Sadly, my mother Betty was only four years old when her mother Cora May Rice (née Kelly) died of tuberculosis. She also was to lose her older brother, Hilton, who passed away at the age of nine. (Since my father’s mother–Annie Edna Neve–had also died at a young age–the day after giving birth to him–my parents had in common the experience of living apart from their dads prior to their respective father’s remarriage.) My mother and Hilton lived at their Aunt Ella and Uncle Byron’s farm in New Durham, Ontario, where they felt at home with their cousins Philip and Betty Burtis, whom they regarded like a sister and brother.
The photographs of Cora May Kelly are precious to me, because they help me understand something of my grandmother’s life that illuminates my mother’s as well. Now I know where my mom got her love of reading–and also camping!