My maternal grandfather grew up in a remote area of Nova Scotia, Canada in the 1930s. His mother passed away of a severe ear infection when he was quite young. In the area they lived in, there were no real doctors to prescribe antibiotics, which quite possibly could have saved her life. My grandfather’s father remarried a woman whom I met as a teenager when she was in her late 90s.
The story I am about to relay has been in my family since I can remember. As a little boy of about 6 or 7, my grandfather didn’t really have much supervision. As they weren’t the wealthiest of folks, my grandfather’s father spent many hours away from the house as a ferry captain. I no longer remember the name of the boat but I believe it is actually pictured on the Canadian dime.
My grandfather and his buddies one day decided to take a row-boat out onto the nearby lake. They rowed to the middle of the lake and were messing around like little kids do when suddenly they dropped an oar into the lake. They paddled their hands to reach it. My grandfather reached for the oar and the boat started to tip. Much to all their surprise, a female hand rose out of the water and handed my grandfather back the oar! All the little boys sat quietly for a few minutes in shock. They scanned the water’s surface to see if someone had possibly gone for a swim. There was no one in the water coming up for air. There were no other boats at the lake either. They rowed back to shore as quickly as they could and each ran home. My grandfather relayed the story to his step-mother who stared at him warily. In later years she confessed that she believed him to be telling the truth.
Not too long after my grandfather and his friends were back at the lake. They were standing on a bridge looking into the water when they could see stones being thrown into the water. The stones were coming from above them and seem to appear as if they were falling from the sky. My grandfather looked down into the water and there, just below the surface, was the image of a woman looking up at him. I don’t have anymore details of what this woman looked like. It has long been believed in my family that the woman who handed him the oar and the woman under the water, were his mother looking out for him still from the other side.
On that same trip where I met my great-step-grandmother as a teenager, I was taken to the area where my grandfather grew up. It was a remote, wild, and beautiful area. I saw the lake where all this occurred. My grandfather passed away from cancer in the early 1970s. I was only 4 years old. I do not have much by way of personal memories of him but this one story of him as a brave little boy who had lost him Mom will stay with me for the rest of my life.