Sheet of Coat of Arms Stickers

Posted by bernicky - June 30th, 2017

Bernicky Coat of Arms

Morrie Portnoff at Nunavik Graphics in Pointe Claire did a bang up job of printing up the Bernicky coat of arms stickers at a very reasonable price – much lower than any online service I looked at and the turn around was fast.

The stickers now adorn the back of each of the paintings for the Celebration 150/375 exhibition next week. I’m kind of exciting about the whole thing. I even bought new boots for the occasion.

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Cherie Doreen Bernicky nee Aylen 1922-2013

Posted by bernicky - March 11th, 2013

Three days shy of her ninety-first birthday mine and my sister’s Mum died at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Edmonton. My sister, niece and grand nieces were there with her when she died.

Born in 1922 our mother was named, indirectly, “Cherie” by the French nurse who cared for her and my grandmother at the maternity hospital. This came about because my grandmother could not think of a name having expected and wanting a boy she had still not arrived at a decision days after her daughter’s birth. The nurse referred to this newborn girl as “Ma petit cherie” – my little dear. The name Cherie stuck – though it was shorted in the family to Chel by her sisters and father or pronounced Cherry. She was her father’s favourite and she would confess or brag about that given any opportunity and she would be equally as likely to tell you that she made her brother Leonard’s life as difficult as she could manage until he moved off to Australia.

When we were out last week I asked her what her favourite memory was. She said it was a silly question but I told her mine (yes there is one out of 50 years of life) and insisted that there had to be some moment that stood out over all the others. Finally she relented and admitted that there was just such a moment. It happened in WW II during a Doodlebug attack. She, our father Archie and her sister Kathleen (Kay) were at the family home. She said she was standing in the doorway listening to the sound of the plane while Archie and Kay sat waiting for her to tell them when to seek shelter. She didn’t explain why they were waiting but it sounded like a game. She said that she kept saying “Wait…..wait…..wait…..” and even after the sound of the engine cut out she said wait one more time and then said “Now!” At that point all three of them made a mad dash for the kitchen to hide their heads under the kitchen table and spent the next little while laughing about it. A very simple moment but it contains the keys to who she was: a sense of adventure, calling her own shots in the face of nothing less than a falling bomb, taking responsibility for other people’s security and a sense of humour that could find the funny side to any conceivable situation.

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Archie

Posted by bernicky - August 22nd, 2006


My father and mother in 1946 – mother on the right – Who knew they were once beautiful and young?

My father was an interesting man but that is something I have only come to appreciate as I have gotten older. In my youth it wasn’t so much that I was a typical teen in rebellion but I resented him and the way he dealt with life from the inside of a bottle. Never having lived a moment in his shoes I know now that I could not possibly appreciate the horrors of war he witnessed in WW II and Korea nor could I understand his youth as a Franco Ontarian. So I have come to terms with how he dealt with life and stopped using it as an excuse for never having made the effort to know him.

For a long time it seems to me that not knowing your father was just par for the course. Who knows their father? In reality who knows their mother? What we know of our parents is filtered through the distorted memories of childhood and the harried impressions of them as we get older and take on our own lives frequently forgetting that they were once doing what we are doing now.

Our parents were probably once cooler than we can think of them. They certainly did their own share of partying, laughing and probably had more than a few stupid moments they would like to have as do overs. Who doesn’t? How often though do we make the effort to dig into those lives which are so near to us and of such influence that we both fear and are comforted when we start to notice how much like them we are becoming?

One of my most fond memories of my father was when I was very young. Somewhere I had received a football helmet. It was over sized for my head, but I had a small football and I would run around the house with the helmet on and ball in hand. My father challenged me to come outside into the front yard and play some real football with him. I don’t recall the sequence of events but I do recall storming into my dad full speed with the ball under my arm and knocking him over. He was very theatrical about it and he kept his hand over his right eye saying over and over again “I think you gave me a black eye.” And he ran inside. I followed and found him in the kitchen with my mom looking at his eye which was indeed black boot polish black under his eye and he was saying how proud he was that I had knocked over someone as big as he was.

Once someone is gone you cannot get to know them.

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