Remembering

This time last year I wrote a post called Remembering through role play, which was as much – if not more – about brotherly dynamics as a nod to Remembrance Day. This year was a big step forward for our family, as our youngest, until this year only a spectator at Remembrance Day events, carried a flag for the local Scout troupe in the parade that followed our town’s ceremonies. He has seen his big brother take part in this and other public ceremonies for the past five years, and it was very special to see him stepping up for his turn.

In truth, he was a wet rag when it was all over, and in need of hiding away from the world when we brought him home. The previous 24 hours had been spent at his first ever sleep-away camp with the Cubs, and it was a big deal for him. It’s the sort of rite of passage that will be appreciated anew from a distance; right now, he is exhausted from the effort of doing so much that is new, and taking on a new level of responsibility. So very different from his big brother, but thank goodness we understand him (mostly).

Young boy doing archery at a Scout camp
Our youngest during archery lessons at Cub camp

Tomorrow we officially start homeschooling this boy; grade four has been a big transition and one that, in the end, we feel hasn’t worked for him. Homeschooling is really something that I believe we have been working towards all along with this boy, and now is the time. I’m both daunted and exhilarated, and very grateful for the very generous homeschoolers in our community with whom we’ve already connected (and family who have vowed to pitch in).

***

A quite lovely reminder of what today is about can be found on the blog Sailors Small Farm.

My own father was a baby during WWII, but my husband’s father was stationed in North Africa and spent the war servicing Lancaster bombers. Our boys are very fortunate to have a grandfather who returned home largely unscathed (at least outwardly) by the war, and who survived into their early childhood. He left us a few years ago, but Grandad Roy is remembered as an amazingly resourceful man who could fix or make anything with his bare hands and ingenuity.

Grandfather and grandson in the garden
Grandad Roy and our youngest during a visit to England in 2007

I remember all too well the elderly man who spent hours upon hours pottering in his workshed at the bottom of the garden, a cigarette pinched between his lips as he concentrated on the workings of something or other, but love to imagine the stories that live on of him as a young man, a person I never knew. Always restless and full of focused energy, Roy was known in wartime for foregoing essential daytime naps under the hot African sun in favour of hunting. I can imagine how popular he must have been, showing up with some fresh meat for a meal, after endless rations of bully beef.

Garden shed / workshop
Grandad Roy’s workshop at the bottom of the garden in England; it was renamed ‘Fort 14’ by our oldest and a cousin during our 2007 visit.

Remembering one individual in this way is, for me, a tremendous reminder of all of the unique and individual lives cut short by war. Lives that might have been.

12 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. Oh, I’m glad to hear you’re going to homeschool him…if I had it to do over, yada yada. I’m sure he will thrive.

    As to scheduling the cub sleepover for the night before Remembrance Day – why do they do these things? My daughter’s Guide unit did this twice, and she was absolutely a mess as a result. Carrying the flag, though – it’s a dilemma isn’t it – one wants the honour without the stress, but they only seem to come in a packaged deal.

    I love the tribute to Granddad Roy. He sounds like a wonderful grandfather. The potting shed is so very British – I mean, can you even get that colour of exterior paint in Canada? It is very reminiscent of Wallace… I’m teasing, as you know.

    1. Can’t tell you how my I appreciate the homeschool support. I feel so relieved to have made the decision, but can’t say I’m not feeling a bit overwhelmed.

      Separating the Remembrance Day events from a camp weekend would make so much sense. I can see why they do it – bundling things like this together reduces the number of commitments for the leaders – but it’s so hard on the kids (so glad it’s not just mine, if you know what I mean!).

      Thank you for the comments on Grandad Roy. Oh yeah, that shed colour is straight out of the classic British garden books, isn’t it! My husband will love the reference to Wallace.

  2. A wonderful tribute to Grandpa Roy…
    I homeschooled our children for various times in their lives – always challenging with several kids and babies! A support network is a must – sadly, something I did not have back in the day…

    1. Thank you. Homeschooling your own children sounds like it must have been challenging at best without the support – I can’t imagine it. I take my hat off to you!

      1. Libby, you are a generous soul, thank you. I’m still feeling my way and knowing that I could ‘knock on your door’ is amazing. Just read your latest post and hope that all is well with your uncle. Take care.

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