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Preserving stories from the past


Although my father’s parents were both deceased by the time I was 11 years old, I can still map out the layout of their home in my mind: the black flagstones in the entranceway where I gave untutored tap dance recitals in my black patent shoes, the sliding screen door that grandpa walked through by accident (accompanied by some very choice words not fit for small ears), and the piano with the cushioned bench that I have in my home now; I loved to pretend that I could play elegantly just like Grannie Inkster. 

Three men and three women standing on a sidewalk.
Grandpa Peter Inkster and Grannie Kathy Hattie Inkster (3rd and 4th from left) before they married. They met while working at Nanaimo Duncan Utilities and Fletcher Music in Duncan BC (c. 1941)

Perhaps the fact that my beloved grandparents died when I was so young impressed on me the fragility of a life, the transience of unpreserved stories. 

As a teenager and young adult, I travelled to Duncan, BC and interviewed my great-aunt, neighbours, and childhood friends of Grannie. One of them gave me the photo above; Peter had transferred from Nanaimo to work in the Nanaimo Duncan Utilities office while native Duncanite Kay worked next door at Fletcher Music.

I also met with a man who had served overseas with Grandpa Inkster in WWII in No. 16 Canada General Hospital Army unit. He provided me with photos, memorabilia, timelines, and most precious of all: stories.

A passion for stories has stayed with me and sharing these glimpses into the past brings me joy. Join me as I memorialize some of my family story adventures and as I share how you can do the same.


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