Growing Up Ellen

If you were to grow up as Ellen, you would have been born on a Friday in April 195? (a gentleman never really tells!). You would enter the world and be given the name Ellen Louise Wagner. The local newspapers on the day you were born would warn of an impending rail strike and the steelworkers would be threatening to strike for higher wages. Immigration would make the front page as news of the largest wave of Dutch immigrants to Canada, 1,300 in all, arrived in Halifax.

In sports, the New York Rangers hockey team were battling the Detroit Red Wings in the finals for the coveted Stanley Cup championship. The Rangers had been victorious in their ‘home’ game the night before played in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens! Apparently, the Rangers own ‘Gardens’ at Madison Square, was unavailable for their use necessitating the home games being played away from home!

Automobiles, the ‘horseless carriages’ of a previous generation, were becoming more sophisticated and expensive but a bargain could still be found. The car ads on the day you were born boasted that a used 1949 Mercury, complete with a radio and a heater, was selling for $1,795.

If you grew up Ellen (pictured above, age 2), you were the youngest of four children born to a golf course designer and superintendent and a registered nurse. As the ‘baby’ of the family, your brothers and sister probably thought you got away with way too much – and they might have been right! You grew into a ‘Gidget’ type 1960’s look, full of a perky zest for life bubbling within a 5 foot petite frame.

As a adult, you would experience the ups and downs of life eventually to marry a tall, dark, and handsome man (okay, maybe I’ve embellished this last part in a somewhat self-serving manner). You would celebrate the triumphs of six children, worry about the trials of their life experiences, and embrace the joy of being a grandmother.

There is much we can glean from the newspaper reports about the day we were born that helps set the context for the world and environment in which we were raised. And, as we scour the records for information about ancestors, there is much we can celebrate and share about our own life experience – like growing up Ellen.

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