Writer Goes Forth

I finally did it. It happened so subtly that I almost had the feeling I’d been set up.

Our Township sits on the shores of the Thames River. It spans out on either side of the Thames like a lung. Even the first engineer saw it that way and so he set the river as 0 and everything else fanned out, and mirrored each other. It is a place of opposites – as my side, the North, has always seen the South side as newcomers and I’d like to know how far back that thinking goes.

Across the river to what is now a subdivision

There I am back in Dodge and the woman who got me into Genealogy is on the phone and, well, last night was the product of that phone call. She also happens to be the Mother of one of my old boyfriends. I met Mona, and her son, in the months after Mom died – she took me under her wing. I miss her, a lot more than him. She was fun and full of this incredible energy, like a butterfly flitting here, flying there, strength of 5 lumber jacks in spirit. Beautiful eyes, and a retired Head Nurse of the Palliative Care Hospital in London – and I must add a farm wife – I don’t really know how she did all that and raised 3 kids. In this day and age, THAT tells you something about this woman.

Of course, she is a member of this project to create a Township Heritage book – as her husband’s family goes way back. These books are to span the history of the village from pioneer days in the 1820’s all the way forth until the year 2000 – the people, places and things that made us what we are. Cool eh? They want to have as many family names added as possible that have stories that fall into that 200-year span.

Mona picked me up and there we sat around this square of chairs and tables and this incredible group of people met, some for the first time – this was the projects 3 or 4th meeting and Mona had wrangled up some participants from all over, but mostly as she ran into them at the Tim Horton’s in town.

Last night was the first time I ever said out loud, to anyone, I’M A WRITER. I wanted to somehow qualify it, but I can’t anymore. I’m a lot of things – I’m a gardener, I’m a photographer … I’m an Aunt. I’m a woman. And now I’m also a writer.

Great Uncle Jack & Wagon
Great Uncle Jack & Wagon

I have all sorts of ideas about these books. I’ve been thinking and I want this group to think about the fact that telling the stories of the past is most of those sitting at the table’s heart and soul. It, I believe, will be more difficult telling those later stories. The stories of those who came from the 1950’s till 2000. People don’t think that is history, but it is. In the decades to come, those stories will be just as valuable as those that go back to the beginning. They are the stories that define us now…and like so many tomes of this sort, it is the many characters that define the play.

I have ideas. I have lots up in the attic of this very house that tells stories I think should be told. True stories of love, war and peace. Government, philosophy’s and change … these also are stories that should be told. The past is but the present for another time. As someone who loves history, I also must acknowledge that it is THOSE many stories that define a place.

One of the person’s sitting across from me at that table was one of the most extraordinary women I have ever known. At 90, at least, {lil’sis and I worked it out}. Retired Owner/Founder/Editor/Guru of the local Newspaper. It was an idea my Grandmother and her cracked up back in the 50’s – they write stories about what is going on around town and have young boys deliver it and give Grandma and Mrs. Lacey something creative and important to do. It runs still to this day, although Mrs. Lacey retired years ago and sold it to a publisher of community newspapers. It was her who spoke up, in her lovely English accent, and pointed out that calling it a History book maybe the wrong tone – as she picked one up she noted one of the examples they had shown her said “heritage book”. She has an excellent mind. I could just feel the joy spring forth from every heart in the room, thank God for minds alive and well and at 90 something or other, feisty and keen as ever – AND the founder of the local Newspaper – sweet HALLELUJAH – with a wealth of knowledge spanning practically 80 years. AND sitting right in this very room.

I worked with her those two summers when I was in High School doing ads. It was probably one of the happiest times of my life. I dressed for work every day, went in with my Mom, and worked all day long-standing up at these angled tables that spanned the entire top floor. With drawers full of various tapes and other decorative elements you added, by hand, to these advertisements for business’ throughout the area. It was an amazing experience to have that opportunity to work in such an environment; now almost extinct I would imagine. With digital everything, mobile this, and wireless that – those old fashion manually constructed and designed newspapers are just gone.

With these stories, I tell, I have fantasized of so many futures for myself. I’m still not completely clear on how this will all go, but man I can’t tell you how good it feels to imagine maybe I will get a chance to use this writing for something that is important, and not just to me. They called me the Chair for the writing committee…I think the woman said. Mona’s beside her going “yes, yes”…I’m like “sure why not”. My sister when I told her, said: “do they not know you at all”? I’m like thinking “I don’t know me anymore, how could they?”

Why not find out, eh?

12 thoughts on “Writer Goes Forth

    1. This is something I’ve always wanted to be involved with…and yes, there are some wonderful people involved…many great minds I can learn from too.


  1. You’re right about the importance of getting the history from the ’50s to the present down in writing. When I started doing genealogical correspondence three decades ago, many people lamented that if we had just asked these questions ten or twenty years earlier, the people who would have remembered could have told us the answers.
    Yes, so much has changed, even in my own lifetime.
    Best wishes in preserving what you can. It all comes together, if we’re faithful.


  2. When you finally verbalize what your heart already knows… then you finally realize what you need to do. Write, Paula, write your heart out.


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