November 22nd

I began to write this blog in 2005.  On November 22nd of 2005, I wrote THIS.

Today happens to be Thanksgiving Day for our friends in the United States of America.  And so…I think of them.

On November 22, 1963, I was sitting in a sharing circle.  My teacher, Miss Goodrich (I could never figure out why she wasn’t Mrs. Goodrich) was talking to us about pets and that we would be having a special sharing time in just a few weeks. (I brought my dog, Honey.  Thank you, Dad.)  We were captivated by the conversation.

Then, our principal came in.

She was a female and short.  I don’t remember her name.  She wore a pleated skirt.  She approached my teacher, who was sitting in a short chair as a part of our circle…a student chair…it was very tiny.

The principal whispered something in our teacher’s ear.  Immediately our teacher began to cry and tilted her head to the outside of the circle.  The principal placed her hand on her shoulder and then left.  Reaching in under her sweater sleeve, Miss Goodrich, took out a folded handful of kleenex and wiped her eyes…holding the tissue, she looked up at us.  I remember her face.

“Grade Threes.  I want you to always remember today’s date.  Today is November 22, 1963.  Today is the day that our President has died.”

I was a little Canadian girl living in Battle Creek, Michigan.  While in the United States, I sang the anthem…I held my hand to my heart…I pledged allegiance.  I never questioned my nation-hood….I moved every two years and I adapted to whatever circumstances or place I was given.  In 1963, I was in Riverside Elementary School the year ‘our President’ had died.  I would never forget.

Nor have I.

As I always do, at the beginning of High School Learning Strategies class this morning, I took a moment to acknowledge the words that my teacher had given me so many years ago.  This year, I am 63…and yet, I have never forgotten.  I remember the adult crossing guards weeping at the cross walks, the adults and children crying…I will never forget the absolute devastation that my little community felt on that day.  And so, again, tonight, I remember.


Gordon Lightfoot, After All These Years

There are no photographs that I can find (we probably didn’t own a camera), of the days when Dad, my brother John and I used to play the ukulele.  There are just so many tunes to play around the campfire on a ‘Uke’ but I remember them including Yellow BirdMichael Row The Boat AshoreDown In the Valley and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

Dad got us interested in stringed instruments very early in our lives.

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Whenever we gathered with friends or went camping, we had sing-songs.  In fact, we grew up surrounded by music.  Our military life took us on many family road trips and Sunday drives and all of it involved singing a repertoire of folk songs, big band era music like Abba Dabba Honeymoon,  Moon River and Mack the Knife and funny songs like “One Man Went to Mow“, There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea...well, you get the idea.

Dad also owned a beautiful Gibson guitar.  Nothing made me happier than listening to him sing songs, while playing that guitar.  There are no photographs of the Gibson, but I’m certain that my father and siblings remember it as though it was yesterday.  It was a family treasure.  Dad shared…

“I was given that beautiful Gibson from our neighbour across the street from us on Briar Hill Drive in Battle Creek, Michigan. I am sorry I cannot remember their names, but they were certainly good friends of ours throughout my tour there. He was a Lt.Col in the USAF Reserve and taught high school.  One of the humorous things I remember was Mom giving him a 1 quart and a 1 pint milk bottle that somehow came with us on the move. He was so excited since he would use them during his 2 hour course on Canada. That was the total length of time for their history of Canada.  Anyway he came over one day and had the Gibson with him. He told me that it had been owned by quite a famous country singer and was given to him. It honestly looked like it had just come from the factory it was such a beautiful instrument. I simply adored it and learned to play somewhat from a book.(just our usual camping songs.).”

Because of this inspiration around stringed instruments, when I got a regular summer job at The Deluxe restaurant in North Bay, Ontario, I decided to buy my very own guitar.  I spotted the one I wanted in a music shop window on Main Street and began saving up my tips.  By end of summer, I made the purchase of my Yamaha Classical guitar…something I decided on so that I could play with ease because of the give of the classical strings instead of the resistance of steal strings.  I’ve treasured that guitar for ever since.  Yes…it’s gone out with my own kids to campfires and parties…but, it hung in and makes a beautiful sound to this day.

At the day of my purchase, I also bought a song book of Gordon Lightfoot songs.  The thing about this particular book, the chord illustrations appeared above the appropriate words, so I figured, like my Dad before me, I could teach myself to play guitar.

From 1960 until 1963, Gordon Lightfoot became a household name in Canadian homes.  He was and still is a wonderful song writer…optimistic writing, surfacing during what came to be known as the Folk Revival (just before the huge movement of Beatles music across North America and the world.)  I wasn’t like my brother, John, who next door to me in Great Falls, Montana, in a neighbouring bedroom, played the Grateful Dead and Gregg Allman.  I was playing Dylan; Buffy Ste. Marie; Peter, Paul & Mary; The Mamas and the Papas, Pete Seeger and Gordon Lightfoot.

In the end, it turns out that my older brother, John, became a person I would always admire for his ability on guitar.  He had the ear for music and was a natural.  He felt the guitar and released its spirit, where I would be measured and predictable.  I think he spent some years playing at gigs as well, and given his home in Sault Ste. Marie, he moved towards a Bluegrass style.

Once I moved to Lethbridge and attended University, I continued to appreciate more mellow voices and music, enjoying Valdy, Bruce Cockburn, Bette Midler, Cat Stevens and Paul Williams.  Somewhere along the line, I bought myself a Three Dog Night album.  It seemed that I never really had a lot of money…still don’t…so accessing concerts and getting out for musical events didn’t really happen until I ‘grew up’.  I did, however, listen to other people’s music and so became exposed to a lot of Cabaret music in the day, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton and Grace Jones…on and on it went from there.

Summers and Christmases, traveling back home to share times with Mom and Dad, the guitars came out…and always there were sing-songs.  Mom always asked me to play and I did.

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singing and group 4

Family reunions brought together a large group of very talented people, many of them sharing guitar during the programs.  Cecil, Jo-Anne, my brother, John…Dad…

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Kath and John Reunion 1984

There have been a lot of back yard, under-the-tree sorts of moments…sitting in the stair well at the U of L, singing my heart out.  Living in residence was isolating at times.  The guitar filled lonely moments.

 

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Singing at weddings…oh my gosh, I’ll never forget not being able to find my beginning note during Lord of the Star Fields.  But things went well when I played and sang I Will and also For Baby.

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There was never the chance or the opportunity to pick up a Gordon Lightfoot ticket before this recent purchase.  But, long-story-short (fail)…last evening I had the chance to attend a concert where 78 year old Gordon Lightfoot came to Calgary, I felt, to sing just to me.  I purchased the ticket some time ago.  Without a partner, I’ve had years to practice not being shy about attending events on my own.  Strategically, when something comes up on my radar,  I pour over the seating maps for the venues and select the best single seat that I can find for that event.  Last night, I ended up in the second row of the Grey Eagle Casino Theater, with an unobstructed view of Lightfoot.  A father and teenaged daughter duo were sitting to my right.  I felt a bit sorry for the daughter because after every tune, the Dad would turn to her and say, “Did you like that one?”

To my left, two Ya Yas sat down just as the show began, a little envious of the cold gin and tonic that I was sipping, having arrived in time to access the bar line before the performance.

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I felt that the performance last night was all about good song writing.  The lyrics, beautiful narratives, for the most part, were exquisite.  I was filled with admiration for this person…for a career of dedication, struggle, and sideways living-gone right.  I really listened to these lyrics for the first time and saw them as very positive.

I got teary at the point where Gordon Lightfoot began singing The Minstrel of the Dawn…and that continued until the end of the song. Many of his songs moved me, but this one, the most.

Lightfoot is good humoured about his abilities.  He has a great lead guitar that provides the thread of his former performances.  His voice is weaker than in the past, but has all of that quality that is endearing.  Some songs were performed as shorter versions of themselves, out of need to entertain the crowd with the ‘old familiars’, but Lightfoot performed his most recent writing in its entirety and with enthusiasm.  I was really impressed.

I can’t tell a lie.  As I listened, I thought about my Dad.  I thought about what a gift it must be (and I have some experience of this already) to be able to continue to delight in your talents after so many years.  Dad, at 86, is in a choir and continues to carry the magic of his Irish tenor voice whenever he interprets music.  I was impressed by Gordon Lightfoot last night and was moved in a remarkable way.  As we move into our later years, we need to do what we can to continue nurturing our gifts.  I’m posting a video here.  I hope you will take the time to listen to the interview and then, listen to the song.

Music is something we hold inside of us…like DNA.  The stories that we carry in us are, for the most part, bits and pieces of the music we have cherished in our lives.  Live music can never be underestimated for its impact on us.

Post Script: The Next Generation

 

Road Trips and Other Summer Blessings

This has not been like any other summer.  I’ll leave it at that.

However, interspersed with hard work, vigilance and what life brings were some idyllic times shared with people I love and I need to acknowledge that as the season, very gently, moves into autumn.  Like others, I’ve noticed the brilliant yellow leaves of the poplars appear.  Yesterday, I saw a mama American Coot slam-dunk her teenager, stopping its whining in a quick moment, shoving its head and body, deep into the water.  I could almost hear her shouting, “Get your own damned food!”  With me, it always comes down to what’s happening to the birds.  To summarize, everything is in flux at the pond and there are indicators, as Cormorant teenagers practice their flights over the water and Grebe babies are taught to vocalize, that, all is about to change.

So, I reflect.

To begin, Hollee came down to Calgary.

I always hear from Hollee, mostly through the format of the post card.  My spirit sings when I get ‘real’ mail at the post box. She does this despite being a very busy lady, given her role and the necessary travel that comes with being the National Coordinator at L’Arche Canada. (but this, in fact, makes for a very interesting post card collection!)

For a glorious week, I had the chance to share daytime events with Hollee.  When visitors come to Calgary, I always begin by taking them to the Leighton Center.  I enjoy the views so much, the short walks…the art…the chat along the scenic drive.  So, on Monday morning, a day that is closed to the public, Hollee and I headed west for the Center.

First, Hollee humoured me with a walk around the pond at Frank’s Flats.  I can’t believe I didn’t catch a photograph!  However, I DID pull off the road and snap a quick photograph of Hollee at spot where I remembered taking a photo of my sister, Valerie, years ago!

In the Leighton House, a couple of lovely exhibits, one Impressions: A Printmaking Exhibit and a Wildrose exhibit in the upstairs gallery.  We were impressed by the exquisite modelling evidenced in a couple of pieces done in pencil crayon.

The haze from the fires in British Columbia was in evidence, everywhere we drove, that day.We took a country-road drive and also, made a stop at The Blue Rock Gallery, a space I have never visited in Black Diamond.  I was so happy to finally see the works, in the flesh, by Vermilion artist, Justina Smith, an artist I follow on Instagram.  I first became interested in her work when I saw her published journals as she took a drive across Canada and captured landscapes that were very familiar to me.Of course, Hollee and I stopped for an ice cream cone at the corner store!

On Tuesday, Hollee and I attended the Glenbow exhibit.  I really thought she should see the Kent Monkman exhibit,  Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience .   I had been wanting to take more time viewing it at a more leisurely pace.  Next door, the exhibit, North of Ordinary: The Arctic Photographs of Geraldine and Douglas Moodie concludes on August 27.  It was a powerful experience to visit the exhibits and to chat with Hollee about them.  I do a lot of these things alone and it’s just so great to be able to emote and converse about art, when you are feeling a response, so deeply.

First, I’ve posted portraits of Geraldine and Douglas Moodie.

Nativity Scene 2016 Installation piece by Kent Monkman.  Photographs of Kent’s paintings do no justice to them, but I wanted to carry a little archive with me, for the purpose of memory.

Baby Carriers…one small section of a very powerful space, created by Kent Monkman.

The Scream 2017 Kent Monkman a painting depicting children being rounded up from homes and families.  This huge painting was straddled by two of the Cradle walls.

A detail from Iron Horse 2015 by Kent Monkman.

The Bears of Confederation: 2016 Kent Monkman

Banquet Table installation

At some point, Hollee and I enjoyed a Spolumbo’s lunch and a quick visit to the Esker Foundation.  As well, and without photographs, we had a tour of the Calgary Reads house in Inglewood. Such a generous walk through one of the most magical houses in Inglewood.  I really hoped to knock into Ben while there, but he was out working hard with Nourish.

Wednesday found me taking a rest…I think, or maybe we did a little bit of something in the afternoon.  I don’t remember.  It’s all a blur.  And this makes me smile. I know that some where along the line, I convinced Hollee that we should go to the movie, Wonder Woman, as recommended by my daughter.  So, we did that, also….free movie and food, using our Scene cards and coupons!  I felt a little overwhelmed by the action scenes and the huge explosions.  We left the movie, sort of laughing and trying to guess Cayley’s thoughts on the movie.

Oh!  Yes!  I almost forgot that we did our epic tour of the Calgary Zoo, taking in all of the active feeding and animated goings-on of our favourite animals.  Like anyone else, I’m in awe of the experience of getting up close to animals and I DO think that the Calgary Zoo does what it can to make the enclosures interesting for the animals.  However, I can’t say that I am a supporter of keeping animals locked up and out of their natural environments.  I guess, on this particular day, I just entered into the experience at a different level.  I think, for Hollee and I, both, it brought back childhood memories…years when great big Dino stood in the center of a huge grassy parkland.  I remember visiting with my Gramma Moors when I was a child.  Oh, how things have changed since then.  Of the hundreds of photos I took of Penguins, nothing really turned out.  I’m grateful that Hollee agreed to do the Canadian enclosures with me.  The day after this, I was actually very weary!

Our last day of driving Alberta, saw us at Frank Slide.  We listened to music while I drove and that was fun!  As I put on miles, I enjoyed a lot of memories…past drives and different company…nostalgia about my parents and other friends.  It was lovely and atmospheric.  The smoke haze over everything this summer, changes the landscape dramatically.

I had never enjoyed the tours at Frank’s Slide before.  We happened to tag on to one of these outdoors, some time after enjoying a little picnic of salad and fresh fruit. We stopped off at Lundbreck Falls, on the way home.

I can’t really explain what it meant to me to be able to be with a friend for travel and visiting and relaxing.  I spend so much of my time, exploring, on my own, that it was a very different experience.  I was sad to see Hollee leave, but with the full knowledge that there will be other times.  I am just so grateful.

All the diamonds in this world
That mean anything to me
Are conjured up by wind and sunlight
Sparkling on the sea

I ran aground in a harbour town
Lost the taste for being free
Thank God He sent some gull-chased ship
To carry me to sea

Two thousand years and half a world away
Dying trees still grow greener when you pray

Silver scales flash bright and fade
In reeds along the shore
Like a pearl in sea of liquid jade
His ship comes shining
Like a crystal swan in a sky of suns
His ship comes shining

Bruce Cockburn

Attics of My Life

I took liberties, borrowing this title…Grateful Dead’s title for a tune on their album, American Beauty.  My brother was listening to Grateful Dead and Gregg Allman (RIP), when I was listening to Three Dog Night and Gordan Lightfoot.

Over the years, I’ve kept some excessively sentimental journal entries, scattered, some in notebooks and some typed up.  I’ve belonged to Brat Newsgroups and followed writing by other children of military fathers.  An excellent novel is based on a very similar life experience during the Cold War: Anne-Marie Macdonald’s Where the Crow Flies.

In The Way the Crow Flies, Ann-Marie MacDonald takes us back to the early 1960’s, a time of optimism infused with the excitement of the space race and overshadowed by the menace of the Cold War–-a world filtered through the imagination of Madeleine McCarthy, a spirited nine-year-old. Unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in his own web of secrets, she at first welcomes her family’s posting to a sleepy air force base in southern Ontario.

The base, however, is home to some intriguing inhabitants, including the unconventional Froehlich family, and the odd Mr. March, whose power over the children is a secret burden that they carry. Then tragedy strikes, and a local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants for life. As tension in the McCarthy’s household builds, Jack must decide where his loyalty lies, and Madeleine learns about the ambiguity of human morality–a lesson that will become clear only when the quest for the truth, and the killer, is renewed twenty years later.

As Father’s Day approaches and I’m thinking a lot about Dad and my family, but especially Dad, I’m putting together a bit of a reflection.  I am proud of my Dad.  I’m also pleased, in looking back, that I lived what I imagine is an unusual life, with very unique experiences.  As you dwell a bit on your father, you will think the same.  I’ve snapped some photos of bits and pieces and put them in chronological order here.  The writing is sappy and poorly executed for the most part, but, I’m glad that I’ve documented some things.

Sherbrooke, Quebec and my parents met and fell in love.  My parents knew and loved the Fortier family.  We made trips to visit my Gramma and Grampa once we moved away. I remember my Grandmother’s home and her gardens.

Mom and Dad and cool car from old negative

Summer 2009 154

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My brother, John, was born.

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John, Dad and Winston, the dog.  This is either Sherbrooke or Falconbridge; I’m not certain.

Falconbridge, Ontario (Sudbury)

Summer 2009 110

And a year later, I was born.

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RCAF Falconbridge Circa 50s

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RCAF Falconbridge

Ste. Sylvestre, Quebec…50 miles from Quebec City. Brutal winters with banks of snow up to the tops of our windows.  The birth of my brother, Stuart. Playing in a creek bed some distance from the house. Back yard clotheslines.  Mom, alone, a lot.  I watched my mother sew the dress that she is wearing in the photograph below.  I remember it.

1957 Mom and Dad New Years

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RCAF Ste. Sylvestre

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RCAF Ste. Sylvestre

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Family Car

Ste. Sylvestre with Dad January 1960

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Ste. Margaret’s, New Brunswick...some miles from Chatham.

I guess we didn’t have a camera to snap photographs in Ste. Margaret’s in New Brunswick.  I haven’t any archive for this period, apart from a few bits of ephemera. An old fashioned bell rung outside of the school for my kindergarten and grade one year. I remember my coat hook.  I remember faking that I could play the notes on my recorder.   I remember secretly loving Holmer Berthiaume.  I remember clam digging and clam chowder.  I remember neighbourhood fun.  And, my brother, Cliff, was born.  I broke my collar bone.

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Kath St. Margarets

A neighbour-photographer asked my parents if he could grab some photos of me.  This is one.

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Chatham New Brunswick Rec Center 1967

Recreation Center

Chatham New Brunswick Guard Gate 1966

 

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Battle Creek, Michigan

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29-03-2009 5;17;43 PM

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This Blog Post was a tribute to a friend, Laurel Barclay, a friend I never forgot.

North Bay, Ontario…three different postings and some very special years.  The dock, Chief Commanda, Expo ’67 and a field trip to Montreal, Winter Carnivals, fishing…

Big Fish

Trout Lake, Cabin stays and learning to play Cribbage, Mr. Carlin and the first inkling that I loved art, hiking through the gully, Gus.

Gus Road Tripping

Gus and the Rambler Station Wagon.

North Bay Couch

My sister, Val, was born.

Mom and Val four months North Bay

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Tent CaterpillarsIMG_6168

Air Shows 

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My brother, Cliff (Hammer), at one of our annual air shows.

 

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Teen Town

Teen Town RCAF North Bay

 

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I have reconnected with many of the people in this photograph over the years.  Social Media has been a blessing for Military ‘Brats’.IMG_6172

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On I went, during our second posting, to Widdifield High School, grade nine.  My friends were lunch time friends, including Kathleen and Susan.  Debbie Harris took the bus with me to Hornell Heights.  We were walking-to-school friends.  I have since, lost her. Later in life, I painted Miss Mitchell, the librarian, and the Library Club, using a photograph in the 1969 Pendulum as a reference.

Patricia Kirton

Widdifield Year Book 1969 002Widdifield Year Book 1969 001Widdifield Year Book 1969 009

I treasured, most, my time in the art room.  I still have some of my sketches from that time. I reconnected with David Carlin some years ago as he had an exhibit in Callandar when I was on one of my Trans Canada migrations.

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Great Falls, Montana for Grade 10, 11 and 12.  Ramona and I have done well to stay in touch all of these years.

5 of us Great Falls

Livin’ it up on Fox Farm Road!

 

CMR Mona

My best friend, CMR, Ramona

The thing about military people is that they DO have attached to them, many group photographs and records.  I will spare you this collection, but for the sake of my family members, I have photographed Dad’s collection and accessed several that he did not have from on-line research.  If ever you want these, please be in touch.

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Dad, you mean the world to me.  I’m grateful for your love.

People of Belleville, Ontario

I’ve grown to know and love the people of Belleville and most especially, the “People of Parkwood”!  As I’ve been nesting today, I’ve been looking back on albums and photographs, ones that weren’t saved off of my memory stick and these were heart warming, so I want to archive them here.

There is a community of people in Belleville that welcomes me when I make my migrations east and that is a lovely feeling.  The lesson our family members have learned because of a lifelong connection with the military is that where ever we go, we can adjust, settle in, make new friends and reconnect with old friends.  Just this past year, I reconnected with a kindergarten teacher, Stella Pelkey and her daughter, Lila.  It was as though the years had not gone by.  We shared laughs, tears and stories of Hornell Heights and Paul Davoud School.

While visiting Belleville last summer, my dearest friend from high school years, Ramona Venegas, drove all the way from Michigan, enroute to the east coast of the United States and we shared two magical days together. This happens where ever I travel in Canada and on into the United States.  We are graced in these times with social media that links up dear friends.  Moving on is sad, but we are well cherished beyond time and distance.  This is something I’ve grown to know and understand.

Here are some of the people of Belleville…many are not here because some how they got away without having me snap a photograph.

Dear friends, Beth and Christine Self.  Beth was the youngest of the Self family, three postings to North Bay, Ontario.  Stan was our Padre and the Protestant Chapel on base and our shared activities included many barbecues, Christmas parties, sing songs, church choirs, Youth Groups and mutual support through difficult times.  I love this family, deeply…always will.

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Barb and Morley…exemplars of faith, family and love.  We met in Belleville.  Barb is a mean cook!  Morley, an inspiring minister, faithful, fun-loving and a great banjo player.  He played and entertained for my father’s 80th birthday party and my dear Mom who suffered Alzheimer’s disease, was well aware that day about how special she was as we also celebrated her birthday.  When I think of these two, I am reminded to have hope.  They took the time to come out last summer to my art exhibit and I am so grateful.kaths-art-14

My beautiful cousin, descendant on my maternal side, and I found one another in Belleville.  We have both searched and searched family roots, but from opposite sides of Canada.  Belleville connected us.  Liane is so absolutely beautiful and it was like an explosion of love and joy to meet.  Our ancestral research continues, but a link was made by her generous use of time.  (And by the way, she purchased THAT painting!)img_1649

St. Columba Church garden…this photo represents the beautiful Presbyterian community that my mother loved and my father continues to love.  As the summer’s drought was coming to an end, this photo represents the last of the harvest…only a week before I headed out on my drive back to Calgary.img_1648

At my father’s prompting and his generous contribution of shipping, I donated a painting to this newly designed and decorated meeting space in the church.  Here he is with some AMAZING human beings, Gary, Jane and Jen, the beautiful minister of St. Columba.  Jane and Gary have been long time family friends and with each of my migrations east, I have built relationship.  Prayerful, loving and supportive…these three showed my Mom and Dad such support.  They are to be cherished.  Special prayers for all three this morning, as I type.img_1633

I simply love this photograph of my father and so I include it here.  One of the greatest gifts that Mom gave to me was a relationship with my father.  I used to spend most of my time gabbing on the telephone long distance, with my Mom, as Mom and daughters do.  As Mom’s health failed, Dad did not hesitate to sign into Skype every day at 5:00 so that Mom and I could spend time with one another; singing, talking, laughing and crying.  Since 2013, my father and I have continued that ritual, chatting via Skype almost every day.  I have treasured my alternating yearly drive out to spend summers with him.  We have created memories by sharing our own time together, attending theater, going for beautiful drives, eating out and sharing the feast table in his apartment. (and sharing the odd bottle of red wine with one another)  img_1629

My cousins through my Auntie Mary and Uncle Pete, Laura, and Brenda and Gwen (no photograph…for shame) are very special to me.  They also lived the military life and ‘get it’. Distance doesn’t change our shared experience and our connection to our roots in Magrath.  On this past visit, I feel I got to know my cousin Laura (the youngest) better and was so thrilled for that knowing.  Recently, Laura traveled out west, and along with her brother, Peter, we went up the Custom Woolen Mills.  That afternoon was heaven, it was so filled with laughter!img_1604

My Auntie Mary, beautiful Auntie, attended my art exhibit.  We hardly see her enough, but when we do, it is like yesterday.  She was generous in allowing me to collage her image( a professional photograph taken by her best friend’s father during Moose Jaw days) into one of my paintings this past summer.img_1596 img_1592

Here, she recreates the dreamlike expression captured in the earlier photograph. Makes me smile!img_1585

I met Ina at Parkwood Estates.  She and I had two treasured visits in her apartment.  Now in her 90s, Ina and I spent time looking at her photo albums and she shared stories of cottage country and the process of building their cottage from the ground up.  She told me about Roy, her husband…his work, his plans and his health.  Ina shared about her teaching in Montreal, what teaching was like in the day…the expectations, the challenges and her passion for teaching.  We had very beautiful talks and now we write letters to one another.  I treasure Ina.img_1484 img_1481

Ina and Roy.img_1478 img_1477

Dianne has a thick french accent.  She comes in every two weeks and cleans Dad’s apartment.  But, she is more than that!  She offers enthusiastic conversation with all of her clients.  (Can my readers tell?)  Max loves her!  Dianne and her husband love to fish.  It is not an uncommon thing for her to bring fresh pickerel to my father and she says, “Just fry it up in a little butter.”  She does a beautiful job cleaning, but she has a big heart as well.  She exemplifies ‘goodness’.img_1427 img_1423

One Euchre table.  My Mom and Dad were always big Bridge players.  I didn’t inherit that passion nor do I understand how it is played.  I also don’t know a thing about Euchre.  While I am familiar with these people of Parkwood, I don’t remember their names.  This is a common gathering space and there is always something happening. The renovations are beautiful in this location!img_1354

Marjorie and Trevor White have been another great couple who shared many years, many experiences and many social gatherings with Mom and Dad, in the military life.  A pilot, Trev had the most wonderful stories (unbelievable stories) and was such a smart and funny man.  Marj lost Trevor recently, but she continues to share those stories of times with Mom and Dad and I love this connection.  We write cards to one another.  I need to keep this connection. Thank you, for fresh Basil from your garden.img_1353

Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris….amazing artists and artisans in Belleville!  These two are such visionaries and have huge energy in the arts community; music, visual arts and theater.  They welcomed me into their circle and for that, I will always be grateful.  All the way from Calgary, I will always support their efforts and their projects.  I love ’em.img_0941

…and who wouldn’t love this?img_0940 img_0938

A series of photographs here…just because these folks are so beautiful!  As I would leave to walk Max on beautiful summer days, I’d always stop and chat with whoever was gathering in the common space.  Usually there were laughs happening, often, serious conversations.  Bev is the one with her hand on her head here.  Bev and I shared a small conversation every single day.  She gives swimming instruction, wears a fit bit and can tell you at any time of day how many steps she’s made.  She is warm and lovely and I had the chance to sit next to her during a very special One Act Play festival in Belleville this past summer.  Her husband, Gerry, is a Belleville historian and writer of several books.  He and I met, quite by surprise, the summer that I was making a big fuss about Susanna Moodie’s marble head stone being made into a memorial.  I did a lot of research in the Belleville Library this past summer on the Marchmont Home and the BHC of the area.img_0934 img_0933 img_0932 img_0928 img_0927

Here’s Ina…always impeccably dressed.  Former school teacher, she and I shared so many stories.  I love Ina.img_0739

She explained how Roy, given that they didn’t have children, was always called upon to be MC at various people’s weddings.  He was a strong orator and he and Ina always gave the newlyweds a copy of Desiderata because they loved it so much.  Ina has this copy hanging near her front room.img_0738

Ina told me about the day that they moved into the Parkwood Estates and how Roy brought this Dogwood tree in and planted it in the corner.  Ever since then, Ina has been collecting these little birds.
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Jen, Dad’s minister, stopped in for a visit and gave Buddy a ton of love.  I love this woman so much.  She gave prayers for Mom and sent Mom on to the path of Paradise, with many blessings.  She is a strong and wonderful person and a great support to our family.img_0718 img_0716

Denny…always a big one for greetings.  He is like a welcoming committee to the apartment.  I typically found him outdoors on a short stroll or sitting on the bench when I would head out with Max on his morning walk.  Here, he is getting the machines set for Wii Bowling.img_0713 img_0712 img_0711 Heck if I could figure this out either, but weekly, Wii Bowling achieved a huge enthusiastic group!  I always stopped and said, “Hi”.img_0710

Carolyn and Bob….Carolyn is my Ya Ya in the east.  She bubbles over with enthusiasm!  This past summer we enjoyed the Festival Players of Prince Edward County under the dome tent, a beautiful heart wrenching piece, A Splinter in the Heart, that left both Carolyn and I crying at the end.img_0697

Yes.  Lisa again…here, we were at an open mic event in the ‘old boy’s club’ downtown Belleville.  Lisa had just come over from a rehearsal for an amazing steam punk piece she would be performing in in the One Act Play Festival.img_0662

More of Aunty Mary as we headed out for lunch on The Lake On the Mountain.  GOOD BEER!img_0508

Artist, Janet Beare, living a magical life in her downstairs space…a world many may not know a lot about.  MAGIC!

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Ina with her bird mug…this is the occasion when I learned that she had a bird tree and “May I come to see it some time?”img_0446

Coffee and birthday cake gathering!img_0445

Cold Creek Winery and Dave!  Amazing guy with such a huge heart!  I see Dave every time I drive out east, simply because Dad and I drink red. ;0)img_0379

Maureen and her daughter, Cathy.  Perched above the Bay of Quinte, these were the first friends we visited on last summer’s trip.  Maureen is an amazing artisan, always creating with her hands.  She was very close to my mother and kept Mom’s fingers going, creating beautiful things for the Mistletoe Market, for as long as was possible.img_0344

Barb and Rob, resident managers extraordinaire, back when I began my journeys east.  Always kind, generous and very very good at what they did.  I’m happy for them for the adventures that they have enjoyed since retiring, taking their RV across and around two countries.  They epitomize what potential is in all of us to care and give.  Love you, two.barb-and-rob

Home is what we make of the places we visit and where we nest.  We take home with us wherever we go.  People do not have to remain constantly within our view to remain constant and caring forces in all that we do.  We just owe it to them to try to stay in touch, how we can.  Wishing my friends of Belleville, love and care.

For Love of Louis

GO MYERS RIDERS! GO!

Yes!  I DID attend a football game.  I wouldn’t do it for just anyone.  Ask my father.  But, I would do it for Louis.

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The thing about living in a family rooted in Canada’s military, is that we are intense about our Canadian identity.  We also find ourselves living from east coast to west.  It matters not the distance between us because over the years we have been able to remain connected by heart strings and when we are together, it is pure magic.

Dad and I recently drove to Ottawa and really enjoyed the time, food, love and dogs!  One fun afternoon was spent watching my awesome nephew play a game, his team, the Myers Riders!  GO RIDERS!!

Honestly, I know very little about what was going on, but I did see my nephew pushing through to gain yardage….MOVE THOSE STICKS!  MOVE THOSE STICKS!  He is an intense and smart player, (from what I can tell…you just have to trust my judgment here) and he made his auntie proud!  Yes!  They won the game!  And, YES!  He received the MVP football during the post conference.  YEAH!  I love you, Louis.  This is just a smattering of images from my experience.  I have absolutely no permission to share these, but, heH!  I’m a proud auntie.

Keep an eye on the pink gloves and # 75!  Love this boy for his beautiful heart.  Yes, he is a talented athlete, but foremost for me, is the respectful and kind hearted and caring man that he is becoming!  He’s a great team player.  Love you, Louis.

Here ends, likely, the ONLY sports post that you will ever find on my blog.  I love you, dear family.

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Burnsland Cemetery Tour: November 11, 2015

Max and I managed to fit in a beautiful morning hike at Frank’s Flats, arriving home as the last post and the Remembrance Day observances at Parliament Hill were just beginning.  I always get quite emotional about these rituals as I am very respectful of my family’s military roots and I am flooded with love for all of my family, as well as friends who commemorate the service of their family members at this time of year.

I decided some time yesterday to attend the tour at Burnsland Cemetery this year and to learn a little about the various Regiments that served out of Calgary and the rest of Canada.

From the City of Calgary website, this…

Burnsland cemetery dates back to 1923 and includes many of Calgary’s World War I Veterans. The Calgary Heritage Authority has deemed the cemetery to be a historically significant cultural landscape that played an important part in the settlement and establishment of Calgary as a city. 

The Remembrance Day ad…

Take a free guided tour of the 13-hectare Burnsland Cemetery and learn more about some of the heroes that were laid to rest here. There are more than 22,000 buried at this cemetery, including many of Calgary’s veterans from the First World War. This tour is also an opportunity to reflect on the Canadian Military and RCMP traditions.

The tour begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m.

Burnsland CemeteryInitially, there was some confusion for me about where to meet up.  I parked within the Burnsland Cemetery, got out of my vehicle and the first person I met was someone I had met years ago, when my son was just a toddler.  Brenda Driscoll is an artist who I met when grouped with nine other Canadian artists on a horse trip up the Sheep River. It was quite a journey and I really felt close to Brenda from the onset.  She was an experienced horse woman and I had zero experience.  There were some very good laughs.  I liked her so much that I painted her into one of my monumental canvases titled, So Where Do I Begin?

There she was this afternoon, all these years later, walking quietly between the rows of markers, actually seeking out her own father’s resting place.  Together, we found our way to the group.  I already knew that it would be an awesome event.

I desperately want to learn the name of the Calgary Parks staff member who led our tour this afternoon.  She was brilliant, articulate and did an awesome job personalizing the story of war…dealing honestly with the positive as well as the very dark side of war and the mistakes, as well as successes of Canadians in various periods of our war history.

We began at the Colonel James Walker’s family plot and resting place and were given a brief history of early peace keeping in the west.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 059 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 058 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 057

James Walker was born near Hamilton, Ontario and became one of the original commissioned officers in the North West Mounted Police in 1873, taking part in the trek West in 1874.

Walker, like all the commissioned officers of the force, faced the same hardships as the enlisted men with the added responsibility of caring for the new recruits, (most of them city boys – some as young as 15 – with little or no experience in the frontier) and assuring their safety and the success of the expedition. Walker and Col. Macleod, at one point, had to leave the expedition and travel on alone to procure extra supplies and horses to replace those which had died along the way.

Walker was promoted to superintendent in 1876 and sent back East to arrange for new recruits. While in Ottawa, he was instructed to take some of the recruits and a troop of more experienced policemen (they were two year veterans but you became “experienced” very quickly under their conditions) to Battleford to establish a Mounted Police fort and provide an escort for the treaty commissioners who were travelling in the same area.

James Walker was pressed into national service during the North West Rebellion of 1885 when he formed the Home Guard. He was a Lt. Col. in the 15th Light Horse and served overseas in WW1 as the commanding officer of the Canadian Forestry Corps.

The next historical resting place was that of Colonel David Ritchie, MC. 1924- 1941

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 062Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 065Colonel Ritchie was born in Cumberland, England in 1882 and lived in the United Kingdom until 1911. Having joined the Dumfrieshire County Police at age 17, he followed this career path in Canada by joining the Calgary Police Force (as it was known then), reaching the rank of Detective. He served with the plain clothes squad until enlisting in the CEF in 1915.
He arrived in England as a Lieutenant of the 137th Battalion, and promoted to Captain while in the UK. After transfer to a combat battalion in France, he was wounded at Amiens in August 1918, and was still in hospital with his leg wound when the Armistice was declared in November.

After return to Calgary in 1919, he was presented with his Military Cross by the Prince of Wales who visited the city in September of that year. He rejoined the Calgary Police Force, becoming Chief Constable (the highest rank on the Force) on 15 September 1919. Ritchie’s impact on the Force was notable, for such things as the introduction of parking tickets and the School Safety Patrol in 1921, to the first installation of radios in police cars and motorcycles.

While Chief of Police, he enlisted in The Calgary Highlanders in 1922 as a Captain, with promotion to Major following in short order. In 1924, he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and made Commanding Officer of the Regiment. His command lasted from 1924 to 1929, during which time he was promoted to Colonel.

After retirement from the Highlanders, became president of the Alberta Military Institute in 1930 and president of the Alberta Infantry Association the next year. His interest in sports, despite his injured leg, led to presidency of the Alberta Highland Games Association.
Colonel Ritchie died in 1941 aged 39, after having been Chief of the Calgary Police Force for 22 years. sic

While his age is recorded as 39 on the Calgary Highlander’s website, the Lieutenant Colonel would have been 59 when he passed away in 1941.

Next, to the Cowe family plot.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 061 At the Cowe family plot, we learned about the ‘Victorian’ ways of the community at the time, very hierarchical in its ways and temperament.  Colonization was just like that, wasn’t it?  We learned that a huge segment of the Calgary population was from Scotland.  This is exemplified in the Scottish thistle that appears on the decorated stone.  We focused on John who was killed in action in Gallipoli in Turkey.  Right away I thought about Russell Crowe’s most recent movie, The Water Diviner. We were told, if you went to Gallipoli, you didn’t come home…it was just that horrific.  Canadian troops were there to support the British.

Out of the narratives at this stone, I learned a brief history of our ‘Blue Puttees’, our brave soldiers, eventually to be given the title, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

“The losses sustained by the 1st Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1916, were staggering. Of the 801 Newfoundlanders who went into battle that morning, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day, with 255 dead, 386 wounded and 91 missing. The dead included 14 sets of brothers, including four lieutenants from the Ayre family of St. John’s.”

The tour group was absolutely silent; some of us, crying.

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 066At the resting place of Catherine de Bellefeville, I learned that those who served as nursing sisters, were immediately given the rank of Lieutenant.  During this part of the presentation I learned that just over 50 nursing sisters lost their lives in the Great War, some working in hospitals where injured men were being cared for.  It was under this circumstance that my own great grandfather, John Moors, died, along with some of his caregivers on May 19, 1918.

The most painful history that was shared with me about the nursing sisters who served the allies in World War I was the story of the HMHS Llandovery Castle.  This is a story I encourage all of my readers to contemplate.  Very few people know of this horrific event.  This was a ‘floating’ hospital, required to have all lights on…a cross marking…it was required to sail apart from all participating sea vessels.  And yet, on a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England, the ship was torpedoed off southern Ireland on 27 June 1918 by the enemy.  Accounts and descriptions of this disaster are heart wrenching. 

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 067At the resting place of Major Reverend Canon William H. Morgan, we learned that there was dispute over how many chaplains should be engaged for the purpose of battle.  Sir Samuel Hughes, deemed both energetic and controversial, seemed to be the person with the power to decide.  There were 527 chaplains recruited in World War I, with a very small number of Catholic chaplains, given his particular bias.

One chaplain was mentioned specifically as we stood at this stone…John Weir Foote, awarded the Victory Cross after the war.

From Wikipedia, a further explanation of the circumstances of his loss, as explained by our tour guide…

On August 19, 1942 at Dieppe, France, Captain Foote coolly and calmly during the eight hours of the battle walked about collecting the wounded. His gallant actions saved many lives and inspired those around him by his example. At the end of this grueling time, he climbed from the landing craft that was to have taken him to safety and deliberately walked into the German position in order to be taken prisoner, so that he could be of help to those men who would be in captivity until May 5, 1945.

May he rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 068Here, at the resting place of Pte. George Stewart, we were given a brief background on the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.  We learned that Canadians were viewed as the work horses…the strong arm…by the British.  Our soldiers earned the respect of all for their courage and determination.  I hope that my readers will follow my link, studying the role that the PPCLI played in world conflict, with some very specific events and citations in the Korean and Afghanistan conflicts.

May they rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 069 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 070 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 072 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 073Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 074At the resting place of Pte. William J. Ware, son of black cowboy, John Ware, we learned of some of the disturbing inconsistencies in the day, due to race.  If you were black, you had to enlist directly with a battalion.  Procedures could not be the same.  Once enlisted, a black man was moved into a Construction battalion, assigned to heavy labour and often going ahead of armed battalions with lumber and other burdens.  There was even a resistance to taking black soldiers when recruitment offices were in dyer need of numbers.  Ware was a member of the No. 2 Construction Battalion (an all Black battalion) serving in France, with the majority of the men being assigned to the No. 5 Canadian Forestry Corps (Jura Group).

Dissimilarly, First Nations men were welcomed with open arms because, again, for stereotypical reasons, they were viewed as hunters, strong men, survivors.  The sad part of the story took place when they returned home.  Soldiers were promised a land grant when they returned home.  It was only our First Nations who were refused these grants upon their return.  Sadly, along with this, because they had served their country, their status was taken away.  I don’t know if Canadians know these things.  I didn’t.  A book recommendation on this subject is Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden.  From the Canadian War Museum, this…

A Record of Accomplishment

First Peoples troops left a remarkable record of wartime accomplishment. Several were commissioned as officers, and many served as battle-hardened platoon leaders and combat instructors. At least 50 were decorated for bravery on the battlefield. Many acquired near-legendary status as scouts and snipers, drawing on pre-war hunting skills and wilderness experience. The most decorated, Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow, an Ojibwa from the Parry Island Band near Parry Sound, Ontario, received the Military Medal and two bars for his bravery and effectiveness as a sniper. Former rodeo performer Henry Norwest, a Metis, was credited with 115 kills before his death. Alexander Smith, Jr. and his brother Charles, the sons of Six Nations Cayuga chief Alexander G. Smith, were both awarded the Military Cross.

May they rest in peace…

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 076I had just recently learned about Mary Dover, and today, I found myself standing before her resting place.  Please read about the Women’s Army Corp of Canada.

May they rest in peace…

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 075A tour of Calgary’s Burnsland cemetery would not be complete without thinking about the members of the Lord Strathcona Horse (Royal Canadians).  Again, a very amazing history.  It is quite an accomplishment when a regiment receives the title Royal.  The more personal narrative shared was about Gordon Muriel Flowerdew VC (2 January 1885 – 31 March 1918)

For most conspicuous bravery and dash when in command of a squadron detailed for “special services of a very important nature. On reaching his first objective, Lieutenant Flowerdew saw two lines of enemy, each about sixty strong, with machine guns in the centre and flanks; one line being about two hundred yards behind the other. Realizing the critical nature of the operation and how much depended on it, Lieut. Flowerdew ordered a troop under Lieut. Harvey, VC, to dismount and carry out a special movement, while he led the remaining three troops to the charge. The squadron (less one troop) passed over both lines, killing many of the enemy with the sword; and wheeling about galloping on them again. Although the squadron had then lost about 70 per cent of its members, killed and wounded from rifle and machine gun fire directed on it from the front and both flanks, the enemy broke and retired. The survivors of the squadron then established themselves in a position where they were joined, after much hand-to-hand fighting, by Lieut. Harvey’s part. Lieut. Flowerdew was dangerously wounded through both thighs during the operation, but continued to cheer his men. There can be no doubt that this officer’s great valour was the prime factor in the capture of the position.”

His Victoria Cross was one of twenty awarded during the battles of the German and Allied Offensives in the Amiens Area in 1918.

Today, we remember…

Well…this has been quite the post.  Can you tell that I am absolutely amazed by military history?

I missed the last two or three parts of the tour, because the story at the very next sight sent Brenda and I off, in search of her father.  At the age of one, her father died in a training accident as he was a pilot in the forces.

Our tour guide explained that typically if a plane went down at one of the many Alberta training centers, two men lost their lives, as confirmed by the matching dates on their stones.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 080We were also told that it was a very sad thing that soldiers from New Zealand and far parts of Canada came to Alberta for their training.  When a soldier died, he was buried in the country where he lost his life.  With so many pilots lost in training, this made it tremendously sad for grieving families living so far away, but it has been the way. As the group moved along, Brenda and I remained behind.  She knew only that her father had died in October, 1943 and that he was resting in Burnsland Cemetery.

After a very short time, Brenda was reunited with her father.  What an amazing experience!  May he rest in peace.

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 082 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 084 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 085 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 086 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 087 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 089We spent some time there…chatting…noticing the flower that was set before his stone.  As we left to walk back to our cars…I felt very grateful for the afternoon and for the opportunity to remember.

There, a short distance from my car, was my son-in-law’s friend, Brad.  Brenda and I said our good-byes, with promises to connect and I was able to take a photo of Brad along side his great grandfather’s resting place.  Such an amazing day!

Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 090 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 091 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 092 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 093 Kath's Canon, November 11, 2015 Grade 3 Poppies, Burnsland, Bush 094It turned out to be quite a day for the lady with the camera…a very beautiful day!

MY ’70s Show!

My life experience is very much rooted in the 1970s.  I graduated high school in Great Falls, Montana in 1973 and certain events of that period inform my memories. From 1970 onward, a  fund raiser was in place, selling bracelets for the soldiers MIA, as a result of the war in Vietnam. It is an interesting recollection that contextually, it was a very different matter to be a Canadian in this place and time.  When I look at That ’70s Show, I see myself and my family.  It is entertaining, but it is also a curiosity.

Being a Canadian, living south of the border through my high school years, I studied American History, Ancient Civilizations and experienced a huge focus on sports, clubs, expensive field trips, some racial segregation, even in the west, (although I was very naive about this and crossed boundaries of every sort), and a leaning toward a particular type of art.  Here is an example…a calendar that I still have, silk screened by my high school art teacher, Mr. Dwight Winenger and a piece of his work titled, Seriously Centric displayed at the Charles M. Russell Gallery in 1972.  Silkscreen was big at the time and I enjoyed the process.

1973 Winenger

Seriously Centric Charles M. Russel Gallery Great Falls Mr. Winenger 1972

This is where I went to high school, graduating in 1973…Charles M. Russell High School.

CMRKath GraduationThis is my bestie, Ramona.  We did the photo booth thing after one of our epic walks around the city.  We walked everywhere and this was great preparation for the lifestyle I took on once moved to Lethbridge, Alberta.  University was across the Oldman River from the city and so I bought myself a pair of gators and hiked in routinely, when the river was frozen and took the long hike over to the bridge (only one bridge in the day) when the river was open.

CMR MonaThis is family…AND our basement and our kitchen.

Great Falls 1 Great Falls 2 Family Photo Great FallsI had a crush in high school, but only one date, and not with the crush.  Dick didn’t have me out again because at the Drive-In movie, Castle Keep, I didn’t ‘keep him warm’. I’m laughing as I type this. The movie was fantastic!  My only regret was that my Mom had spent money on such a fabulous pair of lilac coloured bell bottoms.  I have hunted for a photograph of the Drive-In, but am having some troubles with that.

Someone found a photo for me!!  Whoot!  Thanks goes out to Rhonda M. Potts!

Twi-Lite

My family moved east again; Dad, transferred from Malmstrom Airforce Base back to North Bay, Ontario.  I liked the dry air of the west, the vast expanse of sky and really wanted to remain west, so having done my research, landed myself up in Lethbridge.

I don’t want to get into a huge narrative about life in Lethbridge, but I do want to say that it is my favourite place in the world.  It might be that this is because it was/is such a sleepy place, but something about the people in my life and the landscape, remained in my bones always.  These were years of formation for me.  I hiked those coulees until I knew them through and through.  I harvested cactus berries and rosehips, made tea in my room, listened to Valdy on my friend’s turn table.  I wore ankle length embroidered jean skirts and Progress store work boots.  Times were good.

Robert Waldren has kindly shared some archives with our common friend, Ed Bader, and has given me permission to use them here, so with gratitude, I share them.  I’m also including here a few coloured photographs that really pick up on the ’70s.

A hundred years later…Pauline and I share time out in Argenta.  I love and miss you, Pauline.

1977 February-u-of-l-pauline-mcgeorges-watercolour-class-01 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 February University of Lethbridge Pauline McGeorge’s Watercolour Class 01 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 October: Dennis Burton Opening Ed Bader and Paulinemcgeorge

1977 October: Dennis Burton Opening Ed Bader and Pauline McGeorge (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

1957_60115820210_602_nArt Department Magic

1977 March U of L Herb Hick's Drawing Class (I include this photograph because my friends from residence would sleep on this platform at all hours of night while I worked.) Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

1977 March U of L Herb Hick’s Drawing Class (I include this photograph because my friends from residence would sleep on this platform at all hours of night while I worked.) Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

October 1977 Dennis Burton Opening: Charley, Ed, herb, Pat

October 1977 Dennis Burton Opening: Charley, Ed, herb, Pat

One of my favourite people, Larry Weaver, ceramics prof…a man who has fathered me on more than one occasion.  Grateful always to him and to his beautiful wife, Nina.

March 1977 Larry Weaver in Ceramics Studio (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

March 1977 Larry Weaver in Ceramics Studio (Photo Credit: Robert Waldren)

Larry and Nina Weaver 1979

Larry and Nina Weaver 1979

I don’t think I have a single photograph of me from ’73 until ’77.  It was not the age of the selfie.  IT WAS THE TIME FOR LIVING.  A short musical interlude at this time…a tune coming out some time around 1968.  If this isn’t enough for you, I’ll point my readers in the direction of the song, Time for the Seasons by the Zombies.  Same time, same sentiment.  Just not such a self-focused world at the time.  This is what I grew up with.

Recently, I attended a fantastic event, Art on the Rocks, a figure drawing experience hosted by the Glenbow Art Museum and taught by a friend of mine, Tim Belliveau.  I told him that I would give him feed back about his workshop to share the differences between his approach to figure drawing and the practice he has been taught and the experience of my own practice, coming out of the ’70s.  As I was drawing gesture, contour, negative space and focused on the model, I was swept back in time…the whole reason for this post.

This was the University of Lethbridge, the year that I graduated with a B. Ed degree in 1977.  The architect, Dr. Arthur Erickson, is no longer with us, but this particular building, its residence, academic rooms, landscape surroundings and people, had huge impact on my life.

University of Lethbridge April 1977 Panorama Robert Waldren

Photo Credit: Robert Waldren April 1977

My bedroom in residence…overlooking the coulees; and YES, that IS macrame!

Kath University RoomThe art and physical education buildings were separated from the main block by ‘the worm’.  Freezing cold in the winter and stifling hot in the warmth of other seasons, I walked up and down this structure more times than I could ever guess.

University of Lethbridge April 1977 Panorama Robert Waldren 2

Photo Credit: Robert Waldren April 1977

The Worm Winter Storm 1977

The Worm Winter Storm 1977 Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

Billy McCarroll in the day. Fantastic person, artist, teacher, musician. Photo Credit: Robert Waldron

Billy McCarroll in the day. Fantastic person, artist, teacher, musician. Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

 

Robert Waldron 4

Ed Bader, drawing in beautiful light. We were always surrounded by lots of concrete. Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

Robert Waldron 2

Carl Granzow; Spirited sculpture prof. Maker of magic and full of laughter.  Photo Credit Robert Waldren.

April 1977 SAAG opening Dale Ketchison Guitar Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

April 1977 SAAG opening Dale Ketchison Guitar Photo Credit: Robert Waldren

It’s time to take Max for a walk, but it’s been really wonderful looking at the impact of the 1970s.  I am grateful to my friends and teachers of the time.  I developed a real hunger for experiences in nature, a desire to create in both written form and in art.  Great professors caused me to teach more than anything and so I did.

Here are a couple of tunes.  My very first concert wasn’t a big name band, but rather, Bruce Cockburn, sitting on a stool center stage at the Yates theater.  It wasn’t until years later that I heard Valdy singing in a community center here in Calgary, but his music was a part of my creating back in the day.

Coaldale Farm House 1973-1974.

Kath with FidoMaking home made bread 1976-1977.  Photo credit: Lorraine Lee

21-06-2012 2;05;57 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where are you, Ruth Rollingson?

My Auntie Ruth is a force not to be reckoned with!  She is a very strong woman who has a sharp memory and a very particular type of wit.  Ruth holds strong opinions about most things (it runs in the family) and articulates them with emotion and power.  A woman who puts family first, she loved spending extended periods of time in both Peace River and New Zealand.  With fondness, she talks about branches of her/our family who are separated by a huge physical distance as though they could not possibly be held any closer in her heart.

This week she shared some of her narratives and I treasured every moment of the time we spent together.  As I delved deeper into the paternal side of my family history, I wanted to hear, first hand, the recollections of two of the matriarchs of the family, my Auntie Ruth and Auntie Eleanor.  It is with great fondness that I recall visits out west while my own military-family seemed to be, every couple of years, on an east-west migration.  Auntie Ruth and her family were a big part of what it meant to be ‘a Moors’.

Many hours were spent in friendship and family…teasing one another…complaining…and typically, exploding into laughter.  I am so happy for the previous interviews that my second cousin, Danielle, has worked on and the beautiful family album that contributed so much to our chats early in the week.  Several of these photographs are borrowed from this treasured resource.

P1130503 P1130504 P1130519 P1130522 P1130525 P1130530

St. Mary's

St. Mary’s Dam…Ruth swimming with friends…

Family Reunion St. Mary's Dam...cousin, Linda in foreground...Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us.

Family Reunion St. Mary’s Dam…cousin, Linda in foreground…Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us, likely late 1960s.  My own mother’s face, just slightly above Linda’s arm…

I am so grateful for our conversations, dear Ruth…and look forward to connecting some of these narratives with the research I have already documented.  I love you.

Old Negatives

A month ago I dropped off some old negatives to London Drugs for processing and to digitize what may be some pretty special images of Mom and Dad and their early years.  They were stuck in a pile between the pages of a photo album that I happened to be sorting at the time.  Today, I received a phone call to stop by and pick them up. I wasn’t disappointed in the number of surprises in the stack and as a result,  I’m going to enjoy creating a special Christmas gift for Dad, my sister and my brothers.  I think this is why the Lisecki black and whites struck me as amazing last night.

P1130253 P1130255 P1130256 P1130266 P1130267Days become busy and often we want to deal with the ‘stacks’ in our lives, but we don’t.  The fact that I have dealt with this stack causes me great joy.  The last image, while indistinct, is a remnant of my father’s time serving the RCAF at the Arctic Circle.  Photographs like this one, while unclear, captured a moment in time.  Here, you feel the cold and the isolation.  This is not a nameless figure; this is my father.