Happy Mother’s Day 2021

The grandmother of my paternal ancestry

Olive Gibbs Waddell my grandmother
Lydia Wise Gibbs my great grandmother standing Olive my grandmother, Marie Minerva on lap
My grandmother Olive and my dad and siblings (1924)

On my paternal ancestry my Grandmother Olive Vivian Gibbs Waddell. Her mother Lydia May Ruth Wise Gibbs (seated in chair) was my Great Grandmother. Lydia was fatherless at age 7, married at age 15, married 3 times, divorced twice, died young at age 39 stomach cancer. Olive also married at age 16, although her marriage certificate says 19! Olive had five children in the next 8 years on a southern Alberta homestead, no running water, no electricity, no doctor in attendance but a good neighbor woman. A quote from Laura Harm, “We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.”


My grandmother Olive knew Charlie Russell and took some art lessons with him. But what I remember is my grandmother’s love of rocks. At the age of 50 they retired off the homestead and started travelling and she collected rocks. She lovely displayed them along an entire wall in their home under glass, each labelled and with each a story to tell anyone who cared to listen, about what, where, how and when. My favorites were the tomahawks and arrowheads. When I was 10 I received a gift from her, labelled in a 10″ x 10″ box. I still have it in perfect condition.

My rock collection from Gramma Waddell

And if you check my pocket guess what you find there? On my coffee table, yes! Outside in my flower garden, a petrified tree rock. When I am stressed I grab my Apache Tear Rock and tell my self the story of no more tears. Now I paint on rocks and take the grandchildren hiking to find them hidden. Such a simple hobby that I’m glad my Gramma Olive introduced to me in such a grand way, and a wonderful memory to share on Mother’s Day, 2021.

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