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I was raised in rural Southern Ontario on a corner lot of my grandparent’s farm. I have many fond memories of my childhood.

There was nothing I liked better than to spend time with the cows and horses in the old red barn. I also spent a lot of time helping my grandmother who was a role model in my life. She passed away in 1974. I miss her but find that many things she told me still influence me after all these years.

Grandpa was a talented storyteller. I remember well vivid tales of his childhood as well as the stories he told of his life in a logging camp in Northern Ontario. Grandpa died in 1998 at age 93. He left many fond memories of the time we spent together on the farm.

Dad worked hard all his life. He dug ditches, shoveled coal and worked on a ranch in British Columbia riding line. This was a hard and lonely job. He too was a storyteller and the tales he told of his time on that ranch always intrigued me. Dad was a nature lover. Often, he would take me along on a clear winter’s night when he went hunting for cottontail rabbits. On these excursions, he would teach me the wonders of nature and each time I see a doe drinking or Canada Geese in flight, I think of Dad.

For as long as I can remember, Mom has loved to write poetry. Her poems are filled with the wonders of nature and the world. The imaging of her poetry is superb. When I read Mom’s poems, I find myself experiencing whatever she is writing about. Mom has been a great influence on my life as well. Even though I am a grown woman, I can always depend on Mom to lend a helping hand or give support.

I have many happy memories of my childhood. We didn’t have many material things but our house and that of my grandparents were filled with love. Both my parents and grandparents supplied me with a wonderful legacy. I am thankful for their support and love of my family.

My brother and I attended a one-room school that was a quarter mile from our home. We made the trek to that school four times a day through rain, sleet and snow. I remember my brother going ahead to break a trail. At times the snow was as deep as our waists.

Though the school had no indoor plumbing and was heated by a coal furnace, my memories of attending there are happy ones. In winter, we skated on the creek behind the school and in summer, we enjoyed games of tag, baseball and Run Fox, Run.

My sister started school the year I entered third grade. That year we were bused to a new, six-room school three miles from home. School was never the same for me after that, though I do have great memories of the newer school.

When I was in fifth grade, I won a writing contest. I will never forget the words my teacher said to me that day. “Mary, I am proud of you. Someday your writing will be published.” For years, I worked toward that goal. In 1994, my dream of being a published writer was realized. Two of my stories, “Buddies” and “Daddy’s Chair” were included in the anthology, “Gifts Of Our Fathers…True Remembrances of Fathers and Grandfathers.” Since then, I have never looked back. Today, I am honored to say that my writing has been published in both print publications and on the Internet. Currently, my friend, Bertha, and I are compiling Veteran’s stories for an anthology, "Silent Warriors".

As children, my brother, sister and I were expected to work hard. We had daily chores that had to be done. From an early age, we were expected to help feed and water the livestock as well as shock grain, help at harvest time, and gather eggs. Besides all this, I helped in the house and garden. It was hard work but in those days families formed a firm bond while toiling in the fields together.

There is one other thing that makes me chuckle when I think about it. The trip through every kind of weather to the little shack outback. Those were the good old days.

One of my earliest memories, other than the farm, was my love of reading. I have traveled the world over and experienced wondrous things between the covers of a good book.

When I am not writing, I enjoy watching my grandsons, aged four and two while their parents work. The boy’s mother is my only daughter. The boys are the lights of my life and I have rediscovered the world through their small eyes.

My family is very important to me. My parents and grandparents have given me a legacy that is worth more than gold - the love of family and the love of storytelling.

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                           MY FAVORITE THINGS

When I am not busy with the boys or my writing, I enjoy spending time with my husband, helping Mom piece a quilt, crocheting and needlepoint. I also enjoy a walk on a quiet winter’s night, when the snow is falling gently. There seems to be a tranquility about the world on such a night that is hard to come by in our busy world.

I also love gardening. I have iris in my garden that was given to Mom by my paternal grandmother. They are beige and brown and are most unique. My garden also includes some other favorites. Roses of all colors, hollyhocks, delphiniums, morning glories and many other varieties bloom from early spring until late fall. I find working in my garden relaxing and am always glad to see spring arrive after a harsh Canadian winter.

Another favorite pastime is spending time with my many friends both on and off the Internet. I have formed a close bond with many of these people. They are my second family and I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Over the years, I have found that the simple things in life are the best. Family, friends and nature bring me the most pleasurable moments. It is within these pleasures that I find my tranquility.

                                     ~Mary Alward~



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Thank you, Scarlett,
This means so much to me.
May, 2000

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