Friday, July 17, 2015

The Lansdowne Letters: Human Refuse 2 Revisited

While I continue to chase Bucket List dreams,
here is a repost of my second Lansdowne House post
first published on November 28, 2012:

Where to begin?
I planned to go to bed last night at a reasonable time 
and wake up before our 5:20 a.m. alarm.
Instead I stayed up until almost 2:00 a.m. 
reading some of my father's letters.

Some of My Dad's Letters
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I didn't wake up until almost 10:00 a.m.
My ever-patient husband had gone to work 
lunchless over three hours earlier.
He had left behind a pot of coffee
and the newspaper just outside the front door 
where I could reach it easily.
He is so good, and I am so bad!

I couldn't stop reading my father's words,
his hopes, his dreams, his worries and fears, 
his love for my mom.
It breaks my heart every time 
because I know how the story ended.
Not just for him, but for others.

My father Around Three or Four
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

So I headed down to Terry's office in our finished basement,
and I looked at the awful mess everywhere.
The manic had been at it again!

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

Strewn about were books, photos, research papers, and letters.

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

Many of these items I have lugged about for decades.

Letters and Papers
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue

All Rights Reserved

The first step yesterday seemed so easy!
The Beginning!
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue

All Rights Reserved

The next step seems so hard!
I will do this, if I have to do it 
one word, sentence, or paragraph at a time!

Human Refuse 2:  Lansdowne House

     Lansdowne House is a northern outpost on Lake Attawapiskat in the James Bay region of northern Ontario.  It has moved and changed since I first went there.  In 1961 fur trapping supported the community, and much of the village activity was centered about the Hudson Bay Company trading post at the end of the peninsula.  Without a constant supply of rich furs:  beaver, otter, mink, fox, and muskrat, the community would have ceased to exist.  Clustered about the Bay was a nursing station, a Department of Transport weather station, a vacant forestry bunkhouse, and an Anglican school.  

     Offshore from the Hudson Bay Company was a small island known locally as "the Father's Island."  The Father's Island was the site of an Oblate Mission and school run by Father Maurice Ouimet, a French-Canadian Roman Catholic priest who devoted most of his adult life to working among the Ojibawa Indians of the region.  The homes of the Indians and the handful of white people were scattered about the government, Bay, and church buildings.   

     With the arrival of my family the white population swelled from thirteen to twenty.  The Indian population fluctuated depending on the season.  Sometimes the winter trapping season emptied the village of Indians, leaving a scant 150 to 200 people behind.  During the summer canoes would glide in from the lakes and the rivers in the surrounding wilderness and the population would balloon to 800 or 900 Ojibawa Indians and many hundreds of hungry sled dogs.

  The Father's Island 
as Seen from the Hudson Bay Dock
Fall 1960
Photo by Father Ouimet
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Note:  Another computer mystery.
I can't remove either of the duplicate photos
without wiping out my post.
So I guess there will be two!

Parts of my post keep disappearing and reappearing.
It's beyond me!


  1. It is so nice to see your beginning posts nod how you came about sharing these with us. Each post is like opening an envelope and reading and discovering diamonds. Your stories are so interesting, unusual and full of details. You must write. be made into a movie.

    I know you are enjoying your wonderful vacation. Knock off those items on your bucket list.

  2. That is quite the low population. I thought my town was small lol

  3. Louise, you are so blessed to have your father's letters, and I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts! If I had all these treasures and letters from my beloved late father, I would have stayed up until 2 a.m. reading them as well!

  4. Letters, true treasures, read on, and as we share those words, are taken to the remote Landsdowne House settlement too. Enjoy every day wherever you are.

  5. Really great work you are doing, and delightful read too. Greetings!

  6. Hi everyone ~ from a McDonalds in Great Falls, Montana. McDs usually has internet; no so in Revelstoke, BC. We left Calgary this morning and are in the home stretch for Colorado. Thanks for all your kind comments. Perhaps I can get a few replays in tonight at our hotel.


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