|She was born Miriam Dorothy Nason in Fredericton Junction, New Brunswick on May 31st, 1929 and was the first child of Clara Adriana Hartt and Charles Victor Nason both of whom were born and grew up in Fredericton Junction - a small town of 7 or 8 hundred people and a railway town where the Fredericton train met up with the main line across Canada.
She attended Sunbury Grammar School and graduated with the class of 1947 (the year I started school). One of my earliest memories is of being at her graduating ceremonies with my Mom and Dad and little sister Carol at the Agricultural Hall. She looked so beautiful in her long white gown with a red corsage and long dark curly hair.
After graduating Miriam moved to an apartment in Fredericton and got a job with NB Tel and worked for them as a switchboard operator until her first marriage when she moved to Nova Scotia at age 29. During her single years she came home most weekends and we were always so excited to see her. She always was so well dressed in beautiful clothes and make-up and perfume and nail polish and her hair done up just so (like a movie actress and I was crazy about movie stars) - plus she was always bringing us gifts. Sometimes she would bring girlfriends home for the weekend and sometimes the occasional boyfriend. Miriam always had many friends!! She also took Carol and I to Fredericton several times to stay with her in her apartment in the summer hols. That was just so exciting!!! And it was lovely to have a big sister like her.
Miriam took a correspondence course in bookkeeping and after moving to Nova Scotia she worked as a Bookkeeper for several companies over the years including Maritime Sand & Gravel until her retirement in the early 80's. She lived in NS for 42 years and I think she came home for just about every one of those Christmases. Christmas would not have been the same without Miriam.
After her divorce in the 70's and the single life again for a few years she met and married Percy Dares of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Percy, a former Navy man and Tavern owner, had been heavily involved in the municipal politics and served many years on the town council. He was also an avid NDP supporter so Mim got involved with all of that and worked for the party and hosted events etc. (She even had me typing up voter's lists) She also took piano lessons in her spare time. Mim seemed to have boundless energy was a great crafts person. I always said she took every course known to man!!! Knitting, crocheting, sewing, plastic canvas, ceramics, tole painting, quilting, embroidery and cross-stitching to name a few. And she was very good at all of them but really excelled in oil paintings and left us many pictures to treasure and which we have divided amongst the family and friends. I have one of the seascapes and an autumn scene. She also collected stamps and coins.
After Percy passed away in the late 80's, Miriam became very much involved in her church work and in volunteer work. I used to spend my summers with her as I was required to take the summers off at my job at UNB and there was hardly ever a day went by that she was not driving someone to hospital or delivering meals or working at the Dartmouth Senior Centre, or at the church and she did it all with such joy and laughter.
During those summers we traveled all over Nova Scotia and PEI. Mim would holler up the stairs to me "How'd you like to go to PEI for the weekend?" Of course I always said, "love to". Then we would get on the phone and call up our cousin Eunice Scribner and Mim's good friend Ruth Wiseman and the 4 of us would take off for the weekend. We had some of the best times. We visited everything we saw along the way and stopped at all the yard sales and craft shops and ate in every restaurant in NS - I think. They knew all the restaurants and how good they were by then. Soon as we got into the hotel the cards came out. And we played spite and malice and laughed ourselves silly!!! (It is now called skip-bo)
Miriam loved to travel and in her lifetime she took many trips. I don't think I can even remember them all but I know she went to Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Bermuda, England, Scotland, Ireland, several United States trips, Alaska, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and one big European tour which included the Passion Play at Oberammergau near the German/Austrian border and 5 or 6 different countries. She went thru the doors of the Vatican which only are opened every 25 years.
Miriam was also known in her later years for having pets. Her first little shiatsu (and, as Erma Bombeck said, aptly named) was Duncan. She loved that dog and treated it like a baby. (and I sort of loved that dog too and he loved us both. Sometimes he was torn as to whom to sleep with and it usually was the last one to bed). She later rescued a sick homeless beat up cat named Tiger and gave him a great home. These were followed by Mittens, the new little shiatsu, and a cat named Molly. She had made arrangements for both of them to be adopted by other parents before she passed away. She dearly loved her animals.
Nine years ago Miriam decided she would like to move back home to Fredericton Junction to be near her family and to give up some of her volunteer work, which was becoming a little overwhelming. Well so much for that thought, she very quickly got involved with everything going on in the Junction - United Baptist Church, Historical Society, Legion and the Gladstone Seniors and Fredericton Bowling League, singing in the Cantata and all the while becoming more and more involved in collecting and recording Family Tree information. She was a great person to volunteer her time!!! She very quickly got to know everyone in the community and surrounding area and they knew her. She even called the numbers for the bingo at the White Rapids Manor every Tuesday. Thru all this you have to know her hands never stopped knitting and crocheting afghans and doilies to donate to the Seniors for fund raising and baby things for hospitals and hats for the people in Chad in Africa for the missionaries to give out. And she had many charities she supported. One would think with all this activity she would not have time to read, but one would be very mistaken! My son and I lugged over 2000 books out of the house to the garage for the garage sale and I would guess she had read most of them. Plus she followed 6 soap opera shows on TV which she taped in the daytime and watched at night. She never slept very well - only 3 or 4 hrs a night.
I cannot talk about Miriam without mentioning how much she loved eating out. She never missed an opportunity to eat out: at local community event breakfasts, lunches & dinners, in the local restaurant for sure every Sunday after church and in Fredericton whenever she needed to come to town. Most of the time she insisted on paying for everyone else. She had a very generous nature!!! When our mother got sick toward the end of her life Miriam put her life in NS on hold and came home for a year and looked after Mom. I know that if there is a Heaven she is in it!!!
Miriam was very much a family person. She always found time to come home to visit often. She dearly loved all the members in our family and especially the children we had. She never had any children but she loved ours like they were her own.
About 6 years ago Miriam began experiencing stomach problems, which was the beginning of her Bowel Cancer. After 3 operations and several rounds of chemo and radiation later it finally took her life. I have already told the great people in the Hart/Hartt network many times what a trooper she was and how much courage and faith she had. And I would like to thank everyone who sent cards and best wishes and prayers for her. She kept on bouncing back after each session and kept on going. She was our Miracle Woman!! We will miss her but we have some great memories of her!!!
On October 26th, 2006, at 11am, a group of family and friends will be laying her ashes to rest with her husband Percy Dares in the Mount Herman Cemetery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. |