Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Trip down Memory Lane

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    I went to a Christmas party last Sunday evening given by my old Historical Society to which I belonged when I lived in the country. Saw some old friends and renewed some acquaintances from the past when I lived in a hamlet of about 500 souls which was ten miles from the nearest town. The party was in a nineteenth century Orange Lodge in Newton Robinson hamlet on Highway 27 that houses the society meetings and the local farmer`s wives association. The area was settled in the 1840’s by Protestant Irish fleeing the Irish Potato famine in the so-called “coffin ships” and they brought the admiration of "Good King Billy" a.k.a. William of Orange with them. I sometimes think that they are still fighting the Battle of the Boyne. The Catholic Irish settled the next county to the west and there are no Catholic churches on the east side of the county line to this day. In contrast to the cosmopolitan Toronto, everyone is related to everyone else and I was marginally accepted because I had a celtic surname.

First on the agenda - eating
  The first thing was the Christmas dinner and they had everything that you can imagine including the old staples of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salads and cranberry sauce.

Dining in the basement of the Orange Lodge

   I was the junior member in this crowd but I think that they must have been fasting for days judging by the amount of food which they tucked away.

   There was also no shortage of dessert but it seemed to disappear as well.é
Upstairs of the Orange Lodge

Good King Billy's banner
  They have had an Orange parade every year in Toronto for 191 years and still celebrate the Battle of the Boyne. The longest running Orange parade in North America. When Ernest Hemmingway was a writer at the Toronto Star, he used to refer to Toronto as Belfast North. Each of the local lodges would have it's hallowed banner in the parade and the larger ones their own band.

Adelaide Hoodless
Adelaide Hoodless née Hunter (February 27, 1858 – February 26, 1910) was a Canadian educational reformer who founded the international women’s organization known as the Women's Institute
She was born on a farm in St George, Canada West (now Ontario), the youngest of 13 children. She married John Hoodless and moved to Hamilton, Ontario. When her infant son died in 1889 from drinking impure milk she devoted herself to the betterment of education for new mothers. She became president of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), and taught classes in domestic science (home economics).
With Lady Aberdeen, she helped found the National Council of Women of Canada, the Victorian Order of Nurses and the National Association of the YWCA. In 1898 she published a book Public School Domestic Science.
A February 19, 1897 speech to farmers' wives in Stoney Creek, Ontario inspired the formation of the first Women's Institute, intended for the education of rural women, and within a decade more than 500 had been organized across Canada. (Wikipedia)

World War I volunteer list
  I often wondered how many came back from the war.

Painting of the Lodge
  Still looks the same today but my camera has too low an ISO to photograph it in the dark so I didnt take a picture. They did pave the road last year so I didn't get stuck in the ruts.

The bran barrel
   In the nineteenth century, Christmas gifts were not wrapped so they buried them in bran and people would pull the presents out of the barrel so the Historical Society instituted gift giving using the concept of a bran barrel and it has been in practice for many years.

They call out a month of the year and folks whose birthday is in that month go to the barrel and pull out a present. I got a box of chocolates.

Head of State
   A picture of a very young Queen. Must be from the fifties. Lots of Royalists in this area.

Entertainment after supper

   No snow but a pleasant evening. My invitation is below.

1 comment:

  1. Completely off-topic: I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award: http://clarissasblog.com/2011/12/28/the-versatile-blogger-award/