I have utterly enjoyed the correspondences shared while finding a home for the 1937 Roslyn Elementary grade six class!  To bring my readers up to speed, I’ve corresponded with friends and family members of Bruce Chisholm, Donald Grahame, David Casgrain, Bill Nicholson, John Bishop, Edward Walls and Robert Cockfield.  Ultimately, the photograph was sent to Mr. John (Jack) Walls who seems to be one of the only living gentlemen from the photograph.  He is third from the right in the middle row.  I’d like to send my gratitude to Valerie who made this connection for me…and for Francie who has more connections with me than even I can believe and to Jack.

Thanks to Cynthia’s information, the photograph will be donated to the Westmount Historical Association for safe keeping and for all to enjoy.  This has been a lovely experience.

Roslyn Gang Photo

I packed the photograph up, after framing it. Included, were the stories and provenance associated with the number of contacts that were made.  I then sent it off to Jack.

Kath's Canon Carli's Classroom Grade Three Frank's 061

I am now celebrating a new friendship with Francie, Jack’s daughter, who is making certain that this piece of history is no longer shuffled about and lost in a second hand store, but finds its way to Westmount Historical Association.  Thank you, Valerie.

Francie and Jack Wall

My Mandy-Girl

Call it ‘by any other name’, but I have to say that the time spent with my niece, Mandy, was pure heaven.  Up until recently, this is all I ever really knew of my girl…here, in the arms of my younger brother.  A sweet little red head…quiet…introspective…artistic…vulnerable.

Cliff and MandyAs she grew, she sent her Gramma and Grampa a drawing that Grampa still has hanging in his hallway.  Mom and Dad were/are so proud of her.

I received a special card in the mail, an image that I framed and have displayed in my sanctuary…another treasure.  I noticed at that time that my niece was becoming a little artist.

??????????In 2008, on my daughter’s wedding day, along with the rest of the family, Mandy left her words on my studio wall.  It was such a blessing to be together on that day.  I will never forget it.

??????????“Life is special, and yours will always be unique, as will everyone’s.  Don’t waste a moment of it, but always take a second within those times to step back and absorb what is happening.  Reflect on it, turn it into something you’ll remember always and will still be just as alive when you think of it. – Mandi”

And then…a collision with her energy and our own time shared recently at my place!  What a gift!

DSC_0488 Mandy Arrives Mandy Market Collective 2 Mandy Picking Garbage With Me Mandy in Snow Storm September 2014 Mandy With Cousins Mandy Market CollectiveWe shared special talks and shared peaceful silence…we were creative together…purchased B.C. fruit together…shared meals and wandered the city together.  I will always appreciate that this time was for us alone.  I’m so very happy for that.  I drove Mandy to the airport and then cried, (as I always do when I drop special people to the airport), driving south on the Deerfoot.  When I arrived home, I found Mandy’s words…pages of them…stacked on my red table, along with a parting gift.  This little penguin purchased at the Market Collective, will remain an object of affection for always.  Thank you, Mandy, for taking a break to come and be with your Auntie.  I can hardly wait until my niece, Eliane, does the very same thing.  And, mayhaps, when her hectic life slows down, I might even have a couple of weeks to go exploring with and get to know my niece, Ainslie in this same way.  Love you, my precious girls!  Love you, Mandy.


Three Readers & the Art of Blogging

I haven’t written much for a while.

Some people need to stop worrying about me when I DO write a lot because I derive a lot of joy from putting my ideas out there.  Let it be known that I have this thing that I do, under control.  I don’t spend a lot of time baking great cakes.  I also stepped into a mall for the first time in five years (no lie) over the holidays because I was to meet my son-in-law in the Shopper’s at South Center.  I don’t shop.

So, instead of listing the other 200 things that other people do while I am writing, I’ll just say that I am pretty dang happy at this time of my life.  There were two dark moments in 2013…the moment my beautiful mother had to let go of her life in May and that instant when my friend of over 25 years, Elma Flaherty, died.  I continue to deal with these losses on a daily basis, but, truly…my life is one of blessing.

I wanted to enter into the dance of the New Year with an acknowledgement of three of my readers.  I’m not very well connected to the ‘blogging community’ because that WOULD end up eating up a lot of time…but, these same readers are three amazing writers and I need to say just how wonderful it has been, sharing their writing journey, so I’m going to do that now.

John Clinock lives on the west coast, in Vancouver, hosts a blog titled Art Rat Cafe.  He is a talented writer and also has a fondness for art that incorporates text, as well as a love for good music.  I’ve been reading and admiring his work for a good long time and I think I originally connected with one of his posts when I went searching for blogs that focused on the artist’s journey.  Generally, his life on this techno-high wire is an optimistic one.  Some would wonder if optimists are presenting a facade in all forms of social media, but John writes about ideas, music, the seasons, human celebration and pain, with a particular beauty and authenticity.  I want to thank you for your writing, John, because it consistently inspires.  I’m posting one of your images here, likely mixed media, and will ask your permission AFTERWARDS!

Tarot: John Clinock

Tarot: John Clinock

Dear Shimon lives in Jerusalem., Israel.  He writes beautiful narratives that convey the simplicity and beauty of life, but from a far off land.  I gather from his beautiful photography and his writing that he treasures observing his world and taking the time for those things that really count.  Deeply connected to his cat, Charlie, his family and traditions, I have learned very much about his customs through his posts and through my inquiries.  I consider him a dear friend although we have only shared the common elements and differences in our stories along the way.  A huge reader and appreciator of music, I hope to take on his reading list along the path of my life.  I strongly encourage my readers to visit The Human Picture and to have your eyes opened to Jerusalem in a very new way.  Something very interesting this past year was that Shimon experienced such a huge snow storm that temporarily transformed his home land in a dramatic way.

And finally, on her blog titled, Year-Struck,  I have been enjoying reading everything by a woman I know only as Year Stricken.  Her humour and her intelligence are the two reasons I return again and again to her writing.  Well-crafted, her words bring me to tears through the power of a moment or cause me to laugh hysterically in the next.  I have appreciated her vignettes that cause me to think about teaching, mothering, loss, serendipity.  Through her writing, I enter into a new way of seeing this thing that is common to all of us…life.

I don’t know the art of blogging.  I know that I enjoy the immediacy of this world at my finger tips.  My children will surely not suffer for lack of ‘getting into my head’ ever!  There are a couple of other blogs that I really treasure for their personal connections with me and my life.  I love reimer writes!  I have learned so much from Nikki.  Through her honesty about loss and grief and how to write your way through it.  I’ve learned about matters of the heart. Through her blog, I connect with someone who shares in my outrage at the treatment of  countless animals.  We share in our desire to respect and honour life.  Thanks, Nikki.

Finally, one of my dear friends has been making an exceptional effort in her vision to bring the arts to the marginalized in our city and to constantly open up the narratives that we share through her Love Art in Calgary tours.  Wendy, you are so important to me.  I wish you the best for this coming year.