Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"Concentration" Camps and Cousins' Reunion

Several headlines in my news feed the past few weeks have confirmed Trump is not only running concentration camps for Latin Americans and other refugees flooding across the southern border of the USA but also reopening the concentration camps where they sent Japanese Americans during WWII. I will make no comments on that other than I need to quit reading the news. Following the ruination of several countries by politicians out of control is not good for my mental health.

I have been having trouble concentrating. Am trying ADHD meds to see if that helps.  I have OCD-ADHD. I want everything to be perfect but only for a short time. That joke is not funny to people who suffer from OCD. Maybe they should send me to a "Concentration" camp where I can learn to concentrate.  They have summer camps for everything else. My almost 16 year old granddaughter will be going to an English summer camp in Poland for a while this summer. Last year she was at one in Poltava.

Writing decent blog posts takes effort and I appreciate those of you who actually have regular posts.  It is hard work, I know that.

This past weekend, the ten children of the three Johnson sisters gathered for a Saturday afternoon and evening, just so we could say we were all in one place like we did as youngsters and teenagers.  It had been years since that happened though certainly, we were all in touch and we had all visited with each other from time to time. Just not all at once. Tanya was the only spouse missing and sent regards by Whatsapp. We celebrated two 70th birthdays as our excuse for gathering.

We grew up within 70 miles of each other and when our grandparents were alive, the whole crew of us would gather at least twice a year.  And we visited back and forth many times during the year too. Right now there is one of us in Vancouver, one in Calgary and me in Ukraine. The rest are within an easy three-hour drive of each other.

Our grandparents farmed at Kelfield until 1955 then sold out and retired to Biggar. Grandpa was a good farmer and a good manager. Grandma could grow flowers in the desert. During the drought of the 1930s, Grandpa would haul water in barrels on a stoneboat from a distant slough so Grandma could water her flowers. She always had a solid wall of sweetpeas at the farm and in her yard in Biggar. We lost Grandma in 1960 and Grandpa in 1967.

The three sisters and their husbands died in the first decade of the new century so we 10 are it. Ranging in age from 72 to 63. I hope we are still all here and we can do this again. Soon.

Johnson cousins June 2019

Johnson sisters and spouses c 1970s

Our Grandparents Johnson c 1950s
Grandma's flower garden on the farm





14 comments:

  1. I wonder if your Grandparents knew my maternal Grandparents, who farmed in Biggar during the late 1920s and 1930s. Of their large family, one son remained in Biggar and continued to farm there. The family name was Weibel.

    I hope that medication helps and you are able to concentrate better.

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    1. One of the great losses with each generation is the repository of memory of what happened when and who lived where etc.
      We'll see how the meds work. recovering from illness doesn't help concentration either.

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  2. The news is bad for blood pressure. When I start feeling upset I switch to lolcats :)

    I hope the medication does the trick. I can't imagine ADHD being very much fun.

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    1. Yes, cats, dogs, lions and bears keep me sane. According to my kids I have had ADHD all my life. It isn't life threatening, just a nuisance when you try to get work done.

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  3. Yeah, I hit Publish too soon! I was going to say how sweet and dedicated your Grandpa was to go to so much work for your Grandma and her flowers. Actions speak loudly.

    There were 11 kids in my dad's family and five in my mom's, so we had no shortage of cousins. Now with all of our generation having between 0 and 3 kids, the family tree is getting skinny again. You ten cousins probably know each other almost as well as siblings, I bet.

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    1. Most of our neighbours were German Catholics with large families. A highschool friend recently had a reunion of everyone descended from his grandfather. There could have been 550 but 450 showed up. Our families were pretty small and we were very close, like siblings as you said.

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  4. Don't worry about your concentration. As I have said before; there is nothing wrong with our minds as we age - our hard drives are just full and it takes longer to retrieve information.
    You are lucky to have family - I don't
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. The only stuff that gets deleted from my HD is what I meant to remember. The older I get the more precious family becomes. I hope you have "adopted family" at least. They are like family and I have many of them too.

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  5. After the revolution things are going to be different. It is getting more like that is the only solution to the insanity of my government.
    Glad you are able to spend time with your family and I hope your concentration improves. I'm just trying not to lose my cognitive abilities at a high rate of speed.

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    1. I hope it is a ballot box revolution. If it is bloody, as I fear it might be, then one set of executed nobility is replaced by another. In Tsarist times, nobility made up 1.5% of the population of the Russian Empire. Does that % sound familiar?
      Saw a meme that said I am going through life at several WTFs per day.

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  6. What a great excuse to get together - it's great that you made it happen! My mom's family was a large one: 6 kids in her family and 12 siblings in her mom's. The whole fan-damily used to get together, with mountains of food and kids running everywhere. These days the clan has scattered, and I rarely see more than a few of the cousins. I miss the old family gatherings.

    I hope you'll be patient with yourself (says she to the guy with ADHD). You had a prolonged and serious illness, and that knocks the stuffing out of brain and body for a very long time afterward. Take it easy - it's all part of the healing process. You'll get there! :-)

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    1. Family gatherings are fun when everyone knows everyone and they feel like siblings, more than cousins. In Russia cousins are called my brother or my sister. Even second cousins. Took me a while to figure out how many siblings Tanya actually had.
      Another year will make a big diference to me. But I do miss my mind.
      The whole fan damily - I have heard this expression in my family but you are the first outside person to use it that I know of. Prairie roots.
      Are you on the Island between July 24-29 inclusive? I am flaying out after the daughter's wedding and want very much to meet you.

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  7. Thankyou for that introduction to your family. Grandma's garden must have been a riot of flowers, thanks to Grandpa hauling all that precious water. I wonder if there's still a flower garden at the farm? My mum had 3 sisters and 2 brothers, sadly all that generation are now gone. I am one of a set of 10 cousins, now 9 after the loss of the eldest cousin. We have had some cousin family reunions in the past, the latest was summer 2018 in England, but I don't think we will ever all be together again as we are scattered across the globe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England.

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  8. The farm is long abandoned (65 years) and the garden grown over with grass. The stone house is all that is left and it is in ruins.
    On my dad's side, one cousin is in St Louis, one in Mexico and me in Ukraine but the rest are within traveling distance. People scatter now though they did in the past too. My dad's father and three brothers came here from Ireland in 1906 and never saw their remaining brother again. Fifty years earlier when kids left home for the west, they might never be heard from again by their families. People have always moved around to some degree, just today it is much easier. I hope your cousins get another reunion.

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