Monday, March 07, 2011

Dale Evans aka Marilee

When I was seven I got a Dale Evans' outfit and a Roy Rogers' doll. I still have part of the Dale Evans' costume, but all else is lost. On Saturdays, my sister, my cousins and I would go to the Queen Theatre in St Stephen to the Matinee. Most often the main feature would be a cowboy movie; Durango Kid, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry and my favourite Roy Rogers! I loved Roy and his beautiful Palomino horse, Trigger. Dale Evans was the only cowgirl we ever saw on the big screen. How I wanted to be her. To be married to Roy Rogers and riding beside him on my pinto pony named Buttermilk.
Roy was handsome, kind and fearless. And he sang. Sometimes he sang with his cowpokes " The Sons of the Pioneers" and sometimes he'd sing a duet with Dale. At the end of every movie to the tune of "Happy Trails" Trigger would rear up on his hind legs, Roy would wave his cowboy hat and ride off into the sunset....
I found this quote while I was searching for the name of Dale Evans' horse. I like to think I emulate the cowgirl spirit...

" 'Cowgirl' is an attitude really. A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head-on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands; they speak up. They defend things they hold dear." Dale Evans

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mike and me

When I was going through old photos the other day, I came across this one. I love it . It's my step father and I in a dory in Oak Bay. The cottage is one we rented for a week or two every summer. It wasn't very far from our home, but it felt like it was worlds away.
The cottage was owned by an English family who had two boys. One was close to my age. His name was Edward and I loved him. He had a dog, a beautiful Collie, that looked like "Lassie". We played in the mudflats, dug for clams and rowed out in the dory.
I can remember one day taking the dory out on my own. I wanted to row over to Spoon Island. But before I got halfway there, the tide went out and left me high and dry. I had no shoes on and had to walk back to shore in my bare feet. If you have ever tried to walk on mudflats, you will know that; 1. they stink ;2. they sink and 3. the sharp clam shells hidden in the mud cut your feet. By the time I got back to the cottage my feet were bleeding and I knew I was in trouble for having left the dory out so far. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world.When the tide comes in you can't out run it... It is fast!
The other reason I love this photo is that it is one of the few of my step Dad and I . Mike was a dark eyed handsome man. He came into my life when I was only two. He didn't have any children of his own. He was gruff and didn't know how to relate to children. My sister and I came as part of the package when he fell in love with our mother. Our relationship was tentative. I don't think he know what to think of me, and I preferred having my mother to myself.
I realize now as an adult, how difficult it is being a step parent. It's kind of a thankless job. Few rewards . There's a kind of conflict built into the relationship from the start. You aren't the parent. You may not have bargained for the child. The child may be resentful of your presence in their life. I've met some remarkable step parents , but I have a feeling the love and respect they've earned was hard won.
Mike died when he was 58. We had just started to forge an adult relationship. I was newly married and he loved my husband. We didn't have children for him to get to know . My sister had a little girl he absolutely adored.
So this photo I treasure, because we look happy on that wonderful summer's day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Karne Johanna Jorgensen Nielsen

This is my Great Grandmother. Her name is Karne Johanna Jorgensen Nielsen. She was born in Herlev, Denmark on November 15,1854. She married my Great Grandfather Frederik Ferdinand Nielsen, who was born in Ballerup a suburb of Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) Denmark on April 13, 1847. They were married in Ballerup on April 8,1873 and on the very next day they set sail for Canada.
They were part of a group of Danes who had been enticed to Northern New Brunswick by the promise of 100 acres of farmland. They thought it was cleared and arrived only to find out they had to clear the land themselves.
My Great Grandparents had Nine children.Four of the nine died as infants due to scarlet fever and diptheria. One little girl was burned to death. One of the four who survived to adulthood was my Grandfather, Johannes Henry Nielsen born on Jan.4, 1885. Henry ( as he was called) helped his father farm the homestead for awhile then went to work in the pulp and paper mill newly opened in East Millinocket Maine. There he met my Grandmother Ruby Nancy Boynton, whose parents ran a boarding house where Henry stayed. He married my Grandmother July 22, 1908. My mother was born on January 1, 1909. If you do the numbers you can see there was a little hanky panky at Boynton's Room & Board. My Grandfather eventually returned to the farm with his wife and three daughters in tow.... My Grandmother was a bit of a "fancy lady" and did not connect too well with the no nonsense, hard working , straight laced Danes.
Frederik died Sept 1916. My Grandfather and Ruby Nancy took over the farm and raised their eight children.
My mother remembered her Grandmother Karne as a very kind and loving . Mom said she always had sweets in her pockets to give to children. As a child I often studied this photo carefully in hopes she might give me some of the treats hidden in her pockets. Mom also told me she had up and disappeared suddenly. Her husband didn't know where she was. She just showed up one day after having been gone for seven years . Word had it she had run away to New York City......
Karne died on Oct 14, 1936. A woman of mystery and adventure. I so wish I had known her.

House work

I make no bones about it, I hate housework. I come from a long line of women who hated housework. My grandmother lived in a teeny little house with three rooms. A kitchen with a wood stove and a table with chairs, her bed room and my uncles bedroom. I don't recall a bathroom. I do recall the house was picked up and moved to the country. I suspect my grandmother was spoiled as a child. She didn't do much of anything, except paint her nails and smoke. I don't ever recall seeing her cook or sweep or do the dishes....
My mother was a terrible house keeper. She was quite open about her loathing of cleaning the house. My sister and I did most of the housework. Every Saturday we would each get to pick "upstairs or downstairs" for cleaning. Sweeping dusting and mopping. I can still smell the Pine-sol that reeked for days.
Mom preferred to be barefoot and in the garden. She liked mucking in the mud. I can see her coming in the door in her denim shorts and blue checkered sleeveless shirt and very dirty feet. She was a farm girl through and through. She loved animals, kids and nature.
I remember as a teen, being too embarrassed about the state of our house to want to invite friends in. I also was embarrassed about my Mom's appearance. She was too "down to earth" and didn't measure up to my friends mothers, who wore gingham dresses with cute aprons and always baked cookies. My Mom ran a pickle factory when she was not gardening. She also painted and cut out horses without drawing them first. She was a messy cook and aways had dirty dishes stacked up in the sink. When she mopped (rarely) she called it giving the floor "a lick and a promise".
It took me a lot of years, a husband who was adverse to housework and two children and too many pets to pick up after, before I became enlightened. I came to the realization that housework was never ending. I could clean the house from top to bottom and before I got to the bottom, the top need cleaning again. I gave up. I decided I liked being outdoors more than I liked being in. I liked gardening a whole lot more than scrubbing the bath tub. It was more fun to do something with the kids than to spend time scolding them about their lack of tidiness. It made for a more peaceful relationship with my husband, to stop keeping score of whose turn it was to do the dishes or take out the garbage . When I was working , it helped to have a cleaning woman come in weekly. When I didn't have a cleaning woman, it helped to lower my standards. After all if the children and my husband didn't object to living in squalor why should I?
This morning I decided I had to clean my house. It took me maybe a half hour. Vacuuming mopping dusting while the washing machine hummed. I feel pure. I feel righteous. Now I can invite someone in......

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, Sunday...

Posted by Picasa Sunday morning , the day yawning head. One time there would have been church and Sunday dinner. Now it's a leisurely breakfast, a little walk, play with the computer and listen to the radio. I love CBC on Sunday. First it's WAM a Newfoundland arts magazine with Angela Antle, an artist herself. She keeps us informed of all the events in the Arts community.I missed her piece on Ryan's Fancy, who have new CD being released tomorrow. They were a favourite Irish band we listened to in the '70s. They brought a revival of interest in Celtic/Newfoundland music which spawned the likes of "Great Big Sea" and "The Irish Descendants". Then it's Michael Enright on "The Sunday Edition" He always has interesting guests like todays Brian Deer, the journalist who investigated the fraudulant research of Dr Andrew Wakefield, who published research that linked the measle/mumps vaccine with the onset of autism. What was fascinating is how much time and resources go into investigative journalism. He and Michael concurred that that type of journalism is a dying art.....Then there is "The Vinyl Cafe" with Stuart McLean, " Tapestry" a program on spirituality "Writers & Company" with Eleanor Wachtel. Then back to Newfoundland programming in "Musicraft" with Francesca Swann... Oh and I forgot "Spark" with host Nora Young.
We are so lucky to have a national public broadcasting in both radio and television. I'm not sure our current Prime Minister is a big fan..... We need to be on guard and ask the politicians looking for our votes , where they stand on public broadcasting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Snow Day

It's another snow day! The second in Corner Brook this year. The grandchildren in Little Rock have had six or seven this year. Somehow I think the snow drifts in Arkansas can't match this one at my patio window.
The pigeons and yellow finch are dancing around the feeder, hoping there may be a second feeding.
I'm not sure I'll ever get used to winter. It feels like we are living in Anarctica. Summer and greenery seem like a long forgotten memory. They say we are shaped by our culture. In India the futher south you go the hotter the curry..... I wonder how this climate has shaped us. More cheese, more chocolate. Eating seems to be one way I cope with stormy weather. I want to cook black bottom muffins, but have no eggs. Do I dare venture out to buy some eggs? Even the garbage truck hasn't been by....
My cat Rocky is longing for spring.Every moning he waits at the door asking me to check to see if spring has arrived. How lucky he is to have a cozy home. I have been feeding some feral cats on the hill behind an abandoned hospital. There are many cats in the city who have no home. I wonder what their lives must be like.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My funny Valentine

I love this photo. I'm borrowing it from my daughter. I was looking for a Valentine photo . This one is perfect! Look at that smile! Leaning on his Mommy's hand. Pure bliss.
I love Valentine's Day. I am a hopeless romantic. Luckily I married a romantic. He sent me flowers, wrote poems and reminded me I was beautiful.....
When I was a little girl, Valentine's Day was special. I laboured over the large book of Valentines, which had to be cut out and the envelopes assembled. Which Valentine to give to which friend. The most special would be for the boy you secretly loved. I had a secret love. I met him in Grade one. His name was Paul. He sat in front of me. The first time he spoke to me was to criticized my drawing. I had drawn a sun with sun rays beaming out in the upper left hand corner of my picture. He told me it looked like a spider and it frightened him. I immediately was smitten with him (probably because he spoke to me). I continued to love him all the way through school, from Grade one to Grade twelve. Partly because he was unattainable. He announced in Grade one that he was going to be a priest!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I love the light in this photo. It's one taken a long time ago, but recently found. There is a tenderness in the gestures, that remind me of the light the painting masters tried to recreate..
Light, I need some today. Outside my window is all white, a blustery snowy day.Not fit!
It's been awhile since I've posted on my blog. I love that some bloggers post daily, with lovely photos of their lives. I have a select group of blogging friends from different parts of the world. While I've never met some of them, I feel we are good friends and that if I'm ever in their "neck of the woods" I can stop in for tea...
I have been watching the happenings in Egypt with interest.What an amazing revolution.Little violence. Joy in the streets. What passion. I'd love one day to visit Tahrir Square .
My sad news was to lose my beloved dog just after Christmas. He had been sick over Christmas, and I was so upset as he was throwing up everyday. Finally I took him th the Vet. We thought it was his teeth. He went on antibiotics and didn't get well. So blood work was done, only to find the level of toxins in his blood were through the roof. He went on IV for two days, but then he started having seizures. The decision had to be made to let him go....I've done it before. It doesn't get easier, if anything it gets harder. My heart cracked in two. I miss him everyday. His shadow follows me everywhere. The house is empty.