A Remembrance

1917 to 1992

By Maggie Carlson
20 September 1992
Wakefield, Quebec, Canada

Wonderful blue sky autumn day. Kind of day Trudy loved. Appropriate that we get together to celebrate her memory on such a day of autumn leaves and sunshine.

Gertrude Stansfield - Born in Preston, England in 1917. Father was a textile miller. One sister, Marjory - still close, still in contact, still planning visits. Happy, quiet, loving home. Small house. Close family.

Active girlhood, taught by the nuns. She worked for a lawyer before marrying. Sports, swimming and especially a love of tennis - played as a girl, met Bernard on the courts, watching the US Open the eve of her death.

Bernard also came from Preston - seven years older than Trudy when as a 21 year old she married this young engineer from a rather different set of family traditions with the big house, not a high level of concern for central heating, or lighting the rooms.

They were married 15 years before coming to Canada. Ruth, Mark, and Donald were born before a move to Cheltenham; Alan and Duncan were born in Cheltenham. It was in 1953 that the family of 4 boys crossed the ocean to Rosemere.

Not the easiest of landings - house had been furnished by an exuberant Italian. It had bright blue, red walls and a green ceiling. The kitchen facilities were on the rudimentary side. Trudy remembered the fatigue of raising four young boys and having rather limited plumbing and water systems. Even when they moved to St. Eustache sur-le-lac and began to refurbish a summer house for year round living, the plumbing and cooking arrangements were not "de grande luxe". Not being accustomed to cesspits and other delights of Canadian rural living, the Smiths did not attend to theirs with results that any of us that live around here will anticipate.

It was shortly after that time that one of the new Canadian neighbours suggested to Trudy that "it must be nice for you being here in Canada where everything is so civilized". There were many days when Trudy thought she had left civilization far behind, far away.

In the 1950's the Smiths moved to Wakefield. Barry and Iris Trowsse had just moved in. Shane was weeks old. Rita Currie and Irma and Pitt and Gerry were the other neighbours. Trudy set about the task of raising her growing family.

Meals alone take up an enormous amount of energy and time - especially with a husband who believed that a part time fridge, and 1 or 2 burners functional on a stove was probably enough! She was famous for good dinners as Donald said - "she raised no slim kids!". She was especially splendid serving the Sunday joint as she would have called it in Preston. Roast lamb, roast pork, together with her crispy roast potatoes in the pan. There was a special kind of cookies that Mark loved and a trifle that the whole neighbourhood has been served. Legend has it that Duncan once ate a whole bowl of it at one go.

As well as a house full of good cooking smells, boys boots, sailing gear, skiboots, school stuff - there was always room for dogs. Beauty lived to 12 years. We all remember the day Peter - lost at the ski hill. Sheba and Cleo an others all played their part.

She took up nursing in the 60's once a couple of the boys were gone. It opened up whole new worlds to her and gave her cherished friendships with Dr. Hans and Ruth, and the nurses at the hospital. Iris remembers her grinning from ear to ear, poised to attack with a hypodermic needle when the neighbourhood had to be given shots in the 1972 flood.

Trudy did not have the easiest of times during many parts of her life - but she took real joy in many things. her yellow spitfire was only the predecessor of the wonderful TR6 in which she literally bombed around the country. One of her great joys was to pull into a service station at great speed and flash her grey hair at the service station attendant expecting a kid at the wheel. She and Bernard drove it to Calgary - quite an experience.

Her flowers gave her joy - and me too. Trudy's Tall Yellow Flower - for that is the only name I know for it - was taken from her garden years ago. I have shared it with many friends. All of them call it Trudy's Tall Yellow Flower - a form of immortality that I think she would have enjoyed.

Her friendships gave her tremendous joy - she still visited school friends made in England in her youth - and continued in touch with one of her teachers. She would have 5 or 6 letters on the go at a single time - and would write to folk she met on holidays and during the travel that she and Bernard persued around the world.

Her extended and growing family gave her joy. She had 10 grandchildren - Kathy is here today to represent them - and they grew up as active as their fathers. They ran around the neighbourhood and visited us all. Trudy looked forward to the beginning - and the end of their visits! The family reunion in the mid 80's saw barbeques, beach balls, picnic benches, and sleeping tents installed. She would have been so proud of that Christa's wedding coming up soon represented the first of the next generation.

But her greatest joy was her four sons. after Bernard's funeral, she and the four boys went to lunch at the Alpengrus and for Trudy that was one of the great moments of her life. To be with her four boys, and to have time alone with them, and to be together. She told many people of er happiness at the moment in the weeks that followed.

Trudy had two heart attacks before last week - one while returning from England. I think she had intimations of her own mortality; but it is very much the case that she was getting to the next stage after Bernard's death where the arrangements were made and she was looking forward to the next phase of her life. She was enjoying her Sunday lunches with Iris at Alpengruss, talking about travel plans. The day before she died she had a jigsaw puzzle on the go, was writing some letters, had a glass of wine and watched some tennis on the TV. Although we do not wish to lose her, we can all appreciate that she left us very quickly, surrounded by the things that gave her joy. She would have been happy that we are remembering her today with happiness.

Go to Trudy's Family Card in the Genealogy section.
Return to Our Family Site