One legged Great Grandpa

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Here’s the family, or a portion of the Eastland family.

So let me help you identify the family. The man in Salvation Army uniform on the left is Great Grandpa Clarke. He was the second husband to Great Grandma Clarke (she had been married to James Hilton) . I’ll come back to him.

Next to Great Grandpa is my uncle Jim (he’s about 18 months older than me). At the back is my Mom, then Great Grandma, I’ll come back to her too. Then at the back is my Aunt Freda, then Nanny Eastland with me standing with her. Then comes my other two aunts, Eileen who loved fancy clothes and hats and my aunt Joyce. That’s the family except for my aunt Florence.

Great Grandpa Clarke was obviously quite old by the time I have any real memories of him, but there is one that really stands out. I think I was about 7 years old, but not sure. For some reason, which I don’t know I ended up spending part of an afternoon with them in Niagara Falls where they lived, as well as most of the rest of the family.

I remember Great Grandma offering me some tea, which she clearly enjoyed, and of course in a fine bone china cup with saucer. Her practice from my memory was pouring the first bit of the tea into the saucer to let it cool and then sip from the saucer. Maybe she encouraged me to do it, but I think she did the same. She had a wonderful accent and the tea would be “a wee coup of tea” and I would be “moy love”. She had a sweet spirit, knew many songs which she would sing, along with rhymes and stories. I loved being with her.

My memory of Great Grandpa was of him working on their house – he had put a second story on the house, but here’s the amazing part, he did while only having one leg! I remember he had a board with wheels on a track that would take him down the steps to the basement. Outside the house he had pulley system and ropes tied to a platform that he could use to lift himself up to where he would be working. He seemed a remarkable man, though I had a sense he was a bit rough around the edges. I just remember being amazed – not having seen a one legged man before!

Mom tells me Great Grandma Clarke was an amazing business woman who bought and sold houses to provide income after Great Grandpa Hilton died (her first husband). I think that we have a great heritage from this family. I look forward one day to seeing them again in eternity.

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