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Your Voice: September

Gloria Vallette, 88, holds treasured letters received from her youngest daughter, Brenda, about her parent's parenting! Photo supplied.

Super senior keeps on swinging

Re: Super Senior article, August 2023: Gary Poignant, you have made my day many times as I have received many compliments and more. So thank you for your great effort. I hope people reading the article might become a bit more active in body and mind. Take care, and I will keep reading Prime Times.

Joyce Cutts, Edmonton AB

Proud parenting

My husband, Walter Vallette and I had nine children, four of Wally's, three of mine and two more together. When the kids asked if they could be known as brothers and sisters, not 'half' siblings, that touched my heart so much I stopped referring to them as my step-children. My husband passed away in 1994, but we always talked to the kids about the ups and downs of life and how to overcome them. Fifteen years ago, my youngest daughter Brenda wrote us each a letter about our parenting, which I'll share with you here. I'll be 90 in two years, and am proud of all the children's accomplishments in life.

Gloria Vallette, Edmonton, AB

Dear Mom, there are so many things you've taught me in life and so much I admire in you. Too many qualities to mention, so I'll choose two of the most important: Compassion; you taught this lesson to us as children and continue to lead by example through your charitable work. Thanks to you, I respect all people, regardless of status, title, religion or race, and I always try to see both sides of the story, not to judge.

Gratitude: I believe the reason we have such a great family is because we learned to appreciate what we had, what we were given and what we could achieve for ourselves. You taught us how to appreciate the simple things, from the food on our table to the roof above our heads, to each other. I'm so grateful your parenting allowed us to grow in character and not just through material things. The richness of the lessons you taught allowed us to be successful in life. Thank you.

Brenda Vallette, Ontario

What's the cost of 'green burial'?

Re: Green burial August 2023, what is the cost of digging the burial site, the clothing, shroud and casket material? It makes me look bad for cremating my husband, which I understood did not need a casket or clothing. It would be appreciated to compare costs, so readers could decide between these two procedures. The funeral home charges for their time, staff, office; so I understand cost is necessary no matter what is done with the deceased.  

Maria Zurkan, Calgary, AB

Everything is Beautiful

Re: Grumpy old men perform in Fringe play: I visited this performance today. Great acting! A simple play that perfectly and humorously reveals the experiences of older people. I recommend you to watch it!  (Write [email protected] to inquire about booking the show at local senior's centres).

Edmonton, AB


The coffee mug

I have a wonderful story, it's told in emails from me and the children of the mother who made something very important to me.  

Dear Pat: In 1966, I was a student at the University of Chicago. While my parents were visiting, we were joined by my brand-new boyfriend. As we strolled through Hyde Park, we ran across an art fair. I fell in love with a mug and knew I had to have it. It had a texture in its glaze, almost like fur, and instead of a handle, it had a kind of tail to hold. I had never been allowed to have a cat as a girl so I adopted this “somewhat-cat” mug as my own. I brought it back to my dorm room and introduced it to coffee.

I have sipped from this mug every day of my life. My brand-new boyfriend later became my husband and, seventeen years later, when he died, I held my mug close to me as I struggled through my grief. Years later, I shared it with my new husband and let him and my young son know it had so much love in it that its spirit would remain even if its material self was ever hurt. That turned out to be true. At some point, its tail broke and my husband repaired the broken piece.

This mug remains the daily coffee mug of my now 76-year-old self. Today, I found your mother had created and sold it to me fifty-seven years ago. When I found your email, I knew I had to let you know how much joy your mother’s art has created in my heart.  


Dear Carol, The photo reminds me of a poem title I once encountered, “The Importance of Visible Scars", about what you’ve been through and that you are still useful in this world. My mother would have been proud to know her mug was cherished, even with its visible scar. She liked making good handles. That glaze was one that she and Dad developed--a signature glaze for them.  

 Best wishes, Pat.

Dear Carol, My sisters and I, now also in our 70s, attended street fairs with our mother and father.  The Hyde Park Art Fair was always a favourite to attend. It was invitational, so it had some of the best mid-century artists and crafts persons.

The mug you own was mold-poured using an original our mom crafted.  The body was thrown on the wheel and the handle was sculpted by hand and attached.  Dad and I would help with the mold pouring, fettling and applying the glaze.  Mom had developed this glaze after many years of research (trial and error).

After dad’s death in 1972, mom continued her pottery career into her 80s.  She died in hospice at age 92.  All three of us siblings own her work and continue to use her functional pieces.  

Mike Arnow

Carol Kodish-Butt, Edmonton, AB



Flies, mosquitoes, wasps and bees make me squirm and sneeze

So I’ll ask them ever so kindly, go bug the neighbours please

I have so little patience and my wits are at the end

After an outdoor excursion it takes a couple of days to mend


Itching, scratching welt marks are driving me insane

What those creatures put us through hasn’t even got a name

I would give my blood up willingly to a worthy cause

But allowing them to use it won’t garner my applause


Whenever they’re around me we’re both acting like a fool

Thoughts go into panic mode and intentions are so cruel

If they feel the need to land on me, they risk their life and mine

If they’d just say hi in passing, we both would do just fine


We’re all in this life together so we need to get along

Thinking we should stomp them out seems so very wrong

In our battle for existence, I’ll give them their own space

But heaven help their greedy souls when they buzz into my place


Don Hamaliuk, Sturgeon County, AB