Sunday, 5 July 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude | July 5, 2015

11. Someone Who Inspires You

My Opa- the man in the tan jacket and hat- is the most inspirational person I have ever come across. He was born in Germany in 1929. When he was 15 he was recruited into the Nazi Germany army and ended up being traded to a Russian concentration camp for a more experienced soldier. When he finally got out of the concentration camp he went home to find his house didn't exist anymore- it was bombed- and his younger sister was dead as a result from experimental formula released by the Nazi's. 

After the war my Opa and his brother came to Canada and settled in Toronto where he became a chef apprentice. He cooked at the Royal York hotel and even has a signed photo of himself and the Queen of England as he cooked for her during her visit to Canada. 

He met my Grammie in his late 20's and they fell in love. They built a home on St. Joseph's Island and had 2 children- my mom and my aunt. He opened his own restaurant on the Island called the Wharf that still exists today just under a different name.

Today he is 85 and still in incredible shape for his age. He lives alone in the home he built, he still cooks all his own foods, he builds boats in his spare time as well as tends to his extensive garden, and on top of that he has beat prostate cancer.

I couldn't imagine going through the horrible things my Opa did. He is such a strong man to have lived through that, but an even stronger man to be able to share his stories AND to still have such a positive outlook on life. He is an absolute inspiration to me and everyone who meets him. I love spending time with him and hearing his stories and going through all his old photo albums- there's never enough time it seems to fit everything into one visit. If he hadn't been so resilient and courageous I would not be here, nor would my family. He is without a doubt my biggest inspiration.

Thanks for reading, xo, Katelyn