Postcards of the Great War

As a part of researching my family, there are just a few archival items that have been passed along in our family and some of those are a little worse for wear.  There are two postcards, written by my Great Grandfather John Moors addressed to his son, my Grandfather John Moors.  One is in my auntie’s possession and the other is in my father’s possession.  The first one is known as a silk, easily identifiable because of the stitched front side.

Background and production

Embroidered silk postcards do not all date from the First World War – they were used for sentimental greetings in France before 1914. First exhibited in 1900, they continued to be manufactured until the 1950s. Production peaked during the 1914-18 war, as the format proved especially popular with British soldiers.  The hand-embroidery is thought to have been carried out in domestic houses as ‘out-work’ by civilians in France and Belgium, and in the UK by Belgian refugees. The designs were repeatedly embroidered on rolls of silk.  These were then sent to cities (mainly Paris) for cutting up, final assembly and distribution, in what was probably at that stage a factory operation.

The silk that we have in our family is now behind glass.  I apologize for the glare as it did impact the photograph, but it is great to have a digital image and to be able to share its contents with my family.

John Moors Post Card from Auntie Eleanor's House

On the backside…lovely words…a father to his son.  John asks for mailing information for Walter and George.  I’m pleased that I have placed both of them in this photograph prior to heading overseas.  He writes very much as my grandfather spoke, with a bit of formality.  I reach across time and space to give him my love.  This is August 2016, mid ocean.  My Great Grandfather died, while a patient, during the bombing of Etaples Canada Hospital on May 19, 1918.

Post Card John Moors 11

Walter and George both appear in the 40th Field Battery photo taken at Camp Borden.  I don’t know if my Great Grandfather had any opportunity to reconnect with them.  They both survived the war, though there are several references that put their military units at such locations as Vimy and Passchendaele.

R Walter Haddow 4th fr lft 2nd row frm back

My Great Uncle Walter…

Walter haddow 40th field battery

My Great Uncle George…

George Haddoe 1915 40th Field Battery

The second postcard was more simple issue, sent as my Great Grandfather was returning to the war, after a leave in Paris.  It’s strange, but this object is a real treasure, in my mind.  When one thinks about letters or postcards, there is an intimate relationship between the hand, the eye, and the heart…these two items were held in the hands of my relation.  Quite amazing that they have managed to move through the passage of time!

A couple of things I wonder…

…if my Grandfather sent his father letters.

…if anyone has a photograph of my Great Grandfather in uniform.  As far as I know, the photograph that appears at the bottom of this post is the only one in existence.  This is also a digital image.

I am forever-grateful for these two postcards, the last one post marked March of 1918, two months prior to John’s death.

Front Side Post Card John Moors

John Moors Postcard


The Postman by David Brin

I saw the movie, The Postman, ages ago and I liked it. It was first released December of 1997. Since then, any time I mentioned it or tried to get a conversation going about it, friends rolled their eyes.  Evidently, I saw something in it that no one else did.  In fact, I remember making an old boyfriend sit and watch it with me.  I’ve tried to make my daughter watch it with me.  Regardless of my positive outlook on the work, I couldn’t find any one else who liked it.

It might be as simple as people don’t like Kevin Costner.  The movie is quite different from the book, which has it’s own problems.  The film deals with a faction of post-apocalyptic AMERICA (Why all caps?  It is very nationalistic in the stars and stripes sensibility.) struggling against another faction.  In comparison, the book deals more with the power a single individual can have to create change for the positive.

Over the Christmas holiday, I enjoyed a family dinner with friends and during our post-dinner conversation, Peggy, mentioned the book, The Postman.  She was the first person that I’ve ever bumped into who showed any appreciation for this piece.  I borrowed her second copy of The Postman by David Brin and took it home to read in three evenings.

All this aside, I wanted to write about why I enjoyed both the book and the film.  I like the idea that written letters become, especially in the movie, the thread that bonds the survivors together.  I liked the exploration of the fact that letters create hope for the citizens and that a postal network rises out of the chaos and violence of the time.

This concept raises up the concept of resilience and hope for humanity.  It talks about the power of word.



Our Three Eaglets

Given our daily morning visits to Duke Farm’s LIVE EAGLE CAM, the grade ones have been keeping a daily journal of the events at the nest. I’m starting to get nervous.  As soft white-grey down gradually is replaced by dark grey feathers, and soon black feathers, I get concerned that something might happen to one of the juveniles.  In fact, I suppose we’ve been fortunate so far that nothing bad has happened due to a predator’s attack or such as that.  The little guys are starting to beetle around their nest and I have no idea how the adults keep catastrophe from happening in the form of a nose dive to a sad ending.

The students and I have shared a bit about this sort of thing.  I think I said, “Boys and girls, what will happen if something bad happens at the nest?”  One boy responded, “Miss Moors, I’ve seen a couple of rabbits squashed by cars.  I’ll be OK.”

“So what do you think could happen that would be sad on our live cam?”

“Maybe a predator will attack.”

“Maybe a baby will fall out.”

“Maybe something will happen to the Mom or the Dad.”

Smart kids!

Regardless of their promised resilience…I am soon going to end our project and morning viewing.  So far, we’ve seen live fish dropped into the nest…two breakfasts of turtles (the turtle shells still lying vacant in the soft grass of the nest…and today my students noticed a frog’s leg sticking out of one of the eaglet’s beak.  The children have learned that eagles have lots of whitewash in their poop and it very regularly shoots out…the scientists keeping records for the Live Cam call it ‘shot’, not poop.  Good thing to learn!

I considered making a slide show of the following images taken from their journals, but really, they are so very sweet, you may want to pause and read.  Through the eyes and hearts of wee ones!

A recent log from the Duke’s Farm Live Eagle Cam…

Update 4/15/2014
For viewers, please note that as the chicks mature and become more independent in the nest the adult will not be inside the nest bowl as much as they where a week ago (most activity from the adults will either be feeding or sheltering chicks from rain). The adults still stay close to the nest in neighboring trees to keep an eye of the chicks and potential threats.

P1160159 P1160160 P1160161 P1160162 P1160163 P1160164 P1160165 P1160166 P1160167 P1160168 P1160169 P1160172 P1160173 P1160175 P1160176 P1160177 P1160178 P1160179 P1160180 P1160181 P1160182 P1160183 P1160184 P1160185 P1160186 P1160187 P1160188 P1160189 P1160190 P1160191 P1160193 P1160194 P1160195 P1160196 P1160197 P1160198 P1160199 P1160200 P1160201 P1160202 P1160203 P1160205 P1160206 P1160207 P1160208



Finding Kearston

I found her!  Kearston is now 23…that means I’ve been holding on to this letter for eleven years!  With plans to move back to Saskatchewan to study nursing, Kearston seems to be doing just fine.  It was a blessing to share in a conversation and to know that she is alright.

It was so good to give Kearston a hug and pass her grade seven letter back to her.  I had a practice of having my students write a letter to themselves for their religion class and three years after that, would post them in the mail.  I’m still holding on to two letters that were sent back because of incorrect addresses.  In time, I know that these will also find their way into the right hands.  May you have tremendous happiness ahead, dear Kearston!


Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

I loved how you reacted on skype yesterday when I talked to you about the birds at my feeder…shivering…but then again, polishing off a whole feeder full of seed in an afternoon!  I loved your smile and your compassion.  I loved the light in your eyes.  You spent many years watching the birds and identifying them.  They were such entertainment and delight for you.  I hope you will enjoy these three photographs that I took this morning in the garden, just for you!  I love you.  Kath



Matthew 6:26
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Where are you, Kearston Constable, Adam Hunt and Chad Gilmet?

When these students were in grade seven, I had them write a letter to themselves, words inspired by three guiding questions.  All of my grade seven students did!   They self-addressed the envelopes and every year, when the students reached grade nine, I would add the postage and send them off in the mail.

Only once did I have to hand-deliver the letter to a student’s parents because they had lost their precious son during his grade eight year.  Jarrett Alley, all of these years later, continues to be loved and missed.  I was only so grateful that Jarrett left his words behind for his parents, words of faith and hope.

Because they are so precious, I didn’t ever want to lose the letters, if it turned out that the students had moved from the community or some such event.  So, this brings me to Kearston, Adam and Chad.  I’ve held onto these letters for years now.  I would truly love to know where these three young adults are by now.  I’m posting this, in the hopes that they will surface or that someone will know where they are.

Kearston Constable, Chad Gilmet, Adam Hunt

Finding Adam…in 2015.

I received this message.  Adam, as I recall, was a sweet and happy, round-faced boy who delighted in sports and was very kind-mannered.  For a young boy, he had such an ability to share empathy.  I was able to send Adam’s letter to him after he connected with these words…

Hi Ms. Moors-used-to-be-Hanrahan, it has been a long time. If I’m correct, I believe it’s been roughly 19 years! Wow, that really is a long time when one has to write it down.

I would love to read that letter; life has definitely been far more exciting then I remember wanting it to be.

And what good timing as my wife and I just moved back to Calgary in April of this year. I haven’t lived here since I moved away in grade 7 and have barely lived in Canada.

 I still have that beautiful letter you wrote me when I moved and it’s traveled with me all over the world. The letter was a great source of confidence and help when things were a bit tough. Thank you for that and for being a part of the strong cast of individuals that believed in me. I hope to have made everyone proud and plan on doing so, moving forward. Adam Hunt

My Mother’s Hands Have Made…

Advent…and I think of my mother and father every day.  This morning, before setting out on my hill-walk with Max, I have uploaded just a few photos of things that my mother has done with her hands over the years.  I have some other items to share…her sewing and her crafts, but this is a beginning.  My mother’s hands have been busy…and the fruits of her labour have been beautiful, enriching all of our lives.  Little did she know as she made these things, that her children would be treasuring them always.  As I lit my first purple advent candle this Sunday, I thought of Mom, Dad and my sister and brothers.  I love you, dear family.

My Mother's Letters 1970s

 My mother wrote me beautiful descriptive letters.  In this letter, dated September of 1974, she described the changes in the Catholic church, St. Patricks, in Sherbrooke, Quebec.  She described my little sister as she was the flower girl for my auntie’s wedding.  Mom had a way of bringing me close to her heart, even though I was at such a distance.


 Mom described how she was preparing for yet another bazaar for her church…something that she did each and every year right about this time.  She ‘worked herself to the bone’, she would say…and she did.  Now days, surprisingly enough, I almost feel that her urgency was coming from a place deep within her.  I didn’t know that at the time.

Cross Stitch Reflections

 Mom’s stitches were so even, so careful.  She did several cross stitch pieces…it was a phase she went through.  So many years ago, when we were very young, she did very tiny petit points.  I marvelled at her patience.

Loom Weaving

 It broke my mother and father’s hearts when Mom had to let go of her weaving loom.  It represented better times…it represented Mom’s joy of weaving…of good health.  Mom’s weaving was very special to her.  I still marvel that she could figure out how to set the warp strands.


 Mom was ALWAYS knitting.  She knit each member of the family an irish knit sweater, toques, scarves and winter hats of every variety!  Some of her patterns for hats were so bizarre that I used to really wonder about them! I remember one that was like a latticed pumpkin pie and another, a vertically striped stocking hat…just where did she get these ideas?  I did not appreciate or treasure these objects enough and would give anything to still own one of them so that I could give them to my daughters.

By My Mother's Hands

 This is a profoundly complicated pattern…but something that my mother gifted to me.  I will treasure it always!

Sleeve Detail

 While most were going to the wicker store to purchase their baskets, my mother was weaving her own.  She learned several different techniques and then work shopped and taught others.  While Mom and Dad lived in Brampton, Ontario, I remember visiting and having Mom teach me how to prepare, soak and weave in this manner.

Authentic Weaving By My Mother's Hands

 This was Mom and Dad’s Easter gift to me…


 Corn husk dolls were something that my mother created, with a flourish.  These little ladies, as well as many other folk art pieces filled her home and provided generous gifts for family and friends.  While there are many other hand-crafted items that Mom created, these photos capture a wee taste of my mother’s abilities.  I love and cherish my mother’s hands!

Corn Husk Doll