His face just lit up! I was visiting one of my student teachers at the beginning of the week and met a six-year-old boy originally from Iraq. It was his second day in a Canadian classroom. He had never been to school before. His family spent a number of years in Jordan after leaving their home country. The boy couldn’t speak a word of English and the school hadn’t found anyone who could translate for him, since his family does not speak Arabic, but a minority language. Apparently the boy had cried for nearly an hour after his father dropped him off at school in the morning. The little fellow sat at a table by himself looking sad while the rest of his class gathered on the carpet at the front of the room for a lesson.
I went back yesterday and what a difference. The little guy now sat with his classmates for a lesson on Egyptian hieroglyphics. Each child had a sheet with a simplified hieroglyphic alphabet. It showed the Egyptian symbol for each English alphabet letter. Together the class was decoding a message written in hieroglyphics on the board. My student teacher asked for volunteers to come up and write a corresponding English alphabet letter under one of the hieroglyphic letters on the board. After watching two of his classmates do so, lo and behold the little boy from Iraq put up his hand. My student teacher beckoned for him to come up and put the marker in his hand. He looked carefully at the hieroglyphic symbols on the board, looked down at his reference sheet and then painstakingly wrote the English letter A under the correct hieroglyphic symbol. The teacher and his classmates exclaimed and clapped and his face just lit up!
I almost cried. Faced with two alphabets he was unfamiliar with and instructions in a language he didn’t understand, this little guy had the courage to get up in front of a roomful of kids and several adults and take a risk he could write the correct symbol on the board. I thought to myself, “This kid is going to be okay. It might take time but he is going to make it.”
What’s A Portscape?
Standing Up For Children
This statue of Timothy Eaton stands in the concourse of the MTS Centre where the Winnipeg Jets play hockey. I remember this statue well from my childhood because it was located on the main floor in the old Eaton’s Store which used to stand where the MTS Centre is now. When my family was shopping at Eatons, we would often rendezvous at Mr. Eaton’s statue. The Eaton’s store went bankrupt in 1999. Later the statue was officially deemed a part of Manitoba’s history and a decision made to display it in the MTS Centre.
Timothy Eaton came to Canada from Ireland and built a retail empire with department stores in Toronto and Winnipeg. Mr. Eaton also had a nation wide mail order business. I remember how excited I was as a little girl when the Eatons’ catalogue came out, especially the Christmas edition. I looked through it many times picking out things I dreamt about getting for Christmas. My mother remembers during her childhood in the 1930s longing for an Eaton’s Beauty Doll for Christmas.
This statue was a gift to the Eaton family from the Eatons’ employees. It was presented in December of 1919 on the store’s 50th anniversary. The employees wanted to express gratitude for the company’s generosity during World War I. Eatons’ employees who enlisted were promised their jobs back after the war and continued to receive a salary while they served overseas. Military employees received care packages of store products during the war. The company had lucrative government contracts as a result of the war but donated those profits to the war effort.
Although I am sure some Eaton’s workers did appreciate their employer enough to donate money for this massive statue, I am somewhat skeptical if they all did, because during the Winnipeg Labor Strike in June of 1919, just six months before the presentation of the statue, Eatons tried to bribe their workers with a $4.00 a week raise so they wouldn’t go on strike. Despite this five hundred walked off the job. Eatons also supplied horses and baseball bats for the police force dealing with the strikers.
The 3,500 pound statue was made by Ivor Lewis, a Welshman who worked in the Eaton’s advertising department. A replica was placed in the Eaton’s Store in Toronto. It is now in the Royal Ontario Museum.
I’ve learned recently it is good luck to rub the left foot of the Timothy Eaton statue. I’ll have try that the next time I walk by.
Other posts …….
Celebrating in an Historic Building
Photographed Just In Time
I want to thank my many, many readers who took the time to vote for their favorite pictures of Newfoundland. I asked last week which photos I should print up to display in our home. I couldn’t believe how many people responded on Facebook, by e-mail or on my blog. Since you voted for such a variety of choices I decided to make a whole wall of photos. Here it is! And thanks ever so much for reading my blog and voting.
Help Me Decide
Who’s Right My Husband of Me?
They Left Us Everything
Today is World Poetry Day and so I offer you a poem from Madeleine L’Engle’s book A Ring of Endless Light. This poem brought me immense comfort during perhaps the saddest time of my life when I experienced a series of pregnancy losses.
The earth will never be the same again
Rock, water, tree, iron, share this grief
As distant stars participate in the pain.
A candle snuffed, a falling star or leaf,
……O this particular loss
is Heaven-mourned; for if no angel cried
when this small one was tossed away as dross,
The very galaxies would have lied.
How shall we sing our love’s song now
In this strange land where all are born to die?
Each tree and leaf and star show how
The universe is part of this one cry,
Every life is noted and is cherished,
and nothing loved is ever lost or perished.
What poems have made a difference in your life?
each tree and leaf and star……….
The Poetry of Boxing
Fifteen Dogs and Writing Poetry
Dancing in Shangri-La
It was gone! I was sad when I returned to my job at the Winnipeg Art Gallery after a holiday to find the most popular painting in our Group of Seven room was gone.
I loved Clouds by Lawren Harris. It is always a favorite with children on tours. I usually ask kids to walk slowly around the Group of Seven exhibit room looking carefully at all the art pieces. Then I have them vote for their top two paintings. Clouds was always a sure-fire winner. But now it was gone and had been replaced by Alfred Casson’s Morning Light.
Morning Light- Mazinaw Lake 1968- Alfred Casson
Imagine my surprise when on my first Group of Seven tour after my holidays Morning Light was the hands down favorite of the kids just like Clouds had been. Some said Cassion’s painting seemed strangely familiar to them. It reminded one girl of a mountain she had seen on cruise in Costa Rica. Another told me there were rocks like the ones in Morning Light at her family cottage near Kenora. A boy said he’d seen cliff jumping on TV and he thought the cliffs in the painting would be fun to jump from. Another fellow pointed out the monster’s claw he could see in the cloud formation. Someone thought the shadows on the lake and rocks looked a little scary.
I still miss Lawren Harris’ Clouds but I’m not as sad anymore that it is gone. Its absence and its replacement with the Casson painting means visitors at the gallery will be introduced to another great painting by a Group of Seven member; another great painting that stirs their imaginations and links them to personal memories.
Love My Job
The Horizon Line
Autumn at the Art Gallery
“For the blessings of this food and these friends and our families, we thank you.” That simple table grace spoken by a young boy named Jake is the key event in William Kent Krueger’s book Ordinary Grace. Jake stutters terribly. But when he offers to say grace at the meal following his sister’s funeral he is able to pray in front of a large group of people without stuttering once.
Jake volunteers to pray because his father who is a pastor is getting ready to say one of his usual long-winded theologically correct table graces and his mother who is pretty angry at God about her daughter’s death shouts, “Can’t we just have an ordinary grace?” Her son Jake obliges. Jake’s ordinary grace brings his mother comfort.
Saying Grace by Norman Rockwell
Although many people no longer say grace I think the ritual can be meaningful whatever your religious affiliation or even if you have none. It acknowledges the gift of food because we know not everyone in our world can take that gift for granted. When my brother who works in the agriculture industry says a table grace he always includes a thank you to the farmers who have grown the food.
When we lived on the Hopi Indian Reservation before traditional meals were served, a small portion of food was taken from each dish and placed in a bowl which was set on the ground just outside the door. One of the things that action demonstrated was a willingness to share food with anyone who might pass by.
Family of artist Andries Van Bochoven Saying Grace- 1629
Saying grace provides a way to acknowledge gratitude for the food we will eat, gratitude for the people whose efforts have brought it to our table, gratitude for our relationship with those who share our table and our willingness to share our food with others. Saying a simple grace no matter what our religious beliefs can be a meaningful and comforting ritual just like it was for Jake’s mother in Ordinary Grace.
By the way Ordinary Grace is a great story of a boy coming of age in 1961. The book is suspenseful and well written.
Norman Rockwell and the Mennonite Connection
A Prayer For A Golf Tournament
A Prayer for the New Year
Filed under Food, Religion
Yesterday morning it was incredibly icy here in Winnipeg! My husband Dave left for work a couple of hours before I did and called to warn me the sidewalks were treacherous. Was he ever right!
I only had to walk two blocks from my house before I reached an indoor walkway that would take me almost right to my job at the art gallery. I almost didn’t make those two initial blocks. I had to shuffle along one foot at a time on the slick surface. Then I reached a slanted driveway. I inched my way onto it but it had a slight incline and every time I gingerly put a foot forward I slid right back. I was stuck! I was so scared I’d fall if I took a bigger stride forward so I just stood there.
There were some workers across the street cleaning up tree branches that had snapped off with the weight of the ice. One of the workers saw my predicament, crossed the street and offered me his arm. He walked me to the cobblestone sidewalk ahead and stood with me till I had stabilized myself by hanging onto the building beside me. I thanked him and told him what a kind gentleman he was.
I managed to make it to work on time only to discover one of my young colleagues hadn’t arrived because she had slipped on the ice on her way to the art gallery, had broken her ankle and was now in a hospital emergency room. I felt so sorry for her! Apparently it wasn’t only seniors like me who’d had trouble on the icy sidewalks.
Thank goodness for that kind and courteous city worker who came to my rescue!
Will Spring Come?
Inspiration to Speed the Coming of Spring
Brrr It’s Cold
Filed under Nature, People