Friday, March 27, 2015

The Lansdowne Letters: Back into Circulation

I just realized 
as I was heading to bed, 
that it is Friday!
1:36 a.m., and my post isn't finished.

My clock is all scrambled
from two days of flying.

Fortunately I was able to finish 
most of this latest northern post
in the lobby of our Waikiki hotel ~
a challenge because it is an active place!


Our Busy Lobby Area

Good thing my father's letter
pretty much stands on its own!

Saturday, October 15, 1960 
My father wrote:

Hello There:
Here I am at the close of another day, 
just as uninteresting and devoid of news as yesterday.
It seems that when you are out 
of circulation for a while, 
you just get out of touch 
with what’s going on in the place.

We got up early this morning 
and got our house cleaning done early, 
and then sat around waiting for the mail plane, 
and worrying that perhaps 
it wouldn’t make it today either.  

Our prayers were answered about one thirty, 
when we saw the plane coming in from the southwest.  
I am telling you, 
it was a most welcome sight!!!!!

I had a most wonderful mail this week, 
six letters and a nice box from Sara, 
three letters from Mother, one from Mac, 
and one from the Rev. Mr. Neilson, 
the Anglican Padre at Fort Hope. 

Also, I got seven Guardians
six Poststwo Timesone True
and one Argosy.  


I really appreciated 
the box from Sara.  
It contained, 
among other things, 
a lovely cake 
and some delicious fudge.


I have enough reading matter 
to keep me going for quite a time.

It sure looks like freeze-up won’t be long now.  
It is getting quite chilly out.  
Will soon have to put on the long johns 
if it keeps getting colder at this rate.

Freezing Up in the Canadian North

This afternoon, Mike and Ann Flaherty 
and their baby Kathleen dropped in to see us.  
As you probably know (I think that I told you), 
Anne is an Ojibway girl.  

Her baby may be a half-breed, 
but it is one of the nicest babies 
that I have seen in a long time.  

Anne carries her in a tikinogan, 
and she looks so cute. 

 Not Anne and Kathleen ~
But it is an Ojibwa mother with her baby in a tikinogin.

The tikinogan is really the only practical way 
to transport a baby up here.  
Baby carriages are for the birds 
where there are no roads or sidewalks.  

Maureen and Dunc are planning to get a tikinagan 
when they have another child, if they are still in the North.

Tikinogan (left) and Moss Bag (right) 
Ojibway ~ Weagamow Lake, Northern Ontario, c. 1954 

We served Mike and Anne tea 
and some of Sara’s cake, 
and Anne wanted to know who the good cook was.  

Anne is the girl that I am going to be teaching 
grade five or six to when she and Mike get settled.  

It may seem queer to you people that 
a married woman would only have grade four or five, 
but believe me, Anne is one of the better 
and more ambitious of the Indians.  
A lot of the older ones only have grade one or two.  

It is so hard to get teachers to come to the North, 
that quite frequently the Indians 
only have a chance to get one or two grades.

Well, I guess that ties her up for the night.  
Will be seeing you all again tomorrow.

Bye for now,
Love, Don

I'll be more organized next week.
(I hope!)

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue


  1. That is sad they only got a few grades in many cases. Wow, looks like one happening lobby too

    1. Hey, Pat! I'm finally back ~ but I'm falling woefully behind your excellent example! Hope all is well with you!

  2. Tikinagans were clearly the forerunners of the car seats that everyone carries their babies in now, LOL!

    1. Never thought of that, Debra! But you're so right! Have a great week!

  3. Louise, your dad....such a wonderful man! Another amazing post, thank you so much for this.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I hope all is well with you! Hopefully, I'm back on track now! Have a good one!

  4. A baby carrier made like that would be the practical, warm and safe way up there, guess it would have a padded liner, and could have more round the whole outside if the weather got colder. Holiday lobby, does it all seem a wonderful dream? Thinking of your Dad, cake, fudge, and the letters publications, they would all be so appreciated and valued, and read again and again, how often did the plane fly in?

    1. Hi Jean! In one photo there is a tikinogin next to a moss bag. Traditionally the baby would be placed in a moss bag where the moss acted like a diaper. Then the moss bag would be secured to the cradleboard. Or sometimes the baby in the moss bag would be put inside the tikinogin. The moss absorbed urine and prevented diaper rash. Mom and Dad gave me a tikinogin for my doll when I went up north. I still have it, although it is a little warped. The plane came in once a week, if everything went according to plan, but during freeze-up and break-up planes could not land for five or six weeks (sometimes longer). That was hard, especially if there was a medical emergency. And yes, everything from home was enjoyed, and things like the fudge and publications would be shared. Have a great week!

  5. These letters are fascinating! I LOVE learning about your Dad's life! xx

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Kezzie! I'm glad that you enjoy them!

  6. I admire your Dad in his desire to help the people reach their potential with education and it must have been encouraging that they wanted to learn. Welcome back after your trip away. I'm only just getting back into a different routine after being away myself! Linda :)

    1. Hi Linda! I hope that you had an awesome time in Italy. My whole schedule is off, with trying to catch up after a month away, tax time, and my hubby retiring! I'll get it all evened out! Dad and Mom were always all about education with the students they taught, and most especially with us! We five all graduated from university, and we all have advanced degrees! Enjoy being home again!

  7. Welcome home Louise. It is much appreciated that you continued to blog even on vacation. ANd we didn't have to miss a FRiday without your dad's letters. You can tell how he looked forward to the arrival of that mail plane. He was so generous to share the cake knowing how much it meant to him. Your dad continues to win my admiration. You are giving us a glimpse into a completely difffernt society and how they coped with the rigors of life i the north. Thank you for continuing to share your father's life with us.

    1. Thanks, Peggy! It was a challenge to keep it going, but I was determined to! Terry's leaving town on April 7th for a week, and that week is going to be a lock the door and hide week to focus on my writing! I can't wait! I hope all is well with you! Have a great week!

  8. This my favourite 'weekly series' now, Louise! I look forward to it with anticipation.
    I am wondering what the children thought having Anne in their class at her age. It was a great example/role model for them to have.
    Have you ever heard from any of these people your father met and worked with after your family left the north?

    1. You are so awesome, Jim! You always encourage me!
      In the end, Dad tutored Anne at the nursing station after school. He and she felt more comfortable that way. Dad eventually put Barb in school as a four year old turning five to be an example for the kindie students ~ but she was a scamp and modeled some wrong things! LOL! The school and the nursing station were side by side.
      Yes, our family stayed in touch with some people over the years, especially with Father Ouimet and Jon and Fritz (Anne's brothers) who come into the story later.
      Have an awesome week!

  9. Welcome back!
    I bet fudge was a very welcome treat.
    And what Jim said - I enjoy these. You should make a book out of your father's letters.

    1. Thanks, Alex! I think now, today, I'm really back! I had the best time in Honolulu! I'm using Dad's letters as the base for my father's letter, but I may do something separately and stand alone with them. Happy Monday!

  10. The Ojibwa mother and baby are so beautiful. What an amazing picture.

    You were in Hawaii? Wow! I hope you had a great time. The weather has been rather rainy, but at least it's warm.

    1. Hi Kay! Yes we were in Hawaii. We had a fantastic time! I pretty much took a break from blogging while I was there, so I'll be posting about our trip in the near future. Hawaii is my favorite escape from winter. Have a happy Monday!


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