When I was growing up our special family dinners always included “Auntie Pearl” aka (Pearl Beckwith) – a 2nd, 3rd, removed??? cousin of my Dad’s.  She was an unusual woman – born in Jamaica, never married and earned a living by living in other people’s homes while they went on vacation – looking after the home, their pets and often their children.  In between contracts, she had a room at the old (no longer existing) Alexandra Hotel at Somerset and Bank Streets.  Pearl was always meticulously turned out – I doubt she even owned casual clothing.

Many years have gone by and I find myself the Auntie Pearl of current times.  I am on my own (though I was married briefly many years ago), certainly am rarely “meticulously” turned out, my closet is full of casual clothing and I enhance my IBM pension by working for several real estate agents.  What we do have in common is being included in special family dinners.  I am so lucky to have two 1st cousins here in Ottawa and their children and grandchildren and even luckier to be invited to their family gatherings at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.  I am one Sheffield in a throng of Earles but they always make me feel so very welcome.

Easter, 2018 – Front Row – Julie Earle, Jennifer Earle, Steve Earle, Jamie Earle.  Back Row:  Sue Sheffield, Jeff Earle, John Earle

My brother, his three sons and their families, all live “away” – Toronto, Burlington, Guelph and Lake Mary, Florida.  Busy lives and geographic distance result in, for the most part, somewhat distant relationships – but any time I do see, or even hear from,  any or all of these folks, it is an extra special event.

Having no children or grandchildren of my own, my special friends play a huge role as part of my extended family and thank goodness for them. Knowing there is always somebody near by you can count on is huge.

I have no doubt we all define family differently based on our own life experience.  However we define it, we are lucky to have it.


2 thoughts on “Family

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