A Champion for Susanna Moodie

I wrote at length a few summers ago about Susanna Moodie.  Staying on east Bridge Street in Belleville, Ontario, it only made sense then and because I have returned under sad circumstances, it also makes sense that I continue my exploration of her writing and her place in Canadian history.  Recently, it just so happened that I met author and historian, Gerry Boyce, as he was doing some yard work at the front of his house.  We engaged in a rich conversation about the surrounding area and the fact that he had, the day before, completed his index for another book.

When I explained to Mr. Boyce my interest in Susanna Moodie, he went on to share with me about the refurbishments made upon her monument over the last several years.  He also told me that the entire marble base had been replaced by the Campbell Monument Company and that he believed the original to be in their yard somewhere.

So, yes!  Of course I went to meet Gary Foster of Campbell Monuments and he and I walked out to the yard, together, to view the original monument base.  Now, the thing is, this beautiful reminder of an earlier day, can not continue to exist as a discard, but rather, needs to be displayed in a place of importance somewhere in the city…perhaps at the front of the library or in a public gathering space.  In whatever capacity, I hope to be a champion for this cause.  I was remarkably touched to meet Gerry Boyce.  He is generous in his sharing of history and I think that sort of generosity is to be admired.

June 2013 028 June 2013 024 June 2013 026 June 2013 027July 26 2011 Susanna Moodie

114 Bridge Street July 25 2011 Susanna Moodie

Five

1973 Christmas Hamilton Trip 006The last time that all five of us were together in one place was Christmas 1973 in North Bay, Ontario.

The thing about being raised in a military family was that it was within me to BE Canadian…I didn’t grow up with a sense of having a home town, but rather, considered our beautiful nation my home.  When I drove the Trans Canada highway recently, each new province held its memories of camp fire singing, of water gazing, of miles of “I Spy” and warnings from the front seat to behave.  I was the person in my group of friends who had to look up my own telephone number in the phone book. My brothers, sister and I fall into a group of Canadians aptly referred to as Military BRATS (Borne, Raised And Transferred Somewhere). As a result of five of us having similar, but different, experiences of military life, we settled across the nation, raised our families and missed one or the other at every single event since those Christmas festivities of 1973, forty years of together-apart and apart-together.

After 40 years, we stood together, a tribute to our parents,late…but at last.

Kath's Scans 010

Chasing the Moon

Since losing Mom on the thirty first of May, I have thought about writing again.  On days since, the ‘doings’ of each day seem slower…the taking of steps…the opening up the chest to breath.  Every single thing looks different because she is no longer here, but more importantly, every thing looks different because she was here.  Katherine Mary, Mom, our beautiful Kay, impacted everything.

Disheartened and overflowing with grief, Dad and I watch Storage Wars and the play offs and news from home (beautiful Alberta and the devastation of so much property and the heart ache of so many displaced families).  We sometimes fight for a turn at the sink.  We drive to Napanee for eggs benedict.  We try to get through hymns at church, without crying.

A short while ago, I stepped out onto Bridge Street in the dark of night.  The air, cooling, still felt heavy with humidity.  The only sound was that of my own foot steps, Max brushing up against my legs as we walked together under large silhouettes of trees.  We walked east for quite some time…then south…no moon.  I knew it was there.  And the stars were out.  The clouds of the day time had pulled back just in time for me to witness the SUPER moon, an event shared on a variety of sites the past few days.  But where was this moon?

We back-tracked to our starting place and then began in the opposite direction…west…then north…nothing…so, I decided to stand still.  Looking up again, I doubted myself.  I began to dismiss the possibility of this beautiful moon appearing at all.  Wrong date registered in my mind?  I stood still…doubting…but present.  I was suddenly aware of the white wooden fence I was leaning against.  I liked the air…a light scent of flowers mingled with green.  Looking up, I saw a lighter shade of dark…and following that, suddenly noticed the brilliant white shapes almost shimmering behind the rustling leaves of a giant maple.   We walked slowly in that direction where eventually, we came upon an opening between two grand trees and there it was…the most perfect moon I have ever witnessed, resting in the converging arms of the two giants.  I stood there for some time, filled with more peace than I have felt in weeks.

I don’t always see that moon in the night sky, but it is there.   When the beautiful river becomes a raging angry beast and the rain pours down, I can not see the sun…but it is there.  That song that I wished to share with my mother this morning, my mother WAS that song.