Mom Comes to Stay (What’s Buying One More House?)

Betty Miller Fletcher
Last photo of Mom in Florida

My mother, Betty Isabel (nee Miller), was the main reason I ended up moving to Canada.  She was born in Brockville, Ontario, in the early 20s. She met my father, an American from Indiana, during World War II. Brockville, a city of approximately 20,000 situated on the St. Lawrence River, was home at that time to an officer’s training camp. My father was keen to join the war effort and couldn’t wait for his own country to get involved so came up to Canada to enlist with the Canadian-British forces. He subsequently met Mom and…they married in 1943!

Dad attended Harvard Law School after the war, so they lived in Boston. Later, they moved to New York, where I was born. But we had close connections with Mom’s family in Brockville while I was growing up and spent our summers in Canada, usually at a cottage on Charleston Lake, near Brockville. Eventually my parents bought a year-round house on Charleston Lake (a converted 1-1/2-storey  cottage).

It was to that house that I moved in the late 80s on a “temporary” basis to write a few  Christian novels for youth. Don’t ask me why. I could have accomplished the same goal in New York. But I no longer believe that things happen by chance. Obviously the Lord wanted me in Canada! My temporary move became very permanent.

My parents, meanwhile, moved from New York to Sarasota, Florida. Dad passed away in May 2000 of complications from a usually minor surgery. Mom promptly sold the house in Charleston Lake. I had years before moved out of it and was living in Lyn (just outside of Brockville) with Ian and a host of critters, both domestic and farm.

Mom became increasingly frail over the subsequent years. She sold her house in a golf community in Sarasota and moved into an apartment tailored for seniors. She fared all right for a while with the help of home-care workers. But she broke her right ankle in January 2013 and continued to slip healthwise. In the spring of 2014 she began asking me quite insistently to get her back to Canada! She was afraid the alternative would be what she dreaded most – placement in a long-term-care facility.

So on the last day of April, Ian and I closed up our Three Little Bears Cottage Store and headed south. Three very full days later we arrived in Sarasota. We packed as much of Mom’s possessions as would fit into the back of Ian’s truck and into a UHaul trailer.  Then we picked her up at the long-term-care facility in which she was staying (for rehab) and began our even longer trip back home. Fortunately, because our paperwork was in order, we did not have any holdups in customs.

Mom was forced to be content in the smaller bedroom (previously our office) at the back of the store, which luckily was beside the larger bathroom.  We knew this couldn’t be permanent. It made sense, since Mom could no longer live completely alone and did not want to move into a long-term-care facility, that we find a house in which we could all live together.

We considered our house at Hollow Mountain Road. The advantage was that we already owned it. The disadvantage was that it would be difficult with the layout to give Mom the privacy she needed. We began looking for properties with in-law suites, or at least living areas with separate entrances that could be converted into a suite. The property would also need to meet “Florida standards” in terms of décor and style, as that was what Mom was used to.

View of the house at 20 Waldeck Line Road, Deep Brook, from the front. It is quite an imposing house sitting on a South Mountain incline. Accompanied by 50 acres of woods and trails, it is an ideal spot for the recreationalist.

Our first showing after we returned was at 20 Waldeck Line Road in Waldeck (Deep Brook). A relatively new house by Nova Scotia standards, which has a remarkable number of older homes. Just a little over 10 years old, it sat on 50 acres with a beautiful view of the Annapolis Basin. It also had a separate entrance on the lower level (as well as a second bathroom), which made it ideal for our purposes. Ian and I, cats and dogs and birds, would have the lower level, and Mom would have the main level to herself (or mostly to herself).

View from new house at 20 Waldeck Line Road, Deep Brook
View of Bear Island in the Annapolis River Basin (with North Mountain behind) from the house at 20 Waldeck Line Road, Deep Brook

Our realtor told us that another offer was coming within the next couple of days so we would have to act quickly if we wanted the house. Talk about pressure. This type of competition is a rare occurrence in Nova Scotia real estate. We made our offer, and it was accepted. Closing day: July 2.

The next few days were busy trying to re-establish Mom in Canada. You would think that returning to the place of your birth would be as easy as 1-2-3, but unfortunately little is simple in life (at least not when it comes to working with government agencies!).

Mom can’t wait to move and to be reunited with her belongings. We are looking forward to it, too. We are hopeful that 20 Waldeck Line Road will be a rewarding new beginning for all of us (pets included!). It is very close to our property on Purdy Road in Deep Brook  so will be convenient from that aspect as well.






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