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  SUZAPETE

Acrylic on archival quality masonite, 12x 12”


“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet even when the sparrow falls to the ground the Father knows.” ( Matthew 10 ) 


In 1958 our family moved from England to South East Marine Drive in Burnaby B.C. Our parents rented a big old house on a good sized property that was not far from the Fraser River. On the edges of the river Chinese and Japanese immigrants farmed rice paddies and still do today.


 On one side of the property there was an abundance of pear, peach, apple and plum  trees and on the other side of the property where we often played and ‘swam’ in our two foot tall  plastic swimming pool, there was in view, a holly farm and a cedar mill. On rainy days, and there were many of those, the sweet smell of the damp cedar would waft its way over to our house. it is one of my fondest memories of that time and place.

On the property there was also a greenhouse and a very rustic shed/ home for an eccentric older man with a goiter, named J.B. Mc Andrew, who seemed to come with the place. We were all a bit leery of J.B but he never did us any harm and after he had moved out, Suzanne and Peter tried to turn his shack into a clubhouse, which did not go over well with our mother. They found an assortment of old women’s clothing. 

So calling J.B eccentric might be the wrong adjective!


All summer long the youngest children had to play outside all day long. Our mother would lock the door so that we did not come in with wet feet or muddy shoes. 

I remember us sitting on the wooden boards overlooking the garden, pretending that we were in a chuckwagon and were cowboys. Imaginative play was constant. Suzanne and Peter were always into something and were both very active and athletic. One day, they found a dead sparrow, and Suzanne, being the animal lover,  wanted to have a burial. So Peter dug the grave and asked “What shall we call it?” Suzanne piped up “Suzapete!” So, Suzapete it was.


 I wanted to paint this picture because it is one of my sweetest memories of the two of them playing. It actually wasn’t as mournful a moment as the picture depicts. They  gave honor to Suzapete and then, as all children do, they moved on to other forms of fun and to see what other mischief they could get into!


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© 2022 Christine Oskirko. All rights reserved.