Since my father, Hans was working where ever there was work, it sometimes took him away from home for long periods of time. My sister was born August 5, 1956 – SylviaBirthCertificateFamilyAllowance. With my mother’s birthday approaching my father came home. Well nine months later, I show up! BirthCertificate
In the mean time, my father returned to his work and my mother carried on working at a lumber camp as the cook. When she realized she was pregnant with me, she wrote to my father to inform him of the news. About two months into the pregnancy my mother had a miscarriage. Since she was quite a distance from the nearest hospital she decided to forgo the long journey and just write to my father informing him that she had miscarried.
By summer time she realized that she was still pregnant and must have been carry twins. She wrote my father to tell him the news. My father at this point refused to believe that she had even pregnant and that if she was pregnant now it was because she was carrying another man’s child. He came home and took my sister from my mother and told her she was unfit to be the mother of his child.
My father left my mother without any form of support. She had only been in Canada for a couple of years and did not speak much English. Since she had no where to go and no family or friends to help her, she stayed at the logging camp and continued to work until my birth. Joe, one of the men who worked as a logger and was Aboriginal he felt it was his responsibility to help my mother out. Joe had three son’s which were older than mother by a few years.
They grew close and eventually had three children together; my step-brothers, Eddie, Jimmy and Freddy. After my father took my sister from my mother, she spent the next few years trying to get my her back from my father. Finally with help from a lawyer, she was told that she could not just go and pick up my sister. He suggested that someone drives her to where Sylvia lives and offer her some candy, if she gets in the car willingly, then my mother can take her home.
My mother was not aware that my father at this point had moved from British Columbia to Elliot Lake in Northern Ontario in 1959. Sylvia was being looked after by a friend of my fathers who worked in a local Saloon. When my sister came to live with us, my mother told me that Sylvia was only able to speak German and I had to teach her English. She was also not use to rules, such as bed time and regular routine of meals. Sylvia had no idea who mom was and it was very difficult on both of them.