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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
Here, she recreates the dreamlike expression captured in the earlier photograph. Makes me smile!
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.
Ina and Roy.
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’.
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!
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.
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.
…and who wouldn’t love this?
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.
Here’s Ina…always impeccably dressed. Former school teacher, she and I shared so many stories. I love Ina.
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.
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.
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.
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. Heck if I could figure this out either, but weekly, Wii Bowling achieved a huge enthusiastic group! I always stopped and said, “Hi”.
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.
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.
More of Aunty Mary as we headed out for lunch on The Lake On the Mountain. GOOD BEER!
Artist, Janet Beare, living a magical life in her downstairs space…a world many may not know a lot about. MAGIC!
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?”
Coffee and birthday cake gathering!
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)
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.
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.
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.