When a woman grows up with Dr Albert Schweitzer on her wall you have to stop and ask yourself…Is she ahead of her time? When most womens main concern was getting that MRS before they hit the big 2-0 shs a woman who could leave you wanting more.
Raised on a farm by her two hard working parents and 4 younger brothers Mary was always one to give a helping hand to any one of her siblings. With a thirst for knowledge and a passion to nurture it was no wonder that Mary found herself hitting the Big City lights of Vancouver. Enrolling at the University of British Columbia Mary left her small hometown and became the first female in her family to graduate with an MBA with honours. To say she inspired me to go on and further my education was a definite yes.
I remember the months that would go by in between visits. And how excited all of us kids that are Auntie the teacher was finally home. She would bring books and games, usually all created by hers truly but most importantly she always made time for us. We would fill Grandma’s house and all spend the weekend when she would come to visit. Some of the most memorable moments were when we all got to sleep with our Auntie and we would sing songs like the kookabura, songs in russian, found a peanut and of course the stories. Nobody could tell a storey like my Auntie. We would always ask her to tell the storey about the tarbaby. She would always encourage us to make up our own stories but hers would the best. I always was amazed when she could sing to us in Russian. My grandma used to sing a song about two children who found a bird with a broken wing and they nursed it back to health. Once the birdy was healthy he wanted to be set free so he begged the children. She always treated us like tiny humans and encouraged our thirst for knowledge.
We used to go and visit her in Vancouver and explore the city and do all the touristy things like Capilano Bridge, The Aquarium, Granville Island. I really looked up to her. she was definetly a free spirit and to me an amazing woman. She taught for over 3 decades molding young minds. I wonder where those children are now. If my Auntie inspired them the way she inspired me. When Mary finally decided to come home and teach for the remainder of her career we were all so very excited. There she was working and living in Castlegar. We used to love hanging out with Auntie in Castlegar because she would take us to her school and we could play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego on one of the first Mac’s known to man while she worked on her lesson plans.
No matter where my Auntie was in her life her true North was always her family. Being the oldest she always had a soft spot for all of her baby brothers. This is my Auntie’s most endearing quality the way she loves family with the openness of hearts. That there is nothing in the World that could ever tear her away from the people she loves. She will always be our teacher and even at 70 she is writing material on a genre that isn’t overly represented yet in today’s market. She is even working on finishing some teachings she started in her younger years. Mary never ceases to amaze me. I am so thankful that we have the present and future to explore now together as a family. I am thankful she can spend time with my son. To have this opportunity to soak in all that she is like a sponge. She inspires me everyday to be the best me that I can be, to live a life of virtue, to keep on making my family proud including my ancestors. She inpires me, shes my Auntie.