A “Where Were You?” Moment

Last week we had one of those “Where were you?” moments in life. You know the kind.

Miss Toews' Grade Four Class at Kornelson School

Miss Toews’ Grade Four Class at Kornelson School. I’m third from the left in the back row.

Where were you during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I was hunkered down under a wooden desk in my grade four classroom on the second floor at the old Kornelson School in Steinbach. The sirens wailed and we all ducked. We had rehearsed this many times before. We waited for the signal from our teacher Miss Toews that we could come out from under our desks and make our way home as quickly as possible via the routes we had practiced walking during previous drills.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen.  I am second from the left in the second row.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been shot? I was on my hands and knees in my grade five classroom at Southwood School painting a plaster of paris map of Canada. Someone from the school office came to give my teacher Mr. Klassen the news and he turned on the radio so we could listen to the media coverage while we worked. We had just come back to school after the lunch hour.

Dave is between his parents. His brother John is far right in the back row.

Dave is between his parents. His brother John is on the  far right in the back row.

Where were you when the first astronauts walked on the moon? My husband Dave remembers. His older brother John was turning the family car onto the road that led to their farmhouse and was hit by another vehicle. Dave heard the crash and ran outside to see what had happened. He had been glued to the television screen ready to watch that first step on the moon, but as he raced to the site of his brother’s accident he missed it.

Mitchell School

Mitchell School

Where were you when you heard about the Twin Towers’ collapse? I was sitting at my desk in my classroom at Mitchell School. My grade four students were at music class. Another teacher came by and told me to turn on the radio. I did. That’s when I heard what was going on. I started to cry. I remember how hard I had to work to get a hold of my emotions so that when my students returned from their music lesson I would be calm and they wouldn’t be able to see how upset I was.

Where were you last week when you heard that a soldier had been shot in Ottawa guarding the war memorial? I was at the Winnipeg Art Gallery waiting to give a tour to a group of high school students. One of my fellow guides got a text message from a family member who works on Parliament Hill.  My colleague shared the news of the possible terrorist attack with the rest of us. 

flag at half mast ottawaThere are certain events in history that remain etched in our minds. The events may be different for different people, but they resonant with us in such a way that we never forget the moment we heard about them. Of course there are situations like that in our personal lives. I won’t ever forget exactly where I was when I heard my grandfather had died from injuries in an accident, or the circumstances surrounding my husband’s proposal of marriage to me. But those aren’t moments I shared with millions of other people. The shootings in Ottawa last week were.

Hopefully the event will remain one that stands out and is remembered by us all, because it will be so unique, something that will not become a regular occurrence in our home and native land.

Other posts about remembering……

Where Were You ?

Remembering Sai Wan

Remembering the Children of Sichaun

 

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Does An Author Need to Blog? Part 2

Originally posted on Vast Imaginations:

In my last post I wrote about how becoming a regular reader of author Carrie Snyder’s blog Obscure Can Lit Mama motivated me to buy her book, Girl Runner. Carrie wrote back to tell me that while she appreciates people purchasing her books because of reading her blog posts, that isn’t why she blogs. She says having a blog has been an important part of her development as writer, but she’s never regarded it as a marketing tool.

Photo of Carrie Snyder - The Toronto Globe and Mail

 Carrie Snyder – Photo- Toronto Globe and Mail

 Carrie thinks that would take the joy out of blogging for her. Contrary to what I’d assumed, Carrie’s publisher has nothing to do with her blog. It is a personal project. To quote Carrie, “I think writers should blog because they want to, not because they feel obligated to.”

According to L.L. Barkat Carrie is probably smart not to think of her blog as…

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Aprons

My grandmother almost always wore an apron.  She put it on in the morning and kept it on throughout the day.   Grandma worked very hard in her house, garden and  kitchen. She cooked, canned, cleaned, did  laundry, collected eggs, separated milk, sewed and tended to the needs of her six children and her husband. Her apron was a uniform of sorts for her job as a homemaker. aunts in grandmas apronsWhen my father and his five sisters were cleaning out my grandparents’  home, my aunts donned a selection of Grandma’s aprons and posed in them. 

aunts in apronsOn Thanksgiving weekend we celebrated my Dad’s birthday here at our home. dad carvingI asked Dad to carve the turkey, and like his mother and sisters he too put on an apron to tackle the turkey. He kept his apron on happy birthdayto listen to us sing Happy Birthday, blow out candlesblow out his candles, family conversationoversee the family conversation  

dad visitsand visit with his grandchildren.

Like his mother whose apron was really a sign of her care and devotion to her family, on Thanksgiving Dad’s apron signalled much the same thing to all of us. 

My Dad and his sisters dressed up in their parents' clothes visit Grandma in the nursing home. This family knows how to have fun.

My Dad and his sisters dressed up in their parents’ clothes visit Grandma in the nursing home. This family knows how to have fun.

Other posts about my Dad and his mother…….

My Grandmother was a Guitarist

He Hasn’t Lost His Green Thumb

Grandma and Embroidery Hoops

 

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What A Difference!

Some of you have been asking how my drawing course is going. It’s hard, but I’m making progress. Just a couple classes left to go. One of our assignments was to draw two self portraits- one from a photograph and another while looking in the mirror. I used my passport photo from 2009 for the first portrait and did the second one sitting in front of the bathroom mirror. 

self portrait 2009
self portraitWhat a difference in lots of ways.  

For another assignment we had to pick an object and draw it in all kinds of different poses. terra cotta warriorI picked a terra-cotta warrior statue we bought in Xian China.  I drew my warrior…..terra cotta warrior sketch

on a tablecloth in front of my upside down lap topclose up

in a close-updali and terra cotta warriorin front of a book about artist Salvador Daliterra cotta warrior sketch

and in my hand….

A couple more classes to go.  I’ve gained some confidence.  I certainly have overcome my nearly fifty year paranoia about trying to draw. I might be ready for another class come spring.

Other posts about art…….

Using the Other Side of My Brain

A Modeling Career

Learning to Print

 

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Thoughts About Children

Photo I took in Dehli India in February 2008

Photo I took in Delhi India in February 2008

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.
Frederick Douglas

Photo I took on Borocay Island Philippines June 2008

Photo I took on Borocay Island Philippines June 2008

There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children. -Nelson Mandela

Photo I took in Bali March 2008

Photo I took in Bali March 2008

Children are our most valuable resource. -Herbert Hoover

Photo I took in Borneo in May 2010

Photo I took in Borneo in May 2010

If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children.
Mahatma Gandhi

I took this photo in Tiananmen Square Beijing In April 2004

Photo I took in Tiananmen Square Beijing in April 2004

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.  – Henry Ward Beecher

Photo I took at Ho Chi Minh's Tomb in Hanoi in March 2005

Photo I took at Ho Chi Minh’s Tomb in Hanoi in March 2005

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. – Neil Postman

Photo I took in Yalta Ukraine in June 2011

Photo I took in Yalta Ukraine in June 2011

Today our children are our reflection. Tomorrow they will be our shadows. -Maralee McKee

Photo taken in Siem Reap Cambodia in November 2004

Photo I took in Siem Reap Cambodia in November 2004

Every child begins the world again. -Henry David Thoreau

Photo I took in a Palestinian refugee community near Bethlehem in May 2009

Photo I took in a Palestinian refugee community near Bethlehem in May 2009

I will lead on gently…..according to the pace of the children.- Genesis 33:14

Other posts about children……

The Street Children of Dehli

This Woman Should Be A Jamaican Saint 

Visiting a Teacher in Borneo

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Visiting Aunt Vi

me and aunt viI visited my 91-year-old Aunt Vi in Saskatoon yesterday.  I helped her set up her diningroom  table for an upcoming birthday party for a good friend. Aunt Vi will be hosting  twelve guests.  She told me all about The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, the memoir her book club is discussing at their meeting next week.  I helped her type up an article about her volunteer work at her church over the last fifty years for the church newspaper, and she gave me a bunch of pictures she’d found in old photo albums. The photos brought back lots of memories which she shared with me. 

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Aunt Vi had homemade cookies ready for me to sample and she sent a bag along with me to share with the rest of my family. She showed me the current needlework picture she is working on and we discussed various news items including the protests in Hong Kong.   

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi who had a long career as a public school teacher, is in the process of making a memory book about the various voluntary service assignments she carried out on behalf of the Mennonite Church in a variety of locations. She’s going to an all day meeting today at her church about making congregations more accepting and  welcoming for all people.

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Aunt Vi was going out for dinner yesterday evening with a friend. She told me about the flowering plant on her balcony which she’d nursed back to health through a loss of leaves and blossoms. She and I went through a book of postcards  from a trip to Europe she took me on when I was a teenager and we caught up on family news. 

We looked at photos of her great-great nieces and nephews and she told me about the family heirlooms she’d displayed and talked about at a seniors’ luncheon at her church. 

I hope if I live to be 91 I can be even half as active and engaged in life as Aunt Vi. It’s always a pleasure to visit her. 

Other posts about my relatives……

Remembering My Grandpa

My Grandparents’ Honeymoon

I’m Her Namesake

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The Beauty of Surgery- Dancing Hands

The Hands by Barbara Hepworth

The Hands by Barbara Hepworth

She was drawn to their “beauty of purpose”, their “special grace” and their “perfection of movement.”  Barbara Hepworth was a British artist (1903-1975) who became fascinated with the way the rhythmic dexterity of surgeons’ hands was so similar to the hands of sculptors.  

Reconstruction by Barbara Hepworth

Reconstruction by Barbara Hepworth

It inspired Hepworth to create sixty some drawings of surgeons at work.  

A Case for Discussion by Barbara Hepworth

The Operation -Case for Discussion by Barbara Hepworth

One of these pieces The Operation- Case For Discussion is currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the collection from the Beaverbrook Gallery in New Brunswick. 

Prevision by Barbara Hepworth

Prevision by Barbara Hepworth

I’m going to be involved with the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s family Sunday program on November 2 and I want to introduce kids to Hepworth’s drawing because the story behind it involves a child.  

The Hepworth triplets- Sarah is on the far right

The Hepworth triplets- Simon, Rachel and Sarah on the far right

Barbara Hepworth was the mother of triplets- Rachel, Sarah and Simon. When Sarah was ten she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bone disease that required surgery.

Barbara Hepworth at work on a operating room drawing

Barbara Hepworth at work on an operating room drawing

Observing the surgeon who operated on her daughter Barbara became fascinated with the way the doctors worked together as a team to help her child. She decided to try drawing the surgical team and paid many visits to the hospital operating room to watch surgeons work. She made notes and then created drawings in her studio.

Theatre Group by Barbara Hepworth

Theatre Group by Barbara Hepworth

Looking at her operating room series online I was drawn to the surgeons’ hands and the way their movements flowed together to create a kind of dance.  

Magnifying Glass by Barbara Hepworth

Magnifying Glass by Barbara Hepworth

On Family Sunday at the Winnipeg Art Gallery I’m going to look at those drawings with kids, and we will create dances with our hands based on the movements of the surgeons’ hands in Hepworth’s artwork. Should be fun!

Other posts about the Winnipeg Art Gallery education program……

Learning to Print

A Dress For Mother Nature

Discovering Dali- Twirl That Mustache

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