Feeling Safe in Winnipeg’s Exchange District

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An article I was asked to write recently for Rhubarb Magazine was published as a blog post on their website. Drawing on several other pieces I’ve written in the past it is called Feeling Safe in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.  

Other posts about the Exchange District…….

I’m Living in a Piece of History

Spring in the Exchange District

Devour the District

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Looking at Ring Around the Rosy in a Deadly Way

I was doing an observation of a student teacher in a grade eight social studies class. The topic  for the day was the Black Plague which swept through medieval Europe between 1348-1350 killing millions of people.  Ring-a-ring-around the rosyI learned something interesting about the popular children’s song Ring around the Rosy during the lesson.  Although the verse appears in Mother Goose collections of nursery rhymes starting in 1881 there is a widespread belief that the ditty is much older than that and refers to people afflicted with the plague. 

Matthias Grunewald's depiction of a man suffering from the plague

Matthias Grunewald’s depiction of a man suffering from the plague

Ring around the rosy

A patient would have swollen lymph nodes and this swelling was often circular forming a ring. The center of the ring was surrounded by a red rash referred to as a rosie. 

A pocket full of posy

As plague victims became ill they gave off a horrible odor and posies of herbs and flowers were carried by healthy people as a form of protection and to cover up the smell of the disease.

Hush a, Hush a we all fall down. 

“Falling down” refers to the fact that plague victims eventually died. 

I was intrigued by the student teacher’s explanation but found out later that the theory the nursery rhyme originated with the Black Plague only appeared after World War II. Folklorists say had the poem been around in the 1300′s written copies of it would have appeared long before 1881.  Records of it being sung in various forms only date back to the 1790′s.

Regardless of whether the connections to the Black Plague are authentic or not, I don’t think I will ever listen to the children’s song in exactly the same way again. 

Other posts about childhood…..

Remembering the Children of Sichuan

Technology and Family Time

My Mother’s Button Box


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Easter Images- Then and Now

girls with rabbits 1950'sHolding bunnies on my grandparents’ farm – 1958. easter tableBeautiful Easter table set by my friend Glenys when I attended a  luncheon she hosted-2014

four generation picture 1979Four generations of our family at an Easter gathering- 1979.easter basketsEaster baskets ready for my family-2014

holding a baby chickHolding a baby chick-  1989.easter bulletin boardEaster bulletin board at one of the schools I visit as a faculty supervisor-2014

jesus christ super star winnipeg

We flew home from Hong Kong for Easter in 2010 to see our son perform in Jesus Christ Superstar. easter lilies in condo lobby

Easter lilies in our condo lobby- 2014. marylou and kaaren easter

In Easter dresses and Easter bonnets-1957

Other posts you may like……….

Whenever I Hear A Chiming Clock I Think of My Grandmother

The Nun’s Christmas

My Mother’s Button Box

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When the Coin Rings Luck Springs

We spent Easter in 2009 in Kyoto, Japan.  The cherry blossoms were just breaking out, particularly along Philosopher’s Walk.

cherry blossoms spring japan

philosopher's walk kyoto 2009 joy

philosopher's walk kyoto couple

in the garden of the golden temple kyoto

philosopher's walk kyoto 2009

kyoto golden pond

We visited the Golden Temple in Kyoto.  I am throwing a coin into a gold bowl on the ground. I was shocked when my coin landed right in the golden bowl with a resounding ringing sound. Dave who had been making up little poems he called haikus all through our Japan trip (although none of his poems were really haikus,) made a poem up to mark my lucky throw- “When the coin rings- luck springs. “

Hoping this Easter weekend is a time of good fortune and happiness for all my readers. 

Other posts about Japan…….

Japanese Surprises

A Kaleidoscope of Possibilities



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A Life That Adds Up To Something

sagrada familia years of jesus lifeI noticed a numbered square high up and just to the left of the entrance door to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona when I visited the great cathedral.  The façade on one side of the church designed by the Spanish architect Gaudi tells the story of the passion and resurrection of Jesus in a series of life-size sculptures.

Judas kissing Jesus- Sagrada Familia

Judas kissing Jesus- Sagrada Familia

Right beside a statue of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss is a huge square with four rows of numbers. If you add the numbers up horizontally, vertically and diagonally they will equal 33, the number of years Jesus lived on earth.

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral - Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia Cathedral Barcelona

Jesus spent his short life healing people emotionally and physically. He told inspiring and engaging stories about the value of caring for others, sharing personal wealth and using our talents wisely. He gathered around him a close circle of friends. He sought out those who were struggling to find a purpose in life and gave them a sense of direction and hope. He went out of his way to spend time with people who had been rejected by society and made them feel like they had worth and value.

Jesus on the Cross- Sagrada Familia

Jesus on the Cross- Sagrada Familia

He encouraged people to save themselves from a meaningless earthly existence by dedicating themselves to the building of a better world. He loved everyone, even his enemies.

Anyway you add up Jesus’ life it was one worthy of  emulation. Most of us are given much more than 33 years on this earth. Jesus’ example challenges us to make the building blocks of our lives add up to something worthwhile.

Other posts about Easter…….

Thinking about Mary On Good Friday

The Easters of My Childhood

Easter- A Time of New Beginnings


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Neechi Commons- Come For Lunch

neechi commonsI often go for lunch at Neechi Commons on Main Street. An Aboriginal owned and operated cooperative it serves delicious food.  Read all about Neechi Commons on my Destination Winnipeg site. 

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Larry’s Party

larry verstraeteSunday was an exciting day for me and the other children’s authors who are part of Vast Imaginations.  One of our members Larry Verstraete launched his new book Life or Death at McNally Robinson Booksellers. Read all about it on the Vast Imaginations blog

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Filed under Books, Winnipeg, Writing