The Story of Amelia Dorothy (Amy) Carroll (Willcox)

I am Amelia Dorothy Willcox Carroll and have been for 70 years. I was supposed to come home to my mother who was ill that Sunday as Mona. But Grandma Willcox Murphy won out. She was Dad's mother, but his own Dad died a month before he was born. He was a Captain of an ocean boat and caught yellow fever so they buried his body on the Gold Coast of Africa.

Years later Grandma married a Murphy, so three of the family were Willcox and three Murphy. I always like to say I was named after Amelia Dorothy Pilkington for she was such a sweet 'wee' Lady. She played the organ, painted and did all her stitching by hand.

She bought me a china doll once and made it a dress to match. On the way to the store I fell and smashed its head, oh there were many tears. Later though, Grandma bought me a new doll to replace the broken one. My Dad used to say "Glad my name wasn't Mona" as I lived in a house of tears"; mostly caused by my brother Herb.

Amy is the name my mother always called me, so that is pretty special. I remember Dad going to Canada when I was six and I went to private school in England; had to run a whole block for I was afraid of the old cemetery.

One particular event that still is very clearly in my mind is when Frank fell down the "Skulley" step and broke his arm. Mother had to take him on the trolley to the doctor. So Herb and I were left with a neighbour Mrs. Matthews. I can still remember the 3/4"sandwich she gave us topped with molasses.

Then we went out to play in a field of daffodils and when Herb saw the trolley coming he thought he'd get to Mom by the quickest route, through the barb wire fence. He got caught by the seat of his pants and was hanging there when Mom got off the trolley with Frank's arm in a cast.

Once a year the King and Queen drove down Barlow Lane to attend the Race track. Dad used to take me here each Sunday, wearing his grey trousers, his long black coat, and his mahogany cane. How wonderful to remember all this. Then at the age of seven I was on a huge ocean going boat, we were on our way to see Dad in unknown Canada.

Poor Herb and Mom were sea sick a great deal of the time. I can hear Mom say over and over "don't leave go of Frank's hand". A week afterwards we arrived in Montreal, where we boarded a Tourist train car. What would we have done without Mrs. Blackburn who saw us Willcoxs were fed, now after a bunk on the ship all we had was a seat. When the conductor shouted "Fort William", there was indeed a great commotion as there were three families to get off.

Dad had encouraged two of his Carpenter friends to come to the "Land of the Future". The windows on the car opened then, so I jumped out the window. Herb was good but Frank kept screaming, "that man, don't let him touch me", and for weeks he said that until he decided it was okay.

At the new house Dad said light the lights and Mom said "I don't see any lights". He proudly pulled the cord in the middle of the room. One dim 60 watt lamp, but mother was glad she had no more lamps to clean. The water you brought in by the barrel.

The house was 1307 Victoria Ave, and there were no sidewalks and then only woods, so as we ran down the paths we would often see rabbits jump out. Eventually the boys besides playing here would snare rabbits. I hated them but everyone else thought they were elegance itself.

Central School was where Patterson Park is, so Herb and I went there May and June, but August and September we went to Franklin School, just a block from home. Later when my Dad was in business for himself he bought 134 North Franklin, right across from the school and we lived there until I was 17.

So as I started to work when I was 15, I had a long way to walk to work through the subway, and when I was only 18 I was made the Chief Biller and the during Fall Grain Rush. I had 17 girls all around my desk, so I had to check their work. Sometimes with trains coming with silk, I along with the Custom officer had to work long hours.

Dad came to Fort William first to be the Superintendent in the building of St. Paul's Anglican Church. He also sang in the choir. He built the Current River Dam (Black Bay), and lots of Hudson Bay posts. He soon took over the business and he and Tom Cox became Cox and Willcox.

He put the addition on the Franklin School and the Orpheum Theatre. In 1917 we all moved to 209 Norah which will always be thought of as home.

In 1915 at only 15 I started to work for C.P.R., as I had won the Underwood typing test. I stayed there seven and a half years until the love of my life came along and I became Amy Carroll.

Times were hard but we managed because we had love on our side. Colleen was born August 5 two days before my birthday and dear Jean came along 15 months later. Now with two girls I was forced to learn how to sew. I knit lots for them too as Stan was then working evenings at the Post Office.

Ten years later we were the parents of a dear son Terrence Willcox Carroll. My Dad had retired then and just took Terry with him everywhere he went.

Herb left home in 1919 and got a job in Minneapolis, mom and dad went to his wedding there. He was being primed to be an architect to go into business with Dad. He never returned but did become a lawyer and judge. He loved to golf and fish.

Frank went to work at the C.P.R. and spare time was spent at curling or tennis. He had his name on the Brier ( Canada Cup ) twice.

Florence of course was into her music, and also taught for a number of years until Mr. Right came along. So mom and Frank stayed at 209 Norah for some time then we moved to 627 Norah. That was where Frank had his heart attack and died in his garden.

Uncle Frank gave Terry a good curling training which is how Terry spent the last two winters of his life. Terry was a scholar at Lakehead University and needed some recreation from all his studies. He was always an honor student and earned a scholarship to Queens the day before he died so suddenly. Stan never got over Terry's death.

Looking back we all will remember the fire of 1950 when the lumber yard caught on fire and our house was one of the homes to lose everything. So for 17 years Dad and I both worked for we had a large mortgage. The insurance paid off the mortgage and gave us $7500; no house, no furniture, no clothes.

We all don't know how we did it, but working together can accomplish wonders and then we had love on our side.

We lost Jean in 1986, she had cancer in every bone in her body. Like her dear Dad had when was 77. I kept him home all those many months as that was his dearest wish. We had had a glorious month in Florida four months after his first heart attack.

I am still Thunder Bay's oldest girl guide, for I was made a life member and my Girl Guide hats was the proudest hat I ever wore.

There is much I could write about Jack and Colleen's romance, their years he was missing in the war, she is the Angel of my life.

Dear Jean was the Martyr of my life. She even willed her body to medical science.

Joy has a happy marriage and both she and Herb are so good and thoughtful to me and all their children and grandchildren. She is the Joy of my life.

My guiding days brought me in contact with such fine unselfish people. I took charge of the publicity for Bishop Jennings when the St. Patrick's Cathedral was built. Six former Girl Guides in beautiful uniforms took over 600 people to all parts of the put in a few years going back and forth. But it truly was the Joy of my life. I personally met the Lord and Lady Baden Powell, the founders of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.

Last Christmas a group of guides came singing Christmas carols to Thunder Bay's oldest Girl Guide and then finished off with some Girl Guide songs. What a beautiful thing to do for old me.

We played baseball, volleyball, and basketball in playgrounds all summer; our C team never lost a game for three years. So Dad took us to have our team picture taken. The placard was found in Franklin School when it was dismantled and is now in the museum.I'm the only living one of the whole team.

I've have lived so long and accomplished so many things, made so many dear friends I could fill a book I'm sure.

Going to see the Black Bay bridge with Dad. He rented a horse drawn sleigh and away we went miles across to Current River. Dad impressed me that I was looking at the first all concrete bridge built in North America, and was built under my dad's instructions.

Colleen being the Valedictorian at St. Patrick's graduation and then off to North Bay to Normal School. Thanks for the loan of fees from Gramma Willcox, and being first again in graduation.

My life was filled with music from Florence when I lived at 209 Norah; after with Colleen whom Florence had taught. That dear girl won the Musical Festival Rose Bowl even playing against people with better credentials. When I was 17 I took piano lessons, and then singing lessons and even went to the Toronto School of Music for a few lessons on my holiday time. Music has been such great part of my life, now I am living out many of them over and over again by trying to make tapes and listen to hours upon hours of beautiful music.

to Father Francis

Good afternoon dear Francis, you brought a lot of sunshine back into my life with your warm visit this morning. I thank God for so many things, as I sit in my bright shining kitchen; first for the gift of hearing, and speech, for (93) years, loaning me four beautiful children and all the help he gave me to be able to bring each one of them to know and love God.

They have all left me with so many beautiful memories to fill in my lonely years. Most of all I thank God for the Gift of Faith which has helped me in all the crosses of my life.

I also thank him, Francis for sending you into my life some 11 years ago. May God bless you each and every day of your life in His service.

Live in the present moment, take time, so your senses can bring home all that you are experiencing at the present moment. Once we can appreciate the smaller rainbows, we discover the larger ones as I have found sitting in my shiny kitchen that once was alive with a very special family. My dear husband, my only son Terry, and my three girls Joy, Jean and Colleen.
Amy Carroll

Greg Gordon MD, CFII