The Blue Mouse

The weather has warmed a little, but is still far below the average temperature for this time of year. The wind is up though, so the wind chill is still significant. The sky is cloudy and grey. Without the warmth of the sun coming in through the south windows, and with the wind whipping away any heat that escapes the house, it is chillier indoors, but still comfortable.

Attila is outdoors through all of this weather, outdoors all day long. The wind chill is significantly more intense at his workplace, because he works right on the waterfront, where the wind picks up speed across the open ice before hitting land. The country house is located in the lee of a ridge, and is surrounded by forest, so that the wind chill is never as severe at home.

Work continues on my family history book. I have finally decided to use Scribus to create the digital copy, and now have a working draft of the book. This is the first volume, which covers the first three generations of the family from arrival in Canada from Scotland, in 1820. None of the individuals in this volume will be people I have met. My Grandfather would have met his paternal Grandmother, who is of the third generation in this volume, as he was two years old when she passed away.

The second volume will begin with the second generation from arrival, focusing on my direct family line, and will be a much longer volume than the first.

The pictures are slowing me down considerably, they are so challenging to edit for size and resolution. Still, a little bit each day!

My Granny and Grandpa, on their wedding day in May of 1929, in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada. A photo for Volume Two of my book.
Granny grandpaWeddingDay1929

I received an email from my Uncle (through marriage to my Mom’s sister) in North Bay, Ontario. He is recovering from a “heart event”, his first, at the age of 87. His mother lived to the age of 95.

When I was a little girl, my younger sister was everyone’s “favourite”. She was cute, and small and cuddly; the “little angel” of the family. I was a big baby, almost ten pounds at birth, and injured at birth. I was big, and I was in pain, so I would never have been small and cuddly, although I was as cute as any other baby. Until my sister was born I had no idea that small and cuddly were desirable. The only family member who favoured me was my Uncle, he told me I was his favourite. At the time it meant a lot to me, although as the years have passed it has lost its meaning. Still, the sentiment I feel for my Uncle remains intact. He made me laugh, and he made me feel special, during a vulnerable period in my life.

My Aunt met my Uncle when she was teaching in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. He was a handsome mining engineer. Her cousin, whom I spoke with last summer, remembered how excited and thrilled my Aunt was to be dating such a wonderful, handsome man. My Aunt and Uncle married at my Granny’s house, my Mom the Maid of Honour, my younger sister and I Bridesmaids; I remember it well. My Granny decided that my younger sister, my younger brother, and myself, would be Baptized before the wedding ceremony, by the Minister of her church. My brother was quite young at the time, and was horrified by the man “throwing water on him”; he kicked the minister and hid under the dining room table. I don’t remember if my brother was officially baptized or not! We were children with a real sense of independence, and of self determination; often to my Mom’s dismay. I know how challenging it is to be the parent of a “free spirit”!

Paying bills today, it is not a favourite pastime! A vacuuming “accident” occurred this morning, that can only be mentioned in print, otherwise it is a secret! Diesel’s fabric mouse, the blue one, he has an orange one and a blue one, has been eaten by the vacuum cleaner! Diesel doesn’t know, and I am not telling! He still has his orange mouse. The 1961 model Electrolux vacuum cleaner has more suction than I am used to. It found that blue mouse behind a curtain, and gobbled it up whole, without even swallowing. The don’t make them like they used to, vacuum cleaners!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

-11C (12.2F)
Date: 10:00 AM EST Saturday 21 February 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.5°C
Dewpoint: -15.5°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: S 25 gust 35 km/h
Wind Chill: -19 (-2.2F)

Country House

-12C (10.4F)
Date: 10:00 AM EST Saturday 21 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 8 km
Temperature: -11.8°C
Dewpoint: -13.9°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -18 (-0.4F)

Quote

“An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”
Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963

15 Comments

  1. WendyNC

    Never fear, if the blue mouse was eaten whole, you can probably salvage it when you change the bag on the vacuum. If you give the blue mouse a quick trip through the washer with a load of towels, he’ll be good as new when he dries. Not that I’ve ever done this. 😉

  2. Bex

    WendyNC stole my idea! And I HAVE done this! With more than one thing! No harm done.

    Yes, it would be an interesting study to learn more about the heating methods of old England and Scotland.

    I do know when we first started visiting the UK in 1986, the various B&B and self-catering cottage brochures would also mention as an extra added perk “central heating” if there were such a thing there… it was as if they were saying “you will be royally treated to central heating, so choose me!” Now it seems they are all centrally heated, except possibly some of the more remote rough-living cottages… possibly some travelers want to live rough and not have TV, central heating, or wifi.

    But we did!

  3. Wendy, I am pretty sure Diesel would like his blue mouse all the better for its journey to the dark world! I can spray it with aqueous oxygen to make sure it is clean, but I won’t try to vacuum it clean! 🙂

  4. Bex, I find learning heating methods that predate modern technology fascinating. Central heating is something I can’t imagine living without. I know there is an ancient wood furnace in the basement at my Granny and Grandpa’s old house, but I have no idea when it was installed. It looks old enough to date back to the 1880’s!

  5. The vacuum accident is a smile-maker. I also enjoyed the baptism story – your brother kicking the minister – sounds so Little House on the Prairie.

    I did a fairly inexpensive DNA testing that searched for relatives and ancestry. I have yet to really look into the results. Noting *jumped* off the bazillions of pages. I was actually looking for specifics because of mysterious secrets a second cousin told me before she died. I was hoping to verify the skeletons. 🙂 I need to find those emails from the test center and look again.

  6. Thanks Teri, I am planning on having a look through the bag in the spring, when I can do it in the garage, which is a bit damp right now as the wind has blown snow into it through every crack and cranny available. Of course, if Diesel pines for it, I’ll probably brave the icicles and do the deed right away. 🙂

  7. Reenie, at the time I remember feeling outraged at my brother’s response, but when I reached adulthood I saw the incident quite differently, and remember it fondly now.

    The DNA testing is interesting, and so far I have resisted the temptation to try it out. One of my second cousins is trying to find a direct male line descendant of our GGGG Grandfather. I guess those males didn’t fare too well, because my cousin hasn’t found anyone yet, and he has been doing a LOT of research! We have a few family mysteries that I’ve been bumping into as a result of consulting official documents. People sure hid a lot of their unsavoury behaviour in the old days! And it was much easier to cover your tracks back then, because there were few official records of anything, and communication was limited, without telephones, or the the internet. I have a Great Aunt who was blind and deaf, and she was eventually sent to an asylum, where she died… the sad part was that her death registration states, “family unknown”. I, and other family researchers have reclaimed her as our own.

  8. That is so sad about your Great Aunt. I think a lot of people *back then* who were disabled for whatever reason, were *hidden*. It happened somewhat in my family too.

    I write here because it won’t be discovered by anyone who knows and no one knows I know and maybe they don’t know (I know none of that made sense) but my second cousin confided before her death at age 80 that she was frequently dispatched by my grandfather to a hospital in a neighboring town to deliver flowers to the maternity ward to women who had had a child of his. I was SHOCKED! Pop-Pop? Good heavens. So, there should be scads of relatives out there – possible aunts and uncles of mine that might still be alive though quite old – and who can even begin to imagine the lineage henceforth? It’s quite mind-boggling. Yet, the DNA test gave no indication that these people exist. Who knows? Some things, I guess, are best kept undiscovered. Kind of delicious and scandalous, though, isn’t it? 🙂

  9. Well Reenie, it made perfect sense to me! We have a few skeletons in our family closet too! When I find documented evidence of situations, I record them diligently, honouring the legitimate connection to the family. How awful it would have been to be the illegitimate relative who was hidden in the basement every time anything with a whiff of officialness occurred, and all because some “legitimate” person in the family couldn’t control themselves. To live with people who denied that you existed would have been a terrible cross to bear in life, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. The real mystery in the family is my GG Grandfather, we haven’t figured out just who he was, or where he came from, or where he went. No grave, no death register, no birth record, no parents known… I have my theories about him!

  10. Wow! I find this all so fascinating and sad and curious and mysterious. Coming through Ellis Island immediately *neutered* so many families. My maiden name Lewisy is totally made up. It started in Ireland as Lucey, a so-so common surname. On Ellis Island it became Lewis. Then some brothers feuded and my branch of the family added a *Y* to Lewis to become Lewisy – to sever the relationship with the Lewis kin. It’s totally made up – no others in the whole wide world.

    So many possibilities and theories. I admire your steadfast research! I’m far too lazy. 🙂

  11. It sounds like someone in your family line has kept careful records! When I started out with my research I knew who my Grandparents were, and nothing further back than that. The research and writing are my way of staying close to my Granny and Grandpa, who I adored. The people on the pages of my book are real to me, and I know I carry a part of their dreams and aspirations through my life, as do my children, and grandchildren.

  12. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I knew my maternal great-grandmother, she was a part of my childhood. She was a mid-wife out in the wilds of North Dakota and Montana in the early 1900s, and in Manitoba/Saskatchewan before that, being Metis that travelled across the borders when they were more fluid. I’ve researched her family tree to find out more about the indian and Canadian French sides of our family, and also to find out if there really was a connection to the Dionne quintuplets as our family always claimed. I’ve also gone back a few generations on my maternal grandfathers line, to his family in what was Bohemia. But I’ve only been able to go back 2 generations in my father’s family. As he and my mother split when I was a baby, I haven’t had much information to go on.

    I found a cousin my half-sister’s husband (she’d died) through my research and a cousin, the grandson of a great uncle that I remember from my childhood.

    Speaking of lurid family history, my cousin wrote me a few years ago asking if I’d ever heard any rumors about a specific extended aunt. Apparently it was all rather hushed up but she had disappeared back in the 1920s or so and it was suspected her husband had killed her. I’m guessing he never found anything more on it as he never said anything more to me about it.

  13. How wonderful that your Great=Grandmother was a memorable part of your life! I only met one of my Great Grandparents, my maternal Grandfather’s father, all the rest had passed by the time I was born. I was two years old when he passed, so I do not remember him, and have only been told that he bounced me on his knee and thought I was bonny.

    Our family line has a suicide, which could conceivably be a murder as her death initiated significant property inheritances. It was ruled a suicide though, without witness, on the family farm, by officials from the small community where they lived, the small community where the inheritors enjoyed considerable affluence and status… so who really knows. I find it interesting that in my maternal family history the males who are researching the family find every possible aggrandizement of the family line, while the female researcher’s work reflects a more balanced description of past generations. I favour the balanced approach, accepting that my ancestors were humans, and were subject to the spectrum of human strengths and weaknesses. The family members that I have known are loving, honest, hard working people.

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