Friday, November 25, 2016

The Lansdowne Letters: The Greatest Blessing

On this Thanksgiving weekend I am thinking about all that we are blessed with,
about the peace, opportunity, and material wealth we have as Americans.
But I often wonder why are some so fortunate and why others have it so hard.

The First Thanksgiving ~ by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
circa 1912-1915

Rich or poor, around the world,
there is one blessing that sustains most of us,
and that is family.
The most wonderful, powerful force in my life has been my family:
my parents, my siblings, and of course, 
Terry who has made my life a joy and an adventure.

Terry and I waiting for the Prince Kūhiō Parade
Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii
March 13, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Some of My Extended Family
Jake, Roberta (My sister), Natalie, Olivia, Heather
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada  Summer 2016
iPhoto by (Maybe) Sara Heembrock

When we arrived in Lansdowne House, we were already a closely-knit family,
and our experiences in the North bound us more tightly together.
Even today, separated by long distances, we are unusually close.
We love nothing more than to get together,
and this closeness has continued into the next generation.

Some of the Next Generation
Sara, Jake, Heather, Natalie
Jeffrey, Andrew, and Gavin
My sister Donnie and Martin's House
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada  Summer 2016
iPhoto by (Maybe) Donalda MacBeath

As for Terry,
I can’t imagine my life
without his calm, steady
support and love.

Binion's Photo     

It was difficult for my father to be separated from my mother
and his children for almost six lonely months.
He wrote on February 24, 1961 to his extended family:

"It was sure great to see them!!!!  
Everyone knew me except the baby.  
She was quite strange with me
for a while, but she is over it now
and going around saying,
"Hi, Dad” just like a trooper.

She is the most adorable Baby,
but then maybe I am prejudiced.
Gretchen remembered me and just
about went foolish when she saw me.”

Baby Bertie, February 1961
Thanks to my cousin Dawn MacDonald White for this photo

I’ve been badgering my brother to share his memories 
of Lansdowne House with me.
He and I are likely the only white people who lived there then
who are alive now and have detailed memories.
In spite of his challenging job at Kufpec in Kuwait City,
Roy is writing down a few thoughts about Lansdowne House
and sharing them with me.  He prods my memory, and I prod his.

My Brother Roy and Me
Breckenridge, Colorado, USA, July 2016
Photo by Susan MacBeath
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I am grateful every day
for the incredible parents
I was blessed with,
and this long process of working
with their letters and photos
has lessened the pain of their loss.

Sara and Don, First Christmas Together
With John and Esther (Mom's brother)
Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia, 1948
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

I thought in honor of Thanksgiving and the blessing of my family,
I would share what Roy wrote for me about our parents
in November, this year:

“I was blessed with highly intelligent and loving parents
who cared for their children more than themselves,
and gave everything they had to us.  

They were a hard working and passionate couple with rich personalities,
and with inquisitive and interrogative but also very different outlooks on life.
They were very lucky in that they were, as teachers,
able to share their professional lives with each other.

Life can be kind and it can be cruel.
They were not perfect and definitely had their ups and downs,
as does any couple with spirit and soul.
But regardless, they were the anchor of our lives,
and they passed their values and their attitudes on to their children.  

The five of us siblings shared equally in both their love and their care,
and their constant encouragement to find and live our dreams.
As a nine year old, I idolized them both and felt boundless security in their presence.
As an adult, I look back and understand the blessings they gave us;
and that they are and were the finest people I have ever met in my lifetime.
I know exactly where the courage and confidence to chase my dreams came from.” 

We Five:  Barbie, Me, Bertie, Roy, and Donnie
Lac Seul, Northern Ontario, Canada Summer 1961
Photo likely by John Garrick
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Roy and Susan with Their Daughter Heather
Beautiful Cove, Long Island Nova Scotia  Summer 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

Hold your loved ones in your heart every day.
Cherish them, because life is unpredictable,
and you never know when you may lose someone you love.

I wish my American family and friends joy in each other
this Thanksgiving weekend.
When everything is stripped down to the one essential in life,
we find unconditional love.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Point Prim
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
Photo by Roy MacBeath 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. Happy Thanksgiving! I can image that living up north like that did bring you closer together.

    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Sage! I hope you had a lovely day with your family and friends!

  2. What? So you are really a millionaire and never told anyone? haha

    Living up there sure would make a family even closer indeed. Prodding memories can sure help each other remember too.

    1. That's the closest I've gotten to putting my hands on a million bucks, LOL!!! I wish Roy were closer, so I could prod him better. It's hard not being able to talk with him. Enjoy your weekend, Pat!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! Love the photo of the 5 of you and those 3 big fish!

    1. Thanks, Debra! Those fish were lake trout that John and Fritz (our Meti landlords) caught in Lac Seul. Have a great weekend!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing Roy's words.All too often, we realise a long time later how much our parents gave, made huge sacrifices, and influenced our own lives. Down here, we have so much to be thankful for . What a super photo of you all with those trout.

    1. Hi, Jean! Thanks for your kind words about my brother's words. He and I feel exactly the same about our parents, and I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm sure that New Zealand is an amazing place to live! I long to see it. That picture of us with the trout is a classic ~ taken at the time photos were too expensive for people to take more than a few times a year. We've kept up the tradition of taking photos of "we five." It's quite chilly in the desert right now; it cools down rapidly at night. It is starkly beautiful. I haven't seen a burro yet ~ #1 on my list. Hope all is well with you and Hugh, hope all the kitties are feeling 100%. Sending you big hugs!

  5. Happy American Thanks Giving Louise - this post was wonderful (as always) hugs your sister Barb

    1. Thanks, Barb! Didn't Roy express wonderfully how good our parents were? It brought tears to my eyes, because I miss them so much. I'm getting by fairly well in our little 400 sq. ft. trailer. I just wish I had convenient access to the internet.

      I getting quite familiar with alluvial fans and piedmont surfaces! I always wish I had taken a geomorphology class, because landscapes fascinate me. The highest peaks around here are small granite plutons. Dr. Nathan did his PhD thesis on a small pluton in Nevada. I'd love to read that!

      Have a great weekend!

  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Louise! Your post is, as always, a real joy, and I love all your photos. Thank you so much for sharing, my cherished friend.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I always appreciate your encouraging words. We had a nice Thanksgiving. It was a low key day. We went out for dinner and took it easy. The library has been on reduced hours this weekend, so it's been harder for me to get on line. I hope you are enjoying a pleasant Saturday and are looking forward to a great week. I'll get by, as I can. Right now, I'm trying to at least answer all my comments. Sending you lots of hugs and love, my special Montreal friend!

  7. Replies
    1. Hi, Adam! I hope you and Daisy had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family. I'll bet those cute nieces and nephews had fun! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  8. What a beautiful, sweet post. The photo of you with your brother tells me that he loves you.


    1. Hi, Janie! Thank you for your kind words! I have never doubted my brother's love, and I am very fortunate to have it. I have had very little access to internet in the past few days, so I'm way behind in visiting blogs. I'll be by yours asap. I hope your Thanksgiving was happy and fun. Sending you a big hug!

    2. It was a pleasant, peaceful Thanksgiving with Willy Dunne Wooters. I send a big hug back to you, my dear.

  9. What a beautiful and heartfelt post, Louise.
    You were are are blessed to have such a wonderfully supportive family.
    Three cheers for your parents!! They did well!!

    1. Thanks, Jim! My parents were awesome, and I continue to be blessed with a wonderfully supportive family! Sending you, Ron, and Ms SD love and hugs!

  10. What a great post, Louise! You have been blessed with an amazing family. I know that feeling!

    1. Thanks, Martha! You and I are indeed fortunate! Sorry I have been so in and out of blogging ~ I'm in a place with no internet, so I have to go to a library to access it. I'm traveling again today, but tomorrow I'll be home. I hope to catch up again then. Hope all is well with you and TMAMITW! Sending you love and hugs!

  11. realizing one's blessing is biggest blessing itself .
    i loved your precious post .
    it warmed my heart.

    1. Thank you, Baili, with your kind comment. It warmed my heart! I'm flying today, but I look forward to reading your blog as soon as I can.


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