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A loving cup for Nancy

Nancy Was A Lovely And Mysterious Women

And there was so much more to Nancy than antiques!

She was never one for fancy clothes and pretensions.... because in the end it all came to naught. Her strong passion was a love of history and the artifacts that spoke to us of another era. Probably Nancy spent too much! Not On Herself, but on the collectables she loved that dealt with our pilgrimage through life – old lamps, old linens, old silver, anything that portrayed the beauty of a long ago lifestyle. Even when young Nancy could see the beauty in a rose covered saucer – in spite of the crack in it.

That was part of Nancy’s hope-filled nature. Well, Nancy never lost that joy and her happiest moments must have been when she acquired an old Japanese teapot from the 1920’s, or a book on Manitoba history.

I shared that love of old books so Nancy and I could always talk the talk about our favoriteshe stories of local history. Nancy wasn’t specific in her collecting – it was all worthwhile and wonderful! No doubt her acquisitions soon overcame her sale table. I can see her in her home, purring with happiness surrounded by her treasures and two Siamese cats.

Nancy had a good education during a time when composition, English, math – and yes even Latin and Shakespeare were the basic Portage education. Antique collecting and reading became her path to a wide knowledge of the decorative art forms, and so much more. Every find had a story behind it.

Nancy was at heart a researcher, so if you asked her a question she would probably begin a search to give you a complete answer. Nancy believed in accuracy!

A few months ago Nancy came over to show me her treatise on ‘Portage la Prairie’s early drug store businesses’. I could sense her pride as she read it to me. She was at her best in a one on one engagement because she was very intense about her interests.

To me, Nancy’s most noble attribute was her community activism. I recall a petition that Claire Cook, Nancy and myself took up. We gathered a huge amount of signatures to stop council-of-the-day from proceeding with a move to tear up the sidewalks on the side streets. Council reasoned that they could turn that land over to the adjacent property owners and thus increase property taxes and never have to repair them! And as well never be responsible to remove snow from the sidewalks. Sounds silly doesn’t it?! But had we not put pressure on council that concept would have passed!

No one was more valiant at fighting for community causes than Nancy Kerman!

In many ways Nancy was like a sister to me for we were both raised on the Island and such a beautiful place it was to be a youth – woods full of deer, fruit trees, the beautiful park, the race track to run on, horse barns and each year we got into the Fair for free!

We saw lots of Nancy and Steve. Nancy had a grey horse and taught my sister Janis to ride. All those secret Island roads were their horse trails.

Nancy loved animals. Even as a little girl Nancy took stray cats and dogs under her wing and had hundreds of them over the years. Truly, contributions to PAWS would be so in keeping with her passion to help abandoned animals.

The Kerman’s and the Pelechaty’s knew each other from the beginning of pioneering on the Island, having immigrated to Canada to escape persecution and the poverty that was Europe’s lifestyle. Come to think of it – the persecution part didn’t work that well for me!

Both families were early settlers in the virgin forests that still covered much of the Island, clearing land, building their first log house and putting in large gardens. In the beginning they lived off those gardens. I remember Nancy’s mother, Mary, out a couple of times a day moving the cow to greener grass. The milk was carried to the creamery on the little wagon. Mary also scythed down the hay in the swamp that then lay under the present Stride Place.

Money was scarce and Nancy learned early to be frugal. Although she didn’t have a fancy upbringing, Nancy did develop a love for the beautiful objects that brought joy to one’s life.

So much of life is a mystery and tragically seems filled with heartache. As we grow older our consolation lays in the belief that we are children of the eternal and only there will we find solace. Perhaps because she was born into a family that immigrated from corrupt Europe where war and repression were the norm, Nancy had a burning desire to shine up an awareness of the great value of our participatory democracy. She greatly valued OPEN GOVERNMENT, although it seemed often elusive. Her years in a law office sharpened her understanding of municipal law and she understood how it formed the basis of our local city government.

Even on her second last day in the hospital, Nancy fervently spoke on one of our favorite topics – how to encourage council to open themselves to a more transparent government and just as importantly to convince the citizens they needed to be involved in our grass roots government.

“Nancy we are going to miss your interest in local affairs and we will try to keep alive your passion to protect us from Government by the few!”

The happy days of our on-coming summer were shattered suddenly. Nancy had been in hospital for only a few days, and yet she was gone! But it wasn’t a total shock because Nancy hadn’t been well for six months, but one day her disease just overcame her.

Nancy’s departure from life showed me her innate strength. She always knew what she wanted and she definitely didn’t want operations and chemo that was bound to remove the quality of the life that remained to her. She said, “I’m going to run this race on my own and take whatever is handed to me”. On her night table I was surprised to see her well thumbed Bible. As ill as she was it was amazing how gracious her words when admiring the flowers, “I really appreciate everyone’s kindness to me”. Losing a sister and a dear friend can only be a great heartbreak to Steve. But Nancy had a heart of gold and those smiling brown eyes will always bring back happy memories to Steve and to all of us. We’ve never been taught to say goodbye....

“Nance, we are going to miss you, but I think it must begin with a Thank You!”


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