Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

in their laughter


I got my Mom back last night. After a week of surgery, shuttling between hospitals, sleeping in hallways of emergency wards, misdiagnosis and over medication, Mom is under the care of her own GP at her local hospital close to my sister. She begins the year with a partial new hip and pneumonia.

When my mother was forty-two and my father walked out of our lives, it left the door open wide for an incredible assortment of intelligent women to come in. They brought with them a variety of interests and a love of life.

First was Helen. She was widowed during the war and had a doctorate in social work. She lived with an 80-year-old parrot inherited from her father. Helen gave the toast to the bride at my wedding and was at the Vancouver Symphony with my Mom the night our eldest son was born.

Mary Frank began the educational travel program through continuing education at the University. She liked her beer warm and drove a convertible Mercedes-Benz. Mary Frank said that if the Lord came down and told her to choose between her Mercedes and one of her five children she would have to give it some thought.

Mom and Mary Frank advanced in Tai Chi far enough to earn their own swords, had season tickets to the Playhouse and spent a good deal of time in the Faculty Club lounge at the University.

When Mom was 53, at an international conference in New York she introduced herself to the only other woman in the room who was alone and seemed to know no one. Her name was Evelyn and they became dear friends. Although Eve lived in Kingston, they spoke every other day for most of thirty-nine years.

Eve joined Mary Frank and Mom on a UBC trip to Korea studying Buddhism. They also cycled in Cyprus and sang silent night in Bethlehem. One year, Mom and Eve played hookey from a conference in Boston. They rented a car and drove to New Foundland to see the glaciers.

Mom met Lois, the anesthetist when they ran the lecture series together at Brock House. There, they heard a presentation by the owner operators of a river rafting company in the Yukon. They decided to celebrate their 72nd birthday together rafting down the Tatashini river. Again, to see the icebergs.

Mom and Pat did aqua fit together and had season tickets to the Arts Club. Sadie was a petit school teacher who traveled the world on her summer vacations. Joyce worked on the Status of Women council with Mom. Eileen loved to walk the sea wall on a Sunday morning. Cara Joy, the mathematician liked to explore the back roads with Mom and a picnic lunch. She wrote a book about the origins of zero.

Last night my Mom was comfortable, the fog she had been under, lifted and I got her back. We sat and talked about all of the amazing women she was fortunate enough to have in her life. Mom is 93 and the only one left. They have all passed. Weren’t we so lucky to have had them in our lives and to share

in their laughter

Author: Off Grid Islanders

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

10 thoughts on “in their laughter

  1. I loved the story about all your mom’s friends. Through this I learned a lot about your mom. She sounds like a really interesting person and maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to meet her.

  2. What wonderful memories for your Mom. I, too, treasure my female friends, especially the DeCourcy ones, who always seem to be there for me when I need someone.

  3. Lovely, just lovely. How good for her children, too, to have all these wonderful women to enrich their lives, and model interesting lives.

  4. Your Mom sounds awesome! No surprise, of course, I’ve met her daughter. I’m so glad she’s there with you and comfortable.

  5. Your mom sounds like an amazing lady. It makes me reflect on the strong women that I have in my life, as well, and how thankful I am for that.

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