Saturday, October 19, 2013

HR10: Touchdown Lansdowne House ~ Finally!

Wednesday, September 14, 1960
My father wrote 
(with a carbon copy to his mother):

Dear Sally,  
         Well I finally made it to Lansdowne House.  I was beginning to think that I would never make it.  As you know by now, I was stuck in Nakina for four days on account of bad weather.

This is the Norseman that I flew
from Nakina into Lansdowne House.

The company maintenance man  
and the pilot Rudolph Hoffman "Rudie"
(at the extreme right of the picture).

They have just finished refueling,
and we are ready to go.

D. B. MacBeath, September 13, 1960

         I arrived at Lansdowne House by plane yesterday.  It took us one hour and forty-five minutes to make the trip.  We were bucking a twenty-five mile an hour headwind all the way.

This is a picture taken from the Norseman
just as we were crossing the Albany River
which is about halfway between
Nakina and Lansdowne House.
You can see the Albany River down to the right.

D. B. MacBeath, September 13, 1960

Flight Path
Connect the three red dots in the upper left:
Nakina to Fort Hope to Lansdowne House.
The line will pass over the Albany River.

National Geographic Society:  Canada
Washington D.C., November, 1985

         I spent yesterday getting settled in for the winter, getting unpacked, and putting everything away in the proper place.  I haven’t started school yet, and it looks like I won’t be starting for a while.  Someone goofed and goofed rather badly.  

         They have a beautiful new school, but there isn’t a stick of furniture in it.  No desks, no chairs, teacher’s desk, or what have you.  I immediately got on the radio and contacted the Department of Indian Affairs at Nakina to ask them what I was to do.  It is utterly impossible to teach school with no furniture in the school.

         Also, if I don’t start soon, I will have no Indians to teach.  Already some of them have come to the conclusion that there is going to be no school this year, and have pulled out of Lansdowne bag, baggage, and families for the winter trap lines.

         My roommate, or rather my bunkmate companion for the winter is a very nice chap by the name of Uno Manilla.  You will probably think the same as I thought at first, that he is either Italian or Spanish.  Actually, he is of Finnish extraction.  He is very young, but he has taught Indians before.

         We have a nice unpretentious little two-room cottage to live in.  The front room we use for a living room, washroom, cloakroom, and general store room.  The back room we use for a bedroom, a library, and study.

Dad is standing outside his "cottage"
which he sometimes referred to as a shack.
He and Uno shared the two room "cottage."

Lansdowne House, Fall 1960

         We are renting it from the priest for fifteen dollars a month each.  For this we get the house, fuel, and lights.  We eat at the Father’s, and he charges two and a half dollars a day each.  This is very reasonable considering the price of food up here.  The prices are out of this world.  Everything has to be flown in, and the transportation costs are added to the original costs.

For instance, 
a bottle of Coke costs 35¢ up here.                        
I had my first and my last bottle 
the day I arrived. 

I nearly dropped 
when the clerk at the Hudson’s Bay 
asked me for 35¢ 
after I had drunk the Coke. 

I had just come in and opened a Coke 
like I would at Charlie’s.

(Charlie Munroe's neighborhood grocery store 
in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island).  

However, it is just as well.  
Coke is very fattening, 
and I am trying to loose weight.

Source:  Wikipedia

Well goodbye for now,
(Letter to be continued)

Some Additional Photos

Austin Airways Cessna 180
It is only a two passenger airplane,
and it was too small to take Dad and all his luggage
from Nakina to Lansdowne House.

D. B. MacBeath, September 13, 1960

This is just a typical Northern Ontario lake.
I guess that Rudie and I flew over
at least a hundred of these
on the way up to Lansdowne House.

D. B. MacBeath, September 13, 1960

I tried to take a picture of Lansdowne House
as we were landing, but I double exposed it.
I took a picture of my luggage on top of it.
However, if you look carefully, you can see
the Father's Island, the peninsula, and other islands
in Lake Attawapiskat.

D. B. MacBeath, September 13, 1960

A modern color photo from a modern bush plane.
Source:  Steve Disher


  1. He sure went all over the place there
    Ontario does seem to be one big lake filled lair

    1. Hi Pat! I've had the good fortune to fly in bush planes in Northern Ontario; and yes, it's more water than land. Just an amazing place! I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I'm having fun with my furry four-footed houseguest. I walked miles and miles with them! Take care!

  2. How fortunate you are Louise to have these 'accounts' of your father. He must have been a very patient man to be willing to 1st. live there, 2nd. live in the shack, and 3rd. appear to be happy about the whole thing. I know he had a sense of adventure, so I guess 'roughing it' was all part of the adventure.
    Guess it's 'in your family's blood' to love to travel You all learned well!!
    Thanks for sharing this. Shoveling snow I hear.....

    1. Hi Jim! I am fortunate to have my Dad's letters. I've lugged them around for decades! My sisters are really bugging me to get more written up ~ and I have something of a system in place now, so I'm off and writing! Dad loved being in the North, as did I, once I got up there. I always intended to go back to the North when I grew up. But then I just had to go on a blind date in Madrid, Spain, and end up in California! Yeah ~ we had snow. But I didn't have to shovel. We have a SW facing driveway (no accident!), and when that sun starts beating down the snow vanishes. However if we have 24, 30, 38, or 42 inches, it does take a little longer! And lots of shoveling! But ~ our townhouse dues cover snow shovelers ~ so I've rarely had to pitch that snow! Have a great Sunday night!

  3. Amazing life life your dad had there!
    And what footage he left you!
    Maybe you should consider writing a book!
    I know I should with my grand-father who was quite a pioneer in Nicaragua building there the first cement factory!
    But I am always so busy elsewhere!!
    I will probably settle now for a couple of weeks before returning to Spain!
    Many thanks for your very sweet comment, but no, taking bird pics is no easy task...
    I have to get on site before dawn, carry heavy stuff... my 500mm lens alone weighs 4Kg!
    Plus tent, tripod, etc... with no guaranty that the birds will be there!
    Anyhow, when I get good results, it was all the more worth it!
    Cheers, Fundy, keep well!

    1. Hi Noushka! I am floundering around working on a book! I have no idea how to write one, so I'm just writing and posting for now. I am the sibling with the letters and the photos (only a few dozen), so I have the responsibility to do something with them. I don't have your patience ~ You get amazing pictures, and I know that a huge amount of work goes into getting those shots. What just strikes me about your photography is that the birds are so full of life and in their natural state. Your pictures are breathtaking! Enjoy your brief time at home before you head off to Spain. Take Care!

  4. That must have been one bumpy ride....

    I so enjoy these bits of your family history - thanks for the links at the end!

    1. Hi Sue! Yeah, I'm sure it was a bumpy ride! I've had the pleasure of bumping around in a bush plane a few times myself! I think those memories are one of the reasons I got such a kick out of Harrison Ford's movie "Six Days Seven Nights" because I had actually flown in a Beaver something like the one that crashed in the movie. I'm glad that you are enjoying my family's history. I am doing it in bits because I know that reading a lot of words on a post can be hard on the eyes. I'm hoping as I post, to find a way to put things into a book, a memoir ~ but I'm just finding my way as I go. I hope that all is well with you. I'll be catching up on blogs very soon ~ I've been bucking a bad cold, entertaining two furry, four-footed friends who need lots of walking, being out of town, and having company! Take care, and thanks for leaving a comment!

  5. I love these posts! I really need to tell my Dad to start writing some letters to someone......these are just a fascinating account. Hope you had a lovely weekend, Louise!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Audrey! I was under the weather with the same bad cold last weekend that cancelled our trip to the mountains the weekend before. But we had my sister-in-law's two labradors with us, so it wasn't a lost cause! I hope that your week has gotten off to a great start! *hugs*

  6. Oh my, this is so fascinating. Also, did he really write "loose" some weight? That is just what people write on the internet now, I always thought it was "lose" weight.
    Hope you are doing well, Louise and having a great October! xx

    1. Hi Kay! I am so behind on commenting, posting, and reading blogs! Sorry! I have two big four-footed houseguests, and they have been keeping me hopping! They are my sister-in-law's labradors, and they are the sweetest and loveliest dogs. It's been almost 30 years since I've spent time caring for dogs, and I have been having just the best time! Yes, my Dad did say "loose" weight. I also misspell the same word. I'm always checking it, and I think I learned it from him! LOL! I've had a bad cold for forever now ~ It just keeps coming back. But today I'm feeling pretty good. I hope you are having a great October too! I will get to everyone's blogs. I just have to focus! xx back at you!

  7. Great job so far Louise! I'm Glad Dad finally made it to Landsdownhouse :) Cheers, Barb

    1. Hey Barb! Lots more to come! Do you remember flying on the bush planes? The last time I flew was with John Garrick from Hudson to Two Point. I would so love to fly again. Big planes just aren't the same! XOX!

  8. Hi Louise - Do you need a picture of Uno? I'm pretty sure there is one - but the wall might have to be photo shopped :)

    1. Hey Dutchess! I have a couple of pictures of Uno ~ I'm just trying to ration them. I'd be happy to get copies of anything you have!!!! Just call me a picture hoarder! I tried to call you earlier this afternoon, but you weren't home. XOX!

  9. I am astounded at the fact that you found a video on YouTube of the exact plane landing that your father experienced so many years ago. I am just so amazed, Louise.
    I, also, am amazed at what your father had to endure on this adventure. I am trying to put myself in his shoes and am having a very hard time with it.
    I really appreciate that you are opening up mine and other's eyes to what parents will do for their loved ones.
    Waiting patiently for more.

    1. Hey Ron! I have been kidnapped by two doggies! I have been having such fun with them. They are very loving ~ especially Gracie who follows me everywhere! We've been going on long, long walks, and playing, and hanging out together. Noreen better come home soon because I will have them totally spoiled. You can find just about anything on YouTube, I think. I spend a lot of time looking for things. I'm glad that you are enjoying the posts. I was on a roll until my houseguests showed up. Still medicated for my !@#$%^ cold, but I'm feeling much better than I was. Have you noticed I have trouble staying focused? LOL! Hugs to you all, and a really good belly rub to Sophie Doodle! I have been giving a lot of belly rubs out ~ but I'm sending SD my best one. Hope you all are having a great weekend. It is gorgeous and warm here! Take care!

    2. HEY again ~~~ Sophie just said she wanted to see your house guests,after all she needs more doggy followers.
      Sorry to hear about your cold ~~~ I just am getting over the 1st one in years, last Saturday it started while doing Jim's photo-shoot with his sister, friend and son. I was so sick and don't bother me stuff. It's history now but I sure hope it's the only one this year. I plan on getting the flu shot this year because last year I didn't and I had the flu so bad. Jim won't get it so we'll see what happens with us.
      Have a good Sunday and one more thing we went to Grande Pre today to The Deportation French Cross at Horton landing. I did a post on it. It was good to surround ourselves in history for awhile.


    3. Hey Ron and Sophie!
      My houseguests just left ~ they were quite labor intensive, but in a happy way! And Sophie, I'll be posting about them! You can tell the dads, Sophie, that I am really impressed with their photographic skills, after trying to photograph Gracie and Ruffus! I am amazed at all your stellar portraits, Sophie! Of course, I think you just know how to work the camera, Gurlfriend!
      Ruffus is a black lab with deep brown eyes. He comes out as a black blob! And Gracie (wow, I just got interrupted for two hours!) Gracie what? She's a camera hog ~ don't know where she learned that posing skill, but she is definitely a blonde diva!
      I almost hesitate to say this, in case I tempt the Universe, but I plan on being back on-line tomorrow!
      I'm finally almost clear of this cold ~ I actually was able to skip my inhaler for the first time in a month! Yeah, I hate that thing. I'm glad your cold is done! Do get that flu shot! I, as an elementary teacher who was exposed to everything, got it every year. I got the pneumonia shot this year too, and I'm going back to the doctor for a whooping cough shot. Whooping cough is on the rise again. I'll definitely be looking at your deportation post and all the others! Just give me a few weeks of regular life! LOL!
      Take care! Hugs to you all!

  10. This is my first visit here, and the post and photos are fascinating.

  11. Hi Terra! Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by my blog! I'm glad that you found the post and photos interesting! I plan to post more on my Dad's adventures in the North. And I'll be checking out your blog! Take care!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.