by Breen Robison from Chilliwack, BC
This letter is a small tribute in recognition of my mom, Flora
Bergstrome - Grandmother and Great Grandmother who has lived in Summerland, B.C. almost all her life.
My mom has loved music her entire life. There is nothing she loves more, than to sing. As a young woman she sang in the local theater. She was a star in the Summerland Singers and Players.
She always dreamt of singing professionally, but she didn’t get the opportunity. You see, after the war was finished my father decided he wanted to start a new career in Ontario. And he decided he would rather start fresh without the nuisance of a family. He wrote my Mom a letter saying he wasn't coming home. That was in 1951, we haven’t heard from him since.
Thankfully our mother had the courage and fortitude necessary to raise four children on her own. But raising four children alone during the 50's and 60's made a radio career impossible. The prime years of Mom's vocal career were spent nurturing and encouraging us.
But she never let go of her love of music. Mom's lifelong mandate has been to share and generate a love for music and song. There was never a time in the last forty years of visits home that a sing-song wasn't organized. All of us from the youngest to the oldest sing and playsome instrument or other, and we always have.
These days mom lives in the Retirement Residence here in Chilliwack. She can no longer sing. But she doesn’t let that hold her back. She continues to perform with my daughter and I. I play the guitar, my daughter sings and mom plays the keyboard. Her enthusiasm is as contagious as ever, her love of music so obviously still complete.
But she is failing. And she is failing faster than I want to admit. I fear that mom doesn’t have much time left. I don’t think that she has many regrets in life – but I know that she has always wished she had sung on the radio.
I have been trying to think of how I can make this happen.
So, if it is permissible, could you please play something from the hugely successful Summerland Singers and Players productions of Gilbert and Sullivan? I have enclosed a recording from a summer production in 1956. I know it would mean a lot to her to hear her voice sing over the airwaves after all these years.