Edith Alward turned 102

A life filled with much sadness but also much happiness

Edith Alward looks good on her 100 birthday last year.

Edith was born Aug. 26, 1914 in Mayfield, England, to Ernest and Kate Linfield. Her brothers Bill and George were also born in England.

Her brother Frank was born after the family immigrated to Canada when Edith was 16 years old.

They landed in Quebec and made their way to Petiticodiac, N.B. via train. They settled on the Old Post Road to farm and grew vegetables for sale to keep food on the table.

Edith worked at various house cleaning jobs and eventually got a job at the Petiticodiac Hotel. One day she went to get a haircut and the barber asked if she had bangs. Edith said no because she thought he meant bugs. She later found out that bangs in Canada were the same as a fringe in England.

In Canada Edith was introduced to baked beans, Christmas trees, and sock knitting. In 1932 Edith married Joe Alward, a blacksmith and jack of all trades. This was tough times, the height of the dirty 30’s, the war years of the 40’s and the struggle to succeed in the 50’s. Work and food were scarce but kids were plentiful Edith recalls. Their family consisted of Ermie, Bud, Jim, George, Ruth, Ella, Sharon, Bob and Dougie. There were many times Edith went without to make sure the kids had food even if it was only biscuits and molasses.

Every time a baby was born Edith and Joe moved on. They lived in Havelock, Salisbury, Alexanderina, Notre Dame, Chipman, Penobsquis, and Sussex all in New Brunswick. In the early 50’s in Sussex Edith got a job as a dishwasher and waitress at Mannings Restaurant at Sussex Corner. It was a four mile walk but that was the only way to get there. Following the restaurant job Edith found work as a house cleaner for different people.

In 1958 the Alward family built a small bungalow in Penobsquis, N.B. By this time son Ernie was in the airforce, son Bud was in the navy. Her son Jim was working out but still living at home. The youngest son Dougie was four years old. Edith was also raising her brother George’s two children as his wife had passed away.

Edith continued to do house cleaning for other people. Joe went from black smithing and into the wood cutting business. The pay wasn’t much back then. Edith earned 50 cents and hour which was used for groceries to feed the family of 11. Macaroni and tomatoes were eaten a lot. Bread was 14 cents a loaf, milk 84 cents a gallon, bacon 50 cents a pound.

Eventually the kids all got schooling, married, and moved away. In 1972 Joe passed away of a heart attack. Edith took over the care of her mother until her passing in 1976.

In 1977 Edith moved to Penobsquis, N.B. and lived with Sharon and Raymond until 1986 when they moved to B.C. Edith then lived with her brother George until 1996 when George moved to Nova Scotia to be near his son Jerry. Edith then moved to B.C. in 1996 to live with Sharon and Raymond Brantnall where she continues to live.

In 1962 Edith lost her father, Ernest; in 1976 her mother Kate; her husband Joe in 1972, son Jimmy in 1978, brothers Bill in 1993, Frank in 1999, George in 2002, and daughter Ruthie in 2014. There has been a lot of sadness in Edith’s life but a lot of happiness as well.

Her accomplishments are many but best of all are her children and what they have achieved: Ernie an airforce engineer with private pilot license; Bud a master warrant officer in the Canadian Navy; Jimmy a mechanic for N.B. Highway Dept. and kept some of the N.B. ferries running; George is a carpenter and painter in Sussex; Ruth was a waitress and worked for Canada Post; Ella worked in retail and Canada Post; Sharon was a hog farmer and now grows potatoes in the Cariboo; Bobby was a safety personel manager at Canada Packers and is now a security guard for the Sussex Health Centre; Dougie was a lab technician for Baxters Ice Cream and is now retired from Point Lepreau Nuclear Plant in St. John, N.B.

From these children Edith has 26 grandchildren with successful careers from RCMP, truck drivers, Can. Gov’t employee, automobile salesman, nurse, paramedic, hairstylist, and an accountant at West Fraser. Edith has 38 great grand children and eight great great grand children.

Tucked away with so many memories and photos are congratulations from the Queen, Governor General, B.C.’s Lt. Governor, B.C. Premier and retired MP for Cariboo Dick Harris for her 100th birthday last year.

– submitted by Ruth Scoullar

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