Happy heart flutters!
Smile gratefully at the bright rising sun!
Seventy-seven-year-old-calcified kneecaps bend.
Legs lug me to familiar servant-kitchen.
Cataract fuzzy eyes find hot water kettle.
Fingers fumble to plug it in.
Actually, do hear water boil!
This is the story of courtship between my maternal grandparents, Kuan Long Wing and Otilia Bagsican Gurdiel. Their decision to marry came about because of the most lowly but important footwear - Pantuflas - Spanish for slippers.
My grandfather, Kuan Long Wing,
was born in a small village in
Canton, now Guangzhou, China on
December 6, 1898. Specifically, Ah
Wing, as he was fondly called,
hailed from a farming village in Kai
Ping. This village was located near
the Pearl River, an important port
during the Manchu Dynasty. This
was the dynastic era that saw the
decline of what was once a glorious
As a child, growing up post World War II in outport Newfoundland, I thought I lived in luxury. I was never hungry or cold, I needed no money, I was loved and disciplined fairly. I was excited to get hand-knit socks and mittens and my older sister’s hand-me-downs.
My first new dress came from Simpson’s catalogue when I was 14 years old. I distinctly remember that dress. It was green candy-striped, with a big flared skirt and a belt and I wore it to my first garden party that summer. When I danced the Lancers and the boys swung me round and round, I felt like a princess in a Fairy Tale. One Sunday that summer, I ruined that dress when I teased a squid and it squirted its ink all over it. I knew it had cost my mother more money than we could afford.
If it weren’t for the Second World War, I wouldn’t exist. I was born because a Canadian man went to England to be part of the war effort, and found a lady to love.
My father, who grew up in Stony Mountain, Manitoba, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was shipped to England in 1942. My mother, a native of England, served in the WACS (Women’s Auxiliary Corps Service). They met in Southampton, my mother’s hometown, where they started their relationship
Volume 23, Number 132, April/May 2020 I Remember by Victoria Biggs
I remember when the smell
of fresh baked bread filled my head...
my tummy would growl in delight.
Or when you baked sweets and special treats...
how I savoured every bite.
When there was a storm you would keep me warm
and show me the sky so bright...
the thunder would crash... the lightening would flash.
You woke me to show me the sight.
You would point out the skies on the morning sunrise
or the sunset that came before night.
Immediately upon turning onto Rivers Edge Dr., I glanced into the back seat of my car and put down the rear right window like I used to when Mackenzie King was alive. He’d shove his twitching nose out and inhale the scent of getting closer to home with the Grand River flowing next to us as we traveled away from the noise and nose pollution along Highway 86.
Stepping out of the car on that early March evening, I gazed into the moonlit sky and asked him if he was galloping across the galaxies like he did on the snow crusted fields of winter and the freshly plowed corn fields of spring when he’d run so fast his blurred feet appeared to never touch the ground. Before moseying into the house I reminded him,”You can come around anytime.”