary school we would make Christmas cards in art class.  I remember I made one from an old Christmas card with a St. Bernard dog wearing a Santa hat. I cut the dog out and glued it to another card wrote Merry Christmas Cecily inside and my Grandma helped me mail it to England.

I was in  grade twelve in 1975.  Cecily made her last trip to Canada. She told me at tea that she still had the St Bernard card on the mantle of her fireplace. When Cecily left that day, my Grandma turned and handed me a letter she had left for me.  I keep it in my safety deposit box in Vancouver.  Cecily wrote  me that when she was very young,  she was married to a policeman who was killed in the line of duty. She wore his ring her whole life. She wished for me to meet and marry a man as true as the diamond in the ring.  She enclosed the ring for me.. A gold band with a single diamond. All her worldly goods.

When my Mom got engaged my Dad didn’t have any money to buy a ring, so my Grandma gave Mom hers . The ring she had been wearing since November 22, 1912 .  When E and I got engaged  he didn’t have any money to buy me a ring.   (reoccurring theme in our family)

Mom gave me her engagement ring. It should have had three diamonds in it but one was missing. I had the jeweller take the diamond from Cecily’s ring and put it in the family engagement ring. By then I had also inherited Grandmas wedding band.

So I  wear my Grandmas one hundred year old wedding band and engagement ring. We had Cecily’s ring sized and polished for E and he wears it.  Our rings mean a great deal to us and their history bring us good karma.

Our first date was October 4, 1980…Thirty three years ago.

E was living in a basement suite on Kits Point. He invited me for dinner and made

spagetti and apple crisp

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

2 thoughts on “spagetti and apple crisp.

  1. From my Mom….

    Loved your blog about cecily.. I remembered about the ring…but not about the letter. Did you know that mrs howard left all her money..and she had a her lawyer. I thougght there was some skulldugery there and so did cecily.

    But she had great confidence in the Lord. The british govt. ran a lottery every year for its citizons who had done what they were supposed to do…pay a tax or something. It wasnt a lot of money I dont think..mebbe a hundred dollars or so. Cecily had won so often that when she came to canada she wrote the govt. A letter telling them her temporary address!

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