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  • Mary Burney

Memories of my Mom's last trip

Thank you Facebook! Yes, it was a "memory" from FB that popped up with pictures of my mother with some young gentleman I didn't recognize! I looked at the date---13 years ago and couldn't place who was that young man. . .then it clicked. . .the picture was of my Mom and our waiter on our last night in Victoria, British Columbia.

My oldest brother wanted my mother to go back to her home, Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island while she was still able. So he foot the bill to send myself, my sister and my Mom on what we knew would be her last trip to the island. Over the years she had been back several times, both with family members and on her own. Her health had been up and down and we hoped she would be well enough to take this trip. (She was and actually lived for another 11 years although not in condition to travel)

We took the ferry over from Seattle and Mom walked off and into the place where she grew up. We made a visit to St. Anne's Academy, where my mother attended boarding school from about age 12 and up. Her mother had died and since my Mom was the youngest child with no other children at home - her father sent her to board at St. Anne's. Over the years on returns to the island my Mom would look up many of the nuns whom she knew from her school days.

Another place Mom wanted to visit was Ross Bay Cemetery, a very old and historic cemetery where many of the notables of Victoria are buried. As are my family. We had to search for the family plot as there was only a stone laid on the ground - not a headstone. Mom's parents didn't have much money and there wasn't even a stone til my Mom and Dad had one made. My Mom also walked around the cemetery looking for the graves of the nun's who taught her as she knew they were buried there as well. I also discovered on my most recent trip to the island in 2018 - that two of mom's siblings who died as infants before my Mom was born - are also buried in that cemetery in unmarked graves. Cemetery records show names/location. (Note that this is still on my to-do-list - get a marker)

We also decided to go to the Empress Hotel for their world famous "Tea". Mom had never been, and she was so surprised and then worried she didn't have the appropriate clothes as when she was young - anyone who had tea at the Empress was "DRESSED UP". We had a wonderful time!

This tree, located in Bastion Square, has some connection to my family. . .possible my grandfather planted it? I vaguely remember a story like being told when I was in Victoria for about a month in my teens. I have a pix of my Mom and her sister under it -- and now my sister!

Memories! I'm so glad we took the time to take her on this trip and I thank my brother, Ken, for sending us.


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