In loving memory of my mother Barbara E. Brocklebank (nee Whitebread). Niece of Edleen Benn, nee Ticknell.
My mother, Barbara Brocklebank, grew up as a little girl in the small town of Paris, Ontario. This was during the depression era; she was an only child of Kathleen and Lesley Whitbread. Her father had enlisted at the age of 15 years and fought in both WWI and WWII. He was a decorated veteran and suffered, after the war, from the effects of mustard gas and post-traumatic stress syndrome. My mother remembered her father, diving down onto the kitchen floor, believing that once again, he was in the trenches.
My mother’s family at that time were a part of society known as ‘the working poor’. Nonetheless, they were happy, creative and always kind to those who had less. Men were often given a meal at their home – the same men that ‘rode the rails’ looking for work during the depression.
My mother was very, very beautiful as a young woman. My father was working as a highway surveyor when he met my mother. He was also about to graduate from the University of Toronto as a civil engineer. She was studying nursing at St. Josephs in London, Ontario. Upon graduation, she married Robert A. Brocklebank. My mother and father were married for 21 years. She was a wife and mother as my father climbed the ‘corporate ladder’. They travelled and entertained business associates and dignitaries. These people remembered my mother as ‘the hostess with the mostest’. To those who knew her well, they were reminded of Lucille Ball in a constant episode of ‘I Love Lucy’.She was beautiful, happy, and often just plain silly. Her whole world crashed down around her when my father, at the top of the ladder, left her for a woman – young enough to be her daughter. She was never the same.
I am writing this in memory of my mother, so those who knew who she was might understand and appreciate where she came from. She had a kind heart and the gift of being able to accept all people as individuals. She moved to Burns Lake to be with me and my son, whom she adored. Thank you to all of you in Burns Lake that reached out, befriended, and genuinely cared about my mother. Thank you.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:13