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.

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A Turtle Pond

Just down the hill from my father’s home, edging on the Waterfront Trail, a section of the Trans Canada Trail, is a wee piece of magic, a turtle pond.  I spent some time exploring the edge of the pond as I was snapping photographs of ancient trees, in preparation for the last large painting that I’m working on, here in Belleville.

The light and the textures during this afternoon stroll, were remarkable!  The turtle antics were simply fun to watch!

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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.

Canada Day Geraniums IMG_8895

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.

 

Still Going Back to Move Forward: The Chit Chat Cafe of Napanee

I am still trying to complete my blog posts around my months shared with Dad in Belleville, Ontario.  Sometimes the present really must squash out the past…but at other times, the past needs to be integrated into what we have in this moment.  I treasured my time with my father above any other time we have shared and I never wish to forget the fragile and strong of that couple of months.  Through my father, I met so many lovely people, people like Andy and Sherry of the Chit Chat Cafe & Corner Market.  This afternoon, I updated a Blog that Sherry and I set up for her business and linked it to a Facebook site, so I think their social media is about as current as it can be.

For years, Mom and Dad drove out to Napanee, Ontario; sometimes after church for a piece of dessert or sometimes on a weekend for a Dinner Buffet and Live Music concert.  Most important to me and my family was the kindness that these two folk showed my parents, especially through these last couple of very difficult years.  Always having time for kindness and cheerfulness, these two have a way of making others feel special and then feeding them the very best of food.

During this journey of grief, some Sundays Dad and I left the parking lot after church and turned north east to Napanee…and somehow the coffee, the good people and the eggs benedict managed to do some comforting.

The best eggs benny I've ever eaten.

The best eggs benny I’ve ever eaten.

The second dinner concert I attended, with Dad, was a performance by Jay Aymar.  A fantastic story teller and an authentic song writer, Jay left us with lots to think about.  Music is a big part of our family, so music coupled with good food is an especially  magical combination.  Jay Aymar’s blog, Road Stories, is very entertaining for the real-life experiences he shares.

Sherry's Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Sherry’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Trifle

Lemon Poppy Cake

Lemon Poppy Cake

A First Serving

A First Serving

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Where are you, Ruth Rollingson?

My Auntie Ruth is a force not to be reckoned with!  She is a very strong woman who has a sharp memory and a very particular type of wit.  Ruth holds strong opinions about most things (it runs in the family) and articulates them with emotion and power.  A woman who puts family first, she loved spending extended periods of time in both Peace River and New Zealand.  With fondness, she talks about branches of her/our family who are separated by a huge physical distance as though they could not possibly be held any closer in her heart.

This week she shared some of her narratives and I treasured every moment of the time we spent together.  As I delved deeper into the paternal side of my family history, I wanted to hear, first hand, the recollections of two of the matriarchs of the family, my Auntie Ruth and Auntie Eleanor.  It is with great fondness that I recall visits out west while my own military-family seemed to be, every couple of years, on an east-west migration.  Auntie Ruth and her family were a big part of what it meant to be ‘a Moors’.

Many hours were spent in friendship and family…teasing one another…complaining…and typically, exploding into laughter.  I am so happy for the previous interviews that my second cousin, Danielle, has worked on and the beautiful family album that contributed so much to our chats early in the week.  Several of these photographs are borrowed from this treasured resource.

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St. Mary's

St. Mary’s Dam…Ruth swimming with friends…

Family Reunion St. Mary's Dam...cousin, Linda in foreground...Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us.

Family Reunion St. Mary’s Dam…cousin, Linda in foreground…Gramma Florence Elliott Moors with her back to us, likely late 1960s.  My own mother’s face, just slightly above Linda’s arm…

I am so grateful for our conversations, dear Ruth…and look forward to connecting some of these narratives with the research I have already documented.  I love you.

A portrait that I painted for Auntie on her 90th birthday appears at the bottom of this post.

Gravity!

My son and I dawned our 3D glasses and watched this flick together.  Of course, above all, the special effects were ‘out of this world’.  I found myself gripping my arm rests for the majority of the movie.  While there were so many moments where the mind wanted to go to that place, “Yeah, right….”, the movie demanded a certain belief from the audience.  Outer Space…a world of experience that is out of reach for the ordinary person.  This movie was inclusive and gave us some sort of insight into this dark and magical world.

As a result, I dug through some of my old newspaper journals and found, from the North Bay Nugget…1969 and ’70…a small collection of things I had clipped out of the newspaper while I was a little girl.  How courageous of these daring astronauts…to let go and travel into space!

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Where are you, Valerie Jean?

Thoughts of David Carlin…and a bit of writing…caught me missing my sister.  Everyone should be so blessed as I have been in my life…to have one sister…or to have a friend who has somehow become as close as a sister.  I remember going to sleep the night she was born.  I know a person shouldn’t make deals with God…but after all, I already had three brothers!  Maybe it isn’t right to ask God for signs or wonders.  But even as a wee thing, I had a deep and abiding faith.  I already knew the mystery of God.

It was a humid April night in North Bay.  I stared at the sheer drapery that hung motionless over my open window.  I said, “Dear God, If you are going to give me a sister…please move the curtain.”  I fell asleep staring at the drapery…motionless…but, with tremendous belief that it would move.

In the morning hours, my father came to my bedside.  I remember him shaking my arm…”Kathy…Kath…Mommy got you a sister!”

Sigh…magic!

In North Bay, after David Carlin’s art exhibit in Callander, Val and I enjoyed silence in our air-conditioned Super 8 room and then went down to Trout Lake for a picnic dinner.  This photo sort of says it all for our family.  We had good times at the lake…squealing and laughing…swimming and leaping off the docks.  It was a wonderful thing to share a picnic and to think of our childhood years…and our mother.

P1110671Back in the day…same location…my family…

Kath's Scans 006 Kath's Scans 008

Where are you David Carlin?

I painted on a Masonite board while in Mr. Carlin’s class…I still have the original sketches for the painting, “Adam”, that I worked on independently through his grade nine class in 1969.  They were tucked away in my portfolio.  The oil painting has long since disappeared; likely on one of our military moves it didn’t make it onto a truck.  A muscular Adam had his leg wound up tight by a serpent…a very symbolic piece for such a young girl.  It makes me smile today, to remember.

P1120999 P1130001 P1130002It wasn’t long ago that I re-connected with ‘Mr.’ Carlin (amazing how we find difficulty attaching first names to our forever-teachers) through social media and was very excited to acquire one of his amazing pieces, ‘Jester Trickster’, through a 2011 exhibit/fund raiser where he sold his collection in order to generously support his daughter, Sarah, in a new treatment protocol offered in Albany, New York.

Jester Trickster 30 x 22 mixed media

Jester Trickster 30 x 22 mixed media

Mr. Carlin was such an inspiring mentor!  I will never forget him and his ways.  Particularly, I will always remember his sense of humour!  He was so encouraging.  As I journey back in blog-time to the visit with Dad in Ontario (wanted to blog away the poignant moments that held so many lessons while home…but Dad’s computer was too darned slow at the time!), I find myself remembering the decision to miss my 40th high school reunion in Great Falls, Montana and focus, instead, on what it was my Dad and I had to learn together through our grief.  That didn’t mean there weren’t going to be a couple of side trips though.  The trip to Hamilton had been such a blessing later in June.

I knew that my sister was a health nurse at Camp Tawingo again this past summer.  One of the joyful memories of my life was the magic of bumping into Val some years ago at a hotel parking lot in North Bay.  I was on my fourth night of driving east, pulling in from Thunder Bay and she was having her 48 hour break from camp.  It was a fortunate and very serendipitous moment.

a-huge-surprise Why not repeat it?  We decided to combine the opportunity to enjoy an exhibit, Intransit, of David Carlin’s new works with a reunion at the same Super 8 Hotel.  It was a dream to step into the Alex Dufresne Gallery in Callander and have the art work sing out the way it did.  It was spectacular, as was the feeling of excitement that was going on inside me.

As I signed the guest book, Mr. Carlin stepped up behind me, recognizing me immediately.  What a spark of magic that was!  I will never forget it…A drum ceremony opened the event and I felt washed over by good will and creativity.  It was an event I will not soon forget.  It was very quick…very spontaneous…but I needed Mr. Carlin to know that I have never forgotten him.  I also needed to see his work up close.  If ever my readers have the chance to see his art, please do!  Thank you, dear Mr. Carlin, for having been my teacher.

P1110660 P1110662 P1110663 P1110664 P1110665 P1110666PLEASE read this interview for a true sense of who David Carlin is!

Photo Credit: Carol Pretty Drum Circle Opening

Photo Credit: Carol Pretty 

Photo Credit: Carol Pretty Drum Circle Opening

Photo Credit: Carol Pretty Drum Circle Opening

British Home Children in Canada

Recently, it’s come to light that my great grandfather, John Moors, was among the thousands of British Home Children who were sent, by ship, to Canada to spend their childhood years working for others.  In our family’s case, John was the only son of five children and in August of 1889, he crossed the Atlantic on the Parisian, along with 71 other children and in his case, he was sent out from Stratford to work on a heavily wooded farm in the Arthur, Ontario area, near Guelph.  He was separated from his family for almost nine years.

This is further substantiated by my Grandfather’s narrative,

“My father was born in England. He was a tall, big man with pale blue eyes and shiny red hair. It wasn’t very often necessary for Father to physically discipline us. It seemed to me he just needed to look at you and his eyes looked right through you.

He was sent out from England when he was a boy of about nine years of age (the age of 13 is substantiated by records), the only boy in a family of five children. He went into the bush country of Ontario as a stable boy. He lived in Arthur, not far out of Guelph, Ontario. Now, when he went out there, there was a hardwood forest in that part of the country. He worked there, the only member of his family in North America – until his father came out to Canada eight years later. Father became a foreman in a lumber mill which was hard, rough work in those days. He met Mary Eleanor Haddow in Hamilton, Ontario and they married.”

John Moors 13Yesterday, I attended the Mountain View Art’s Festival in Didsbury and there, met several descendents of British Home Children and had opportunity to meet John Vallance, himself, a Home Child of Scottish decent.  He and I both ordered liver and onions in the small town cafe and it was awesome to sit and hear him share his story and his memories.

I have much to learn and read about and will now pursue more information about the status and placement of my great grandfather.  It was not unusual for detailed descriptions of the children to be recorded, in regards to their appearance and behaviours as they were carefully inspected before their placements, many coming out of orphanages, long before separated from their mothers, fathers and siblings.  Each child came to Canada with their standard wooden box filled with a specific list of belongings.  Often the children were photographed as a matter of record as well.  I am looking forward to learning more about this and encourage you to visit a number of sites related to this subject.  I warn you that most of these stories are heart wrenching.

It was a blessing that John was later joined by his family who immigrated to Canada, his father, John Moors, along with his wife, Grace and their daughters Second Class on the Dominion from Liverpool to Montreal in 1900.  I count our family among the fortunate ones, given this particular time in history.

John and Grace Moors 1865 to 1935 Canadian Passenger ListSt. Andrew Lambeth Poverty 1898

P1110705Thank you to Bruce Skilling, Alberta Director of the British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association for his warm welcome and information.  It was good to meet Hazel who created the beautiful quilt in commemoration of the 2010 year of the British Home Child and nice to share a meal with Connie! I am also very grateful to Lori Oschefski who has been working tirelessly, creating a data base and opening up the conversation about the stories of thousands of broken families and lost souls.

Hazel's Work

Hazel’s Work

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2010: Year of the British Home Child

2010: Year of the British Home Child

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John Vallance: An honour to meet you.

John Vallance: An honour to meet you.

John Vallance represented on 2010 Commemorative Quilt

John Vallance represented on 2010 Commemorative Quilt

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