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MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Choosing my absolute favourite things was difficult for me as several things came to mind immediately. I love my photos and frequently spend hours sorting them and remembering significant people and events while doing so. That’s why it takes me so long to organize them. My books are also very important to me as reading is my passion. Then there are mementoes, drawings and poems that I have received from my husband, my daughters and my grandchildren, as well as those things I have which belonged to my parents.
However my Charm Bracelet and all its charms is what I have decided to focus on at this time.

My husband Alex gave me the gold bracelet for Christmas a long time ago. I think it may have been about 1973. There was one charm already attached to it which really touched me – it is a gold round circle on which is written, “A Date to Remember”. On the back Alex had our wedding date of December 28, 1963 engraved. Lovely thought! As I am extremely sentimental that made the bracelet immediately very precious to me. Of course I cried! He knows me very well and expected that reaction. The next charm Alex presented to me was a chalet signifying the fact that we had just purchased our first home. Alex who claims not to be sentimental certainly has chosen items which have significance to both of us. In 1975 I finally convinced him to travel to my native country of The Netherlands with me for the first time. I was most anxious for him to meet my family and for them to meet my husband whom they had only seen in photographs. We had a wonderful holiday and also visited his two sisters who were living in Germany at the time. At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam it was his idea to purchase a charm of a jet plane as a souvenir of our trip. I loved it! The following year my Mom and Dad went to Holland for a holiday and to reconnect with family. My parents asked me to look after their store in Wallaceburg for the duration. Their convenience store was at 567 Duncan St. right in front of King George Park. When they returned Mom gave me the two golden wooden shoes charm as a thank you – a meaningful gift!

We have three daughters and a charm with their initials is engraved on each little girl figure. They are lovely! In 1977 we decided to take our daughters to Disney World in Florida in July. To say that it was hot is a gross understatement. It seemed that wherever we stopped for the night, that place was experiencing heat records that day! In fact in Washington, D.C., I suffered a heat stroke. Our station wagon did not have air conditioning and I was feeling increasingly ill. Alex became concerned and he pulled in to the first good motel with a pool, for us to spend the night. He pushed me into the shower with all my clothes on and started running cool water on me in an effort to try to bring my body temperature down. Afterwards I fell into a deep sleep for 8 hours. Alex and the girls spent the day in the pool. I felt much better when I awoke and was very hungry. However in the meantime it was past 9 pm and the restaurant was closed. Alex asked the owner if she could please make me a sandwich having explained our problem. I remember a most delicious roast beef sandwich and an excellent cup of tea. The next morning off we were to continue our trip to Florida. Of course my souvenir from Disneyland was a Mickey Mouse charm which our little girls chose for me. So many memories!

Alex attended an International Police Chiefs Conference in Dallas, Texas that fall. My gift from that trip was a President Kennedy charm as I had always been a huge Kennedy fan. In fact the weekend that this vibrant young man was assassinated in Dallas was when a large wedding shower was held for me which I almost did not attend due to the historic events occurring before our eyes on television for the very first time. I practically had to be forced to accompany my mother to the church hall to play “Bingo”.

An exceptionally meaningful gift came to me from my de Burger grandmother in Holland who died at the age of 94 on December 8, 1973. A family meeting was convened and the decision was made to send me her wedding ring! I felt honoured and appreciated this immensely! To ensure its’ safety I had it added to the charm bracelet. Since the birth of my grandchildren their charms now adorn my bracelet as well. Allison has told me that Matthieu will soon join that company. For Mothers’ Day one year, my eldest daughter Jacquie presented me with a “MOM” charm which means a great deal to me as this is the most important role of my life – with my Grandma role following close behind. I have always loved the Trillium the flower of Ontario, and so for my birthday I received that lovely charm one year. The fact that they grow near our cottage makes that one even more special to me.

For our Twentieth Wedding Anniversary my husband gave me a charm which consists of a little diamond ring and a wedding band. It is lovely and what makes it more meaningful is the occasion it marked.

In the year 2000 I finally achieved my dream of becoming a university graduate at the age of 59. My family organized a wonderful party for me to celebrate that event and my daughter Jacquie after much searching found a graduate charm for me. It is not yet soldered onto the bracelet but I wear it on a gold chain for now. It too will find its place on the bracelet soon.

My youngest daughter Allison and her husband Rey live in New Orleans for several years. In fact they were residing there in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated that unique city. Alex and I had visited there at Christmas in 2003 for eleven days and celebrated our 40th Anniversary with our daughter and son – in – law. For Christmas they presented me with a fleur de lys charm the symbol of New Orleans. Wonderful memories are evoked by this little charm.


My charm bracelet marks many highlights in my life which is why it is so important to me. It really tells the story of my life in an eloquent manner and I shall always treasure it.


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