Monday, June 20, 2016

A Celebration Of A Very Full 100 Years

After four months of planning, my siblings and myself put all our
plans into action this past Saturday for the celebration
of our father's 100th birthday.

The 'decoration committee'....

I will attempt to give you a sense of my father's 100 years
as my brother, Dennis, did at the party....and very well I must say.

My Dad, James Frederick Cuvelier, was born in 1916. 
Just stop for a moment and think about what he has witnessed during his lifetime.
He was born in the middle of World War I, a year later his family survived
 the Halifax Explosion , lived through the Great Depression of the '30's,
served in World War II for 3 years in London, England (and one of his jobs at night
was to pick up fire-bombs that the Germans dropped on strategic rooftops
 and throw them down into the streets below).

 My sister, Jo-Ann, and four of her five grandchildren....
l to r: Sarah Jane, Liam, Branden, Jo, and Cameron.

In the meantime in Halifax his wife, my mother, had her first child
 months after his departure to England.
Upon his return, Dad stayed in the Canadian Forces for another year
and then left and opened up a grocery store/fish market.

 The 'man of the hour' arrives......with his grand-daughter, Jacqui.

By the time I came along in 1948, I had two sisters
and my father was still in the grocery business.
One day in the late '50's he was offered a job with a car dealership.
He was hesitant at first, but took the chance
 and stayed in that business till the mid 80's when he retired.

The first of the 'family' cousin, Cheryl and sister Jo-Ann. 

 By that time of course, he was the father of six more children......
four more boys and two more girls.
He got the 'ball team' he had always wanted!
You see, my father was a noted 'soft-ball' player in the Maritmes
(the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island)
in the late 1940's and all of the 1950's.

 Mayor Mike Savage of Halifax was there on Saturday to give Dad a plaque for the occasion.

In 2015 he was inducted into the Maritime Sports Hall of Fame....
he was the surviving team member.

 My niece, Sarah Jane, performed an Irish dance.

Dad loved sports and was also a noted bowler as well.
He played the piano too.......every Sunday we would all stand around it
and sing our heads off to the tunes he loved and some we loved.

 My sister, Marilyn, played the piano.

I am often asked when I tell someone my father's age....'How did he do it?'
I usually reply that he never drank alcohol, never smoked
always knew what to do in stressful situations (and he had plenty),
and he would say, and still does, eat lots of 'sweets'!! Which he has done all his life.

My cousin, Alan, rooked me and my niece, Brynn, into doing a skit with him!!
We had NO warning!

I am pretty sure it isn't genetics that has kept him alive and well all these years.
You see, his parents died in their mid 50's. But I must add that
 his great grandmother, lived to 102.
So maybe it is a little of all factors....who knows.

 My father and his grandson, Jacob.

Whatever the reason for his longevity my father has had and continues to have
as full life as is available to him.
He is a wonderful father....a provider who worked very hard for his wife and family.
I often wonder how he did it......9 kids on a limited income, a wife who had health issues
throughout all of their 66 year marriage, the death of a son and all the other things
that one's life will come across.

 Sarah Jane after her performance.

We as a family are so thankful to him for being 'the rudder' in our family.
However he did it, the important thing is that he did.....and well.

 All the sibs became part of cousin Alan's routine....singing a chorus to one his tunes.

The party on Saturday was packed!
I sent out 100 invitations last month
 and we are sure there were at least 200 in attendance at one point.

 Looking more oursleves.....l to r back row: Paula, Fred, Jo-Ann, Dennis, Laurie and myself.
l to r front row: Mim, dad and Marilyn.

As mentioned, my brother, Dennis, was the MC
and we had our cousin, Alan, as the main entertainment.
He knows how to whip up an audience with his singing/acting.

 Spreading the love!

Everyone had a good time.
And most importantly, Dad did!
We thought it may be too tiring for him.
But no it wasn't!
He had a very good time.

 Dad's great-grand-daughter, Annie May looking up to her Great- Grandfather.

The highlights for him were his grand and great-grandchildren. 
He adores them and they make him very happy.

I am very proud of my siblings and myself for making this
 100th birthday party celebration a great success.

And I am more proud of my father for all that he has done
 and continues to do on a daily basis.

Happy Birthday Dad!

 Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, sent along her greetings

 As did Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

And the Province of Nova Scotia acknowledged the occasion as well.


  1. Jim, thank you for sharing this! This was an amazing tribute to your dad. Such great photos. How did he do it? That is a question we all have. One thing's for sure, whatever it was, he did it well. And he probably never gave it a thought, just (as my mother would say) "put one foot in front of the other and just kept going" even - and especially - during the toughest times. What a beautiful family you are. May you all live so long, but more importantly, so happily.

    1. Thanks so much, Martha.
      I wish you had been our official photographer! I was lucky to get the photos I got as there were too many people I hadn't seen in years that I HAD to talk to!! You would have had a ball!

  2. Tears as I read the words today, tributes must have been in plenty, family generations, those gone also remembered with much love, and your dearest Dad did so well to last the whole day with so many there. Guess he can have a wee rest now. Huge planning and a lot of work over those previous months, well done to you all, but most of all, thank you so much for sharing this occasion with us all , close by, in Canada, elsewhere, and here, way down in NZ.

    1. Aw Jean! You're not supposed to cry, that is what I am supposed to do! And did at one point actually.
      Dad did do so well.....what strength and stamina he has.
      Planning to visit him today and see if he has recuperated.
      As we are having our first day of summer here, you are moving into your winter period.
      I hope all is well on your 'front'.

  3. What a wonderful party…thanks for sharing with us. Your lovely Dad looks very like my pa in law, who died 2 years ago aged 99. His party was in the offing, but sadly he didn't make it. Years ago I read a fictionalised account of the Halifax Explosion…it was an interesting read. Was James Snr. on the roof of St. Paul's in London? I believe that it was saved by brave men like your Dad throwing the incendiaries off! X

    1. Hi Francis, good to hear from you.
      There are still remnants of that 'explosion' today in the north end of Halifax.
      As I see my father today, Francis, I will ask him about St.Paul's but I am pretty sure it was the administration buildings he was in that he looked after in the centre of London.
      Have a great day.

    2. I must see if I can sus out that book that I read about the explosion. It is not one that I have in my collection. Hope you have recovered from the party and all that it entailed. Just had my 2nd son and wife round tonight for a meal.. They have just come back from their " honeymoon" in Mauritius and their photographs are now on my computer..beautiful island ! They got married last October in a lovely hotel on the river in Bedford. just realised that all the photos are now also on my phone..about 140 of them, and they might just " clog up" my phone! We will see….I am not very good at how all this stuff works! Luckily I have 3 sons who do!

  4. What a joyous looking party and a beautiful tribute in words, too.

    1. It was, Mitchell, and thanks for your kind words.
      I hope you are 'keeping still' as much as possible! Right.....

  5. Happy Birthday to your Dad -- what a fabulous milestone! And it looks like you threw him a fabulous birthday party too!

    1. Just got back from visiting him, Debra. He is still amazed at what happened on Saturday. he really enjoyed himself and all the people who came.

  6. I'm so glad I didn't miss this post. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. He looks so well, I love the picture with his great-granddaughter. All the best to your dad.

    1. I saw him this afternoon, Inger, and he is still overwhelmed (in a good way) about all the people who attended his party. He is still opening up cards he received!!
      Thanks so much and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Inger!!

  7. I saw your comment on a blog I visited and thought I’d come and visit with you as I had not done so in a while. I am so pleased I did as I thoroughly enjoyed your post. How wonderful for your family to celebrate your dad’s 100th birthday – such an achievement. Being an only child, my mother an only child too, I only have a couple of cousins left and don’t see them often as they are in other countries. So I appreciate how special it must be to have brothers, sisters and all their children around you. Getting together to celebrate happy occasions such as your father’s special day must bring you all so much joy. I was very impressed by the greetings your father received by illustrious persons, such as the Queen and the Prime Minister – your dad must have been pleased. Your photos also showed the joyous occasion very well – thank you for sharing. Many happy returns to your dad.

    1. Happy you did drop by for a visit, Vagabonde.
      Having lots of family is so normal for me that I hardly notice....but I do appreciate them and don't take them for granted.

  8. this was just fabulous! what a great day! you have such a wonderful family! you and your sister really look like each other. you all did a great job. happy happy birthday to your dad!

    1. Hi Joyce. So happy you enjoyed meeting the 'crew'!!
      Now, which sister are you talking about? I have four.

  9. Thank you for sharing the photos, Jim! Happy birthday to your dad. You have a beautiful family.


    1. You are most welcome, Janie.
      Dad had a wonderful time as did we all.

  10. Jim, I enjoyed reading about your father's life and the party to celebrate his 100 years. The family photos are priceless.

    1. Hi Barb. His story has so many chapters but I wanted to give a general overview of the main events in his life.
      We all had a wonderful time celebrating an amazing 100 years.

  11. Jim, such a touching tribute have a lump in my throat thank you for sharing this beautiful day what a lovely family you have and congratulations to your dad for being a good example to you all. A wonderful day for celebration and adding good memories to remember in the years to come.

    1. My father set the standard for having compassion and generosity. he is quite the exceptional human being, if I do say so myself.

  12. Thank you sooo much for sharing this family story with us-and how special too that you all put together a wonderful celebration-good memories-

    1. Hi Kathy, good to see you.
      A small portion of an amazing/unbelievable/difficult life that this man lived and endured. he is a survivor for sure.

  13. Happy Birthday to your wonderful Pops, Jim! You and your siblings put together a great family get-together! I thoroughly enjoyed the family photos! Thanks for sharing the story of his life and struggles. He accomplished and overcame so much; but his greatest legacy is in his descendants. I haven't met the others, except through your blog, but you are one special guy!

    1. Hey, Jim. I'm putting this message on your post too: I just calculated how many miles I've walked from my home in Aurora on my way to St. Anthony, NF. I'm about 4.6 miles from your house!!! I should get there before the week is over!!!! This is an IMAGINARY walk ~ don't fun around cleaning things up, although your huckleberry crisp would taste great! LOL

  14. I love this post! 100 years and what a wonderful life! The pride you have for your Dad really shines in this post. Thanks for sharing this party with us, what a special, special thing.
    Oh and reading comment from Louise above, that huckleberry crisp sounds delightful!

    1. Trust me, Kay, the really crisp was mount watering! Jim made it a couple of summers ago when my sister Barb and I visited him and Ron!


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