His reply was fast and perky, “You think so?” Mom, being older and wiser thought It hilarious, but Frank could usually be counted on to bring a smile or a chuckle. He still is a fun-loving rascal.
Playing games was a way of life for this family, whether it was playing games together, or on each other, and I know the tradition continues with the younger generation. For example, Frank Krepps and Audrey Gowan are always trying to get the better of each other.
Another game you could be sure to catch Sklapskys playing was cards, and cribbage was one of the favorite games. We all play cribbage, and we all teach our kids how to play. It is the greatest fun to lay a skunking on your opponent, but not too much fun to get one yourself. A few of us have even had the rare luck to get the perfect cribbage hand and some have even been given a double skunk, though I wonder how many care to admit it? At Christmas, New Years or any family gathering in the winter, out would come the crib board, and they would fifteen-two it for hours. We children enjoyed listening to the bantering that went on with the games, as well as the stories of the way it used to be. We loved the sound of their voices as they reminisced about the old days, and things they used to do. I think it was during a cribbage game that Uncle Virgel admitted to scratching Thelma’s name on the mirror. Oh, how I wish we’d had tape recorders back then. We would have learned a lot of history, and made a bit of blackmail money perhaps, taping the Cribbage games they played.
I was astounded when Mom told me her mother refused to touch a deck of cards. If the boys left a deck on the table, she would ask them to come and remove it. In any of her children’s memory, their mother never used foul language, never touched alcohol and never handled a deck of cards.
On the back of one picture of Grandpa Frank and Grandma Ettie, one of their children has written, “I can always get Dad’s picture if I take one of Mother with him.” He especially loved the picture of the four generations as he would say, “Ettie looks so pretty in that picture.” He thought the sun rose and set on his Ettie. I wish for children of today such a loving and supportive parental unit. I remember my Grandpa and how I wish I had met Grandma!
Grandma Sklapsky had a way of pulling out an adage for every event or lesson taught. Some she used often were passed down to her own children by our dear mother. There was the one about not counting your chickens before they hatched, the impossibility of putting an old head on young shoulders, old cocks crowing and the young ones learning, little pitchers having big ears, a stitch in time saving nine, if a job is worth doing, do it well or not at all, idle hands work mischief, many hands make work light, if you can’t say something nice, say nothing, a soft answer turneth away wrath, think twice before you speak, what goes around comes around, and many, many others. To remind a person that their deeds eventually caught up with them she would say, “You’re born, but not burled.”
My mother was expecting me in August, but in the spring, her Mother passed away. I now fully appreciate how hard that must have been for her. The only way I have seen my Grandma Sklapsky is in her pictures, in stories told by those who knew her, and in the faces of many of her descendants. Mom wanted to go to Point Peele, Ontario and to Leamington to see what she could find out about her roots on her mother’s side, and I hope one day to do that for her and for myself. I have been told there is no more to be found there than what I have written in this book, but I still would like to see for myself. Canadian record keeping was supposed to have been much worse than that in the U.S.A., but that was told to me by a U.S. citizen.
I wish I could remember more stories of her youth, and oh how I wish she were still here to relate them to you. However we made the mistake we fallible humans so often make; that of thinking we have lots of time. We put off things that seem not to be pressing, and use our priceless treasure of time together as though there was no end to it. And then, before you know it, time has passed, and the people are gone, taking their stories and history with them.
In her notes Mom listed a whole string of things she intended to write about to include in this book. The list may not make any sense to anyone, but I am going to list them so you will get a hint of what she had in mind and those of her generation that are still with us may know what she is referring to and say, “Yes, yes I remember that too,” and hopefully tell others so some more history is preserved for those who want to know,