Pearl Marie (Gessleman) McDermand
"Pearlie" was born in and lived most of her life in the Stanton District.
Pearl, often called "Pearlie," was born July 30, 1920, on the Gessleman farm in a garage where the family was living as their house was not yet finished. She had two older brothers, Bill and Harvey, and later there was a younger sister, Shirley.
She took all her schooling at Stanton School. The kids rode an old work horse to the school. One day, the horse stumbled and died as the kids slid off his back. This past June, 2016, she was at the annual school picnic, cheering on her great grandchildren as they ran races. She told them how she had been a fast runner and, even though small, could beat all the big kids, even Charlie.
Pearl and Charles,"Charlie" McDermand were married January 20, 1941 at the Gessleman farm. She recalled how the "spuds" boiled over during the ceremony as her mother had forgotten to turn them down. In their first year of marriage, they lived on the McDermand homestead in a little house built by Charlie's grandpa. In 1942, they put the house on four big skid logs, hooked tractors on, and pulled it a mile south, without even cracking a window.The well was a quarter of a mile from the house until 1949 when they drilled a good one in the yard. Farming was done with horses. Their first tractor was an Allis Chalmers, which cost $600.00. Their family was complete with a son and two daughters. Their loving marriage lasted just over 50 years. After Charlie's passing in 1991, Pearlie lived on the farm another 13 years.
Pearlie always had a large vegetable garden which she canned and froze. She also picked wild fruit, which she likewise canned and froze, along with rhubarb and peaches. She made jams, and jellies and wonderful pies. She loved to grow flowers, especially begonias and geraniums. She also enjoyed her pet cats.
In 1971, the first of nine grandchildren arrived. Pearlie called 1979 the "bumper crop year" when three grandbabies arrived in a span of three and a half months. Her first great grandchild arrived in 1998 and had 15 "great grands" by 2016.
In later years, Pearlie and Charlie travelled on bus tours, visited Florida several times with Paul and Gail, and enjoyed camping out west with Darryl and Wendy for Thanksgiving weekends, and around Alberta with Lynn and Larry.
Pearlie lived in Lakeview Manor in Alix for ten years, where she enjoyed the Village activities. She always loved sports, playing crib, and writing poetry. She was an active member of the United Church, and walked in the Walkathon 13 times, the last time at age 90.
In 2013, she composed the following poem, which she memorized as she could not see to write it down:
I love the fall when Indian summer comes
And trees are dressed in colors gold and red.
The sky's a deeper blue than in the summer sun
And flocks of geese in V's fly overhead.
The sound of combines floats far in the night,
While trucks fill bins near bursting at their seams
The wives make meals and lunches at odd hours
Between the times they're running all the various machines.
The garden's bounty's ready for the harvests,
Beets, carrots, squash and pumpkin, ears of corn,
Tomatoes ripe, the bins await potatoes,
Before a killing frost comes in the early morn.
Then Mother Nature calls and leaves drift slowly down
Ready to be raked in golden heaps,
The flowers fade and die, their summer beauty gone,
Pots are emptied, beds are spaded deep.
Long lines of straw bales lie along the fence
Indian Summer, as it must, draws to a close.
By Hallowe'en big snowflakes start to fall,
The earth is stilled for winter's long repose.
Each year we see the seasons come and go,
All have a purpose just the way God planned,
The pattern of our lives is much the same,
From birth to death, then rest on Heavens strand.
Comments from Pearlie's grandchildren:
"One of those genuine, loving, kind people you don't come across nearly enough in life."
"She loved us all unconditionally."
"Such an amazing woman, we were so blessed to have her as part of our lives."
"You will be remembered forever in my heart."