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John Trewin Westaway
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Ed's family poems

These delightful, moving poems were written by Ed and are full of descriptions and the deep feelings he held for his parents and brother.

Edna Mary (Westaway) Somers

Alfred L. Somers

A Tribute to Edna Mary (Westaway) Somers (Back to top)

Dolly - Edna - Mum - Grandma - A Woman of Many Talents - Four-in-One & One for All

DOLLY
Dolly, was Grandpa Mark's favored name for this child,
To this towhead, this tribute, now all are beguiled.
The fourth child and first daughter of Will and Min -
Another Westaway to add to the din.
The year was nineteen-and-0-two, March thirty,
A day most welcome, cheerful, not quirky.
In a cottage called Bybury in Burraton, Cornwall
Their home with its hearth had room for them all.
Edward was eldest, then Ewart, then Stan of course
Later came Fred, sisters Laura and Doris
Lil was the last girl, born in nineteen-eleven
In Harrowbarrow, Cornwall, she added to the seven.
Will was in Canada with his eldest son Ed,
Working on farms to earn money for bread
To bring his grand-family to Canada instead
Of trying to scrape out a living with earnings quite sparse
For the Boer War boom ended and made matters worse.
With the help of Will's brother Jack, and a loan from a friend,
Will achieved this goal finally, though the task was a grind.
Min often ate gruel so her kids could have food,
And Ewart left school just as soon as he could.
Edna and Laura would tramp through Wells Brothers' wood
Gathering branches, and faggots and dead fall where it stood.
Still they endured. They all went to the school
For all to be educated was always the rule.
The Empress of Ireland sailed in the spring of fourteen.
Bringing them to Canada, now turning green.
The train ride from Halifax, for a child of just twelve
Was a trip to remember, not put on the shelf.
Doin' the alphabet backwards on the window was keen.
Twas Dolly's own trick to cheer up the team
The train finally reached the rail station - Strathclair
It was spring on the prairie with a nip in the air.
After dinner and a rest at McLean's boarding house,
The family rode to their home on a farm three miles south.
It was on South Salt Lake on the easterly side,
Just a jog on prairie roads, a short hour's ride.
All the kids went each morning to the stone Strathclair School.
Will and Min wanted their children to be learned - the good rule.
When brother Clifford was born in the spring of fifteen,
Min needed help. Though Edna stayed home, she wasn't too keen
On dropping from school. So she said she'd return
When Cliff, then young Ray could commence to learn.
Keeping this family together - the value was strong;
By helping each other, they couldn't go wrong.
Fifteen was a sad year for these new prairie dwellers,
Salt Lake was a place of adventure for young fellers.
A raft was constructed to float near the shore,
But for Fred, it drifted too far, oh too much more.
Some boys yelled to Fred to just jump in and swim.
He jumped in the lake, and it was too deep for him.
Fred was the first of this family to pass on 'up there,'
Now close to a new century only Edna's still here.
EDNA
When Edna was seventeen she went back to school
She promised she would; she lived by that rule..
Edna wrote nine, ten and eleven, the only grades there -
An accomplishment she valued and cherished with care.
She worked for the telephone, though not to enjoy
The constant repetition, and the need to employ
A smile and sweet voice with customers irrate.
While as a seamstress, her skill one could appreciate.
By this time the family moved from south of town
To a half-section farm and a dream of their own.
Will, and family bought the McEwan home farm
Just after the war when the prices were warm.
Located just nor-west of the Art Somers spread
Twas not very long til Alf and Edna were wed.
It all started on the day he was sent to make hay
That needed to be coiled and 'put up' away.
Alf was out working the sloughs in the west
When Laura and Edna walked by, looking their best.
"You had best get cracking," said Alf's father one-day.
"Go on! Get a move on. You got to make hay."
So, Alfie stuck his pitch fork firm in the sod,
Walked to the road, doffed his hat with a nod.
A date with cute Edna was his very intent,
Though shy as he was, he was firm "on the scent."
Then four years of courting 'til in nineteen-two-six,
The wedding date set, it was a good fix.
MUM
The Williamson farm was their first family home.
Wee Cliffie was born; then Ed came along.
It was at this time in nineteen-and-two-eight
That Arthur and Belle closed their farm gate.
After the auction, when all was packed up
They moved into Strath to be at ease and rest up.
Alf, and Edna with their two lively boys
Moved to the home farm, and many more joys
Mae joined the family, then Larry as blessed.
With Betty the next, then Graham was last.
By now twas the thirties, with everything bleak.
The crops were all dried up; the prices were weak.
With weather so dry you would always taste dust
Will and Min moved north away from the rust.
Still, the children were growing; all were quite well.
They were going to school and doing just swell.
Edna was busy with her sewing and care,
Though she had visits to doctors as we are aware.
The farm finally prospered and the children left home
To make their own way, though they did not far roam.
GRANDMA
Then, the grandkids were added; some thirty or so.
She knew them with photos all in a row.
These grandkids would swarm round the farm
Knowing Grandma's kitchen always was warm.
Now things were much easier with just Alf to take care
Though at times he lost memory, not always aware.
In nineteen-hundred-and-sixty-eight
They sold the farm and drove out the farm gate.
A new house was built, with plumbing and all -
The facilities that she'd ne'er had, all wall to wall.
Many had warned them, t'would all be in vain
To invest in a new house, at their age, what gain?
They lived there for more than twenty-and-five,
And shared in a good life, a friendly beehive.
They took some grand trips, to Devon and London,
To Europe and Vimy where Alf had been bidden.
They traveled to BC and even to Texas
Though Alf had a bad turn, his heart had a fracas.
After this time they stayed near to home.
From Strathclair they did not far roam.
They celebrated a marriage of near seventy-and-two.
After Alf was one hundred, he then bid adieu.
Edna had cared for him through many a year,
Twas quite understood when she shed a tear.
EPILOGUE
First called Dolly - a precocious bright child,
Who learned who she was; she never was wild.
She cared for her siblings; they all kept in touch,
For her family was important, and loved very much.
Edna worked as a hired girl for only a pittance.
She was just waiting her turn and her own chance.
While in her late teens, she went back to school,
And worked hard to keep self; she always was cool.
She married and was Mum to six lively children.
She taught self reliance, be caring, and giving.
She cared for her kids 'til they were out on their own
And doing their share, all fully grown.
Her children have prospered, twas due to her care
That they garnered strong values, not too much hot air.
With sister Laura, a family history was written -
It's important that families are not forgotten.
Now, Edna, still Mum and Grandma, with kindly face
And a great grandmother, she has earned her grace.
A really great Grandma, she loved every one -
With now, over sixty grandkids to shine in the sun.
This poem is a tribute to a really grand lady
Who has lived a good life, and did it all gladly.
First Dolly, then Edna, then Mum, and last Grandma.
This lady has shown she has the charisma,
The strength, the foresight, the wisdom and charm
To carry though life and always be warm!
By Ed Somers - March 1999

 

A Tribute and Toast to Alfred L. Somers (Back to top)

January 28, 1898 to February 26, 1998 on his Hundredth Year Birthday - January 28, 1998
Composed by Edwin Wm. Somers in 1997 and edited with footnotes added in April 1999. Editing assistance by Elaine L. Adam


Alfie was a wee babe one hundred years ago .
He started his life when all was ice and snow.
A cabin on the prairie, just a little south of town
Was where his mother kept him wrapped in cozy eiderdown.
He had a little brother - William Arthur was his name.
Alf used to bring him flowers; it was their little game.
But Willie only lived a little past a year;
His passing was the source of many a mother's tear.
Belle wrote a letter to his Grandma living o'er the sea
To tell of Willie's death and how Alfie would still be
Gathering white flowers to place in Willie's wee cold hand.
How could a little child of two comprehend or understand?
For, life on the prairie was hard for pioneers
To reap a good living where it was frost or sears.
In nineteen-o-one Alf's family thought it best
To try ranching in the lands away out west.
Across the prairie, in a covered wagon they went
With cattle and horse; they slept out in a tent.
Ranching came to naught; Edmonton became home.
To stay near sister Hannah, perhaps no more to roam.
From out the mines that stretched beneath the street
Arthur hauled out coal that people used for heat.
Edmonton was home for only 'bout a year,
Them Belle and Alf and Sophia went by train to good old Strathclair.
Arthur went by buggy, a big dog at his heel,
When at the river crossing the dog gave out a peel.
Then chased a grazing elk, it ran, it's head it proudly tossed;
The dog, it ran, it barked and bayed, and soon was totally lost.
Arthur rested some, then said, "I can't wait for that dog."
So o'er the river crossing went, and traveled on at a jog.
For two more days he trotted down that eastward trail
'Til the dog showed up one night just a-wagging of his tail.
Sister Sophie had been born in October of O-two.
Alfie now was four and was proud of Sophie too.
Arthur bought the farm in nineteen-hundred and five
For just five thousand dollars; they started then to thrive.
Their home, a cabin back on Turner's hill
'Til Arthur built the new house; it stands out there still.
When Sophie was a baby, Alfie played much alone.
He walked the fields and prairie where he so liked to roam.
One day, with pride, he brought into the home
A bag of gifts held found while he as out alone.
From out the bag he dumped them, laughing with delight,
Some kittens he'd found, but they were black and white.
Alf walked to Strath to the stone school cross the track.
In winter, with his Baldrow cousins, he had a room and tack.
Grade eight, the last he 'tended at the school.
He passed the tough provincials; he had learned the golden rule.
He stayed on at the home farm to work and build a stake
'Til he heard his country call, three years he did take.
Alf joined the one-O-seven when he was just eighteen.
At Camp Hughes he trained, and it was a mighty scene.
His time in France was mud, and lice and worse -
The awful fighting there to keep the war on course
Up Vimy Ridge he scrambled, up and o'er the top,
The pipes were skirling; they never were to stop.
He got through this battle, Canada ne'er was the same
For the soldiers showed their metal in playing out the game.
Our country took its place as a force in this global world.
Much later and with pride the Maple Leaf was unfurled.
He lived through the war, though he was buried twice,
Was wounded, then discharged, and finally free of lice.
After three years in the trenches and on the Grand Old Sod,
He got back to his home farm, a very lucky lad.
He started then to curl, was enthralled with the game.
His careful records were his hobby and his lasting fame.
For some fifty years, a faithful line he scribed
Of all who had curled and the prizes - such pride.
This work of his time no the games that were won
Now rest in the .archive of the museum in town.
With Alf in his twenties and still waffling around
Arthur said, "Son, you're going to lose ground
In starting your family. You'd better get hopping
And find you a good wife. The question needs popping."
Alfie, a good lad just needed a shove.
Before very long he was very much in love
With a lady called Edna who lived 'cross the lane,
Was willing to share life with this handsome young swain.
In April the year nineteen-twenty-and six
Alf and Edna were married; their marriage still sticks.
Their first married years were at Williamson's place.
When Arthur retired, Alf bought the home space.
Now Clifford was there, then Edwin and Mae.
The small house was filling with children at play.
Next, there was Larry with his long flowing curls;
Then, Betty and Graham were added to the rolls.
Alf was a good neighbor who helped when he could
With haying and thrashing and cutting up wood.
He sat on the school board for some of the years,
Helped start the Union, paid up all his arrears.
The kids all grew up and went off on their own.
Then, in sixty-eight Alf moved into town.
A new house was built from the sale of the farm -
Running water, central heat, it was really a charm
For this time in their lives, they were comfy and warm.
Lawn bowling, curling and some, traveling the road
'Til Alf's, health gave out: his rocks were then stowed.
Now, thirty years after they left the home farm
They are living together away from all harm.
Alf was a gentleman of that there's no doubt.
And Edna always helped him to keep a safe route.
His grand kids are many, they flourish and gain.
Now, great-grand kids are coming to add to his reign.
One hundred, one hundred, soon one-hundred-and-one!
Who knows what fate has for this fine "gentlemon"
This versing is sketchy and all very rough.
To find words that rhyme; it really is tough.
So, lets charge our glasses. Lets rise with good cheer.
Wish Alf "Happy Birthday," and another good year.

Written for presentation at the birthday party held for Alfred L.Somers at the Strathclair Municipal Hall on January 30, 1998. Alf died February 26, 1998.

A Tribute to my brother, Larry Somers, 27th September, 1931 to 18th August, 1997 (Back to top)

Larry, My brother, My friend by Ed Somers, 1997

We both saw the sun rise and come down our east lane
Past five spruce, the old maple, then through the east pane.
All six of us trudged the soft dust or white snow
To catch the school van for we all had to go.
The garden, close by, where we toiled in the sun,
And tossed small tomatoes in rollicking fun.
The weeds and potato bugs, I'm sure are still there
Just waiting their turn to reach for the air.
The farm's not the same, all the scrub's cleared 'way
The paths where we wandered are now fields of hay.
The names disappeared of bluffs, hills and trails,
Where once we hiked or shared our travails,
Where we found the young colt, or newborn calf
Once hidden, would run like wind blown chaff.
They still linger in memories, though these too, will pass
And like our ashes will fade, then turn back to grass.
We both grew up under the high vaulted sky,
The prairie our home, the land we lived by.
We learned to do chores, to share in the work
To help keep our family, and never to shirk.
We traveled to town on foot or by bike
To skate, to play hockey or just for a hike.
You taught school for a year, then sought a new outlet
You trained for police work and donned the red scarlet.
You worked 'mongst the mountains, then went into business
With clients, your friends who valued your finesse.
You chose a fine help mate, mother of your four.
You knew joys of grandkids, now seven or more.
You said that the "short straw" was the fate for you.
When measured in years, perhaps that is true.
When measured against the good you have done,
Or when taken as part of a valiant run
Yours was a life that gave more than it took.
I'm sure that your name is in the gold book.


By Eddie Willie

 

Many thanks to Ed for sharing this with us. He is a true historian and has preserved so many articles, records etc which he has given his permission to share. His biography and poems, well written in true Bradworthy style, make delightful reading.

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  © 2003-6 Sheila Yeo | For more information on the Westaway family and the research contained in this site email sheila@yeosociety.com or call me on +44 (0)1626 360978