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Mrs. Mary Wilkinson

My Grandmother


Grace Zenchyshyn


Knitting, crocheting or makings mats out of plastic bagsare just a few of Mrs. Mary Wilkinson's hobbies and with this, she can domany beautiful things such as mittens, scarves, mats, pillow covers, andeven sweaters. She has much talent and that wonderful lady is my grandmotherand I am glad she is.

Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, the former Miss Mary Elizabeth Jury,is of English traits and was born in Clanwilliam, Manitoba on June 12, 1906. This town was first set up by her grandfather, Mr. Thomas Jury. As a smallchild, being the oldest of her brothers and sister, she had to work hardand take care of her family which wasn't as easy task. She then could onlyattend school until the fifth grade. At the age of 12, she had had twooperations, one for her tonsils and the other she had her appendix out.

Then at the age of 22, Mr. Thomas William Wilkinson cameinto her life and they were married on September 29, 1929. They then movedto Minnedosa, Manitoba which is 170 miles northwest of Winnipeg and herethey farmed and then decided to try running a garage which wasn't too easywith just the two of them. They moved later on to bigger and better thingswhich in their case was chiropractic work and at the same time, Mary Wilkinson,cleaned and kept everything spotlessly clean. After this, they moved backto Minnedosa and started a shoe shop in which they owned themselves andalso ran.

Sometimes, in between their busy lives, they still hadtime to have a family which on February 7, 1935, their first son came ofwhich they named Mervin Thomas. Mr. Thomas Wilkinson still worked but Mrs.Wilkinson had to stay home and care for their new baby. About three yearslater, their second child, a girl, was born July 26, 1938. Now their familywas complete. Their second child, they named Annie Olga. They now hadall the family that they were going to have and they loved these childrenvery much. Annie and Mervin had many good times together and once whenthey lived on this certain farm and they had a goat which simply detestedMrs. Mary Wilkinson and when she was on her way to the barn, the goat buttedher right into the potato patch, she went, and too many days later the goatleft their family for good.

She had a few fears when younger of hailstorms of whichthey would hold pillows over the windows to keep the windows from breaking. Also, thunderstorms when these occurred she would cover every mirror inthe house, so that they would not reflect and cause fires. In those days,there were terrible bad storms.

Mrs. Mary Wilkinson said, "that her and the rest ofher family had just moved out of a house and that very same night, therewas a thunderstorm and lightning hit an oak tree that was quite near thehouse and it suddenly caught fire and she, Mrs. Wilkinson, said that shewas never so glad to see that old house go but I'm happy that my childrenand husband were out of there." (1) Mrs. Wilkinson said that she neverretrieved all of her baby clothes but that was only a minor problem.(2) Mrs. Wilkinson's brothers, are Ephram, who lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba;Ernest, who lives in Brandon, Manitoba; and Alfred, who is deceased. Herone sister, Edith, who lives in Crawford Park, Manitoba.

While her and her husband lived in Minnesota, they rantheir own greenhouse which is a place where you grow plants and sell them. This greenhouse carried all plants including tomatoes, vegetables, andflower plants. Mrs. Mary Wilkinson has a very "green thumb", she loves to grow things and has many plants still today. People wouldcome from all around to purchase their plants and to see what they had. They also had a very beautiful garden of which Mrs. Mary Wilkinson wasvery proud of.

In 1961, Mr. Thomas Wilkinson had a very serious accidentthat all began by his tearing down his own house and he had it almost downwhen he slipped and strattled the watertank and the results were that thetubes were cut between the kidney and the bladder. He was hospitalizedfor nine weeks in Winnipeg General Hospital. He came home and went backquite often and from then on, he had to use a tube from the bladder witha bag attached so that he could urinate. He was doing fine and many happyyears later the wound flared up and took his life. This occurred on December18, 1968.

Mrs. Mary Wilkinson has seven grandchildren and no greatgrandchildren as of yet. Her one daughter, Ann, who is now the new Mrs.Ralph Twamley of St. Vincent, Minnesota has four children, Rox-Ann who is18 years old and is attending Aaker's Business College; Grace, who is 17and is attending Humboldt School; Bryan, who is 14 and attending HumboldtSchool, and Blayne who is 5. Mary's son, Mervin, who is married to Mrs.Ivan Twamley's sister, Catherine, they have 3 children and live in The Pas,Manitoba; Carolyn, who is 14, Rox-Ann who is 12 and Norma who is 10, allattending The Pas School. Both families visit Mrs. Mary Wilkinson frequentlyand she also visits them also.

After her husband died, Mrs. Mary Wilkinson moved to Neepawa,Manitoba for one year and decided to move to Brandon since her daughterlived there. She is now living in a Senior Citizens home in Brandon andhas been there for three years.

She has quite a problem with arthritis and rheumatism butit has not deformed her in any way so she can still do things very well.Mary has more problems with these ailments when it is raining or snowing. Some of the medications that were used when doctors weren't available wereelectric oil for earaches, red liniment for hot drinks to get rid of colds,ginger in hot drinks for colds or flu. She also takes garlic juice in milkfor indigestion. She likes to travel a little but not to any great extent. She usually only goes to her sisters or daughters or sons. She doesn'thave a television because she doesn't like to watch anything but the news.

Still today she takes one home remedy which seems to workwonders for her, this is wonder oil which could almost "choke a horse."(3)

As a young child, her parents weren't all that wealthyand even after she was married, still money was no problem because she hadthe love of her husband and her family. Everything went along fine, upuntil she moved to Neepawa, then she had her first electric heater, forshe always used an old wood stove and in the mornings when they got up andwe were staying with them, our bottles would be frozen in the bed besideus. But they were very happy and that is all that counts.

Her life ambition was to "live life to the fullestand enjoy it until the day I die." (4) She feels that she has alreadylived it and now she will rest and not work for she had worked enough years.

Mrs. Mary Wilkinson has worked all her life because afterher husband had his accident, she had to work for he could not and therewas such expensive hospital bills but they were tough and they made it through. She is very friendly and very talkative and enjoys talking to the youngergeneration for when she comes to our house in St. Vincent, she talks toall the young people that come to visit.

She has already said many times that "I love to hearthe sound of crackling fires." (5) As of today, even she is stayingwith us and we enjoy every minute of it. But this time that she is stayinga drastic thing happened. She broke her arm, no, not outside but on thekitchen floor so now she is in a bit of pain. But as she says, "somethinghas to happen to everyone." (6)

I enjoy having my grandmother come and stay with us andI would not trade her for anything. For our family loves her very muchand she is all that we, that is, us children, have to call, "Granny".

(1) Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, Interview, January 14, 1974

(2) Ibid.

(3)(4) Mary Wilkinson, Interview, January 16, 1974

(5) Mary Wilkinson, Interview, January 14, 1974

(6) Mary Wilkinson, Interview, January 14, 1974



Interview: Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, January 14, 16, 1974

Interview: Mrs. Ann Twamley, January 15, 1974

Interview: Mr. Mervin Wilkinson, January 12, 1974

Interview: Mrs. Ann Twamley, January 15, 1974

Interview: Mr. Mervin Wilkinson, January 12, 1974