Photo: Bill Peacock
Take a peek at this Canadian’s magnet collection
My mother, Elizabeth (Maw) Whynot of Liverpool, N.S., met and married my father, Robert (Paw) Peacock, during the Second World War. Paw was assigned to the naval frigates that escorted convoys across the North Atlantic. His ship was often docked in Liverpool harbour. After the war, they moved back to Paw’s hometown of Sudbury. In 1952, they moved into a home in Lively, Ont., which they referred to as their mansion.
Maw and Paw raised six children, who gave them 12 grandchildren, who in turn produced 21 great-grandchildren.
Maw and Paw were themselves raised in a simpler time. Maw’s large family, like most back then, stayed close to the original homestead to raise their families. Maw, however, moved to Sudbury by train—experiencing her first Sudbury winter was quite a shock. Hearing the stories of that trip while growing up, along with tales of the hardships endured during their early years, inspired all of us to take chances and become travellers.
It started with short trips to places such as Niagara Falls, Thunder Bay and Toronto. On trip after trip, a simple fridge magnet was always purchased and brought home to Maw as a souvenir. As our trips ranged further and further from home, magnets continued to be added to Maw’s fridge.
Soon the grandchildren travelled even further afield and they, too, continued to add magnets to the fridge. Maw’s collection of magnets grew along with her collection of stories.
It was a thrill to add to her collection and have your magnet placed alongside the others, as you told Maw your travel story. It didn’t take long to fill the entire front of the fridge and then the exposed side.
Maw’s magnets have come from the United States, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Europe, Japan, China and Australia. Each magnet captures the colours, tastes and culture of the place visited. (Check out the best cities in the world for every type of traveller.)
Sadly, Paw passed away in 2015. Maw is now 92 and still living in her own home. As each family member ventures further from home, a “Maw prayer” always precedes him or her.
Over the years, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have enjoyed playing with the magnets on the fridge, constantly rearranging them. Every spring, the magnets come off the fridge, are lovingly washed in hot soapy water and the stories are remembered. Maw has truly travelled the world through her family.
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