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.

kaths-art-15

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.
img_0728

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!

img_1472

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.

The Idea of North

The AGO has hosted an exhibit titled The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris curated by Steve Martin.  The show opened on July 1 and comes down on September 16.  While I won’t have a chance to take this one in, I was able to attend a local exhibit at the John M. Parrott Gallery here in Belleville, titled A Tribute to Lawren Harris, co-curated by Peter Paylor and Susan Holland, featuring 21 different artist’s works.

In neighbouring Gallery One, Valerie Kent exhibited her works In Celebration of Markets, a flamboyant and culturally charged exhibit that was very compementary of the Harris Tribute exhibit.  Fun to get out and see a show and picked up a book written by Belleville-born writer, Frances Itani, Deafening, at the second hand shop in the front gathering space.

A lovely and reflective time for me in the city and a lovely diversion as I was eagerly awaiting my high school buddy’s arrival for a girlfriend visit and walk down memory lane.

The pendant below…work by Lisa Morris.

IMG_0740 IMG_0741 Thus, if I paint a house…I assume the shape of that particular house, experience its form, its meaning, its relationship to the soil it rises from, the skies that bathe it in reflection of their colours and mood, the neighbouring houses, the mood of the particular house, its age, its inner life; and the more direct my experience of that is, the more I permit that house to dictate to me how I hall paint it and the more certain I am to arrive at pure experience in my art and to create an intense equivalent in terms of my art or my first hand experience.  If my experience is clear and deep enough, the life I get into my picture of that house and the formal relations it dictates for its own expression will become universal.  – Lawren HarrisIMG_0743 IMG_0744 IMG_0745 IMG_0746 IMG_0747 IMG_0748 IMG_0749 Sculpture by Peter Paylor IMG_0754Valerie Kent’s work.IMG_0751 IMG_0752IMG_0750

A Splinter In the Heart

An adaptation of the coming-of-age story written by Al Purdy, A Splinter in the Heart was performed, yesterday afternoon,  by the Festival Players at Rosehall Run in the county.  The screenplay adaptation was written by David Carley.

What a beautiful Reader’s Theater to watch…under the blue sky…under the white tent…on the edge of a vineyard.  It was absolutely magical.

Directly from Carley’s site, I’ve included some lines from the play.  From these lines on, both Carolyn and I wept quietly in our seats…right until the very end.  And how appropriate that I should have mapped in an ancient tree on a large panel before Dad and I headed out to the venue early in the afternoon.  I just completed the painting late this afternoon.

‘Portugee would ask, “You ever stand in a pine grove, Patrick? It’s like you feel yourelf changing into a tree. There’s a brown forest floor under your feet from the needles, and there’s wind, higher up, a sound of the sky. Yep, for just an instant, you feel like a tree. And the trees themselves, they was made into ships, sailing ships for all the seas. And I always wonder, “Did them trees ever feel what it was like to be a ship?”

You ever feel like a tree, he’d ask? And every time he asked it, I knew it was the ONLY thing that was worth feeling.’

I didn’t know that Bob and Carolyn were attending and I was so excited to see them! Over the years,  I have worked with drama students on various reader’s theater performances, including my favourite, Love You Forever, by Robert Munch.  I always wrote my own scripts for these performances.  I’ve also seen some professional productions by One Yellow Rabbit and really enjoyed those, also.  But, I have to say, yesterday afternoon’s performance definitely tugged at my heart strings.

The sound devices and staging of the production were fantastic, along with the exquisite performances of the actors.  I will always remember this production.  Very powerful, in its execution and in its content.

IMG_0689 IMG_0691 IMG_0696 IMG_0698 IMG_0702 IMG_0705 IMG_0706 IMG_0707 IMG_0708 IMG_0709

 

On the evening of Gord Downie’s final performance with the Tragically Hip, just up the 401 in Kingston…this.

The Belleville Club: An Open Mic Session

My ‘Connectors’ (read Malcolm Gladwell’s work) here in Belleville are Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor.  The other night they brought me into a circle of live music and friendship at ‘the ol’ boy’s club’ in Belleville.  How cool is that?  I met some very friendly and lovely creatives during this live mic session, a night demonstrating the variety of music and energy that weaves through this beautiful city, edging on the Bay of Quinte.  The photographs pretty much say it all…just want to make sure that I document things as they unfold during my stay.

I’m trying to balance socializing a bit…engaging the landscape…and painting, while visiting Dad.  It’s a different sort of trip this time around because I brought a good part of my studio with me.  I’ll eventually get around to writing about that experience as well, but shortly, I’ve got to head back to the easel, so here is a representation of the images I collected during the music and the fun.  Thanks to Larraine Milligan, an awesome figurative artist, for showing me the upstairs rooms in the club.

IMG_0584 IMG_0585 IMG_0586 IMG_0587 IMG_0588 IMG_0589 IMG_0592 IMG_0596 IMG_0599 IMG_0601 IMG_0602 IMG_0605 IMG_0608 IMG_0611 IMG_0614 IMG_0618 IMG_0619 IMG_0620 IMG_0622 IMG_0623 IMG_0624 IMG_0625 IMG_0626 IMG_0627 IMG_0628 IMG_0629 IMG_0632 IMG_0636 IMG_0641 IMG_0644 IMG_0647 IMG_0650 IMG_0654 IMG_0656 IMG_0658 Lisa, finished rehearsal with her theater production for the night, brings a little Steampunk into the mix…love this lady!IMG_0662 IMG_0668 IMG_0669 IMG_0674 IMG_0675 IMG_0678 IMG_0679 Talking Micro Breweries with Bill.  Looking for something special to bring home to Patrick. IMG_0681 IMG_0683 IMG_0686 I didn’t get a photo of Peter…more to come!

Perching on the Edge of the Bay of Quinte

Thank you, Maureen, for lunch.  Sharing time with dear friends is such a gift.  You have a pretty spectacular view from your balcony and I love how you were able to bring so much of your gardens to your new residence with you!  Thank you for lunch and conversation.  A real blessing!

IMG_0329IMG_0332IMG_0334IMG_0335IMG_0348

Elements of a cozy home…things that grow.

Good friends…dear friends.

IMG_0344

Dad…IMG_0346

Hwy. 62IMG_0353

Sumac and Cedar

I was so excited to see the new gallery that gifts Bridge Street and Belleville.  Friends, Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris, took me under their artistic wings on my last visit in 2013.  Since then, they have opened a spectacular and vital space on Bridge called Artists & Artisans Studio and Gallery!  Whoot!  Love the sensibility and the openness to emerging and practicing artists of every variety.  These two are Makers and Shakers!  I’m so glad to be able to reconnect.

Peter Paylor’s art, both wood carvings and prints, was featured in the recent opening, Sumac and Cedar.  The artist harvests fallen and cast off wood and creates uplifting pieces of sculpture that are exquisite. Lisa’s jewelry and paintings are also exhibited throughout the well-loved space.  At the opening, hospitality was extended to this Calgary chick, by every one I met.

IMG_0264 IMG_0265 IMG_0268 IMG_0270 IMG_0273 IMG_0274 IMG_0275 IMG_0276 IMG_20160804_173325 IMG_20160804_173600

 

Day 5 Iron Bridge to Belleville, Ontario

I purchased enough coffee to fill my travel mug, just to the left, traveling east, after the bridge in Iron Bridge.  The lovely woman working the pumps and making the coffee at 7:00 in the morning, was a beautiful, generous and kind person.  I got fixed up with a charger for my phone for a mere 4.99.  She was excited to chat and to help me set up my google trip on my phone, something I hadn’t done before.  FINALLY, my son-in-law will appreciate, I understand what it is to use my data when I’m without Wifi…not because of anything she said, but because I’ve been on a sudden and glorious learning curve with technology, because I’ve had to be.  This makes me smile.  I headed toward Sudbury…my birth place, pretty darned excited about the day’s drive.

Iron Bridge to Lindsay

I decided to travel via Orillia and then on to Lindsay, a place where I have family roots.  I wanted to spend some time in the town of Lindsay.  Typically, I hang around the Riverside Cemetery, loving up my ancestors.  On this trip, I wanted to see places that were important to my Gramma and Grampa Moors.

First-things-first, I pulled over to the first chip place I saw and ordered a huge helping of truly heavenly poutine!  I sat and chatted with a number of folks and certainly noticed that this was a very busy day out on the roads.  Cottage dwellers were heading home after their long weekend.  The trip south, in the direction of Toronto, was going to be crazy-ville!

IMG_20160731_125915

In Lindsay, I headed down Main Street, with the intention of finding the restaurant where my grand parents enjoyed their first date.  My grandfather shared this event, in detail, in his memoirs.  The date happened after a hockey game.  I’ve communicated with Nick, who is the current owner, but because it was a long weekend Sunday, of course, the restaurant wasn’t open.

My letter…

Hi there.
I believe my grandparent’s first date was shared in what appears to be your restaurant on Kent.  This would have been in the 1920s.  In my grandfather’s journal, he refers to the place as ‘The Greeks’ on Kent in Lindsay.  Apparently they had ice cream and there was a player piano set up where everyone stood around ‘yowling’ and singing and having a great time.  I would love it if you might scan/send me your oldest photograph possible of your location…and also, tell me if you have any link at all to the original family???  My families coming out of the area include Elliotts/Burrows and Moors/ Haddows from Hamilton. Would love to read your history somewhere.
 

Hi Kathleen, how lovely to hear from you! the original owners were the Bakogeorge family and then in the 1940’s the Tozios family took over the Olympia right up until 1980 when our family bought it. I love your story and would love to hear more. I am on holidays until the end of the month and when I return will be able to send you more pictures on file from that era.

Here it is…the Olympia, both front and back…also, a plaster detail that remains in the entrance area.

IMG_20160731_145928 IMG_20160731_145756 IMG_0202 IMG_0201

From there, Max and I wandered and enjoyed a lovely walk around town.  I think that the downtown area of Lindsay is likely the most invigorated ‘downtown’ area that I’ve seen in a long time.  A real attraction are the facades and the architectural elements, very ornamental and unique detailing!

IMG_0205 IMG_0204 IMG_0203 IMG_0198 IMG_20160731_150442 IMG_0210 IMG_0209 IMG_0211A stop at a fast food place for coffee, and Max and I were off…our final leg of the journey and a bit of a variation on past trips because I headed for the Newcastle exit to the 401 and it worked without a hitch.  The 401 was wall to wall traffic, so this did create some anxiety.  It rained until I reached my Belleville exit, not surprising, given Dad’s description of this year’s drought.

L to Bell

Oh my gosh!  It was soooo wonderful to get a hug from my Dad…a meal…some wine.  It is a fantastic thing to do such a long road trip and to find yourself with someone you love at the very end of it.  Grateful!

 

Returning to Belleville

I’m getting ready to return to Belleville and as I do, I am not only thrilled about seeing my father and spending ‘real’ time with him again, but I look forward to visiting Belleville.  Belleville has ended up being a remarkable place, offering experiences that I would not enjoy in any other place across Canada.  I like the arts community.  I am in love with the history and the architecture.  I’ve yet to find any places with live music.  That’s a goal this year.  I’ve made friends in Belleville…not many my age…but people who are rich with stories of love and loss and youthful remembering.

Belleville evening July 21 018

Cool Breeze on a Very Humid Evening!

Writers come out of Belleville or nearby…for example, on the edge of Roblin Lake.

Dad and I attended an event at Al Purdy’s A Frame last visit…I will return for a visit to the museum and the A Frame again this summer, that’s for sure.

 

 

I will return to Susanna Moodie’s home and look for the same warmth and mystery that I remember experiencing at my last visit.  I will visit the memorial to her life that has been erected, in part, because of my explorations and non-relenting communications with the city.  Most currently published, is a graphic novel Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush by Carol Shields and Patrick Crowe, illustrated by Selena Goulding.

moodie

My mother will not be there.  But roses will be blooming or will have bloomed in Belleville.

Belleville Morning July 20 013

I will share Power and Politics with my Dad and we will sip red wine that has been ‘cooking’ at Dave’s.

I am looking forward to getting out on the high way.  I’ll be listening to myself.

Summer 2009 1687

 

 

 

 

The Story of Susanna Moodie: Continued

As my friends will know, I have a huge interest in Canadian history and in that of the world, especially where it relates to my family history. It isn’t possible to know everything well in my lifetime but, what I can do, is become a connoisseur of my own life.  As a result, I am intrigued by stories of immigration coming out of the early colonization of both the Atlantic provinces and Ontario, specifically the Guelph, Elora, Fergus, Lindsay and Hamilton areas.

http://www.cbc.ca/player/Digital+Archives/Arts+and+Entertainment/Literature/ID/1865723787/

Sometimes, mingling with the writers, artists and performers who I call my friends, I hear less than positive remarks made about the genre of writing that came out of the early 1800s and that were championed by people like Susanna Moodie and her sister, Catherine Parr Trail. Some refer to their works of observation/reporting/narrating, where it relates to living ‘in the bush’ and making observations of wilderness surroundings, as sleepers.  Quite to the contrary, I find these pieces of writing, while absolutely short of drama and excitement, filled up with detail that creates a picture for me, of my own ancestors, what they must have seen and what they must have felt.

I also have always liked that, out of a world made, led and meant for the male gender, it is a wonderful thing to see women who have captured the interest of society at the time, as both writers and artists.

But…I digress…I really have the intention of sharing a wonderful story that sees its happy conclusion on the 8th of October..

I spent a summer visiting Mom and Dad in Belleville, Ontario and took a genuine interest in exploring the city for its literature, history and art.  I purchased several books ( Belleville: A Popular History by Gerry Boyce and Sisters in Two Worlds: A Visual Biography of Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill by Michael Peterman).  Here are a couple of the bits that I wrote during that summer and during the summer of 2013.

THE MORNING HOUR by Susanna Moodie

Like a maid on her bridal morn I rise,
With the smile on her lip and the tear in her eyes;
Whilst the breeze my crimson banner unfurls,
I wreathe my locks with the purest pearls;
Brighter diamonds never were seen
Encircling the neck of an Indian queen!
I traverse the east on my glittering wing,
And my smiles awake every living thing;
And the twilight hour like a pilgrim gray,
Follows the night on her weeping way.
I raise the veil from the saffron bed,
Where the young sun pillows his golden head;
He lifts from the ocean his burning eye,
And his glory lights up the earth and sky.

Ah, I am like that dewy prime,
Ere youth hath shaken hands with time;
Ere the fresh tide of life has wasted low,
And discovered the hidden rocks of woe:
When like the rosy beams of morn,
Joy and gladness and love were born,
Hope divine, of heavenly birth,
And pleasure that lightens the cares of earth!

And this…

A Champion for Susanna Moodie written on June 30, 2011

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 027

Daughter, Cayley and I made certain that we visited 114 Bridge Street West on July 25, 2011, right before heading south on the Via Train. This was the former cottage of Susanna Moodie and is marked as a noted historical property in the city. It was a beautiful…calming…peaceful experience. History…family…and the tree’s witness came to mind.

moodie

July 25, 2011 044

Through all of this…and taking up the suggestion of Gary Foster of Campbell Monuments that what the monument required was a champion…I began to write letters. This is how the communications went, with the exclusion of my gushing gratitude and appreciation that, of course, wove in and out of the entire journey. I began by writing the mayor.

Mayor Ellis,

My name is Kathleen Moors and I am visiting Belleville for the summer. I have been an art and english educator for the past 34 years. As a visitor from Calgary, Alberta, I can not help but notice that a beautiful portion of marble, the base sections for the Susanna Moodie monument previously replaced, is being stored at the back of Campbell Monuments and NOT on display somewhere in the Quinte area, for all visitors to enjoy. I would like to, for my time in the area, to be a champion for this base and encourage someone to begin planning a place of importance for this piece. Please forward this request to a department related to the historical and parks development, as I was unable to find an e mail address connected to my inquiry. I would appreciate hearing back from you and have included some blog submissions that I have written over the past three years, beginning with the most current. Regards. Kathleen

Very soon after this, I received a note from the mayor.

Thank you for your email, Kathleen. I am taking the liberty of forwarding your correspondence to Richard Hughes, President of the Hastings County Historical Society, in the hope that he can respond to your concerns. Neil R. Ellis, Mayor
And then…

Kathleen: I apologize for being slow to respond to you, but it is July and we have been away a fair bit. I have seen the monument and had a good talk with Gary Foster of Campbell’s Monuments. A very pleasant person!

I agree fully that this monument deserves a home in a public place. It is a big piece of our local history.

I am going to start talking around town with people who can help with this.

Bear with me a bit and I will keep you informed of the progress.

Richard Hughes
President
Hastings County Historical Society

And then…

Kathleen: Over this past week I have been discussing with the directors of the Historical Society which would be the best location for the monument, both for security, beauty of location and for people to actually see it. When we come to a conclusion, we will approach the relevant authority, the owner of the location or park, and see what we can work out.
You have started something….and now a lot of people are enthused. Well done!
Richard

and this…

Hello Kathleen: It must seem like a long time, but your initial proposal that the Moodie Monument find a suitable home in a Belleville park is alive and well. I have met with officials of Campbells and the City and we are now all working to come up with a method that will work. As the weather is now less favourable, we will work on the project together, over the winter with a view to installing the monument in a city park location in the Spring. I will keep you informed of the progress and, of course, the outcome.

Thanks for bringing this situation forward.

Richard Hughes
President
Hastings County Historical Society

AND FINALLY…TODAY…THIS!!

I’m so very excited!

Kathleen: On July 2, 2013 you sent an email to the mayor of Belleville, below, and he forwarded it to me “in the hope that he can respond” as the mayor put it. Well, it has been a long year but we have been – thanks to you – fabulously successful. The Moodie monument has now been completely refurbished and installed just yesterday in a beautiful site along the Belleville waterfront and it will be formally unveiled on Wednesday Oct 8th at 11am by the mayor. It is simply beautiful as you will see by the picture I am sending. This was taken during the installation.

You have done a wonderful service to our city and I congratulate and thank you.

Richard Hughes
President
Hastings County Historical Society

I am so happy for the front yard conversation I shared with historian, Gerry Boyce, while he leaned his rake against his hedge. I’ll always appreciate that Gary Foster came for a walk with me through his back lot when he really didn’t need to accommodate my unusual request on that particular day. It is such a generous gesture that Mayor Ellis should respond to my e mail personally and then pass my concern on to the Hastings County Historical Society. And finally, it has been a most treasured experience to have the project communicated to me from so far away and then to finally receive this news today from Richard Hughes. I am hoping that all of my Belleville friends will make their attendance. I know that Dad will be there.

Moodie Monument Oct 3, 2014.XViD-NiNJA-041-1

 

Finding Art in Belleville

I had several magical encounters with art and artists while in Belleville, Ontario and I’m grateful, especially, for meeting artists Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris. Totally immersed in their artistic community, both are creating wonderful ‘happenings’ at The Core Arts and Culture Centre and beyond.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and it is evident that the arts are alive and well in Quinte!

The Core Arts and Culture Centre

The Core Arts and Culture Centre

I met Peter Paylor and Lisa Morris, along with Kathy Jo Paylor manning tables at the Belleville Market down on Front Street. At the time, Lisa was displaying her art jewelry, reclaiming materials, and Peter was selling hand carved sumac walking and talking sticks.

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

Photo Credit: Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor Belleville Market

The market, in itself, was a magical place because of all of the fresh produce, the homemade soaps…the local honey products and much more.  But for me, a real gift was meeting up with artists and seeing the sorts of projects and initiatives that they were working hard to build in the Bay of Quinte region.  The meeting also made me aware of an art opening one evening at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

As well as exhibiting Stitch Happens, by the Kingston Fiber Artists, there was a collection of local art based on local photographers’ works titled Bay of Quinte Interpreted 2.  19 local artists interpreted 12 winning photographs from the Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan Photo Contest with a Twist 2.  Please follow this link to see a collection of these interpretations.

P1140110 P1140111 P1110790 P1110791 P1110795 P1110796 P1110798 P1110799 P1110803 P1110806 P1110807 P1110809 P1110812Before leaving Belleville, I made certain that I said my good-byes at the market and purchased a piece by Peter titled Under Sail and several pieces of jewelry for my girls from Lisa.  Thanks to the two of you for being so welcoming and passing on so much information!

P1140095 P1140094