Canadian in Candia

July 31, 2009

Grandma Frankie

Filed under: Family — Tags: , , , — Miriam @ 11:06 pm

As some of you may know my paternal grandmother died a week ago today. A lot has happened in the last week so I’m finally getting around to making this post. I think it is important that the posts that memorialize these kinds of events properly capture the person I loved, and one can never find the right words in these situations.

FrankieMy Grandma was known to us a Frankie.  She was not a Francoise but a Frances. She had a French last name but grew up bilingual in Quebec. Most of what I know from her childhood, I know from my dad and from my genealogical investigations. I know that her family owned and ran a hotel with the money my great-father had leftover after the depression. So she was raised to be a lady in an elegant environment and she was a very classy woman.

As a young woman she met the love of her life, Hector, married him and had a lovely family of 3 boys and 3 girls. My father tells me that she was raised in wealth, but her adult life was one of modest means. She raised her family in a home that most people would consider small for a couple now. When my father told me this, he said with great admiration “She never complained once”.

Her children grew up and started families of their own. She took up painting in her free time (more about this in a little bit). She became a grandmother twelve times over. And in all this joy she lost the love of her life. My grandfather died 22 years ago.  She never remarried.

As a child Frankie was a yearly visitor to our home. She would come spend a week or two with us in the summer spending her days reading and hanging out with us. One of the last years she came to visit she reported that she had spent the day reading with our husky Keanu lying at her feet.

My grandmother was an artist, and I believe it is important that I capture this part of who she was. I grew up in a household filled with her paintings. I could always proudly say that most of the paintings that adorned our house were by my grandmother. She did it as a hobby and she did it because she enjoyed it. I would like to think I get some of my artistic side from her, but I’m not even close to as talented (although my aunt seems to have inherited some creative genes).

I’m so proud of the paintings she has made, paintings that will hopefully be passed down from generation to generation, that I asked my dad to help me bring them to this blog. He took pictures of the paintings by Frankie that he has at his house. Please pardon the reflection on some of them and be aware that these paintings span almost three decades worth of work.  I find some of her water scenes to be magnificent.

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

This was from a picture of me when I was 4 or 5 years old.

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie
This is one of my favorites.

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

Paintings by my Grandma Frankie

In the last few years her arthritis crippled her hands and prevented her from painting. Cataracts reduced her vision so she had difficulty reading. She had several broken bones due to falls. But her mind was sharp. So many people watch their family degenerate mentally year by year. We were so fortunate to have had her for 91 years and to have her so present when we saw her. We could truly say she died of old age.

We had a gathering in April where she was able to see her two great grand-children who live out West. I hope they will have a memory of her.

I’m glad I spent some time with her last time I was in Quebec. She seemed well. We talked a long time about life, and my photography. She was content with her life and grateful for her children. It’s a wonderful last memory of my Grandma Frankie.

She will be remembered as a woman with an appreciation for beautiful things, and a wonderful sense of humour. Her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and art live on and are wonderful testament to who she was.



  1. Very nice post about your grandmother. I’m glad you have good memories of her and her paintings to remember her by. You are truly blessed.

    Comment by Haley — August 1, 2009 @ 12:06 am

  2. My condolences to you and your family. I do love her paintings. It is an amazing talent and it’s wonderful that her art can be passed down to the next generations.

    Comment by Jes — August 1, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  3. Thank you for those kind words about our Gamma Frankie. She truly was a wonderfull person.
    We all loved her dearly and she will be missed.

    Comment by Frances Lorrain Antila-Dyck — August 1, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  4. Nice tribute to my mom (your grand mom). Thanks Miriam, it’s beautiful. As grandma would say….”love you big, big, BIG”.

    Comment by Bob — August 5, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

  5. Thanks Miriam, this post means a lot to all of us.

    Comment by Dany — August 15, 2009 @ 1:52 am

  6. Thank you ever so much for the lovely tribute to Mom. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness. She must be quite proud of you. Thanks again.

    Comment by Elizabeth Ann Barsalou — August 17, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

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