1908 – Lucy Maud Montgomery publishes ‘Anne of Green Gables’, the Ford Model-T goes on sale

1909 – The United States of America purchases the world’s first Military Airplane.

1910 – The Canadian Navy was established

The horse was still the primary mode of transportation….town was long way away.

Grandaddy was a man from a different time, seeing firsthand what for many of us is the history book descriptions of the roaring 20s and dirty 30s, two world wars, the post war boom times of the 50s and 60s.

However, Grandaddy came from a generation where most people were born, raised and passed on in the same area.  Living almost his entire life in Bideford and Ellerslie region.

He got to watch Ellerslie and area grow with all of the items we see today: the running of phone lines down the road, which were not quite high enough to clear the farm equipment.  The paving of the Ellerslie road and seeing all of the children playing on the construction equipment as they worked on it.  Electricity, coming into homes where there was none before.

It is difficult for me to imagine all of the changes he got to see.  Certainly, a time of change rivaled by no others before.

However as a man of the 30s one of Layton’s most remembered attributes was his plain, uncluttered lifestyle.  He had what he needed and what he didn’t need, he didn’t have.  It is well remembered that Grandaddy was not impressed with Olive for getting married and wouldn’t speak to her for 2 weeks for  taking the time to get measured and purchasing a wedding dress for 2$.  Times were different.

I can also remember coming to Granddaddy’s house as a young boy and being amazed that it was still heated by a wood stove that was used for both cooking and heating during that time.   Eventually it was upgraded to oil, which I am sure Granddaddy never really felt that he needed but got anyway.

There were only 2 vehicles mentioned an Old Dodge – Fargo which was used for delivering mail and around the farm and the old blue Volaire that all of the Great Grandchildren would remember.  It was the only car I knew never seemed to move.  And even when it did move, it when down to the garage to get gasoline and up to nanny grandpy’s place for a family gathering and them back home.  Short travels for an automobile.

And who could forget his polka dot handkerchief ready at a moment’s notice to wipe something and be put away until needed again.   He had what he needed.

The other memories for many of us come back to the days of the farm.  Small by most any standard, but a place of hustle and bustle.

The Grandchildren here remember fondly the big excitement each summer when Cyril would make the summer trek with his children all the way from Ontario and everyone would put the loose hay in the loft of the barn.  Horses and hay forks going in every direction…it is a wonder they survived.

However if I think granddaddy myself, there is really only one thing that really comes to mind and that is Horses.  Quite often at the house he would either be in the barn, feeding a horse, washing a horse, or simply be gone to the horse races.  And never the big races in town, but he seemed to prefer the smaller races, the local races where he could get a really good look at the horses and chat up the animals with the owners.  I remember being at some races in O’Leary once where I got to see a little of that, realizing that there was another world outside the cars and trucks that I interacted with every day.

He always seemed to have a horse or two in the barn for as long as I can remember.  He used them to take us on sleigh rides at Christmas, cold and clear we would be traveling around in the fields and paths behind the houses that are used more for ski-doos today rather than horses.

Looking through some old pictures over the last few days, Barry yelled out “That is Fury” pointing at a picture of Granddaddy next to horse.

”Who is Fury?” came the reply.

“That horse is Fury, right there in the picture”, Barry said

A quick turn of the picture indicated it wasn’t Fury, but there a lot of pictures of Grandaddy with horses that make you realize they were an important part of his life.

As a child everybody is “old” to you.  However looking back even now, Grandaddy was “old” during my earliest memories.  Bruce can remember Grandaddy asking him to take care of the farm when he was 13 years old, this was 1976.  In 1990 at 80 years grandaddy wrote his final wishes in a bible we have at home espousing his understated life style.  Little did he know at the time that he would be the last to pass away in a family; losing parents, and outliving all of his siblings and even his children.

“No ride is ever the last one. No horse is ever the last one you will have. Somehow there will always be other horses, other places to ride them” ~Monica Dickens

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