Archives for posts with tag: Kell family



A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void goes to the Byward Market July 19th to sell itself alongside other tempting produce rooted in Ontario farmland.

An Unlikely Pair

  • JACK Kell, an acronym, left the family soil in Cookstown, ON and sailed to the barracks of Portsmouth, England in crucial WWI year 1917. He was invited for tea at the home of genteel school girl Kathleen Ward who, 10 years later, left all she knew to marry him. They had kindled romantic love via handwritten transatlantic letters sent by surface mail and riddled with suspense.
  • She began being Canadian on a train from Montreal via Toronto and Cookstown to Winnipeg, then a steamship to Norway House, and  a canoe up to Oxford House where JACK evangelized the Swampy Cree as a United Church missionary.
  • They had faith and book knowledge in common, and dedication to building a better world in this beautiful peaceful country of optimism and opportunity. Both met challenges and experienced transportation and climate adventures no other person, white or native, ever dreamed up.


A Real Life Detective Story

  • In genre, A Book of Kells is a family history written as a novel and detective story. It sets out to solve the mysteries of the hero and heroine’s lost egos and why Kathleen wouldn’t give JACK one of her chocolates the week before he died even though he pleaded for it.

Please Come If You Can to the Authors’ Tent July 19th

  • I appreciate the Market’s help in my ongoing efforts to talk to people and find moments of connection and assimilation amid our individuality and multiculturalism. I’ll be in the pink at the author’s tent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19 and hope you will drop by and chat if by chance you can be out relaxing or shopping for healthy sustenance for body and soul.
  • The companion book Kathleen’s Cariole Ride differs from A Book of Kells in being written as a love story and tribute to a war bride’s bravery. It consists of  their early story plus 12 authentic pictures. I’ll also sell copies of my heritage cookbook Eating at Church.

Tip: A recent buyer was a man looking for a wedding present for an octogenarian couple. JACK and Kathleen’s combined life ends with him dying in her arms after they had spent almost 61 years together.

Happy Reading from CozyBookBasics!





IMG_2692At the 79th Kell family reunion in Churchill, Ontario I was one of eight cousins who posed in a picture of those who attended the reunion the year it began, 1936. (That’s me just off center). This wasn’t quite truthful; I’d been taken to England that summer, but women heirs have always been scarce in the Kell clan and, besides, I like cameras. I looked for someone else of my sex to join us and spotted Helen Coutts (far right). She said, yes, she had been at the reunion that year but it was a secret. Her mother was pregnant and still hasn’t told anyone. Helen is well known now as the former Reeve of the township of Springwater. Meanwhile, Sylvia Goodfellow (standing) snuck into the picture but, shame to say, In 79 years I haven’t yet found out her story. Next year for sure. It’s a big family! Ross Kell (far left) introduced himself to me for the first time this year. He said he had been my father’s neighbor in Owen Sound for years but they never visited because of an overhanging cliff.  Beside Sylvia is William M. Kell, my favorite cousin who loves to introduce me by saying, “We were born in the same bed.” Quite true! My mother had no sooner given birth to me and rested for a few days before the staff at Mrs. Marling’s Nursing Hospital in Cookstown told her she had to move out because Ruby Kell had just checked in and it was her baby’s turn. William M. could wait no longer. His t-shirt says, “I’m 29 … but this is an old shirt.” Sitting on my left is Gordon MacKenzie who remembered how we used to play croquet together in their backyard in New Toronto many years ago. Keith Kell on my right likes to brag that he has traveled around in his life. He was born in the dining room of the family homestead and now his wife has installed him in the kitchen. William J. with the cane is the 91-year-old multi-millionaire patriarch of the family. He has written a book about his startling success as a farmer and startling shortcomings as a husband and father. It is called A Farming Life and can be purchased via Like a needle in a haystack, it’s an unexpected, unforgettable find. Full of trivia, fun, nostalgia and great potluck, the family reunion is irreplaceable. Many of them, however, are badly in need of new blood to keep the annual event happening. Dr. John Kell from Toronto (he’s on Facebook) has been organizing ours for many years but no hands went up when he asked for volunteers to take on the role of president. We eight oldies, now feeling powerless, were saddened by that. If  you don’t have reunions, how will you ever be able to keep on relishing the unforgettable characters and priceless humor your shared genes have produced?

In World War I Kathleen Ward of the city of Portsmouth, England meets Jack Kell of a farm in Cookstown, Canada. From love letters, journals and photos left to her, the author unfolds their romantic, daring story in A Book of Kells. It starts with William and Mary Kell who immigrated to rural Ontario in 1850 and follows the lives of their most adventurous descendants. The subtitle Growing Up in an Ego Void reveals the other-worldly expectations put on a minister’s daughter in her growing-up years. This book of love is wrapped in a reference to the ninth-century monks who copied and illuminated the famous holy manuscript, The Book of Kells. Generations of the author’s devout family of the same name strove to illustrate the gospels by the way they lived their daily lives. 

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!