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Oxford House Hats

The men and boys of Oxford House, northern Manitoba.
1926 Photo by Rev. J.A.C. Kell

Easter was the time when the Swampy Cree of Oxford House, Manitoba came back from winter camp. You had to find just the right hat to make you feel ready for the season of beginning all over again.

They had gone far into the bush, lived in shacks, shot duck and moose, and fished for themselves and their dogs. They were more healthy and contented when they were out in the bush than on the reserve because they had meat to eat. The missionary had given their fathers their school exercise books and made them promise to have their children look at them at least once a day.

Now spring was here and, with it, came travelers from the south. Eager to make some money, the men and boys tried to make a good impression. Strong and swift-footed, with valuable knowledge of nature and skills as craftsmen, they were indispensable as guides to carry the outsiders’ gear, paddle and portage canoes and navigate the trails through the bush. They would also exchange meat for white man’s food such as jam.

Where Did They Get Their Hats From?
Each man or boy in the photo has his own style and no two hats are the same. I suspect they came out of the bales of clothing which were sent up to the reservation from church congregations in the south who wanted to help the aboriginal people. The influence of the new age of aviation was detectable in some of the hat styles.

Look at this Historical Photo:
Chief Jeremiah Chubb is standing second from the left in the back row. He is the one who “although not musical, played the organ as best he could for the church services” (A Book of Kells).

His right hand man, Bobbie Chubb, is standing — on Jeremiah’s right. He liked to brag and had a good sense of humor, which my mother (the missionary’s wife) adored.

One night when he was at mission house, he told her that his children were not let out of the house at night because he locked the door at 10 p.m. Then he looked at his watch and said: “To-night I have locked myself out.”

Which hat in this historical photo appeals to you most?

What’s your new Easter hat like? What’s its attitude and what does it rhyme with?

Thank you for spending some of your precious time reading this post. Please browse around from tip to toe on the Home archive and, if you will, comment.

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozybookbasics!

Margaret Kell Virany, author of:

A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void.  A compelling account of the unique northern adventures of a romantic, idealistic sailor and his war bride living with the Cree in the roaring twenties. Followed up by their youngest daughter’s confessions of a preacher’s kid.

Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.  A loving tribute to my mother’s bravery in coming alone to Canada as a war bride and living her honeymoon years on a northern Aboriginal reservation.  12 photos.

Eating at Church. One hundred and seventy-five recipes from the labor of love of 58 contributors who belong to two congregations in the Ottawa River Valley that perpetuate a long tradition of delicious, practical, time-proven meals prepared for and eaten with others.

Background information is available on my website; books may be purchased on Amazon.

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'How to Be Happy' course attracts 25% of PhD students at Yale University, Jan. 2018

Happiness students attend Prof. Laurie Santos’ class at Yale University. NYT photo.

 Yale University PhD students who say they are “anxious, stressed, unhappy and numb” get seven points of daily advice (below) from Positive-Psychology  professor Laurie Santos’ How to Be Happy course. In an interview (New York Times, 26/01/2018) she says they have been seeking mental health counselling at near crisis-level.  “They became that way in order to focus on their work, the next step, the next accomplishment.”

Professor Laurie Santos' course in How to Be Happy attracted one-quarter of the students taking PhDs at Yale University in January, 2018

Professor Laurie Santos, Yale University photo

Her course advises:

1. Meditate for 10 minutes a day

2. Get eight hours of sleep

3. Do something calm

4. Think of five things you are grateful for

5. Perform an act of kindness

6. Form new social connections

7. Don’t procrastinate

  • “The students want to change, be happier themselves and change the culture here on campus,” Santos says. “It is not easy. It is the hardest class at Yale. To see real change in their life habits, students have to hold themselves accountable each day. It takes practise but it lasts forever.
  • “Three things students usually equate with life satisfaction (high grades, prestigious internship, good job) don’t increase happiness at all. Intuitions about what will make us happy are totally wrong (e.g. winning a
    lottery).
  • “If they take the advice to heart it will change our culture in a big way. If we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.
  • “In high school they had to deprioritize happiness to gain admission, and adopt harmful life habits that have led to the mental health crisis we’re seeing at places like Yale. They had to do things that made themselves really unhappy in order to get there.”
  • The Field of Positive Psychology & Behavioral Change does not focus on what goes wrong but on the characteristics that make human beings flourish. To critics who say it is just an easy A, she points out:

1. The course is relaxed, low pressure

2. Social pressure attached to taking it with friends pushes students to work hard without provoking anxiety about grades

3. She encourages them to take it pass/fail so they won’t be anxious. She doesn’t monitor assignments

4. The course ends with a discussion of treatment efficacy. Did the therapy actually work? Every student must complete a Hack Yo’self Project.

5. It is not easy. It is the hardest class at Yale. It takes practise but it lasts
forever.

6. To see real change in their life habits, students have to hold themselves accountable each day.

Happiness courses began at ivy league colleges after Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi published Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience, a seminal work in the field of positive psychology, in 1990. People were “happiest,” he found, when they were able to spend their work or their leisure — ideally both — fully engaged in what they were doing, to the extent that they actually lost track of time, or forgot to eat. Whatever people did that gave them the best sense of happiness usually involved being challenged enough to stretch their skills, keep them totally engaged, and unaware of the rest of the world.

The How to Be Happy course will not be offered next Fall because the classes of other professors have emptied and they are unhappy.

What do you think of this course? The comment box below is for you to use. The blog post is just a start so we can talk about what hits  you.

Happy family-value reading & writing from Cozy Book Basics!

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany   http://www.margaretvirany.com

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Come with Kathleen as a Valentine’s treat

Because her story is so sweet.

Kathleen was a British high school girl in 1917 when her father brought a Canadian sailor home for tea. The suspenseful excitement of falling in love, marrying and then living amongst the Swampy Cree in Canada’s northern wilderness is captured in Kathleen’s Cariole Ride: A True Love Story from over the Ocean and in the Bush after WWI. Their daughter’s loving book takes you deeply inside the raw emotions of their own letters. The highlight of their (and their foetus’) adventures was a five-day sub-zero winter trek and a difficult birth.

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Remember! A book makes a heartwarming, non-fattening, long-lasting gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s a joy for me to meet and chat with people in the friendly, creative atmosphere of the Russell Flea Market on Sat., Feb. 10th, while signing copies. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could join us?

Does this story remind you of an event in your family’s history? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comment box.

Thank you for dropping by Cozy Book Basics. You may find other stories you like by clicking above on ‘Home’ and scrolling down to browse through the archives. My writing grew out of a paradoxical parsonage childhood being nurtured by incongruous parents. To find out more, follow this Amazon link to A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church. Please join me on Goodreads or check out my personal author page also.

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics!

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com   margaret@kell.ca

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How to choose books for your unique avatar

What would  you choose if you wanted to take a picture of  a few of your favorite books, not more than seven inches wide when stood together? The names of two websites I like,  ‘Books ‘R Us’ and ‘Books Tell Us Why’, gave me the seeds of this idea for a new avatar. It would be right for the task, less random and superficial than a mug shot.

My books are shelved up- and down-stairs all over the house so it was a good exercise. Digital,  thumbed-over, dog-eared, faded, curled, moldy, soiled, frayed, ripped, incomplete, taped, sagging, spineless specimens wouldn’t do. I needed color and titles that would be attractive. What photogenic line-up could be readily assembled ?

After I’d made my choices and taken the shot, there seemed to be some categories and sense to it all. If you want to show who you are  by presenting a few books, for an avatar or any other reason, here are my tips. You have to love them because they are all of these things:

  • Useful: An indispensable reference book for your favorite passion or hobby
  • Fun: An entertaining, exciting novel or fantasy book that carries you away to another world
  • Shocking: A nonfiction exposé that stimulates your curiosity and thirst to get at the truth about what really happened
  • For the mind and soul: A book that is a mentor and idol to give you an intellectual boost and spiritual understanding
  • For social identity: A biographical history of a person or group  who align with your  own career path, background and type of  companions
  • From your family: A history or autobiography written by you or a relative

My books in the photo above are, from left to right:

  1. A collection of recipes which reflect my childhood and perpetual delight in good food, especially when cooked by loving people and served at communal events like harvest suppers, strawberry socials and silver teas. Someone suggested to me that ‘Who Cooked the Last Supper?’ might have been a better title than ‘Eating at Church.’
  2. The Black Tulip by Alexander Dumas. Hundreds of others would have done but only this one had a red cover, gold lettering and the sentimental value of having been a gift from my son when he was a boy.
  3. The Pagan Christ. As a willful (but good) minister’s daughter, I was always interested in the pagan customs and natural images unsuccessfully squelched but peculiarly integrated into Christianity.
  4.  Northrop Frye Myth and Metaphor: Selected Essays 1974-88. My class notes of his lectures are included in those now appearing online for public access at http://www.fryeblog.blog.lib.mcmaster.ca/, Robert D. Denham library collection.
  5. Sweet Sixteen, the story of the 16 irrepressible woman journalists who formed the first Canadian Women’s Press Club while on a privileged train trip to the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. I  belong to their renamed club.
  6. A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00440DQNA), the 20th century family memoir I wrote about my parents and me.

Are you books? What favorites would win your book contest? We love to get comments and browsers so please make yourself at home!

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany    www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com      www.margaretvirany.com

 


rabbitfur2

The magic of writing a memoir is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, only in reverse. That’s my new theory. When my mother posed for this picture in 1928, just after marrying, coming to Canada and starting life on an Indian reserve, she had no idea I’d write a book from her love letters and adventures some day.

Imagine my joy at receiving these emails from two of the first avid readers of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride in its paperback edition. They’re from Catherine and Fred Dunlop, my second cousins who have a beautiful farm and family.

Here’s what Catherine says about the book, so eloquently:

“Margaret – I have just finished reading this wonderful book and I still have tears in my eyes, it is so well written. Mental images appear with the flow of your words and they transport me, it seems, right into that setting.
I am not a writer, but I am a voracious reader and I so enjoy how you can make a scene come to life with just descriptive passages. I laughed, I shook my head in disbelief many times and, as I said, cried when I had finished. I cannot say enough about this wonderful gift of love to your parents. I am going to order several today. I want to put one in our local library and I also want to give each of our children a copy. Uncle Jack baptized all three of our children.
I often called Uncle Jack ‘the oldest teenager I know’ and he seemed to enjoy that. We also had many discussions around theology topics. He was a man thinking unlike many of the ministers of his time. Aunt Kay was always so quiet and reserved but, once, she and I were talking out in my kitchen as I was cutting meat and she seemed vitally interested in my life, asking me questions about how I was coping with motherhood and a busy husband. Her way of saying “I know exactly what you are going through”?
Anyway, thank you for writing this story, THEIR story, so beautifully.

Catherine”

And here’s what Fred, who sent the photos, had to say:

“Good morning Margaret – we found this picture of your parents in a family trunk that mom had put away. The picture is in a frame made of rabbit skin. Mom has written on the back of the picture Rev Kell, Aunt Kathleen, Oxford House. Manitoba, 1925 (about)
love
Fred”

Some people just have all the luck when it comes to parents and cousins, so I have a grateful heart I wanted to share with you.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, please click here.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

2378603._UY630_SR1200,630_

As a UK diplomat to Canada’s capital in the fifties, author Nicholas Monsarrat (The Cruel Sea, etc.) lived in a heritage chateau with leaded windows high on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Our Club de Voile Grande Rivière (aka the Aylmer Sailing Club) sits farther upriver on a widened bend called Lac/Lake Deschênes and we held our end-of-season party at the chateau on Nov. 11. I wore a Remembrance Day poppy but forlorn sentiments were chased out by the Christmas spirits crashing the party. Yachters chatted like happy heralds as we sipped cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres passed around daintily. The party was free and crowded, since members had already paid for it in their club dues last Spring.

Marcel and Joanne, who have reached retirement age, had tidings of good will and great joy to broadcast. They had just got married after living together for forty years. The ceremony took place at their home, with the wedding banns posted on the front door and their two grown children as witnesses. As a joke, the wedding was kept secret until they arrived from Europe. At first their son thought the white paper on the front door was a construction permit for renovations but when he read it he blurted out, “What the ……. is this?” Instead of buying a home and settling down, the newlyweds will sell their house but keep their sailboat, make lots more friends and have new adventures.
David, a physicist and lawyer, looked contented and cheerful as a cherub even though he is 75 and sick. He uses a cane to get on and off his boat and loves his crew of family and friends who handle the ropes and sails. Ten years of treatment for cancer have not prevented him from travelling to academic conferences as a guest speaker and foremost expert on cold fusion. He doesn’t expect to live very much longer but is always more concerned about other people and advised us to travel while we are still in good health. One of the things he did right years ago was his divorce. Instead of hiring lawyers and going to court, he and his wife agreed they no longer wished to live together and parted with a handshake. The only quarrel they had was over the refrigerator. Due to their continuing friendship, she recently helped him resettle in a very convenient condo. We were inspired by David’s way of solving problems and facing death with equanimity. He enjoys his grandchildren and babysits when needed. He is a very wise man.

I held back to peek into the coffee room and get a preview of the desserts when the  sailors started flowing from the bar down the hall to the dining room to eat entrées being cooked at several stations. How startled I was to see a pair of wide-open baby eyes staring at me from the sofa! Lavioletta’s mother Maria had found a quiet corner with a sofa where she could cuddle and feed her precious gift from god. Stunningly beautiful in a gray-and-white three-piece outfit with matching polka dot hair bow, she was just learning to focus. Maria held her up so she could zoom in on me at close range and try to grab my little finger. I was thrilled and she was amazed to discover this ‘something’ so close and so big. We few in the room formed a semi-circle of adoration around her and cooed in the universal language of baby babble. Maria and Jean had two boats in the marina when they met but now they have one. It was overwhelming to see their love, pride, joy, optimism and readiness to be parents responsible for their little family’s future.

The party in its mystifying setting was a prelude to Christmas as well as the end to a season delayed by a big flood. Joy to all in celebrating the best of human kind!

Happy Reading, Writing and Living from Cozy Book Basics!

http://www.margaretvirany.cozybookbasics.com  www.margaretvirany.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

reunionphoto

  • “Our school is older than Confederation! Come back for the 160th Reunion!,” said the email from the Weston Collegiate Alumni Foundation, and I was impressed. I  hadn’t been there since the school’s Centennial in 1957. I thought they had forgotten me in return.
  • Orlando Martini, a 1952 graduate, past-president and founder of the WCAF, was the mysterious link. He said he would meet us in the Tea Room if we went. That sounded perfect. A classmate living in New York State had loaned him her copy of my book containing memories of Weston Collegiate. He had been a year behind my husband Tom in engineering at the University of Toronto, so he knew him by name.
  • Two old classmates had contacted me recently so Fate too was urging me to reconnect. Unfortunately, I lost Ann West Hudec’s phone number and didn’t know her whereabouts so couldn’t reach her. As for Nancy Mackay Cunningham, she would be away on a trip this month. When I googled for Peter W. Barker and his wife Anne Coleman Barker from our gang I found his obituary. Sadly, I left a memory message on the funeral home website.
  • My hitherto unread copy of “One Hundred Years. A Retrospect 1857-1957. Weston Grammar School to Weston Collegiate & Vocational School” by Dora E. Wattie, M.A. verifies I was there. The book reminds us how big and complicated a job is the educating of our young. It lists the names of slews of dedicated people — caretakers, students, volunteers, teachers, board members, trustees, donors, etc.– who pulled together to give the school its spirit of friendship, co-operation and community. How hard our teachers worked to help their students mature and succeed! Dozens of activities were enabled by staff who volunteered countless extra hours. Ms Wattie gives others credit but never mentions her own role.
  • Suddenly my name appears at the top of page 101 and I burst out laughing. (Be careful what you wish for when you think you want to be remembered or  famous!) It reads, “Frequently it is the accidents that make a student play memorable … “Margaret Kell will remember the authentic blow she struck at the station window as the “Ghost Train” roared through the station, so authentic that splintered glass sent blood streaming down her arm.” Now I recalled why I liked Ms Wattie; she was the producer of the Drama Club’s annual play, as well as being our history teacher.
  • When we arrived for the reunion on Oct. 14 I felt thrilled to step out of the car onto the sod where the Schomberg/Kleinburg/Woodbridge/Thistletown bus stopped during 1947-50. I was dismayed to see no sign of Anne Coleman’s parents’ bungalow across the street where our gang partied and played pool after Saturday night movies. The vocational wing and original school have been replaced by a  structure 100 years younger, a big improvement.
  • Inside the entrance, the odor of chlorine from a swimming pool was new but the corridor walls were crammed as ever. An honor guard of class pictures, lists of Ontario Scholarship winners’ names, photos of governors general awarding Orders of Canada to outstanding alumni, and glassed cabinets full of sports trophies and cups, with colorful pennants above, ushered us all the way along to the registration desk. The school still brags about Weston Ironmen’s Toronto District football championship victory over East York Seniors in 1950.
  • The student band blared out the finale of its stirring welcome as we entered the Memory Hall/Pub (auditorium.) A long central buffet table amid hundreds of people buzzing over colorful snacks and drinks made the atmosphere festive. We got right into the nitty gritty of “Hi”, “When did you graduate?” and “Who did you know?” At the mere mention of a name one alumnus feinted a faint. The pile of pictures on the memorabilia table grew. I found Charles Snider, a gymnast from my year
  • Tom and I retreated to a round table in the adjoining Tea Room (staff room) to wait for the kettle to boil and  Orlando to come.  Meanwhile we looked at the new history book,  “The Past Fifty Years 1957 to 2007. The Tradition Continues. Weston Grammar School to Weston Collegiate Institute 1857-2007” edited by Dr. Wesley Turner. Orlando had been inspired to organize this project after he interviewed Dora Wattie 20 years ago.
  • By now I was feeling very much at home, like being with family. Books are my passion; I soaked up fascinating local history, biographies of pioneers in mining, medicine, water treatment and other fields and pictures of young people doing what I once did. I made discoveries and got to know my old self and environment better. What great luck to have gone to a school so extraordinary at preserving its traditions!
  • Alumni and former teachers who dropped by our table after Orlando came were a fairly homogenous-looking group with surnames we’d heard before. It didn’t take long to find connections around the people we knew and experiences we shared.
  • Today’s students at WCI were born in 80 different countries of the world. Enrollment now is 850 instead of 1100. No one has to be bussed in because more high schools have been builtThe hosts and servers poured our cups and served yummy baking were neat, pleasant, helpful and friendly. They didn’t carry cellphones; the school doesn’t provide WiFi for them. In my day girls had to wear white shirt blouses with black tunics and stockings. Now they seemed to wear a casual assortment of black skirts or pants, white or beige tops and loose gray cardigans.
  • Prachi Dalai, Aryana Singh and Miduran Murugathasan received 2016 WCAF Orlando Martini awards for leadership, citizenship and extracurricular activities. Debbie Dada has been admitted to Yale University to major in global affairs.
  • In the WCAF’s 160th Anniversary issue some bright grade 12 and 13 students answer questions from a peer about their high school experience and what advice they’d give other students. They show self-confidence and a broad view far beyond what we had before the ‘Me-Generation’ came along. I’m sure  recent migrations and upheavals have them mature earlier.
  • They appreciate how older students befriended and welcomed when they started. They passionately believe they and every other person is unique, with great potential.  They say that if  you have a problem, such as depression or physical health, take care of it first. Don’t worry so much about others’ think. Getting top marks can wait if you feel you’re not at  your best. Participating in extracurricular clubs helped them change and reach goals. One student remembered a moment of just standing around outside the school door with friends looking at the sunset, feeling they had nothing to fear. All was well.
  • “How could Weston possibly get better? With you!”  writes Joshua Brooke in the current issue of “West Press”, the student newspaper. He was rallying his fellow students to take part in Hallowe’en and other Fall activities. My only question is, “Are we oldies ready to absorb these students into a truly multicultural society and let them take the lead?”
  • After coming home from the reunion, I phoned Squibb’s, the bookstore in Weston where I bought textbooks, to inquire about a book signing. The proprietor said they did not have space but if a book interested them they might co-operate in a presentation about it organized by the Weston Historical Society. The key person to contact would be Mary Lou Caskey Ashbourne, and she gave me her email address and phone number.
  • You guessed it! Mary Lou sat in front of me in grade 12 in 1948, although it seems like yesterday. We began to get caught up over the phone and will be getting together soon. You’ll be first to know if there’s to be a presentation.

A school reunion can be rejuvenating, even if you go only once in a lifetime.

orieloucks.jpg.fcaf306d

Loucks’ heart was amongst the trees. Minden (ON) Times photo and cutline.

With scientific precision, superb literacy, brilliant intellect, fatherly tact and noble modesty, Dr. Orie Loucks http://www.mindentimes.ca/remembering-orie-loucks begins his family’s story by advising us how to approach the awesome task. Loucks was an esteemed scientist, author and conservationist.

1. Family history must be more than births, marriages and deaths. It needs to tell who the people are and why they came to the places where we find them.
2. We should learn what concerns drove them from one home place to another, in poverty or wealth.
3. We should also try to learn what are the values and interests of the family line that continue from one generation to the next. We may find family values that are evident over four or five hundred years.
4. One must wonder whether character traits, and not just physical resemblance, may have been carried along. Did the qualities that led to stubborn persistence on early Huguenot faith traditions continue until certain family leaders supported the British in the American Revolutionary war, and does it still continue today?
5. Great changes in circumstances faced by nearly every generation should be seen as a critical influence on each family’s life. Through all the change, we can expect to see continuity of family character.

6. This report tries to highlight both the ups and downs of each generation’s prospects. The record suggests the family aspired to be fair and just and try to make the world a better place in the future. Each one adapted and then practiced what they learned or believed in from the former generations.
7. Relevant history was passed down in 2010 at the 300th reunion of Laux/Loucks family members of the 1710 Palatine refugee migration. It not only added depth to the historical record, but also family relationships across generations were sustained, along with evidence of the continuity of physical appearance. Many participants at the reunion were struck by the resemblance that continues in males of the family, the square face, the strong though not prominent nose, and the firm but often dimpled chin.

8. Looking for the source of the surname revealed it spanned languages such as Spanish, French, Latin and Occitan, according to David Loux, author of part I, chapter 2 of the book. Different spellings in English are all pronounced the same way.
9. Other sources he consulted were the French armorial coat-of arms; dictionaries to give meanings of the name, maps to show localities, mountain ranges and lakes named du Laux, du Loux, Lau or Loucks. Pronunciation research was done into Occitan (they spoke this patois every day but used Latin for business and diplomacy.)
10. Finding out the influence of historical context on this family’s fortunes was crucial. The major social upheavals that impacted them, for better or worse, were the Crusades starting in 1096, the Albigensian ‘Crusade’ (persecution) two centuries later, and the religious wars that mobilized French society from the 10th to 17th centuries. France had no separation of church and state and Roman Catholicism was the state-sponsored religion. French reformers
(Huguenots) were driven into a major exodus.

“As minor nobility, some du Laux families would have held Huguenot church services in their homes. They would have fought alongside other families in defense of their religious cause and, as identifiable nobility, their homes would have been at risk for being ravaged and burned. The du Laux name turned up in Wiesbaden, Germany and from there they migrated to the United States.”

To find out more about Surviving 4 Migrations: The Loucks of Haliburton or to purchase a copy, please click on http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/orie-loucks/surviving-four-migrations-the-loucks-of-haliburton/paperback/product-20163703.html

It is described as “A history of the Loucks family: France to Germany, to New York State, and Ontario from the 1620’s to the present.” pp. 280

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com http://www.margaretvirany.com http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

orieloucks.jpg.fcaf306d

“Loucks’ heart was amongst the trees.” Photo and cutline courtesy of Minden (ON) Times.

With scientific precision, superb literacy, brilliant intellect, fatherly tact and noble modesty, Dr. Orie Loucks http://www.mindentimes.ca/remembering-orie-loucks begins his family’s story by advising us how to approach the awesome task.

1.Family history must be more than births, marriages and deaths. It needs to tell who the people are and why they came to the places where we find them.
2. We should learn what concerns drove them from one home place to another, in poverty or wealth.
3. We should also try to learn what are the values and interests of the family line that continue from one generation to the next. We may find family values that are evident over four or five hundred years.
4. One must wonder whether character traits, and not just physical resemblance, may have been carried along. Did the qualities that led to stubborn persistence on early Huguenot faith traditions continue until certain family leaders supported the British in the American Revolutionary war, and does it still continue today?
5. Great changes in circumstances faced by nearly every generation should be seen as a critical influence on each family’s life. Through all the change, we can expect to see continuity of family character.

6. This report tries to highlight both the ups and downs of each generation’s prospects. The record suggests the family aspired to be fair and just and try to make the world a better place in the future. Each one adapted and then practiced what they learned or believed in from the former generations.
7. Relevant history was passed down in 2010 at the 300th reunion of Laux/Loucks family members of the 1710 Palatine refugee migration. It not only added depth to the historical record, but also family relationships across generations were sustained, along with evidence of the continuity of physical appearance. Many participants at the reunion were struck by the resemblance that continues in males of the family, the square face, the strong though not prominent nose, and the firm but often dimpled chin.

8. Looking for the source of the surname revealed it spanned languages such as Spanish, French, Latin and Occitan, according to David Loux, author of part I, chapter 2 of the book. Different spellings in English are all pronounced the same way.
9. Other sources he consulted were the French armorial coat-of arms; dictionaries to give meanings of the name, maps to show localities, mountain ranges and lakes named du Laux, du Loux, Lau or Loucks. Pronunciation research was done into Occitan (they spoke this patois every day but used Latin for business and diplomacy.)
10. Finding out the influence of historical context on this family’s fortunes was crucial. The major social upheavals that impacted them, for better or worse, were the Crusades starting in 1096,  the Albigensian ‘Crusade’ (persecution) two centuries later, and the religious wars that mobilized French society from the 10th to 17th centuries. France had no separation of church and state and Roman Catholicism was the state-sponsored religion. French reformers
(Huguenots) were driven into a major exodus.

“As minor nobility, some du Laux families would have held Huguenot church services in their homes. They would have fought alongside other families in defense of their religious cause and, as identifiable nobility, their homes would have been at risk for being ravaged and burned. The du Laux name turned up in Wiesbaden, Germany and from there they migrated to the United States.”

To find out more about Surviving 4 Migrations: The Loucks of Haliburton or to purchase a copy, please click on http://www.lulu.com/ca/en/shop/orie-loucks/surviving-four-migrations-the-loucks-of-haliburton/paperback/product-20163703.html

It is described as “A history of the Loucks family: France to Germany, to New York State, and Ontario from the 1620’s to the present.” pp. 280

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“Thank you,” said the i-phone-clutching prospective customer, then moved on.

Near the end of Thursday’s stint as an Ottawa Byward Market author with no books sold, I crossed the street to ask the Crazy Moose souvenir shop to take some on consignment. The manager, a man of statistics, said no, reading was down 50% to 80% and, if it was true my booth had sold eight books in two stints 10 days apart, then that was the way to do it. I felt buoyed up and ready to fight. I had to stay put in the war between paper and digital to keep reading alive! 

On my own since my two selling buddies had left, I figured I would complete the day my way, relying on eye contact, not just waiting for a customer to appear.  Here’s what I did before I sold two books and was able to call my day a trumpian success, considering the state of our universe:

  • Stood tall inside my booth to be conspicuous
  • Smiled and relaxed
  • Got into the mood of happy shopping, sesquicentennial celebrating and traveling
  • Controled my grooving to the music rocking the square as I scanned the passing crowd for intelligent faces
  • Rejected those eating ice cream cones or $5 stuffed potato halves that might mess up my books
  • Skipped those preoccupied with their own devices
  • Trusted my eyes to focus on someone who was compatible in some way with me, my writing and my readers (real and imagined)
  • When my gaze was returned, I lifted my eyebrows cordially and tilted my head back a bit as an invitation to them to come over.

Fate ridiculed me by making me oblivious to a woman who sneaked up to look at one of my cookbooks I had left littering the other author’s table at my side. She didn’t have $15 so I lowered the price to $10 and the sale made us both happy.

Then I saw a bent-over, gray-haired woman purposefully propelling herself and her full bag with the aid of a deluxe cane towards her parked car. As she passed by I caught her eye.  She lifted her face to convey a respectful, smiling nod to literacy. I said boldly and clearly to her disappearing back, “I have a very good book for you” and she indicated she would return.

She asked me to tell her about my book and we quickly found common ground.  We both appreciated writing with carefully chosen words, criticism and looking at issues like the residential school tragedies from all sides. She complimented me on my New York Times newsprint dress and wondered if it also came in French. She translates English into French for the federal government.

By the time she bought the book and I signed it we were friends. She was Paule (pronounced “Pole”) and I was “Margo” (with a handwritten note giving the name of a chanteur who wrote a song by that title).

To me that was selling books at its best: two persons, strangers only seconds ago, making a pact to keep reading stuff on paper alive.

Happy Reading, Writing and Bookselling!

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

http://www.margaretvirany.com