Saunders, Helen & Vernon #948 *

Honoured by Tim Saunders and Louise Sunstrum.

Both of our parents were products of the railway families. Mom, the daughter of Wilbert (Goldie) Peever who became the Superintendent of car services of the ONR, and Dad, the son of Frank (Sarah) Saunders a conductor on the CPR. It seems fitting that we honour them on the site of railway lines at the waterfront.

While Vern enlisted in the army during WWII, Helen worked in the offices of the ONR. They married in December 1946. Dad continued as a warrant officer at Chippewa Barracks until the 1960s. They had many a good night at Officers’ Mess festivities.

Mom took a few years off to raise Tim and Louise but she enjoyed working outside the home and soon started working for Imperial Oil on Birches Road. We often kidded her that we tested the first commercialized packaged food. They were part of the Fisher Street gang and built their first home themselves on Regina Street where we lived until moving to Pickering.

Both enjoyed local bowling leagues at the Empire and Four Seasons and got us kids involved in youth bowling leagues and Dad managed the Four Seasons Bowling Lanes.
They loved camping! We can remember packing up the tent and going to Algonquin Park. Later they later bought one of the first lots on Jocko Point and built a cottage – no electricity or plumbing — really roughing it. We would move out there at the end of each school year and they would commute to work each day and my brother and I would stay there swimming, boating and exploring the bush—a true northern experience.

They moved to Pickering in the late 1960’s for Dad’s job with the Ministry of Transportation and Mom at head office for Imperial Oil. They loved traveling to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean but eventually settled on Arizona as winter snowbirds.

Our parents instilled a sense of independence in their children. They didn’t interfere with our life choices but were there if we asked for help. That is a lesson we hope to emulate with our own children.

They both enjoyed Christmases and we still remember Christmas morning hilarity. You couldn’t get near the tree for the presents but it was always a humourous event. We all took the most enjoyment finding the perfect gag gift for everyone in the family. Needless to say laughter played a major part of our family’s dynamics. Another family favourite pastime was card playing, any variety, which taught us team playing, strategy and good sportsmanship, skills which carried us well through life and easy to learn when hidden in play.

Submitted by Tim Saunders and Louise Sunstrum