Friday, July 31, 2015

The Lansdowne Letters: Human Refuse 4 Revisited ~ Indoctrination

A long trip chasing Bucket List Dreams
seemed like a great idea,
but it has wreaked havoc on my blogging.

It's 1:23 am on June 23, 2015
and I'm reposting the next
in a series of my earliest Lansdowne Letters
from 4/13/13:

Indoctrination was the purpose 
of my father's trip to Sault Ste. Marie
before he departed for Lansdowne House
in the Northern Ontario bush.

Lansdowne House
is somewhere 
to the left of the word

We're talking 
wild and remote
at that time!

Map of the 
James Bay Region 
in Northern Ontario 
and Quebec

Aerial View of Northern Ontario Wilderness:  
Water (white) and Land (dark blue-green)

Location of Lansdowne House
Sketch Based on Map of Ontario from 
Atlas of North America:
Space Age Portrait of a Continent
National Geographic 1985, pages 166-167.

In September 1960,
the Education Division of the Indian Affairs Branch
of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration
held a one-day course 
to introduce novice teachers to their assignments
before sending them to remote areas in the north.

Dad later wrote of this introduction
in an undated paper called The Northern School Teacher
in the summer of 1965 or 1966:
Far from being encouraging and informative,
the introduction I received in my orientation course
was a veritable nightmare 
of half-truths, outright falsehoods, rumors,
and misrepresentation of facts which,
instead of being informative, helpful, and reassuring,
left me so mixed up, frustrated, and apprehensive
that I almost resigned there and then
and returned home.

My father quickly connected with
two fellow Islanders 
to spend the orientation day with,
Preston MacAskil from Charlottetown
and Frances Rooney from Vernon River,
Prince Edward Island.
After a disheartening day, 
Dad returned to the Windsor Hotel 
to write letters to his Sally and his mother.

Well, I have been 
finding out 
some things 
about my new home.

I believe I will be 
teaching all grades 
from primary to grade 6.

A lot of the 
primary children 
will be learning 
English for the first time. 

I will have between 20 and 30 pupils, I think.  
The Indians belong to the Ojibway tribe, 
with some Crees.  
(This will all have to be confirmed later.)

Traditional Range of the Oji-cree
(Ojibway and Cree) Shown in Violet:
Includes the Indians of Lansdowne House,

There is another interesting feature.
If I stay with the Catholic teacher
at the Catholic Mission,
I will be living on an island in Lake Attawapiskat. 
The Protestant school,
the Hudson Bay Post, and 
the Department of Transport Meteorological Station
are on the mainland.

The island is about 50 yards from shore,
and I will have to go to and from the island by canoe.
Rental for the canoe will be paid for
by the Department of Indian Affairs.

Northern Ontario Canoe

I have another alternative.
The Protestant Padre at Fort Hope,
who is also the teacher there
and who commutes to Lansdowne House
on a hit or miss basis about once a month,
told me I could live at the Forestry building,
but that I would be alone there.
I don't think I could stand that.

However, all this will be settled when I get in,
and I will tell you all about it. 

There is no resident Protestant Padre at Lansdowne House.
There are two Catholic priests (I think),
the manager of the Husdon Bay Store and his wife,
two clerks (don't know if they are married),
two Department of Transportation men and their families,
a nurse, and a sizable Indian reservation.

Well I must sign off for now.
I don't know my mailing address as yet,
but when I do,
I will let you know so you can write to me.

Bye now, Darling.
I am very lonesome for you.
Give my love to the children.

Letter to Sally:  September 7, 1960


             Give My Love to the Children 

Louise in an Apple Tree in Grammie's Back Yard, Smith's Cove, Fall 1959
Donnie, Barbie, Louise with Bertie, Gretchen (dachshund), and Roy,
Front Yard, Margarettesville, Nova Scotia, April 1959

To be continued...

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scavenger Hunt: July 2015 ~ Alaska and the Inside Passage

I'm sorry I missed June's scavenger hunt,
I didn't get the post finished before a long trip
to isolated places with questionable or no internet.

Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
See the splash from ice breaking off the glacier.
You can hear the ice crackling and popping as it moves!

I hope that these past two months 
have been good ones
and that you've had lots of fun
hunting down photographs!

Yours Truly Caught in the Act
by my niece Heather in June
Plains Conservation Center, Aurora, Colorado

1.  D is for Denali
 Tundra in Denali National Park and Preserve

Scratch off another bucket list item!
I made it to Denali National Park and Preserve
in the interior of Alaska.

It's hard to imagine the sheer size of this wilderness
with 6,000,000 acres or 24,500 square kilometers
of taiga, tundra, and glaciers.
Denali is magnificent!

The Taiga Forest in Denali

The Polychrome Glaciers in Denali

Everyone wants to see animals in Denali.
We saw grizzly bears, dall sheep, and caribou,
but most of them were quite far away.


Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America
with an elevation of 20,237 feet or 6,618 meters.

It is the largest mountain in the world entirely above sea level
with a base-to-peak rise of about 18,000 feet or 5,500 meters.

2.  Wide
Wide Waters on the Inside Passage

More Wide Waters on the Inside Passage

Sailing through the Inside Passage 
from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seward, Alaska
was spectacular!

We were able to move through the narrow Grenville Channel
which squeezes to a width of 1400 feet or 427 meters.

Moving Into Narrow Waters on the Inside Passage

Grenville Channel, British Columbia
Inside Passage

3.  Edge
Denali Road on the Edge

To drive more than 14 miles or 24 kilometers into Denali,
you have to ride a Tundra Wilderness or other bus.
Negotiating zigzagging, narrow, dirt roads
overlooking steep drop-offs in a bus
is a scary experience if you don't like heights!

I couldn't look out the window when I took these photos,
I just held my camera by it and clicked!

Braided Rivers Loaded with Glacial Sediments

4.  Cylindrical
Seward Coal Loading Facility

When I see something interesting,
I want to know what it is and how it works.

This long cylinder moves coal on a conveyor belt
where it is loaded into the holds of coal transport ships.

Railcars bring coal to the facility.
It is stockpiled and then moved to a transport ship
when one arrives at the port.

Since no coal transport ship was at the port, 
I used a Flickr photo to show the ship loader at work.

Loading a Coal Transport Ship
Flickr:  Tom Brady Edited   License

5.  Feelings
Trippy Feeling

What a triply feeling it is to ride 1800 feet or 550 meters
up the side of Mount Roberts in Juneau, Alaska!

If you ride the cable car, you land at a restaurant, theater, 
shops, nature center, and hiking trails about halfway
up the 3,819 foot or 1,164 meter Mount Roberts.

One popular hike is to Father Brown's Cross.
In 1906 Father Brown, a Jesuit priest and avid hiker in Juneau,
began building a trail up Mount Roberts with other volunteers.
They finished in 1908 and erected the cross 
to commemorate the trail's completion.
The original cross has been replaced a number of times.

This is one of my first attempts
to take a selfie with my camera.
More practice needed!

6.  Mysterious
Bridge Windows on the Zaandam

I longed to see what went on behind 
the mysterious windows of the bridge.
It would be such fun to tour it.
I found some stairs that led to a window
where I could peek inside,
but a smiling sailor inside chased me away.


Bears on the Bridge

7.  Weed
Clover in Ketchikan

Fireweed on the Way to Denali


8.  Joke
Creek Street, Ketchikan

9.  Pile
Shavings Pile Up on a Carver's Floor
Potlatch Park, Ketchikan

10.  Speed
A Float Plane Gathers Speed for Take-Off
Ketchikan, Alaska

11.  Night
 A Ship Passes in the Night

At the beginning of July this far north,
the night sky doesn't get completely dark
although the sun does dip below the horizon.

12.  Whatever You Want
The Elephant in the Room

Towel Elephant on the Zaandam

Breathtaking Glacier Bay

An Eagle in Glacier Bay

Tidewater Glacier

Happy hunting in August! 

August's List:

Walk,  Horizontal,  Square,  Diversity,  Rough,  Bow,  Joy
Forgotten,  Crowd,  Colourless,  Friendly,  Whatever you want

Thanks to Jill (Greenthumb) 
and her Made with Love blog 
for setting up the scavenger hunt.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Lansdowne House Letters: Human Refuse 3 Revisited ~ A Northern Teacher Departs

Back again with another repost
of my earliest northern posts.
It was a couple of months before
I could tackle Human Refuse 3,
but I did so on February 1, 2013.

I'll be home and publishing new material soon.

It was just happenstance that my family landed in the North.  
In the summer of 1960 my father was planning 
to return to Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, 
to pursue his Bachelor of Education.

University Hall, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

On a whim, prompted by curiosity, 
my father answered an advertisement for a teaching job 
in the Church of England Indian Day School 
at Lansdowne House on Lake Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario.

Lake Attawapiskat:  Look for it Under the Second T 
in the Word Attawapiskat 
inland from Akimiski Island, James Bay

 Note also:  Sault Ste. Marie
Between Lake Superior and Lake Huron 

He was hired almost immediately; 
and, although he jokingly liked to think 
that his speedy acceptance was due to his qualifications, 
my father knew that it was largely because of 
how desperate the Indian Affairs Branch was 
for teachers at that time.  
It was an offer too good to resist.

On the day my father left, the letters began - 
letters that have come to me for safe-keeping.  
The first I have was written by my mother 
to my father's mother, Myrtle Jane (Pratt) MacBeath, 
on September 4, 1960.

When I touch these faded pages, 
I feel my mother’s presence and her unwavering love, 
not just for me, 
but also for her husband, children, and extended family.  
These letters are among my most precious possessions.

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I'm trying to imagine what it was like for my parents 
that last evening before my father left.
Dad was heading into isolation, 
and Mom was staying in Nova Scotia 
with five children aged one to ten.  

My parents had no idea how long they would be apart; 
but, they faced separation and difficulty 
in the hope of improving their financial circumstances.  

They shared a dream 
that all five of their children would go to university; 
and, not just any university, 
but Acadia University, their alma mater. 

At that time and place, 
university was a given for a son. 
But four girls?  
That was considered a waste of good money.

Donald Blair MacBeath and Sara Margaret MacBeath
Acadia University, 1950
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved


There was so much unspoken in the words my mother wrote 
the day my father left Smith’s Cove for Halifax, 
Charlottetown, and on to Ontario:

I imagine Don will be on his way North when you receive this.
We certainly hated to see him go
and are lonely already without him ...

Don and I spent last evening with Grammy at Aunt Nan's.  
It was a beautiful night, 
and we watched the sea in the moonlight 
and enjoyed the fireplace.

Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved

The second letter is from my father to his Sally,
September 7, 1960.
Travel was quite different then: 

I arrived in Sault Ste. Marie 
after a very tiresome trip from Char’town (Charlottetown).  

I left at 11:45 a.m. 
& didn’t arrive at the Windsor Hotel
until 12:30 p.m. (1:30 your time).

Sault Ste. Marie

I had to wait 2 hours & 30 minutes in Moncton, 
55 minutes in Montreal, 
& 3 hours in Toronto.  

Then when I arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, 
I had another unpleasant surprise.  

There is no airport in Canadian Sault Ste. Marie.  
We landed in Michigan at a USAF base 
& had to drive by bus to our hotel.  

What with waiting for ferries etc., 
it took 1 1/2 hours to get from the plane to the hotel – 
just about as long as it took to get from Toronto 
to Sault St. Marie.

Sault Ste. Marie:  Aerial picture of the Soo Locks 
between Lake Superior and Lake Huron 
dividing the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, USA (right) 
and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada (left).

I almost missed the plane in Toronto.  
I didn’t hear them call the departure of the flight.  
When I realized what had happened, 
I dashed out to see the aircraft 
just as they had closed the door & taken away the ramp.
However the stewardess saw me through the window 
& notified the pilot.  
He cut back the engine, 
they put up the ramp again, & I got aboard.  
I felt mighty foolish, I can tell you.

© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue 
All Rights Reserved

To be continued …

Note:  I’m figuring out my way as I go for it.

I would appreciate any constructive criticism.

Is it interesting?
Appropriate length and details? 
Helpful visuals?

I hope, as I get into the story
that you, kind readers,
will find the North as compelling as my family and I did.
Thank you for your support as I go through this process.

Much further along in the journey,
I appreciate your support and encouragement even more!

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue