For her 100th birthday, my grandmother Ruth Millar and her 5 kids – Rosemary (my mother), Mike, Terry, Sharon, and John threw a party at a community center in Greely called Our Lady of the Visitation. She wanted the family to get together and spend some time talking about the rich history we all shared throughout the years. My grandma was always at the center of the events we had as kids, whether it was Christmas, the cottage or the campground in the summer, or taking the grandkids shopping. Now most families would go to their grandparents for the day and go back home, or maybe stay for one night but that wasn’t what we did. Oh no, we were always at grandma’s for 3-4 days at a time surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and good times. Centenarians are often asked for health advice, for tips on how to reach old age (inevitably, it seems, they have indulged at least lightly in all the drinking or smoking you’re supposed to avoid). Controversially, my grandma never touched any drugs or alcohol her whole life – any wonder she made it all the way.
From Kidd to Millar
She grew up in Orillia with her brother and sisters and they lived on a farm. Her dad owned a bakery during the depression and they truly knew poverty in this time. She met my grandfather and soon after she married him, displeasing her protestant family as he was a Catholic from England. She wore a blue dress on her wedding day that she had sewn herself and the rest is history. My grandfather was stationed all over the world during his career in the military, so they have stories of living in huts in Ethiopia, Rome, and many visits to London to visit my grandfather’s siblings.
They settled in the south end of Ottawa and created a campground that is still running to this day. Camp Hither Hills has been in our family for over 60 years and has been the hub in our family for a long time. So many stories start at this place. We call it the farm or the camp and we all know what we are talking about.
The things I will remember the most are shopping trips, baking pies, and lemon squares, family dinners, listening to old records, Florida & The Cottage, Gum Drop Cake, the caboose, barking at the waves, eating tums whenever my stomach hurt, sitting at the round table, telling me things are nonsense, and for always being such a huge supporter in my life.
Thank you, grandma, for everything you’ve done for me and I wish you many more wonderful years surrounded by all your family.
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