She was born January 28th, 1908 to Benjamin McEwan and Frances Ostrom-McEwan, the fifth of six children of which only three survived.
Her mother died when she was not quite two years old during a delivery that would take not only her mother but the child as well. From there Lilly’s life would forever change.
Her father was a successful fur cutter working for one of the foremost houses in Toronto at the time. It would seem that once he lost his first wife, his attachment to his children faded as well.
Benjamin remarried within a year and my mother was left in the care of her paternal grandparents and at the time three maiden aunts. Her brother and sister were sent out to Cantuar, Saskatchewan to be raised by their maternal grandmother.
While not privileged by money she was with love. She always spoke fondly of her grandparents and her aunts, in particular Edie, her favourite.
She grew up in the centre of Toronto at 27 Saulter Street. The house no longer exists, having been taken over by the railroad about 1920. She often told me about watching the soldiers board the trains on route to "The Great War" from the confines of their back garden.
Kelvin had to leave school after grade nine to provide for his family. His one and only job would be with Underwood Typewriter Ltd. Lilly finished grade ten and then went to secretarial school, which was common for the time.
After two of her Aunts married and her grandparents passed away, she moved with her aunt Edie to Kingswood Road for a time.
At eighteen Lilly and Kelvin were married December 1st, 1926, but afraid to tell their families they both returned to their respective homes until they mustered up the courage. It took the young couple over a year to muster up that courage.
The first would be that after Darcy, Lilly and Kelvin tried without fruition to have more children. At one point Lilly was told she would not be able to conceive again.
This prompted them to find other means as they desperately wanted a larger family.
My mother told me this was one of the lowest moments of her life. She was unable to even enter the child’s room and consequently my father felt it best to sell their home and move to another location to help her deal with her grief.
As they say the world works in mysterious ways because in December of 1946, they had another child, which would mean that my mother was not barren after all. Just three years later they had their last child, another girl. My mother was 42 at that time.
Mom always involved herself with us in a positive way. She played our games and helped with puzzles. Summers at the cottage involved making bread, popcorn and maple fudge. You see she had a sweet tooth also, even though it did not show on her.
In my teens my mother suffered from tuberculosis and while she was able to remain at home I remember at least one year of watching her consume many pills and not being present as she was confined to bed much of that time. She rallied as usual.
There was a time when due to a family loss she fell into a depression and that was a difficult time for us because it was so unlike her. For the most part my childhood was filled with pleasant memories of my beautiful mother. While she was older than the mothers of most of my friends she remained young in my eyes.
In her final years she lived with my sister up in Haliburton on the lake. When I would visit with her I listened to her talk about her life, always with a pleasant note even at the trying times.
Mom was always in awe of the nature around her, speaking often of the birds she would spot or the flowers that appeared with each summer month.
She loved her grandchildren with a passion and they knew it. She never let them forget how much they meant to her.
Her time with us was cherished and there are often moments when I think. Mom would have loved that, or I wonder if Mom knew that? This happens especially when I research into our family and find information that she had never told me about.
Mother’s day is oh so near so this is a tribute to my Mom and mother’s in general. They are always special.
She was unlike most of my friends' mothers and I remember that from when I was young.
She seemed to have more patience, and a love for life that was unequaled.
Love ya Mom