My mother was born June 10, 1932 as Martha Ida Frieda Lampe to Karl and Ida Lampe near Arend Sea in Germany. Karl was a blacksmith who worked hard for his family. Martha was the oldest of five children. Her siblings were Hannelore who lives in Germany, Karl who died in June, Marianne who lives in New York state and Sabine who has passed many years ago.
Martha grew up as a child during World War II in Germany. My mother told us that all the care packages that were sent to Germany for the people in need went to the rich. My mother made sure that there was food on the table for us in Canada because she never wanted to be hungry again.
Life in Germany was difficult during the war and after. My mother actually answered an ad in her local German paper from a German man named Dieter Patzold who was living in Canada. The land of opportunity. This man was living in an area of Ontario that had a strong German presence. My father paid for the ship ticket that would bring my mother over from Germany to Canada in February of 1956.
Both people did not know what the other was like. They didn’t know what they would be getting into but they married February 25, 1956 and had a loving relationship for over 62 years.
I was the firstborn and Martin came shortly after that. My parents bought a piece of land on the outskirts of Kitchener. It was Waldau Crescent and they built themselves a modest bungalow for $10,000. My mother worked for a while at the same skate factory that my father was working at, Bauer Skates. I can remember the large garden that my father and mother had in the back yard. It was huge. My mother would jar and pickle and can and freeze the produce from that garden.
My mother was an excellent seamstress and loved to crochet. Most of my clothes were handmade. An early memory of her handiwork is that she dressed me in this beautiful white outfit for Sunday church, then told me to go outside and play until we were ready to go. Well what is a child to do when she sees a mud puddle except make an angel? My bottom was sore for a few days after that.
My father then decided he wanted to buy a farm. So off we moved to a hog farm. Unfortunately, my parents bought when prices were high and they steadily declined. My parents worked hard to maintain the farm with my brother’s help. I decided to finish high school and found work at an insurance company.
My parents sold the farm shortly after my first marriage and they moved to a house in Kitchener where my father started a landscaping business with my brother. My children remember that house and their dog, Lady. My mother and father loved their grandchildren and showered them with love.
Since we didn’t have relatives in Kitchener as my father’s family was all in what was then called East Germany and my mother’s relatives were all in Germany, we tended to take people in and make them our aunts, uncles and cousins. My mother was called Oma by many people.
My mother did manage to live to quite a good old age. She developed dementia in the past few years. As Andre said, she died a good death which is something I am thankful for. I think my mother waited until her grandchildren and I were at her beside to see her and talk to her before she passed. I am thankful for that.