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Wednesday 16 April 2014


Ida Stewart Pretty was my grandmother. She married Samuel Pretty on June 4, 1917. Ida was the middle child of three girls, with an older sister Mary (Min) and the younger one, Belle. Her parents were Mary Walsh Stewart and Thomas Stewart.

Sam and Ida had seven children and Ida parented alone a great deal because Sam, as an engineer on the railway, was away from home for days at a time. Two of her boys died in childhood, Albert and Robert. 

Her parents and her sisters and their families were very important in Ida's life. She and Sam lived with her parents, across from the railway station, for a time after they got married. They moved a few doors away when they moved out and eventually bought a railway house on Avalon Terrace in the west end of St. John's.

A neighbour from Old Topsail Road told me years ago that Ida was a lovely woman, talented, good and kind. She was a good mother to her children, according to my father and his sister, Angela. She always tried to make things nice for her family. She decorated the Christmas tree after the children were in bed on Christmas Eve and had special presents for each of them. Her Christmas pudding was one of my father's favourite foods.

                       Ida Stewart Pretty

Ida loved music and she played piano all the time. She had nice things, such as fine china, and nice furniture. Ida's children were dressed well because Sam provided a steady income for his family.

When she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, Ida kept going as long as she could. She worked in her kitchen using a chair which Sam had adapted so she was supported as she worked. She died quickly after she was confined to bed.

Her children each went their own way soon after their mother died. Ida was like the glue that kept the family together. She was missed terribly by her family. 

My second name is Ida and Dad always said that I looked like his mother. I've missed her my whole life!

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