Grand Bend, Ontario
It was an has always been known as one of the tumultuous years in modern history. 1968. A time of free love, anti-war, anti-authority, land disputes, resource disputes, and political protest. Lots of political protest.
It was a hot day. The ladies of the Ryan family decided to take themselves to the beach in the nearby beach town of Grand Bend, in Ontario.
It was a time when the news not only reported the news but also shaped it. When questioning authority, and rebelling against them, had become the norm. Trust for the government was hard to come by, and it was felt on the Canadian side of the border, as the spirit of protest reverberated across the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.
They set up their day at the beach. Sun butter, chairs, and likely one of those portable foil sunners that people crazily used back in the 1960s. They sat and watched the water and all the people and families out enjoying the splendors of a hot day on Lake Huron.
All of the sudden they heard a commotion and were stirred from their pounding sun rays. They looked up, and the Ryan daughters realized they had lost someone pretty important to their group: Grandma Ryan (their mom).
After packing up and walking along the strip, they realized what the commotion was. Teenagers packed the streets, chanting, protesting. Sadly, the topic of the protest was lost in posterity, but it was nonetheless heated, and important for the time.
Still looking for Grandma Ryan, the girls walked further, noticing there were lines and lines of impassioned people.
They still couldn’t find Grandma amongst the crowd.
They walked to the front of the protest line, and finally: there she was. Holding a sign, a woman in her 70s, Grandma Ryan standing amongst the emblazoned teenagers, yelling at the top of her lungs in civil protest.
“I thought I’d throw in my support,” said Grandma, matter-of-factly, as they returned to the beach to catch up on their tans and slug back the few beers she was always known for.
I think I know where I get my fierce spirit from. (Grandma Ryan is my paternal great-grandmother)