Friday, April 29, 2016

The Lansdowne Letters: Disappointing News

Letters were flying back and forth among my family
members as 1960 turned into 1961.

My mother and father were each struggling with loneliness
and with isolation.
Dad may have been cut off from the Outside by seemingly 
endless miles of muskeg, frozen water, and scraggily forest,
but Mom was isolated by a lack of transportation 
and two young children always at home.

And while my father was fighting to get weight off,
my mother was struggling to get weight on.

Guess whose genes I inherited?
Not those of my tall, slender mother with long graceful legs,
the mother who could have been a model in New York City,
but gave it all up for a chance to be the first person
in her family to go to university.

Easier, Honeymoon Days
Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia
September 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Dad's mother, Nana, had spent Christmas with us in Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia.
Just a few days after she returned to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, 
my mother received very disappointing news from my father
which she passed on to her mother-in-law in this letter.

Friday, January 6, 1961 
My mother wrote to her mother-in-law, Myrtle MacBeath:

Dear Mother:
I promised you a letter, but I have been so tired from Christmas 
and the dentist that I have found it hard to settle down and write.  
It is wonderful to have it quieter during the day.  
The baby is back to normal now.

I received a letter from Don today.  
Mr. Foss wrote and said he didn’t think Don could get the Forestry shack 
because there is a large survey gang moving in in the spring.  

However Don doesn’t sound discouraged for Mr. Foss said 
they have approved plans for a three-bedroom house for us.  
Also his pay is being straightened out.  
So all in all he sounds very happy about things.

I was very disappointed, but on the other hand, now that Christmas is over,
I’m going to put on some weight and get some rest.  

The Dining Room and Living Room Today
in the Home We Lived in in January 1961
Our Grandmother's Home, Now Owned by  My Sister Bertie and Her Husband Peter
My mother wrote many of her letters in this room.
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

With Muriel to help me it should give me a chance 
to go up to Aunt Nan’s and get away from the house for a while.
This should give me a good rest.

The children are all fine and happy to be back at school.  
Louise and Roy both won prizes for giving the best speeches in their classes.

I thought you would like to hear about our change in plans, 
and now I think I will close and get to bed.
With love,

P.S.  Don’s Christmas letter arrived today, Saturday.  
Am mailing it to you.

Just when they thought they might get together up North,
my parents' hopes were dashed 
with the unavailability of the forestry shack.
It was looking like many more months would pass
before we would all be together in Lansdowne House.

And that speech I gave that won a prize?
No one suspected what trouble a ten-year old could cause,
starting with a brief speech
about the starving Indians of Lansdowne House.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Bay of Fundy out of Westport, Brier Island
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

For Map Lovers Like Me:

Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia

Patiently Waiting in Smith's Cove
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Lansdowne House, Ontario

Wintery Lansdowne House
Painting by Donald MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Lansdowne Letters: An Unexpected Journey and Unexpected Woolies

Sometimes, when you lived in the North a half century ago,
you had to step up and take on unexpected tasks.
It was part of pulling together in an isolated community,
like Lansdowne House in northern Ontario.

You might give a stranded traveler a warm meal and a place to sleep,
like Father Ouimet did so many times at his mission.

You might help help a friend with onerous chores,
like Dad helped Mike collect water samples from frozen-over Lake Attawapiskat.

You might keep a sick friend overnight on your couch
so he wouldn't slog home across the ice on a subzero night,
like Maureen did on Christmas Eve 1960.

Dad on His New Snowshoes
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario
Winter 1960-61
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

On December 20 my father stepped up for an unexpected journey,
and on Christmas Eve he was the recipient of unexpected care.

And sometime, no matter where you live,
you might come across some unexpected woolies.

On Thursday, December 29, 1960 
My father wrote to his mother-in-law Ella MacDonald (Mac), 
his sister-in-law Louise Lindholm, and her husband Carl Lindholm:

Dear Mac, Louise, and Carl:
I want to thank you very much for the presents 
you were so kind to send me for Christmas.  
The pyjamas from Mac are delightfully warm,
and the shirt is both warm and dressy and most practical for this country.
Thanks again, so much. 

This has been a very puzzling Christmas for me.  
I spent Christmas Eve (all night) and Christmas Day at the McRaes.  

Just so I wouldn’t be tempted to get into my presents before Christmas, 
I took them to the McRaes as soon as they arrived.  
Baby Duncan managed to get loose
the day before Christmas and rip all the cards off my presents,
so I don’t know who gave me what.

Baby Duncan with His Mother Maureen McRae
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario
Winter 1960-61
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I know that you gave me the pyjamas, Mac, 
on account of your ambiguous statement in one of your letters 
to me about getting my pyjamas off.  

There were two parcels with an entirely different type 
of Christmas paper than you can buy in the Maritimes, 
so I assumed these were the two from you people.  
One contained a pair of pyjamas, and the other a shirt, 
so I am assuming that Louise, Carl, and Jeff sent me the shirt.

Uncle Carl, Aunt Louise, and Grammie
Pre-Jeff Days, June 14, 1952
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Here is a list of the other things I got, 
but with the exception of the subscriptions, 
I have not the foggiest idea who gave me what:
2 other pairs of pyjamas – also nice and warm and welcome
2 pairs thermal knit long underwear
1 pair of socks
3 boxes of chocolates (The diet is going to catch hell.)
1 pair of gloves
1 tin of hard candy
1 cigarette lighter
1 cigarette rolling machine
2 flat 50s of cigarettes (one from baby Duncan)
1 pair of snowshoes from Duncan and Maureen

and subscriptions to:
Charlottetown Guardian (Aunt Maude)
Time (Mother)
Post and True (Sara)

That’s about it – pretty good, eh?  
I certainly appreciated everything, 
even if I don’t know who sent me what.  
Oh yes, I got some shaving things – blades and cream also.
However, in spite of everything and all the trouble
everyone went to to make sure I had a good Christmas, 
I had a perfectly horrible one.  
As I said, I was at McRaes for all Christmas Eve and all Christmas Day.

The McRaes' Home
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Didn’t I come down with the flu or the grippe
just after I went to bed Christmas Eve,
and by 4 a.m. Christmas Day 
I had a temperature somewhere between 102 and 103.  
I was sick all Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and most of December 27th also.  

I would have gone home right when I got sick, 
but I got so sick so quickly that before I realized it, 
I was too sick to walk across to the Island.  
I couldn’t eat a bite of poor Maureen’s lovely Christmas dinner.  

By Christmas night I managed to crawl back to the shack.  
I figured I had ruined their Christmas enough.  
Besides, I guess I am like a dog and like to be alone when I am sick.  

I sure hope that I never have to spend another Christmas away from Sally.  
No matter how sick or miserable I feel, 
it is never quite so bad if Sara is there to take care of me.  
No matter how sick I might be, 
as soon as Sara walks into the room where I am, I feel better.  
It must be love, eh – and after nearly fourteen years already!  
But then who could help but love my Sara. eh?

Mom and Dad's First Christmas
Wolfville, Nova Scotia. 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you.

I guess you are getting to be a big girl now, Louise.  
Be sure to keep me posted about all developments along Stork Avenue, won’t you?

Oh, I was Outside before Christmas.  
There was a sick Indian woman and her newborn baby 
who had to go out to Sioux Lookout Indian Hospital.  
Mike Flaherty, the nurse, sent me along as an escort.  

We flew to Armstrong, Ontario, and took the train to Sioux.  
I was Outside for three days and got back on Friday, December 23rd.
It was a nice break, but I was awfully glad to get back.

The Historic Sioux Lookout Train Station Today
Designated a Heritage Railway Station for 
Its Historical, Architectural and Environmental Importance, 1993
FlickrSeán Ó Domhnaill   License

I had a dreadfully funny experience when I was at the Indian hospital.  
I arrived about 4:30 in the morning, and they gave me a room.
Apparently it was the room usually reserved for the priest.  

Well, about 7:30 or 7:45 a.m., in came this woman.  
Apparently she knew the priest wasn’t in the room, 
and she did not know that I was there 
and did not see me on the bed over in the corner.  

She was one of these types who could be either 
an old bachelor girl or a young spinster.  
figure she was in her late thirties or early forties.

Well, anyway, she slips into the room quickly, closes the door, 
lifts her skirt, and starts to remove her woolies.  
Her back was to me, and she didn’t see me.  

Well being a man of an inquiring turn of mind, 
I was watching the proceedings with considerable academic interest, 
when suddenly she started to give her girdle a few hitches down.  

I started to get worried just how far she might unveil, 
so I coughed to make my presence known.  

She turned, took a look at me 
(I wish you could have seen the expression on her face.), 
gave forth with the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard,
and ran out into the hall tugging up her woolies.  

I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in all my life.  
guess that’s one old girl who will be more careful in the future.

Well, it is very late, and I have to get to bed, 
so I’ll sign off for now.  
Thanks again for everything.

Bye now,

Northern Lights Over Sioux Lookout
A sight I long to see again!
Flickr ~ Pete Wyspianski   License

It must have been a challenging trip for my father  
to escort a sick Indian woman and her newborn baby
by bush plane and train to Sioux Lookout in the heart of winter.

My father had many wonderful qualities,
but he was never comfortable with sick people and tiny babies.
That said, I have no doubt that he did everything he could
to help the mother and child until he had them
safely delivered to the Indian hospital in Sioux.

Today Sioux Lookout no longer has separate hospitals
for the residents of the town and for the aboriginal people 
in the scattered First Nations communities in northern Ontario.

To me, it's quite shocking to think that the new amalgamated hospital,
the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre,
was not built until 2008!

That same year construction also began on the
Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik Hostel,
a residence for aboriginal people traveling to Sioux for medical reasons.

I'm sure my father appreciated having place to sleep
in the priest's room in the old Indian hospital;
but even more, I think he appreciated having a funny tale
to tell again and again.  

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Bay of Fundy out of Westport, Brier Island
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Links to Earlier Posts:

TLL: Cruel Realities

TLL: The Last Plane ~ Or Not???


1.  Duncan and Maureen McRae:
          Duncan, married to Maureen, worked for the Department of Transport,
          and his duties included running the DOT Weather Station.
          They were the parents of young Duncan.

2.  Father Ouimet:  
          He was a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate,
          a missionary religious congregation in the Roman Catholic Church.

3.  Fahrenheit to Celsius:
          102 ºF = 38.9 ºC
          103 ºF = 39.4 ºC

4.  Developments on Stork Avenue:
           Aunt Louise gave birth to her first daughter, Julie, about a month later
           on January 30, 1961.

For Map Lovers Like Me:

Lansdowne, Armstrong, and Sioux

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Lansdowne Letters: Christmas Without My Father, 1960

Christmas 1960 was the only time during my childhood
that our whole family did not celebrate the holiday together.

Santa in Lansdowne House
with Mrs. Mitchell, the Wife of the Hudson's Bay Company Manager, 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

My father joined friends in Lansdowne House in Northern Ontario,
while my mother and we five children spent Christmas together
at our Grandmother MacDonald's home in Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia.

Dad's mother, our Nana MacBeath, traveled from Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island, to spend the holiday with us.

On Monday, December 26, 1960 
My mother wrote to her mother and sister:

Dear Mother and Louise:
It was so good to talk to you all, 
and I wish I could have sent you all something nice for Christmas, but I was really going around here in circles.

Mom (Sara/Sally)
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

A Letter from Sara
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

However I was able to get Muriel to come in a few days 
this week before Christmas, and she was a great help.  
Stella did a lot of cooking for me.

The children all had a wonderful Christmas.  
They received the gifts I wrote you about.  
Louise also received ski pants, ski sock slippers, and books from Don’s mother, 
Roy pants, ski sock skippers, socks, and books, 
Donnie jeans, ski sock slippers, and books from same.

Roy and Me (Louise) on Grammie's Front Steps
Smith's Cove, Likely Summer 1954
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

She (Nana) brought me a nice dressy sweater
and chocolates and panties from Aunt Maude.  

Cynith sent a dollar for the children’s socks,
and Miss Cummings sent a book and I think $2.00.  
I felt terrible because she can’t afford to do this.  
The only thing I can think to do is buy 
a couple of Tom’s books of poems.  

Josephine came home, and she brought over candy
and coloring books and crayons for the children.
It is very warm here.

Barbie on Grammie's Front Lawn
Smith's Cove, Likely Summer 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I certainly missed Don putting up the tree,
decorating it, and filling the children’s’ stockings.  
He is as bad as the children and was up every Christmas morning
before they were, dragging me reluctantly from bed.  
It just didn’t seem like Christmas.  

Don’s mother seems to be enjoying herself.  
We are getting along fine.  
Muriel was in today helping me.

Thanks for all the money you sent.
The children loved their gifts.  

The baby fell in love
with the iron and ironing board.

Well I must close now and put out the dog and milk bottle.

Baby Bertie in Her Cousin Dawn's Home 
Montreal,  Winter 1961
© Photo by Dawn MacDonald White

We don’t know for certain if we will be going North.  
I didn’t say anything in case we wouldn’t go, 
and I knew you would worry. 

I am enclosing a letter from Maureen.   
If we go, do you want me to try and rent the house?
Love and kisses, 

I sent Tom and Miss Cummings two-pint jars of jam, 
and Cynith two small jars of jam.

Roy and Donnie
Atholville, New Brunswick, Likely Summer 1957
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

When I read my mother's words,
I am struck by the kindness and generosity of our neighbors 
who gave us gifts when they had little themselves.
Cynith and Miss Cummings were lifelong friends of my Grandmother Ella,
and Josephine, I think, was Grammie's cousin.
They understood the difficult time our family was experiencing.

Her words also remind me of many in the Cove
who worked hard to earn a bit of extra money however they could:
Muriel Robinson who did housekeeping chores for my mother,
Tom Cummings who published small books of poetry,
and Stella who baked cookies, doughnuts, and other goods.

And those same neighbors bought my Christmas cards,
stationery, and other small things so I could buy 
Christmas gifts for my family for the first time.

There were no Christmas photographs of us that year.
My mother could have borrowed a camera,
but whether for lack of money, time, or exhaustion,
she took no photos.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Boars Head Lighthouse
Tiverton, Long Island, Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Links to Earlier Posts:

TLL: Traffic Jam

TLL: Freeze-up Worries


1.  Tom and Miss Adelaide Cummings:
          Tom and his sister Adelaide lived next door to my grandmother.
          Adelaide devoted her life to caring for her brother Tom who was handicapped from birth.
          By Christmas 1960, Tom was mostly bedridden.
          In December 1960, Miss Cummings was 81, but I don't know what Tom's age was.
          My brother Roy and his wife Susan currently own the land the Cummings home was on.

          In her book "Down Nova Scotia Way", the author Hazel M. Clayton spelled their last
          name as Cuming, but my mother always referred to them Cummings.

          I obtained a copy of Clayton's book from the Smith's Cove Museum.  It has no publisher,
          publication date, or copyright listed.  The Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia in its
          library records indicates that it was self-published by Hazel M. Clayton in 1964.

          Following is a previously unpublished poem by Tom Cummings in Clayton's book.

         My Sister
       There is a little Lady,
       Aged four score years today,
       Her name is Adelaide Beatrice;
       A princess!  Well, I'll say.

       A diadem of white she wears,
       More beautiful than snow,
       But once it shone like burnished gold,
       So many years ago.

       To be a friend to everyone
       Has always been her aim;
       A kindly word, a helping deed,
       That's how she plays the game.

        My sister!  And she is the best
        A man was ever given,
        For all she ever had she gave
        To keep me with the livin'.

        And toil she has for fifty years,
        That I might happy be;
        Success is hers, as can be seen,
        Whene'er you call on me.

        by Thomas G. A. Cuming
        November 17, 1959
        (p. 90 "Down Nova Scotia Way")
Note:  Any additional information from my siblings or extended family would be
                        greatly appreciated.

2.  Cynith Thomas:
     I spent many hours after school visiting Miss Thomas during the fall of 1960.
     Cynith lived next door to Grammie's, but her home further back from the main road.
     I remember the bright flowers around her home, the beautiful antiques inside,
     but most of all the wonderful stories she told me while she rested in her bed.
     Sure wish I remembered the content of those stories today!
     In her 60s at the time, Miss Thomas was the unmarried great great granddaughter
     of Loyalist Joseph Smith for whom Smith's Cove was named.
     He acquired his Smith's Cove land in 1783 from Joseph Potter
     in exchange for his original land grant in nearby Upper Clements.
     (p. 101 "Down Nova Scotia Way")
     The author of "Down Nova Scotia Way" spelled Cynith's name as Ceneth
     in various places.

3.  My apology for not getting around to your blogs this week.
     I think I'm finally on the mend.

For Map Lovers Like Me:

Smith's Cove in Nova Scotia

Location of Grammie's House
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Grammie's House Today
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Lansdowne House Letters: Christmas 1960

Currently I am sharing some letters
my father wrote by hand from Lansdowne House
because he did not have access to a working typewriter.

Deciphering his words is no easy task.

Sometimes I have to resort to using a magnifying glass and recalling everything I can remember about the vocabulary and idioms of my Canadian childhood.

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

One of the surprising things I realized 
when I began working seriously with my father's letters 
was that he struggled with the dyslexia 
that runs from generation to generation in our family.

Dad was an excellent writer, and 
he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the English language;
so, when I was growing up,
I never suspected the difficulties he had with spelling
nor how much he relied on my mother
to check his writing and catch his errors.

He relentlessly drummed spelling, grammar, 
pronunciation, and precise word meanings
into my head from the time I began to talk,
a practice he continued with my four younger siblings.

One of my earliest memories was watching Dad on his knees
fiddling with the standup radio in our den in Charlottetown. 
I don't remember what I said, but I do remember Dad's reaction.

Dad smacked the top of the radio and said,
"Jesus Christ, Louise!  
How many times do I have to tell you?
It's I-land, not is-land!
The s in island is silent!
We live on Prince Edward I-land."

I was shocked at the time,
but I never forgot the pronunciation of island after that!
Looking back as an adult and a teacher
I realize that there was more going on in that incident
than Dad's being exasperated by the radio or with me.

Dad was reacting with the frustration of a lifetime
of trying to cope with his dyslexia.
The adults in his life never understood or accepted
that my father could be both brilliant and unable to spell.

He had one response to all of us children 
if we made the mistake of asking him 
how to spell a word or what the meaning of a word was:
"Look it up in the dictionary!"

I remember countless times flipping through the pages
of our gigantic Funk and Wagnalls 
and kicking myself for asking Dad instead of Mom.

I look at his Northern writing and see how he struggled,
sometimes spelling a word two or three ways
in the hope that one of them was correct.
Guess there was no room in all that luggage
he dragged up north for his F&W!

Dad's Luggage on the Beach
Father's Island
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I smile when I look at his atrocious handwriting.
I'm quite certain he resorted to the strategy some of my students over the years used:
Write it badly enough, and people won't know if it's spelled right or wrong.

So here's my best shot at what he wrote:

Sunday, December 25, 1960 
my father wrote to his wife and mother:

Dear Sally and Mother:
Christmas has come and gone almost, 
and if I live to be a hundred, I’ll never forget it.  
I was so sick Christmas Eve and today that I damned near died.  

I didn’t feel too good when I went over to Duncan’s, 
but I figured I was just lonesome or something. 

After Duncan and Maureen made calls at McMahon’s and Mitchell’s, 
I went with them to the nursing station.  
I started to get real sick there.  
(This was just after I sealed up the letter I wrote to you yesterday.) 

Raw Material
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

By the time we got home from the nursing station ~
about 2:30 a.m., I was in pretty bad shape.  
I was taking chills, and I wanted to go back to the shack, 
but Maureen wouldn’t hear of it.
They bundled me up warmly 
on the chesterfield with lots of blankets.  
I didn’t sleep all night.
I was perspiring like mad, yet my teeth were chattering.  

I felt a bit better Christmas morning when we opened up the presents,
but then I had to lay down and sleep again till about 2:30 
when the Father and the Brother came calling.

The Father, Dad, and the Brother
on a Better Day
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I did manage to eat a small bit of a lovely Christmas dinner.  
About 6:00 I started to feel sick again, so I came home.  
Maureen wanted me to stay, 
but I felt that I would be better in the shack in my own bed.  

I came home and bundled up into the pair of nice warm pyjamas
that Mother gave me, and here I am with hot coffee and aspirins. 

Humble but Home
Dad's Side of the Bedroom He Shared with Uno
Two Room Shack, Father's Island
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I don’t know what it is.  
I still perspire even though my teeth chatter.  
At first I thought I was coming down with the bad cold 
that Mike and Duncan are just recovering from; 
but two days have passed, and I still feel punk, 
but I have no cold yet.  Not even a sniffle.  

My stomach is all upset and also my bowels, 
and I just ache all over.  
I’m telling you, I never felt so miserable in my entire life 
as I did Christmas Eve and today.

Maureen is feeling somewhat similar.  
Only Duncan could do justice to the dinner.  
However, if I feel better tomorrow, 
I am going back and really tie into that turkey.

However, enough about my troubles.  
Here is a list of what I got for Christmas.  
I can tell you what I got, 
but in a lot of cases I can’t tell you who they were from 
because young Duncan managed to pull off quite a few tags 
before we noticed him.

Young Duncan with Santa
at the School Christmas Party
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

It’s a good job I took to writing "Don" on all my presents 
before I took them over to Duncan’s.  
I should also have written whom they were from.

Well, anyway here goes.  
From Mother and Aunt Maude I got two nice pairs of warm pyjamas.  

From Mother I got the Time Magazine
and from Aunt Maude I got The Guardian ~ I think that’s right.  

Also from Mother I got the suede jacket.  
Though this was given to me early in the summer, 
it was a Christmas present.  

From Mother I also got a bundle of stamped envelopes. 
Tell her I found them and three kinds of cookies ~
old-fashioned ones, chocolate chip ones, and scotch bread.

Now I got three boxes of chocolates ~ 
a Ganong's Delecto, a Pot of Gold, and a package of Fire Side, 
but I’ll be damned if I know from whom.  
I guess the name is actually Camp Fire.
Also I got a tin of candy from I don’t know whom.

I got a cigarette lighter from Donnie, 
and blades and shaving cream from one or two of my children.
Also a close-up attachment for the camera from one of them.  

Oh yes, I also got two sets of thermal knit underwear ~ 
just what I wanted.  Now I don’t know for sure, 
but I think that Roy gave me some of this underwear, 
but I don’t know who gave me the rest.

I got a lovely fruitcake from Sara.  
Also about five pounds of icing sugar 
to ice the cake and the shortbread.  
The sugar was in both Mother’s parcel and Sara’s.

Oh yes, I got a flat fifty of cigarettes from Donnie ~ I think.  
I got the True and the Post from Sara.  
Oh yes, and I got a cigarette rolling machine from one of the children.  
(Duncan really made a mess of those cards before we got him).

From Sara’s mother I got another nice warm pair of pyjamas, 
and from Carl and Louise and Jeff 
I got a nice warm Orlan wool textured sweater shirt.  
It is charcoal grey with two buttons at the neck 
and a small design in the pocket.

Even though the cards were also ripped off their parcels, 
I know that Mac gave me the pyjamas, 
because I laughed at one of her letters where she said, 
“I got your pyjamas off last night, Donald,” 
and then went on to say that there was a statement 
capable of misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

I got a nice pair of brown leather gloves from Uno.

I was really shocked with the present Dunc and Maureen gave me.
I thought it was enough to have me over, 
but didn’t they give me a pair of snowshoes.  
They ordered them from Ogoki for me.  
They did not arrive yet, but should be here soon.  
It was quite an expensive gift, and they shouldn’t have done it.

Duncan Junior gave me a pair of socks and two packages of cigarettes.  

I think I have mentioned everything.  

I do hope Sara that you can write me 
and let me know who sent me what.  

I don’t believe that I have ever done better at Christmas.  
I guess every one was feeling sorry for me up here.

The Father, the Brother, Duncan and Maureen, and little Duncan
were all pleased with the gifts you and Mother sent up.

Well, I am feeling woozy, so I’ll sign off now.  
Thanks for everything.
Love Don.

I'm feeling a little woozy myself as I finish this post,
and more than a little sympathy for my father.
Terry and I left Honolulu on an overnight flight home
with Terry very sick with a nasty cold 
and me rapidly coming down with it.

After being up over twenty-four hours straight,
we crawled under the welcome covers of home and crashed.
For Dad, Terry, and me, there is no place like home 
when you're feeling lousy.

I'm laughing at the thought of Dad receiving cigarettes, 
a machine for making home rolls, and a cigarette lighter
from an assortment of young children!
How times have changed.

Most of all, I'm laughing at my proper Baptist grandmother Ella MacDonald
making a joke about getting my father's pyjamas off.
But then, I suspect there were plenty of times she wasn't so proper!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Boars Head Lighthouse
Tiverton, Long Island, Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Links to Earlier Posts:

TLL: A School Party

TLL: Northern Teacher ~ Traffic Jam


1.  Duncan and Maureen McRae:
          Duncan, married to Maureen, worked for the Department of Transport,
          and his duties included running the DOT Weather Station.
          They were the parents of young Duncan

2.  MacMahon's:
     Milt MacMahon was the other DOT employee in Lansdowne House.

3.  Mitchell's:  Bill was Manager of the Hudson Bay Post. 

4.   Nursing Station:  Mike, married to Anne, was the nurse at the nursing station.

5.  Father Ouimet and Brother Bernier:  
     They were members of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate,
     a missionary religious congregation in the Roman Catholic Church.

6.  Aunt Maude:  Dad's mother's sister, Maude Cox.

7.  The Guardian:  Newspaper published in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,
      since the 1870s.  Wikipedia

8.  Scotch Bread:  I think Dad was referring to Scottish shortbread.

9.  Ganong's Delectos:  Talk about memories!  Ganong chocolates: the iconic,
      family-owned chocolate company founded in 1873 in St. Stephen, New Brunswick!
     For any homesick Maritimers, here's a brief walk down memory lane:
     (Anyone remember Chicken Bones?)

     You Tube ~ Ganong Bros., Ltd. 

10.  Carl and Louise:  Carl Lindholm was married to my mother's sister Louise. 
                Jeff was their eldest child.

11.  Uno Manilla:  Dad's roommate and the teacher at the Roman Catholic school.

12.  Ogoki:  An Ojibwa community on the Albany River, south of Lansdowne House

For Map Lovers Like Me:

Ogoki, Ontario, Canada

Lansdowne House, Ontario
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved