My 99-year-old relative and a blogging hiatus

What a busy time summer was, with the year off of work and a very busy baby and family! I haven’t written much in the way of personal updates in the past two years that I have been writing here, but I wanted to do so today because I’ve taken a break from writing posts here. I have a new baby, who was born in February, as well as two young school-aged kids. Over the summer we had lots of great experiences and visitors. I also invested more time in my artwork when I participated recently in an Art Battle competition. So I had to drop this ball.

1938 Helene Duck, Mary Kimmerly Duck

1938 – centre is Helene Duck, to the right is my great grandmother, Mary (Kimmerly) Duck.

I did think of something interesting today that merits a post on this blog, since it relates to my Great Aunt Helene Duck, who wrote the letters that I just completed sharing from her year at London Normal School in 1939-1940. After school, she went on to be a teacher, and when I was growing up, she was like a grandmother to me. We spent many Saturdays playing games at her house, where she was born in 1916. One thing I remember is that she always claimed to be 99 years old. This was a running joke she had when students asked her age. I noticed that this year, 2015, she actually would have been 99 years old! Sadly, she did not live to see that age, but I like to think she would have gotten a kick out of me remembering this.

Another thing of note is that I read Susanna Moodie’s books “Life in the Backwoods” and “Roughing it in the Bush.” I found these works fascinating and I want to read more period literature about Upper Canada. My Duck ancestors emigrated in the 1830s as well, so I enjoyed picturing them going through similar experiences. They were bachelors though, so I am sure their experience was quite different than that of a higher class woman, baby and officer husband. I particularly enjoyed some of the entertaining sketches in “Life in the Backwoods”, which I borrowed as an e-book from our local library. For example, one story of a neighbouring pioneer who only had one boot so he switched it to the other foot part way through their walk…imagine clearing land/burning brush with only one shoe to your name.

Hopefully I will be able to get back to sharing more of my old papers and information soon!

5 thoughts on “My 99-year-old relative and a blogging hiatus

  1. I stumbled upon your blog very late last night after searching Google Images for Morpeth School. I attended that school for Beginners through Grade 5, about 1957 to 1962. I was sent to St Michael’s in Ridgetown for Grade 6 as my mother Bette Bechard, was teaching in the separate school system that year. My family owned a farm on #3 Highway. It was across the road from the farm owned by Jim and Edith McKinlay. Those were the happiest years that I had as a child. My father Louis Bechard, passed away in June of 1964. The farm was sold to my brother John who was graduating from Agricultural College in Ridgetown. The family moved to Chatham where Mom was teaching.

    Mom and Helene were very good friends. In July of 1964, just after the death of my father, we took a motor trip through parts of Ontario that I had never seen. I was 11 at the time and remember seeing the lift locks in Peterborough and travelling as far as Kingston, which is where I now reside. We travelled with Helene and her mother and had a very lovely time.

    I had often thought of Miss Duck and the happy years in the Morpeth School. I appreciate your efforts to share this history of the small town.

    My Mother, Bette Bechard (Blair) will be celebrating her 94th birthday in May 2016. My sister, Linda Bechard passed away 17 years ago. My brother John Bechard lives with his family in Victoria Harbour, ON. John is anxious to view this material when he visits this spring.

    One of the Google Images that I saw in this search was a picture of a letter envelope addressed to Mrs. Clarence Duck. I immediately recognized Miss Duck’s handwriting and knew that this was a great site to explore!

    Joanne Bechard (Kane)

    • Very interesting! Thank you for sharing your story. I’ll share this with my parents who still live locally too. What a neat connection, especially the road trip. I’ll keep your mom’s name in mind in case I see it in any of the later letters or photos.

    • Hello Joanne: I was a friend of yours in Morpeth school. Wondering if you remember me? Susan Smith. I remember playing at your house on #3 highway many times.

  2. I have found a diary of Mary Duck, in which she documented the trip that you spoke of in July 1964. The four of you left Morpeth on July 20 and returned July 28. Some of the places visited were Old Fort Henry in Kingston, a boat cruise among the 1000 Islands, Iroquois locks, Upper Canada Village, Parliament buildings in Ottawa, National museum, Hull, Madoc, Peterborough, Norwich to visit Bette’s folks.

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