Ivy was born in Burns Lake April 17th 1931. She grew up on the “Old Babine Rd” where the Paterson’s were their neighbours. Pat Disher was her best friend for always, and Ivy admired Pat’s mom Mary. According to the stories Mom told Lori, mom’s family were basically squatters, as they found a piece of land and built a cabin there.
As a child Mom told stories of raising goats and playing with them as well. Long walks to school in the cold of winter, rain of spring and the colours of fall were part of her pioneer heritage. Ivy appreciated the Anderson family that lived close to town, as they watched out for her and her siblings. On especially cold days, they were invited in and made to warm up with hot drinks before heading home.
Life for Ivy wasn’t easy back then. There was never an abundance of anything. Clothes were second hand and shoes were worn through. Single parenting now is tough, imagine how it was back then when Nana was working to feed and clothe Mom and her siblings.
To Mom, Gramma Eckland was a very important person in her life. She had many fond memories of her and loved being with her as a child. In many ways Ivy felt like she was like her gramma as neither of them liked change.
At the age of 16 Ivy quit school to help raise her younger brother Clarney who was 14 at the time. She went to work at the Omineca Cafe, and cooked at various logging camps.
During this time she met the love of her life, Sam. They were married August 1st, 1949.
First comes love, then comes marriage, three months later came a baby carriage, as Linda was the first of six to be born. Linda and Harold were born within two years. A few years went by and Sammy and Lana were also born within two years of each other. One day when Lana was five or six, Dad went next door to visit Clarney. He came home to tell mom that someone had done a “ring” test on him and it showed that they were going to have two more kids! Mom was apparently quite upset by this as she must have thought that four was plenty, but as history shows the “ring test” was right, because eight years after Lana was born, Melody came along and four years after that, Lori was born.
In the early years of marriage Ivy and Sam lived in various places, wherever his work took him. They built a home on what was then, the top of 8th Avenue. This is the home that all six children grew up in. A lot of fond memories were built in and around this home on 8th Avenue, with the Dishers, Bedards, Grahams, Cowans, Radleys, Switzers, Aslins, and other families that came and went. For 56 years Mom was the one constant on the street, and was able to live in the home that her and dad built until she passed away.
Many fond memories were made around the kitchen table when friends and family would gather with fiddles, guitars, and various utensils that were used as instruments. Drinks were drunk and songs were sung and laughter was abundant. Mom loved to play her guitar or the electric organ, sing to her kids and encouraged us to sing along.
Mom was still raising Melody and Lori when the grandchildren started to come. With 20 years between the oldest and youngest it was bound to happen.
As we grew and moved out, and the need for scrubbing diapers diminished, her love of gardening grew. Mom took pride and joy in her flower beds for many years. The hot summer of 2006, was mom’s best summer by far. We had all chipped in for a lawn swing for her birthday, which she spent hours on, just enjoying the sun and beautiful flower-bed that she had cultivated that year.
Over the years, kids and grandkids, had one or more hand knit sweater made especially for them, crafted with hours and hours of love.
Mom’s artistic talents were evident by the few sketches she had done and paintings she dabbled with over the years. We tried to encourage this by buying her painting supplies and an easel, but Mom’s inspiration couldn’t be forced, and of course the more we encouraged, the more stubborn she got.
The most important thing in Mom’s life was her family. We all, as children, felt loved and secure and knew that we came first above all else, no matter what. The hundreds and hundreds of pictures she kept at the ready seemed to be proof of that. She would look through them all the time. We often would grab a box or an album while visiting and take a stroll down memory lane. The really neat thing about these pictures was that you never quite knew what you would see in your stack. There would be old black and whites, mixed in with others from every year you could imagine. Each new handful would be another trip down memory lane.
With Dad’s passing, came about a huge change in her life. He was her soul mate, her eternal partner and she never ever thought about being with anyone else. Within that year she lost her husband, mother, and younger brother.
The woman who had depended on Dad to look after her, in a lot of ways was gone, and in her place rose the most remarkable woman we are proud of.
The independence Ivy gained was phenomenal, and with that she was able to do things she never had imagined.
With her youngest child Lori in grade eight, she herself had to go back to school to become a home care worker, and was forced by circumstance to finally get her drivers license. Mom often talked about the patients and the compassion that Ena showed her during this time, and was forever grateful.
For more than 10 years Mom worked as a home care worker. During that time she helped train many other women in home care work. Some of those women ended up helping Mom out in the last few months and commented on how much they had enjoyed working with Mom.
At 65 and no children left at home, or job to go to, her social life changed. She enjoyed going to the Blue Grass Festivals, visiting whoever may be out camping, or the occasional trip South to visit her sisters.
In the last 10 years of Mom’s life, being able to drive to the San Bar for her morning visits were an important part of her routine. Old friends were seen, and new ones were made over warm coffee and hot gossip. Betty’s colourful jokes and comments turned more than one cheek red but also livened up the conversation.
When Mom turned 75, it was decided that having surprise coffee and cake at the San Bar would be perfect. What better place as all her cronies gathered there regularly. It was a great turn-out and she was surprised to say the least.
A strong belief in God was carried with her throughout her whole life. It started in Sunday school, with Gramma Eckland, and continued on her whole life. Her bible was well read as were many different magazines and monthly subscriptions.
Last December she suffered a heart attack at home. She thought she was having one, but didn’t want to bother anyone. She stayed at home for two days afterward, until she wasn’t able to, and needed to go to the hospital.
The next few weeks were terrifying for her. Mom’s very first trip in a plane was in the air ambulance flying down to Vancouver. She said it was the most awful experience of her life. And because of this heart attack, the last ten months were very hard for Mom, both physically and emotionally.
She lost her faith for a while, she lost her independence, and slowly lost her desire to fight. Her passing is a shock. We all knew that her body was wearing down, and the time was close, but when it happens, one is never really ready. We all take comfort in knowing that she was ready to go, she was ready to be with Dad, and that she won’t have to suffer anymore. We all believe that she finally has peace, and is with her soul-mate in a special place called Heaven.
So as we all are sad for her passing, we will also reflect back on so many memories, and she will be alive in our hearts and minds today, more than ever.