I landed in Montreal airport after a very quick flight from Newark Airport in NYC and was struck with French instructions, French speaking people and I was hit with a moment of panic. I’m here alone, so I have to figure this out on my own. Where to go and what to do to get through customs, where to get my bags and then how to get to where June is going to pick me up. How to contact June and even how to order and pay for a coffee. I settled the panic and took it a step at a time and it worked just fine.
The only hiccup was that June was expecting I would take much longer to get through customs and get my bags (based on previous experience) so she was 15 minutes away when I got to speak to her first. Great! I said, time for me to get a coffee.
Off I toddle (thanks Mum) to the coffee shop, as for a flat white and you would think that I asked for an elephant in a cup. He had no idea what I was saying. Changing the instruction to a “latte, “o go” seemed to work. The guy before me get a coffee and it was less than five dollars. So, I go to the plastic bag filled with the Canadian cash of Mum’s from 1994 and pulled out three $2 notes – $6 will be plenty. I handed him the $6 and he looked amazed and says “wow”. “Oh, are they old?” I say? “Yeah! Are you sure you don’t want to keep them?”. Nah, I say, I’ve got more. I only found out later, that similar to Australia, $2 notes were replaced with coins many, many years ago. He he he. No wonder he was shocked.
So, coffee in hand I head out to where I told June I would be, and looked for a black Kia.
Not long and we were off, we stopped in a beautiful front patisserie and June got a coffee and something to eat and eight croissants to take with us. Not really knowing where I was, or where I was going I happily listened to the family stories June told, I took notes, and we kept driving.
Seven hours later we were at Roger and Jenn’s house.
Roger is the grandson of Annie Ruby Crout. Annie Ruby Crout is my Grandad Harry Scarborough Crout’s sister – same father – Harry Eden Crout and same mother – Marie Ogilvie.
This is Annie Ruby Crout, circa 1962 on a trip to Tijuana
This is Annie Ruby Crout, circa 1980
From left – Annie Ruby Crout, Thelma Patricia Moore, Doris Beatrice Longhurst
Roger had no idea my grandfather existed until a day or so before and yet, he warmly invited us to come and stay when June contacted him to see if we could meet up. Because Roger is part of the line of Canadian Crouts that stem from Annie Ruby, he is a full blood relative, and it was very important, if at all possible for me to meet him while I was in Canada. June knew this and so had worked very hard to get in contact with him to see if there was some way she could arrange it.
I met Roger and his wife Jenn and was handed a glass of wine. June and I explained where I fitted in, which Roger admitted was still a bit overwhelming. They were fascinated and so pleased that we had “reached out”. They both have complicated histories and so didn’t really know their extended families growing up and Jenn said she has enjoyed meeting her cousins as adults more recently.
I heard about Jack, Roger’s father (Grandad’s nephew he never knew he had). He was a character, by the sounds. Roger told me how at 14 Jack took him on a road trip, and this is when Roger learnt to drive – across the country! Roger then lived with Jack. This is Jack, circa 1978
Jack when he was older, circa 2002
We sat by the fireplace, drinking wine and telling family stories and I met Frank, the big sook of a cat.
We enjoyed a wonderful home cooked meal (something I was missing from my three weeks travelling) and more wine and we talked more before heading off to bed. I was given Roger and Jenn Emily’s room who is an artist
The morning was cold – my first sight of snow
We drank coffee, ate croissants and June shared some stories, documents and photos and Roger shared what he had.
L—R Henry Eden Crout (Harry Scarborough’s father) early in his military career when he was about 18 or 19, Harry Eden Crout, Emily Jacobs and Harry (June’s Dad), Harry Eden Crout (far left) as bandmaster in the 60th Battalian of the Canadian Army, 1915
Then Roger took June and I for a tour of their property on the “Polaris” – we rugged up – it was pretty cool and we assured it would be cold on the tour.
What an exciting (and a little hairy at times) way to see the spectacular property of Roger and Jenn’s. We took photos in front of the fireplace, said our goodbyes and armed with a map, June and I were off to meet Jane – a Cozens cousin.