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!

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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.

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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!

 

Red Geraniums

I told people that I had never read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  It was a strange confession, given that I was an English language arts teacher for thirty years and avid reader.  I felt embarrassed because this novel is typically on a high school reading list.  Given that I went to high school in Montana, I assumed I had missed it because I was studying All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren.  As a response to this seeming omission to my reading, I added To Kill a Mockingbird to my list of must-reads.

I wasn’t eleven pages in when I realized that I had met these characters before.  Scout and Jem and Atticus…I had read the book!  I decided to carry on, as I’m sure my readers will attest, it is a classic in the truest sense and an excellent ‘read’.  It is simply a joy to reread out favourites along the way.

I had been thinking about red geraniums recently and they DO appear in this novel. “The Ewell family house is falling down around their ears, and yet Mayella cultivates these beautiful, brilliant bright red geraniums in old, chipped slop crocks.” There, amid the brokenness, red geraniums grow.  It is always a wonder when beauty/goodness exists in the rugged, broken and dark aspects of humanity.

A character sketch delves into possible symbolism…red geraniums.  Click on the link for source.

Mayella Ewell

Among the trash and cast-offs in the Ewell yard, there’s one spot of beauty.

“Against the fence, in a line, were six chipped-enamel slop jars holding brilliant red geraniums, cared for as tenderly as if they belonged to Miss Maudie Atkinson, had Miss Maudie deigned to permit a geranium on her premises. People said they were Mayella Ewell’s.” (17.64)

The geraniums suggest that Mayella desires to be better than her surroundings, to make something bright in her dull world, to aspire to higher things. But whatever Mayella’s hopes and dreams are, she doesn’t get a chance to express them to the reader; she appears only at Tom’s trial. And there, she has to perform a role: the poor innocent white woman attacked by the evil black man, who must be protected by chivalrous white men.

Each year, in early May, my Auntie Eleanor gets her cuttings growing…red and white geraniums, to be blooming just in time for the July first family reunion.  They grow out in her porch where the sunshine pours over them, long rows of green leaved wonders.  When you enter the porch from outside,  the moist green smell of geraniums hits you very suddenly and smacks of feelings of family, home and memory.

Summer brings the edging of the camp kitchen where we congregate, share conversation, laugh, hug and share talents.  Red geraniums…love.

Interesting, that as I visited the resting places of my ancestors last summer…Lindsay, Ontario…Hamilton, Ontario…our family’s plots were marked, where tended, by bouquets of red geraniums.

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Canada Day in Raymond, Alberta

Canada Day in Raymond, Alberta

Charles E. Burrows and Clara

Charles E. Burrows and Clara, Lindsay, Ontario

Charles E and Clara

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Hamilton, John S. Elliott, brother to Florence Elliott and wife.