Eesti Elu
In memory of Gertrude Perle
Inimesed 13 Sep 2013 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Arved Plaks
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On the occasions of her past jubilee birthdays her life story has appeared in this paper several times – in Estonian. It might be useful to put some of it on paper in English for future researchers. It might help to understand how immigrants found a new life in Canada.

On July 24 Gertrude (Plaks) Perle, or Trudi as I called her, was buried at the York Cemetery in Toronto. The oak coffin gleamed in sunshine as a few neighbors from her former Keswick home dropped a mix of Estonian and Canadian earth on the coffin. Reverend Mart Salumäe recalled events in her life. The people present knew most of that having been her friends and care givers as her health receded. My aunt Trudi could not have lived in a better neighborhood than Keswick: quiet, away from highways, a place with fresh air, and caring neighbors.

From the time the hearse arrived at the grave site to the time it was lowered permanently out of sight took but half an hour. I could not think of her as being in that polished box. The person in there had little to do with the person I remembered. As I child I saw her at rare family gatherings; then briefly after the war in a displaced persons’ camp. My close relationship started when I met her and her husband Alfred (Alf) again at the ESTO of 1984 in Toronto. At that time she and Alf were living permanently in Keswick, a town 100 km north of Toronto. They had built their house and sauna themselves in what was then an uninhabited wooded area. In the front and the side they had planted birches and apple trees. In the back in the garden were currant and gooseberry bushes. Lake Simco was nearby on which Alf fished; and of course, the sauna served also to smoke the catch. Several Estonian families had subsequently also built houses in the vicinity. They had many friends and social life was active.

In 1987 when her husband died Trudi’s life changed. (Loe pikemalt Eesti Elu paberlehest)
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