Sunday, November 11, 2018

Remembering


On this cold and snowy Veterans Day in Colorado,
I am remembering that I am safe and free
because of the tremendous sacrifices of others,
strangers, friends, and family members
who chose to serve to preserve our freedom and way of life.

It's the 100th Anniversary of the end World War I,
and I am remembering this simple, poignant tribute 
to the One Million British Empire Dead in that horrific war.
The memorial graces a column in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.


Tribute to the British Empire Dead of WWI
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
May 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Seeing Canada and Newfoundland on that plaque
brought tears to my eyes in May 2014.
Among these one million dead are members of my family
whom I know only from old photographs. 



One Million Dead
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France
May 2014
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I am also remembering the simple, poignant, poem
of Canadian John McCrae, a physician from Guelph, Ontario,
who died shortly after penning these words of life, love, and loss:


In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae



Most of all I am remembering my parents,
Donald and Sara (MacDonald) MacBeath who served in the Canadian Forces,
my mother during WWII and my father shortly after WWII.
My mother was just old enough to enter WWII,
my father just young enough to be unable to serve in that war.

I like to remember them, not in their uniforms,
but on their honeymoon when they were young, optimistic, and full of hope. 

Don and Sara MacBeath
Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
September 4, 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



We must never forget the sacrifices of those who served, 
who were injured or maimed physically and mentally,
or who died for us.

Whether you mark this day as Veterans Day, Remembrance Day,
Armistice Day, or by another name,
I hope you are remembering 
these selfless sacrifices with gratitude and love.

Lest We Forget
Flanders Poppies




Friday, November 9, 2018

POD #2: Friday, November 9, 2018 ~ The Art Lover

I call myself a photographer, 
but real photographers might roll their eyes at that statement.

My camera is a point-and-shoot Canon SX620 HS, 
bright red, of course!

I rarely use my iPhone as a camera
because it's much more expensive and visible,
and I don't want to be targeted by a phone snatcher,
especially when traveling.
Furthermore, I don't want to be encumbered
with a heavy camera, equipment bag, and tripod.

I go for the candid shot on the fly,
hoping I won't have to edit too much to get a photo that pleases me.
I have no qualms about editing a photo with my computer.
If I share a photo, I want it to be the best I can create.

The Ever-Patient, after years of me and my camera,
just keeps slowly moving forward,
while I stop and run to catch up, stop and run, stop and run. 

When I'm out and about, my Canon is snuggled in my right hand,
its strap looped around my wrist and thumb.
I'm on the hunt for anything that catches my eye.
I believe there are interesting, funny, or emotional shots anywhere.

Terry and I arrived in Florence for the first time on a morning train from Padua.
We dropped our bags on 500-year-old tiles in our room in the Residence Bellevue
and raced to explore the historic center of Florence,
a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982.

After hours of wandering from square to square
and marveling at the art, sculpture, architecture, and monuments
that grace one of the most beautiful cities in the world,
we found ourselves walking down the Piazzale degli Uffizi toward the Arno River.


Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
The Arno River lies just beyond the arches at the end of the street.



And suddenly, among the crowds I spotted a shot I wanted!
What do you think I spied?

The Ever-Patient (in bright a red shirt) Heads for the Arno
Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
September 16, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




"Oh please don't move," I whispered,
as I slipped the strap off my hand and lifted my camera,
opening the lens, edging forward, stalking my subject.

CLICK!
Gotcha!



Entranced!
Piazzale degli Uffizi
Florence, Italy
September 16, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




The cutest little art lover sat staring at a caricature of President Obama.
Given the water dish nearby, I suspect the art admirer belonged to the caricaturist.
Sometimes I get lucky! 


For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of Italy





Location of Florence





Location of the Piazzale degli Uffizi


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Wednesday, November 7, 2018 ~ Now What?






It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.






To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG founder Alex Cavanaugh are:
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor,  Ann V. Friend,  J. Q. Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman.  

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every month the IWSG that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is:

How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing? 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

November's IWSG question has me doing some head scratching,
and it comes at a pivotal point in writing my memoir
when I'm asking myself Now what?

I'm not sure writing has had a big impact on my creativity,
certainly not in recent decades while I was teaching,
and now I'm wondering if it ever did.

I've always had a big imagination, and as a child it ranged far and wide.
I heard Santa's reindeers' hooves on the neighbors' roof.
I saw the tooth fairy.

When my brother and I crawled inside a culvert under a road in rural Alymer
to jump over a big hole that vanished into darkness,
we knew that hole went to the middle of the Earth
and we were the bravest of all when we risked our lives and leapt.

I roamed the world and the solar system in my imagination
before I ventured out of the Maritimes at the age of seven.


When Roy and I Were the Bravest
Back:  Me (Louise), Dad, and Roy
Front:  Donnie and Barbie (Bertie not even on the horizon)
Alymer, Southern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1957
Photo Likely by Sara MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I realize, as I look back, that most of my writing has been non-fiction,
and that even as a child, reality anchored any fiction I wrote.
Details obsessed me:
What is the name of that tree?  That rock?  That river?
Could imaginary events I was concocting in my simple stories really happen?
How fast does a tidal wave move?  Could a person actually outrun one?


A Big Wave


I remember making up a story when I was five
about an earthquake swallowing people alive.
A poignant picture of a cow's tail sticking out of a closed crack in the ground inspired it.
Even then I wanted the how of the story and the details of my story to be factual.

The more I think about my own creativity, 
the more I think it's rooted in divergent thinking
and a divergent approach to doing things.
I've always been different and didn't think like the people around me.

In grade six my nickname was The Professor 
because I was obsessed with dinosaurs.
That was painful for me as I learned to jive,
put on makeup, and consider boys and popularity;
but not painful enough to give up dinosaurs.

Sometimes I flat out refused to conform.
For example, I spent several years working on
my certification in paleontology in the early 1990s.
The now Denver Museum of Nature and Science created its certification program
to train and retain its paleontology docents and fossil lab volunteers.

The rigorous program required students to attend
a variety of night and weekend courses, workshops,
and lectures by visiting paleontologists,
to participate in a grueling fossil dig
in the Bridger Basin Badlands of Wyoming,
to volunteer as a docent and/or a fossil preparator,
to write a paleontology research paper,
and to pass a comprehensive exam.


The Bridger Basin Badlands
Southwestern Wyoming, USA
Spring 1993
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Around the Campfire
The Bridger Basin Badlands
Southwestern Wyoming, USA
Spring 1994
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Although I was teaching full time in a multi-aged, second and third grade classroom
in a four track, year round school during this period,
I lived for this program.  I ate it up!

I ate it up,
whether I was knapping flint to make a knife and slashing meat with it,
painstakingly extracting throat ossicles from rock matrix
containing fossil remains of one of Edward Drinker Cope's brachiosaurs,
or crawling on my knees over Eocene outcrops in the Bridger Basin
searching for elusive mammal fossils.


On My Knees on the Eocene 
The Bridger Basin Badlands
Southwestern Wyoming, USA
Spring 1993
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved







DMNS Volunteers at Work 
The Bridger Basin Badlands
Southwestern Wyoming, USA
Spring 1993
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




I rebelled when it came to the research paper.
Instead of pursuing a typical scientific paper, I drew on
a Tolkien bestiary and a favorite science fiction series and wrote
"A Bestiary for The Saga of Pliocene Exile:
A Science Fiction Quartet by Julian May
with Notes on the Pliocene Epoch."


"The Saga of Pliocene Exile"
by Julian May 
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Thank goodness, Dr. Stucky, the then Curator of Earth Sciences, got me.
He let me borrow paleontology books from his personal collection
and overuse his xerox to pursue my research
which included a critique of Julian May's science fiction series
and a study of the Pliocene crispy critters featured in her books.



Working on a Duck-Billed Dinosaur (Edmontosaurus) 
Fossil Lab, Denver Museum of Natural History (Then)
Denver, Colorado, USA
 1992
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




He also lent me a tent in the Bridger Basin
when the wind, hail, and floods destroyed mine;
then he refused to accept my money when the wind ripped
that expensive tent of his out of the ground
and carried it away never to be found ~ 
but that's a tale for another day.


Dr. Richard Stucky 
Former Curator of Paleoecology & Evolution
Southwestern Wyoming, USA
Spring 1993
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Most of the writing I did as an adult was non-fiction, 
everything from reports and newspaper articles,
to curriculum-based plays and report card comments,
to papers and projects related to my continuing education
and my Denver Museum of Natural History Certificate in Paleontology,
to applying for and getting significant grants.

But can I call my writing creative?
It's a question that eats at me.

And now I contemplate now what? with my memoir.
I accomplished publishing my father's Lansdowne Letters in my blog.
I worked through my memories without contaminating them with outside information.
Now I have to delve into the outside sources that will verify and augment 
my father's letters and my memories,
and I have to craft my memoir into a compelling read.

I get weak-kneed and overwhelmed when I think about it.
One step at a time.  One day at a time.

I'm currently studying one of The Great Courses,
"Writing Creative Nonfiction" by Tilar J. Mazzeo.
I'm about halfway through its twenty-four, thirty minute lectures.
It's excellent and inspiring!


"Writing Creative Nonfiction"
by Professor Tilar J. Mazzeo
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I'm currently reading "The President is Missing" by Bill Clinton and James Patterson.
Yes, it's fiction, but Patterson is a master at creating complex characters
and at plotting each and every chapter to propel a story forward,
while cutting anything that doesn't accomplish these two things.
You can learn a lot by studying Patterson's skillful writing.




I'm allowing all that I've written about the North so far 
to lie fallow for four weeks from my last Lansdowne Letters post;
I hoping that my story will grow like Tolkien's, 
"like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind:
out of all that has been seen or thought or read,
that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.”  Goodreads

In other words, I've stuffed it all back into my thawing muskeg
and am allowing the bubbling carbon dioxide and methane to churn it for a while.


Northern Muskeg
Flickr: Rover Thor ~ License


Then, finally, comes the task of hiring one or more researchers
to dig into information I've been unable to access,
like the Hudson's Bay Company Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 
or the parliamentary records in Ottawa.

As soon as my four story-churning weeks are over,
I'm going to write a detailed, chronological outline
and decide the narrative structure my memoir will have
and how to develop the main characters, including myself.
I'm hoping that whatever my creativity is, it will improve my writing.

Speaking of creativity,
let me recommend a highly creative IWSG writer ...

I've read a quartet of Pat Hatt's novels in recent months.
Two I reread as they were the beginning books in two of his series:
"The Connective" and "Delivered."
I followed each one by reading its sequel:
"The Disconnective" and "Detoured" 
(which I stayed up late to finish a couple of nights ago).

Pat has an imagination that doesn't quit,
and I keep turning the pages of his books
because I have no idea what twist will happen next.

His characters in these books are everyman and his settings are anyplace:
ordinary people, often children, placed in extraordinary situations
and ordinary places, often vaguely Nova Scotian or Canadian,
that metamorphose into the unexpected and weird.
I admire Pat's boundless creativity.

Part of the fun in reading Pat's books is to watch his growth as a writer:
He improves with every book, and he has published well over 100!

Another part of the fun for me is to compare his writing with mine.
We're very different, and I've learned a lot about just telling the damn story,
not getting bogged down in precise details and explanations,
and moving the plot along at a cinematic pace.

I enjoy his books,
I'll buy more, and I definitely recommend them, but with a few caveats:
Pat pushes boundaries outside the polite and conventional,
the scenes can sometimes be gory or violent,
and the language can be earthy.
These things don't bother me.



Pat Hatt Books I've Recently Read
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





I enjoy Pat's humor,
his unconventional characters and their outlook on life,
and his rollercoaster plotting.

I adore his cats Cassie and Orlin popping up in his fiction.

I admire his courage in tackling many genres,
in writing books and poems, rhymed and unrhymed, 
for children, juveniles, and adults,
in experimenting with Point of View 
and male, female, and animal protagonists.

And OMG do I admire his dedication to writing and his amazing productivity!
Writers who want to publish books can learn a lot from this prolific fellow Bluenoser.
(Find Pat at his blog "It's Rhyme Time." )

Wishing everyone a great IWSG Day.
I look forward to visiting and reading your posts!
Happy writing in November!



Link to My Website: Standing Into Danger


For Map Lovers Like Me:
Location of the Bridger Basin





Friday, November 2, 2018

Picture(s) of the Day: Happy Halloween 2018!


Call this a desperation play!
I have three posts in the works, but nothing finished.
I'm looking at dental and medical procedures over the next few days ~
nothing fun, let me tell you!
So I'm in a time crunch and pulling out a post theme
I haven't used in a few years:  Picture of the Day.
Here are a couple of Halloween photos from yesterday evening.


No Costume for the Ever-Patient
Aurora, Colorado
Halloween, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



If you celebrate Halloween, I hope you had a blast!
I miss our Halloween trick-or-treaters,
and I miss my Halloween school parties and parades
with all my wonderful second and third grade kiddos.

Terry took me out for a glass of wine, so all was not lost.
Have a good one!


Beam Me up, Scotty
Aurora, Colorado
Halloween, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Friday, October 26, 2018

The Lansdowne Letters: Swan Song


All things come to an end,
a fact that I'm understanding more and more, the older I get. 
In late June 1961, my father was winding things up at Lansdowne House,
and my mother and we five kids had already departed for Lac Seul.



On Sunday, June 25, 1961
My father wrote
to our extended family:

Hi There Everyone:
This is the swan song
of the Lansdowne Letter
~ the last edition.



Back to Typing in the Mission Cabin
Landsdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I hope everyone got as much fun out of reading it, as I did out of writing it.
All in all, it has been quite a winter.


My Father Tramping through the Bush
Landsdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
December 11, 1960
Photo Likely by Mike Flaherty
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved


It is with very mixed feelings that I take leave of Lansdowne House.
I enjoyed the winter, and I made a lot of nice friends,
not the least of which were the Brother and the Father.
I will always remember my stay in Lansdowne House with feelings of pleasure.


Father Ouimet, Don MacBeath, and Brother Bernier
Landsdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
Photo Likely by Uno Manilla
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved


If it wasn't for the nice promotion and the exciting challenge
of the new job in Sioux Lookout, I would sincerely regret leaving this place.
I will always remember the children as among the nicest that I have ever worked with.
It was always a pleasure to be with them, even if they did exasperate me on occasion.


Halloween Fun
Landsdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
October 1960
Photo by Uno Manilla
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved




My Father's Students
Landsdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
September 1960
Photo by Don MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved




I received official notification of my transfer to Sioux Lookout in the last mail.
It is effective the first of the month (July),
so when you read this I will probably be the new Supervising Principal
of the Sioux Lookout Indian Agency or very close to becoming same.

It was a great load off my mind when I received the notification
and saw that it was effective the first of July.
When I left North Bay after my interview, Mr. Waller,
the departmental representative who interviewed me said that he would TRY
to get me employed as a supervising principal for the summer.

Normally, this position is only filled ten months of the year,
and they rarely have supervising principals for the summer schools.
However, they wanted me to take up my duties as soon as possible,
so I would be familiar with them and my district come September.
Well, anyway, I wasn't 100% sure that I would be employed this summer.

As the first of July came closer and closer
and I was hearing nothing from the department,
I was getting more frantic with every passing day.
I was sure, when I heard nothing from them last week,
that they had not been successful in getting me hired for the summer.
But everything turned out O.K., and I won't be unemployed for the summer. 


The Office Building That Contained
the Sioux Lookout Indian Agency
Flickr  ~  Seán Ó Domhnaill   License

  
There is one catch to the deal though, but it isn't too serious,
and I can't really complain too much.
I won't be receiving my full salary for the summer months.  

Supervising principals are paid as ordinary teachers for their basic pay,
and in addition, they receive supervisory pay
in accordance to how many classrooms they supervise.
The maximum number they get paid for supervising is fourteen classrooms,
even though they may, like myself, be supervising over twenty classrooms.
Since there are only nine summer schools in the agency,
I can only draw supervisory pay for nine classrooms for this summer.

I will, however, get my full pay come September.
Even without my full pay, I will be making $610.00 a month for July and August.
That is better than a kick on the ass for damned sure.

I don't think that I will be doing too much supervising this summer though.
I think I will be spending the majority of my time getting to know my district
and getting familiar with departmental files, policy, regulations, etc.

I expect to spend at least a week in North Bay and possibly some time in Ottawa.
This, coupled with the extensive traveling I expect to be doing
around the agency will keep me away from home quite a bit this summer;
but by fall, my traveling will have tapered off somewhat,
and I shouldn't be spending more than a third of my time away from home this winter.


Getting to Know His District
Meant Many Flights by Bush Plane
Flying over the Albany River, Northern Ontario, Canada
September 1960
Photo by Don MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved




One of the main parts of my new job will probably be public relations,
or at least that is what I have been led to understand.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was on account of my ability
to meet and talk with people that I was hired,
as much as for my ability as a teacher.

I don't for a moment think that there aren't other teachers in the department
as skilled as and more skilled than me,
but I imagine that you would have to look around a lot to find anyone
who is better able to meet and talk with strange people.
I really enjoy it while other people,
who no doubt are just as good, if not better teachers,
dread meeting new people and having to talk to them.

Oh, I guess also, that my administrative and supervisory experience
in the Air Force stood me in good standing also.
I also like to think that I was chosen partly for my teaching ability too ~ 
professional pride you know.


My Father with His Friend Duncan McRae
Outside the Roman Catholic Church
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



Uno has taken a job as a cook for the survey party for the summer.
He will make $340.00 a month and found.
He hopes that with what he saves this summer, along with what he saved this winter,
he will be able to finance a year at school to finish his grade twelve.
He was only teaching on a permit this winter, and it has run out.
He can't teach any more till he gets a regular license.

It is a shame for he is a wonderful teacher, especially with the beginners.
He has to finish grade twelve and take one or two years
at Teachers College, Toronto to get his license.
His father says that he will help him go to Teachers, if he finishes grade twelve;
but I guess that aside from giving him free board at home, his father
will not give him any assistance till he proves himself by finishing grade twelve.
Apparently, when he was in school he just wasted his time.


Uno with Dad and Baby Duncan McRae
In the Bedroom of the Two-Room Cabin They Shared
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Winter 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Well, I have done enough bragging about myself and my new job.
If I am not careful, you are liable to get the impression
that I am conceited or something.
I'm not, but I am awfully pleased with myself just the same.

This has been a wonderful promotion that I have received; 
and, apart from the increased remuneration that I will receive
and the added prestige that will be mine,
there remains the intense satisfaction that one gets
from doing a job well enough to impress one's superiors so favorably.

Added to this is the fact that my superiors came to me with the offer.
I did not solicit it in any way at the beginning.
I will admit though, that once the initial offer was made,
I did everything in my power to secure the position.


Maureen McRae, Another Good Friend
In Front of the Roman Catholic Church and Dad and Uno's Cabin
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Winter 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


There is at least one sphere of activity in which my proficiency
hasn't increased one iota, and that is canoeing.
I am afraid that if anything, it has deteriorated during the long layoff.
I upset the cotton picking' thing last Thursday, and it was dead calm yet!!!

I still don't know just what happened.
One moment I was going along without even
the slightest premonition of disaster,
and the next moment I was swimming.
It is most disconcerting I can assure you.

Oh well, all was not lost.
I had acquired a pair of drip dry pants, and I had never had the opportunity to test
if they were really all they were cracked up to be.
They were.  They dried beautifully. 

You should have heard the roar of laughter
that came from the Indians on the mainland when I went in.
It was the biggest "HAW HAW HAW" that I have ever heard.

Not that I blame them in the least, for it was a rather stupid thing to do.
If I am not careful, I will get a reputation as a damned poor canoe driver.
As it is, whenever I take to the water, the Indians stand around and watch,
hoping no doubt that I will do something stupid and provide them with some amusement.


Crossing to and from the Father's Island
Sometimes Required Snowshoes ...
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Winter 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




... And Other Times a Canoe
Looking toward the Mainland and the Hudson's Bay Post
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


There are not too many young men left in the community these days.
There are some serious forest fires burning in the Pickle Lake-Thunder Bay region,
and they have been hauling the Indians out by the plane loads to fight these fires.

They love to get out on these firefighting expeditions.
It gives them a chance to see the outside world,
and they earn eight or nine dollars a day and keep.

Some of the poor wrenches are out of pocket after one of these trips though,
for they go to a beverage room and get all sloshed up on beer,
and then they usually start acting like real Indians,
and the next thing they know is that the long arm of the law has snared them.

When this happens they end up in  jail and have to pay a whopping big fine,
said fine usually being more than their total earnings from the firefighting.
You'd think the poor fools would learn, wouldn't you?
But I guess there are many white men who exhibit
the same lack of astuteness when dealing with this problem.



Forest Fire
Location and Date Unknown



I am busy packing and getting ready to leave on the plane Thursday afternoon.
I have most of the necessary paperwork done, and believe me that was some job.
There is always a lot of red tape connected with closing any school,
and this being a Federal school, you can appreciate
just how this usual load of red tape has been compounded.  
Tut, tut, Donald:  you must not criticize the government.
In a week or less you will be expected to enforce
the very rules that you are complaining about now. 

Incidentally, if anyone should ask you just whom I am working for,
you are going to have quite a mouthful to get out when you attempt to tell them.
I work for the Education Division of the Indian Affairs Branch
of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

I am classified as a principal level ten.
Level twelve is the highest that you can reach.
There is only one level twelve in the department.
There are only two or three level elevens and a like number of tens,
so you can see that I have a fairly high rating.

If I can ever get time off to finish my B. Ed.,
I could get my level eleven and possibly my twelve.
The winter after next, I am going to try to take some courses by correspondence.
I won't be taking any next winter though,
for I feel that my time will be fully occupied with my new job.


My Father's School
Typical of Indian Day Schools in Northern Ontario
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I just succeeded in getting Uno off to church,
and believe me that is some accomplishment,
for he doesn't wake up easily on Sunday mornings.
He doesn't wake up easily on any morning for that matter,
but he is particularly difficult on Sundays.

This time next week I will be with my family and the bears in Lac Seul.
I expect to leave here on Thursday afternoon,
spend the night in Nakina, and catch the morning train to Sioux Lookout.
When I arrive in Sioux, I will have to spend some time house hunting.


A Last Flight, A Last Night 
Austin Airways and the Nakina Hotel
Nakina, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Then a Long Ride on the Morning Train to Sioux
Nakina Train Station
Nakina, Northern Ontario, Canada
Fall 1960
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


I will fly in to Lac Seul on Friday evening or Saturday morning
and spend the weekend with them.
I expect to come out again Tuesday
and spend some more time house hunting and starting my new job.

As soon as I find a house, I will bring my family out to Sioux Lookout,
for I can't afford to commute by plane every weekend,
not at $15.00 a flight for sure.
That would be $30.00 a week!!!!

Well, I have to sign off and get back to the packing.
It's been fun writing to you all.

Perhaps when I get to Sioux Lookout and get settled,
I will be able to start writing a Sioux Lookout Letter.

Bye for Now,
Love, 
Don


It is with very mixed feelings that I share the last 
of my father's letters from Lansdowne House.
It took me a while to ease into typing and publishing his letters,
and I dragged my feet near the end of the process.

When I started I was mired in muskeg
and hiding from painful experiences and memories.
As I worked slowly through my father's letters,
I worked slowly through heartache and mental anguish,
not all of which bled into my posts.
By the end I had found perspective and healing.

During the process I came to a deeper understanding
of my father and mother as people, not just parents;
and I came to a profound appreciation
of how much they loved the five of us 
and of how much they were willing to struggle and to sacrifice
to achieve their dream of getting all of of us through university.
They'd be so pleased to see what we all have become.


Bertie Joins the Family
Donnie, Barbie, Louise (Me) with Bertie, and Roy with Gretchen
Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, Canada
April 1959
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Barb and I, Back in Margaretsville
Fifty-Nine Years Later
Margaretsville, Nova Scotia, Canada
July 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



I relived happy days spent in school and out with my Ojibwa friends,
and I learned more than I wanted to know about the darker side
of Canadian history
and the treatment of its First Nation peoples.

I've never forgotten the time I spent in Lansdowne House,
the amazing, unforgettable people I met,
and the beautiful solitude of the wilderness.
I desperately hope to return in this lifetime.

Meanwhile, I've got a memoir to finish
and more northern stories to share!

Thanks for accompanying me on my journey so far!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue.

 Bay of Fundy out of Westport
on Chad and Sisters Two
Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours
July 31, 2018
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved










Don and Sara MacBeath
on Their Honeymoon
Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada
September 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




For Map Lovers Like Me:
Map of Canada
Highlighting Ontario




Location of Lansdowne House
Wikimedia   edited