Olive (Azulay) Phillips Shares 100 Years of Memories as She Marks Major Milestone
By Olive (Azulay) Phillips
My name is Olive Eva Phillips (Azulay is my maiden name). I was born September 21, 1921, at a farm on the Maple Leaf Road known as Guthrie’s farm.
I am the oldest of nine children born to Allan and Mary Azulay. My brothers and sisters were, in descending order of age, Marion, Wilfed and Alfred they were the twins (both deceased now) then Ralph, Freda, Doris, Alice and Verna.
After Marion and I were born, we all moved when our parents purchased the farm from William Innes in the 1920s which is on the Billy Green Road and is still in the Azulay name.
I attended the Maple Leaf School which was just over the hill before our farm. The school classroom was one room with grades primary to Grade 8. It was not a large school, but most of the children from the area attended it.
Some of the fun activities there were baseball, skipping and snow forts. The school was used for church on Sundays and for box socials where people packed a lunch in a box with their name in it and when the men picked a box they had their lunch with whoever’s name was in the box.
The teachers that were at the school boarded at our farm. I was responsible for lighting the fire very early in the morning, which heated the schoolhouse, and keeping the floors clean in it.
My chores growing up were milking cows, chopping firewood. We had lots of farm animals to take care of. One of the main things I remember was helping care for my siblings.
One other chore that stands out in my mind was pouring water on the horses to cool them off during the haying season – they were so hot.
A chore I disliked was cleaning the stables.
The area lakes we spent time at during my childhood were Indian, Buck, Opinicon, Westport, Sydenham, Draper and Goldfish Lake.
We packed a picnic on Sunday, our day of rest, and as a family then went to one of the lakes. As a family for fun in the winter we put a lantern at the top and one at the bottom of the big the hills to keep the wolves away and rode our sleds down. We also attended dances in neighbours’ homes, which were potluck and everyone took a turn hosting.
Some of my favourite foods from the wild are berries, blackcaps being one of my favourites. My mother made the most delicious pies and jams from berries picked in the wild. My mother’s goal was to do up 100 jars of preserves for winter.
My other favourite thing to do on the farm was boil the sap in a huge pan for maple syrup. It was amazing and we boiled it further in the house on the wood stove. My mother used it for all her cooking and we made toffee on the snow.
Left for School
I left the farm to come to Kingston to achieve my high school diploma at KCVI then on to business college, but as a family we did not move.
The main event that stands out in my mind is the Second World War. So many young people were so terribly affected by it. We as the women here would hold dances for the men stationed in Kingston, there were lots from overseas here to receive training at the airport.
(Little did I know at the time it would be where my future husband George and I would build our home – on the land where the airstrip was, and we’d use some lumber from the hangars to build our house and hardwood for the floors.)
I met my husband when my best friend arranged for us to meet on a blind date. He was just home from the war and I had seen him getting off the train near Dupont where I was working at the time. (I worked in the labs at Dupont for a time, which was one of my favourite jobs.)
I had said to a co-worker I thought he was handsome. Little did I know he was the date my friend had arranged.
The war had stolen so much of everyone’s lives we didn’t waste very much time and planned our wedding not long after meeting.
My husband George was a member of the Stormont Glengarry Highlanders Regiment. We stayed in touch with his regiment for the yearly reunions and later in our lives for the monthly lunches. I was so proud to be a part of such a wonderful group of people, they were lifelong friends.
George and I were married until he passed away 23 years ago. I miss him every day. He was such a good family man. I miss him most when we get together as a family and he wasn’t there to see our family grow for as long as he would have liked to be. He passed shortly after our first great grandchild was born, but he did get to be a wonderful Grandpa to his grandchildren.
We had three children Joan, Allan and Katherine; Six grandchildren Mark and Nicolette (Joan), Brooke and Brad (Allan), and Holly and Kerrie (Katherine); and 10 great grandchildren Savanna, Riley, Alweyn, Eli, Jonathan, Joshua, Michael, Olivia, Miabella and Gianella.
After we were married, I went to work at the Post Office although by then George had already made a career change to Dupont where he eventually retired from. I worked at the Kingston Post Office for 25 years until I retired at 65.
We spent most weekends at the farm where everyone with their families met with lots of food. Many times, we had family reunions at my sister Marion and her husband Charles’ home on Lake Opinicon.
In closing, my advice for young people today would be to live within your means, save for a rainy day and be kind and respectful to others.