Saturday, October 19, 2013

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

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