Study #1, Bert

Study #1: Bert, widower

I was born in 1912 in New Brunswick. I’ve enjoyed my life and have many happy memories. Family to me has been my wife, kids (Elsa , Bert jr. and Karen), grandkids, great grandkids, my mum and dad, my five younger brothers (all but Jimmy now gone) and my little sister who died when she was a baby. I have relatives in Denmark and lots of nieces and nephews and all their kids too. I feel connected to people long in my history. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an Empire Loyalists, and came to Canada during the American Revolution. He was descended from immigrants from Ireland who were descended from a soldier from Cromwell’s invading army. My family includes the English, Irish, Danish, Ojibwa, and French Canadian.

I was married to my wife for 58 years and I’ve been living alone since she died. It took a long time to come to terms with it; it was very hard on me when she went. I had Kelsey my dog to keep me company and now I have another dog, Cassie who is a great little friend. Family life is one of the most important things; I can’t exactly explain why. Back when I was young, kids helped out. I only went to grade 7 in a one room school and got my first job at 14; 17 ½ cents per hour as a water boy at Dalton Mills in Northern Ontario. All my money went to my parents and they gave me some pocket change. At 17 my father died and hopes of going on to further education came to an end. I supported my mother and brothers. Family is everything; you do what you can to help out. It was the great depression in the 1930’s. I rode the rails looking for work and sent funds home to my mother. I was a sailor on the ships on the great lakes and then I was a sailor during the Second World War. Even when I was away from home, family was always there, in the back of my mind. They help you feel less alone. My fondest memories are being with my mother and brothers; we were all together back then.

From early days on my dad thought that no one was better than anyone else. I believe this too. People have their own lives to lead. It is not my business to pass judgment. I’ve always been of the philosophy to live and let live. I don’t think well of people who think they are better than others. Life should be good common sense and openness and decency; fairness to all.
I am part of a long history. We all are. Family before me, family after me. I did this sculpture as a favour to Jane. Anyone who wants to do a sculpture of me…well it made me feel good. It made me feel important. I was happy to do it.

Jane Hook Sculpture