Words from the artist – Opa sculpture

Words from the artist – Opa sculpture

fb02_smallBoth of my parents were fortunate to have lived here in this wonderful community until their final days. They made friends , joined clubs, and felt a sense of belonging while enjoying the safety, security , and lovely surroundings of this complex.

For those who have never been here, there is even a tunnel built, that is decorated with paintings which takes residents from one building to the other, safely under the road…and it is a pleasant walk in inclement weather too…plants and benches along the way.

My parents took trips arranged by staff, had meals prepared perfectly, and attended church. Special events were often planned, and groups of children with beautiful voices and happy smiles visited on many of those occasions, leaving fond impressions to last for weeks.

My mother spent her last days in Grace Manor, until her 95th year.

Her room was decorated with her paintings and also photos of children and grandchildren. The staff was devoted to her and my mother basked in their compassionate care. Friends family and volunteers came often, and she had many pleasant days there.

Our Father had his flowers to tend to in the summer months. His apartment had a small patio with chairs for visitors and a small flower patch that blossomed prolifically by summertime. . He joined various clubs, had dinner in the dining room and joined friends for church on Sundays. He even volunteered.

When he passed away last year, I and my siblings spoke of the stories he had shared with us over the years. These were often tales we had heard from him regarding the war years and his survival during those horrific times.

The Dutch were rescued by Canadian troops. Father vividly described the tanks rolling down the street with soldiers marching behind.

Smiling men, who were greeted with cheers and flowers. So many flowers that there were times the tracks of the tanks actually skidded. Young people jumped on the tops of tanks and trucks and were allowed to ride along the roads too.

The grateful faces of starving Dutch residents must have made an indelible impression on the Canadians for many of these men made lifelong friendships with their hosts.

These stories were passed along so that we understood the value of freedom, and how we got here to this magnificent country. Those soldiers were the ambassadors that won the hearts of thousands of Dutch ….who immigrated during the years after the war.

I was honoured that Holland Christian Homes collaborated with Artcast Foundry to build the sculpture that I created. The statue portrays an Opa who is telling stories to his grandchild. Nothing replaces tender personal moments that convey stories spoken between the generations. The conveying of wisdom, family values, respect, and love is essential to our civilized world.

Thanks to all of you for the distinct honour of allowing me to make these qualities come to life.

Marion Bartlett