War Brides  

The Only Russian Warbride

“This time you really did it, girlie!” It was the greatest love story in Canadian history: the arrival of 47,783 women, mostly British, at Pier 21, Halifax, newly hitched to their handsome Canadian soldiers and ready to take a chance in a new country after…

She was a woman on the run…

The sight of German uniforms weakened her knees. She buckled. Her weight collapsed against me, and then, I saw her ashen face. My mother and I were in the Frankfurt  International Airport,  surrounded by uniformed airport security police.  We were on our way to Russia,…

My Dad, a man of few words, robbed of memory in his final days…

My Dad was a victim of Alzheimer’s. I guess you could say, my mother was too. She did not have any of the medical symptoms, but at the age of 73, she found herself as my father’s principal caregiver in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. At the…

“They are the last of the real ‘Great Dames’….”

On set at Global TV’s program “16X9″, we are two prairie girls celebrating the stories of a trio of women you don’t normally get to see on prime time TV. Their faces are etched with wrinkles, each line telling a tale of extraordinary cunning, endurance,…

The Missing Thousand Days: THE CLUES

On March 27, 1940, in defiance of her mother’s wishes, Rosa Butorina (my mother’s real name) married a swarthy, Rudolph Valentino-esque man 20 years her senior. This is the last known photograph of her before she was captured by the Nazis in Poltava. The Nazi…

“She was like the proverbial Wandering Jew…”

That summer’s night in ’48, the steam driven train announced its approach to the prairie town with a long, sustained whine. You could hear that horn all the way from  the previous whistle stop,  six miles down the track. And that’s God’s truth. Twilight draped…

In the search for clues, how Donald Duck trumped Twitter!

The search for my mother’s “missing thousand days” during World War Two began this summer again, in earnest in a breezy, light-filled second floor apartment in Amsterdam, overlooking the Singel canal. I have come to this cosmopolitan European city with my twin brother, Victor Spicer…

“Don’t cry for me, my daughter…I lived through some hellish times, but no one got the best of me.”

  It would be the last interview. On my mother’s 84th birthday, I ambushed her with a television camera at her apartment in Calgary, Alberta, downplaying the invasion of lights, cables, and microphones, as “some friends popping by.” She looked at me, and, drolly asked,…

Love In The Time Of Chaos And Rubble

“They are immortalized at the moment of their greatest joy, their eyes brimming with optimism.” My mother, Agnes Spicer, is part of an extraordinary art exhibit of 22 remarkable Canadian war-brides ‘going home’ to Holland. In August, 1946, on board the RMS Mauretania, she traveled…