Thursday, October 17, 2013

HR9: Grounded in Nakina


Back to the North again!


Northern Ontario Wilderness
Source:  Wikipedia



In earlier posts this year, 
I began writing about 
my family's experiences in Northern Ontario.
I have been using my father's letters
as a primary source of material.

I'm picking up where I left off,
with my father grounded 
in the northern town of Nakina, Ontario 
in September, 1960.



Austin Airways and the Nakina Hotel
D.B. MacBeath, September 1960


Well Darling
wrote my father to my mother
on Sunday, September 11, 1960

Here I am still in Nakina.  I have not as yet had any contact with Mr. Gowans, the Indian Affairs man who is supposed to arrange my transportation to Lansdowne.  I expect that I will be going in tomorrow sometime though.  However I have not been bored or anything.  Friday night and all day Saturday I spent in the company of Jerry Costella an Indian Affair Department teacher at  Aroland which is a large reservation near Nakina.  There are two beverage rooms and the Legion Hall in Nakina, and we visited all three.  However I didn't drink too much, just enough to be sociable.

Well Darling, it has been a whole week since I left you and a long 42 or so more weeks before I will see you again.  I don't know how I will be able to stand it, I am so lonesome for you.  However I guess it won't be so bad for me as it will be for you, because at least I will be doing new things and meeting new people, and the winter will pass pretty quickly actually.  I hope I will be so busy that I don't get a chance to be too lonesome.



Sara and Don


There will be a two week or three week period sometime in November or December when there will be no mail because the planes will be fitted with skis instead of floats and we'll have to wait till the lakes freeze before they can resume their schedule.

I have discovered several good chess players in the telegraph office at Nakina and have had about 12 good games of which I have managed to win 7.   All in all I have had a very interesting weekend in Nakina.  I hope to fly into Lansdowne tomorrow if everything goes all right and I get in touch with Mr. Gowans.



Telegraph Office, Nakina
D.B. MacBeath, September 1960

On the way up to Nakina, I bought a book on chess, a book on reducing, and a book on bridge.  I plan to study all of these books and practice what they say, especially the book on reducing.

Well, I guess I better wind this up and get it mailed so it will catch the mail out this evening.  How about getting Louise and Roy to write to me.  It will be good practice for them, and I will love to hear from them.  Also Donnie as soon as she can print.  I miss Barbie also and wish she could write to me.  However, I realize that she is too young as yet.  However tell her I miss her and Roberta and think about them all the time.

Bye now, Darling
All my love
Don

P.S. Hurry up and borrow a camera so you can take pictures of all the children and yourself and send them to me.

Love
Don.




Dear Sally
wrote my father to my mother
on Monday, September 12, 1960

Still at Nakina, and I don't know if I will be getting out or not.  The day is beautiful for flying, but the pilot broke his leg playing baseball yesterday and Austin Airways is waiting for another pilot to come in from Sudbury.  They don't know if he will arrive in time to make a flight in today or not.  However he is sure to be here in time for a flight tomorrow,  It will be just my luck though that tomorrow the weather will close in again.  At the rate this is going, I may be in Nakina till Christmas.



Norseman ~  Canadian Single-Engine Bush Plane
Source:  Wikipedia



I wired you about a cheque I had to cash.  These expenses are killing me ~ especially this prolonged stay at Nakina.  However I will be able to claim for it all.  Phone the bank manager and ask him to honour it till the money arrives.

Well, I must sign off now and speak with Austin Airways and see if I am going in today or not.

Bye now, Darling,
Love Don



Dear Sally
wrote my father to my mother
on Monday, September 12, 1960


Just a short note to tell you that I am flying into Lansdowne House in about an hour or 5 p.m. local time.  This will be the last letter you will receive from me at Nakina.  After that there will be a period of about a week or so till I catch the next mail plane.  Mail runs go in and out ever Friday – however, I believe I explained this to you in one of my previous letters.

I was wrong about the race of Indians I will be teaching.  They will be Crees, not Ojibways.  I will have about 21 pupils in kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Well have to sign off now and get my baggage over to Austin Airways.

Bye now,
Love
Don




Austin Airways Sea Plane Base
Nakina, Ontario
D.B. MacBeath, September 1960


Hello Again Darling

wrote my father to my mother
on Monday, September 12, 1960

Well, here I am still aboard the Nakina Hotel instead of aboard the aircraft bound for Lansdowne House.  My baggage is all aboard the plane, but the weather closed in at Lansdowne, and we couldn't fly in there today as planned.  As far as I know now, we are scheduled to take off at 0630 hours tomorrow, 13 Sept. 60.  It's a good job that my lucky number happens to be 13 eh, otherwise I might be too superstitious to take off in the morning.  


There is not much more to tell you about Nakina.  After being here for several days and writing several letters about the place, I have sort of exhausted the subject.  I have met and talked with a few more Indians, but I still have not succeeded in seeing Mr. Gowans, the Indian Agent at Nakina.

I was afraid that there was going to be no electricity and I was going to have to use outside plumbing (at the Catholic Mission in Lansdowne House), but from what I can find out, the Catholic Mission has a Delco Electric Plant and its own running water system.


Was I telling you that if I stay with the fathers at the mission I will be commuting by canoe?  The department hires the canoe, and I operate it.  I guess I will have to learn to "paddle my own canoe" eh?  Those lessons that Father gave me on paddling in St. Peter's Bay (Prince Edward Island) are going to come in handy after all.


From what I have been able to find out, Lansdowne House is about 1½ hours flying time from Nakina.  However it is still in the forest area.  At least it isn't in the muskeg.  However they tell me that the black flies and mosquitoes are fierce in the late spring and fall.  But at least I won't have to worry about them this fall.




Boreal Forest or Taïga
Source:  Wikimedia



Mosquito
Source:  healthycanadians


Well, Darling, I must sign off now and get this in the mail and get to bed.  0630 hours comes mighty quickly in the morning.

Give my love to Louise, Roy, Donnie, Barbara, and Roberta and tell them I miss them, love them, and think about them all the time.
All my love,
Don.



To Be Continued ...

Links to other northern posts:
HR8: What My Father Didn't Tell My Mother

11 comments:

  1. Having to use outside plumbing would not be a thrill
    But at least no water bill lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat! I can absolutely tell you that outside plumbing in the summer is not fun! Fortunately, once I got to Lansdowne House, we had a chemical toilet inside. But it was my lovely job to take it to the community disposal site and dump it every day (family of seven!) ~ even at -50 F ~ not sure what that is in C, but -40 is the same on both scales. I hope that you are having a good day. I have two labs staying with us for the weekend. They take a lot of time and walking. Take care!

      Delete
  2. Commuting by canoe! How iconically Canadian!

    ReplyDelete
  3. He Debra! Yes ~ iconically Canadian. I've had a chance to experience so many iconically Canadian things! I hope you are having a great Friday. I have two big, four-footed houseguests that are demanding lots of attention. Try typing with one gold head and one black head under my two typing elbows! LOL! Take care!

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  4. Louise you are such a teaser! I thought for sure Dad would have been on the plane before you wrapped up this segment! I think it is interesting that Dad thought Mom would be more lonely being left behind - how can some one with 5 small children have the time!

    These posts are bringing back so many memories - or fake memories (I was only around 4-5 at the time). Keep the stories coming - Cheers, Barbie

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  5. Will do, Barb! I'm not a tease! I mean ~ what are the chances of the pilot breaking his leg playing baseball? I found out that there were only about 900 Norseman planes built. They're the ones that started killing pilots Dad flew with because the wings were falling off from metal fatigue. That's how Stu Martin died. Have a great weekend. XOX!

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  6. Such frustration for your father trying to get to a job and all these obstacles to jump. You are a clever so and so to leave us hangin' wantin' more!

    Ron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sophie! My comment to you yesterday disappeared! Hope all is well with you. My two doggie houseguests are keeping me hopping! Hope you're keeping the dads hopping too!

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    2. Hiccups in the universe I'd say. I hope you can handle the 4 leggers w/o any problems (if you know what I mean)...well trained I suspect!!

      FB isn't so-operating this morning for us...it's Monday morning the 21st...so guess what I'm learning more about G+ and hey gees maybe I should give it more attention.

      We listen to CBC radio on Monday mornings in particular, a techie fellow from Dartmouth now in Toronto who explains everything so clearly re: FB, the cyber world and such. Too bad you couldn't listen to him ~~ I know I've learned a lot.

      Beautiful sunny, blue sky day here...my brother and wife are back in Edmonton :-( other than that life moves on with a head cold ( 1st one in years).

      Hope all's well with you!!
      Ron

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  7. So hard for your parents to be apart, I am sure! I love reading these letters. They are so REAL, and speak of such different times. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. Hi Monica! Thank you for your kind words! I'm so glad that you are enjoying the letters! I've carried these letters around for the last thirty plus years. Adventures to come! Have a great weekend. I've been under the weather, but I'm feelng better now. I am looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs! Take care!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.