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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Freedom Rocks...

The other night I watched an incredible documentary called 'How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin'. It was all about how the Beatles actually helped end Communism and how the music they made influenced thousands of young people in Russia to question authority.
I was born listening to the Beatles as they were probably my parents favorite band so we were always spinning their disks on the turntable. I even had an Uncle who looked like John Lennon, complete with the granny glasses and long hair. For me, music was always a choice. I was never told NOT to listen to anyone, although I was told to "turn it DOWN!" many times, my parents were young and hip and actually turned me on to a lot of the music I still listen to....Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison and The Beatles.
We had books about them and posters on the wall of that famous walk across Abbey Road, so when I watched this film, I was amazed at the paranoia and propaganda put out by the Russian Officials.

This one in particular was a pamphlet put out to heed the danger signs!

In the film it talked about how the Beatles gave the young their first taste of freedom. Freedom from the oppressive music and dance which they had been feeding Russians for many many years. It even got so bad that if you had long hair  you were arrested and your head was shaved! It got to the point where the Russian government knew that kids were bootlegging Beatles music and knew they couldn't stop it so THEY (the government) got into the record bootlegging business themselves and started selling their own copies of Beatles records to kids!Crazy. Well it opened up the whole question of Communism and...well....the rest is history. So next time you put on 'Back in the USSR', listen to it in a whole other way...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

found...wandering amongst the shelves...

After a whirlwind post holiday cleaning frenzy, I am back at the computer with cup of tea in hand. I tend to do these intense sweeps of the house every so often and end up dusting bookshelves which have been breeding small communities of Hooville, I'm sure, for some time...anyway there at the back was an old photo album my mom had put together for me some years back and it contained a few pictures of my Grandma O'Gorman (my dads mom).

Yup...thats how I remember her...always smiling with those shining eyes of hers, which by the way, all of her children luckily inherited. My recent searches through online ancestery sites has turned up a lot of info on my dad's dad's family but no matter how much information I feed the computer, I am at a dead end with this side of the tree. I have heard that the Belfast records office had a fire in the '50's and most records up until then were destroyed so I keep trying, hoping some where in a dark corner will magically appear the Leitch/ Heaney papers of which my Grandma Molly was one of. Anyway I'm not sure what those said records will turn up, dates, names, birth places, dates of emmigration/immigration and so on and frankly what does it really matter? Well for one thing, my Grandma died when I was 14 and I never had any serious conversations about her life in Northern Ireland and what sort of stories would have brought them to Canada in the 1920's. I know now that her father was a Protestant who died in Belfast and his family wouldn't allow the body to be buried in their own neighbourhood. My Grandma and Great Grandma were a Catholic family from Falls Road so there's all that political craziness involved. I am always wanting to time travel for one reason or another and to spend ONE day with my Grandma as I am at this age would be one of those times...The picture above was in 1964...I was 2 years old and she had already had a whole life lived...

Here we are at my Holy Communion.

This is probably the last time I saw her when she came for a visit out west.
As I was making my tea I was thinking really hard...what did I remember about her?

She used to bring us donuts on Sunday from the bakery where she worked.
She sang to us, sometimes in Gaelic.
She loved to dance a jig at family parties.
She smoked Players Plain cigarettes.
She loved her beer.
She was always saying "Jesus, Mary and St. Joeseph!"
She took me for trips to Kensington Market on the subway.
She once walked for miles from the bus stop, through the park with me to watch me go horseback riding.

I'm sure there will be other things that will pop into my mind but for now I keep her pictures close to my heart.
When we were in Belfast, I imagined her on the same streets we were on, as a young girl.
So if you have elder people in your life, ask about their  life and keep it in a corner of your mind. Find out who they were before they were your Granny or your Great Uncle. Get them to sing you a song from days gone by or tell you a story of school day antics.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lhasa de Sela

New Years Day the world lost another beautiful, young, talented artist. I was very fortunate to have seen Lhasa in concert a few times and was always amazed at the deep passion in which her songs moved through her and spilled out into the crowd...she really did seem to live her religion.
Lhasa de Sela died of breast cancer. She was 37 years old.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Sunday drive might be in order...

For endofera ....such a small world! I knew my dad was cheering for the Munster rugby team for a reason!Sometimes it really amazes me the connections made between these tiny filaments of wireless bits in the air... For any future trips, here is some reference names and I'm guessing at the dates... probably born around 1800. Maybe you can get a photo or two...cheers.
John Quilty, who married Ellen O'Shaughnessy, and whom we believe was a brother of Tom's, lived
and died in the family home at Mohernagh, Ballyhahill Co., Limerick, Ireland.
The family graves are in Kilcolinan Co., Limerick.

Digging up roots...

I've been trying to research my dad's side of the family who lived mostly in the Ottawa valley of southern Ontario. By a fluke I found an extensive family tree which goes as far back as his Great Great Grandparents who were from a small village in County Limerick called Mohernagh, Ballyhahill. There are some family graves located in Kilcolinan, though not the great greats, as they came to Canada sometime during the famine years. The ones still lying there are of a few brothers who remained.
I found this out by Googling my own name. How incredible to finally have some thread of  long ago. Its too bad we didn't find this out before we made our way to Ireland last would have meant a lot to my dad to go and visit these graves.
Anyway, through the process of looking into the records I also found some great pictures of another not so distant relative. His name was John Quilty(everyone called him Johnny) and he was my dads second cousin. I had known for a long time that he was a great hockey player and that he is in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but I had never seen any pictures of him. For those who aren't aware of it, hockey is a BIG deal to Canadians and to have blood in the royal palace of hockey is pretty monumental. I had to take pictures of the computer to get these so the quality isn't the best but you get the idea...

Here he is in his prime in his Montreal Canadiens sweater, hopefully happy after winning a game!
He was also the winner of the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the year.
With the lads...I beleive he is top left hand corner...
...hmmm , maybe they lost this night...they don't look too cheerful.
This one looks like a card you would get in a pack with a stick of bubble gum.

The interesting thing about these pictures, is that when I look into them I see such a strong resemblence between my dad, his brother John, my Grandpa Jack and strangely enough, my older brother Danny....Oh how the DNA wanders and swims around in our bones...
Johnny even won the Calder Cup once for MVP
Post Script....Unfortunately  Johnny's career ended after being traded to the Boston Bruins.On January 12th, 1948, in his 6th game, he violently collided with Chicago player Bob Goldham and badly broke his leg which left him unable to play as well as he had in the past. He later rejoined the Air Force and played with their teams before dying suddenly at the young age of 48, on September 12 1969, Ottawa.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Of moss and men...

Yesterday we took advantage of the dry afternoon and went for a walk on the Goose. It was quite spring like and the moss was as green as can be...

It covers every limb and rock and with the many varieties, when examined closely, it resembles tiny little forests...what goes on in these minuscule landscapes?

The little golden back fern grows along this route too.

As does the lovely copper skinned Arbutus tree.

A few relics of the old telegraph line still stand along the trail which once belonged to the railway.

The mist was hugging the mountainside and gave way to images of Chinese paintings...

And still the moss is everywhere...
 On the way home look who was parked across from the pub, just outside the village...

Wrapped in their fuzzy winter coats...

Trying to get a taste of my camera lense...

No doubt enjoying a bit of sun and dry weather as well.