I Can’t Even GIVE History Away

Ticket

Ticket Back

I wrote of finding a little bit of history, a piece of ephemera, a 1942, WW-II ticket for a British bus line, in my first ‘Olio’ post.  It had been used as a bookmark, and fell out of an old hardcover book that I was examining.

I first tried to give it to one of the 2 local museums. Originally called Kids Museum, it might have fared better in Waterloo, our northern Twin City.  They’re a bit more financially and culturally superior. (Pronounced – ‘snooty’)

Museum

When not enough blue-collar kids visited it, they cleaned, repainted and added a bunch of dead machinery from now-closed local manufacturing plants, and called it themuseum – one word, all lower-case.  Can you make out the name in the above photo??  It being a British artifact, they had no interest in the ticket.

Anyway, I contacted the other local museum. It used to be called Doon Pioneer Village, and focused on the local Mennonites in the 1880s, but also recently changed its name, to Doon Heritage Crossroads, showcasing the growing 1920s urban development.

Canada didn’t have the Roaring 20s, flappers, or bathtub gin; although a strong wind might reveal a Mennonite woman’s ankle, or a vat of sweet apple cider might accidently go hard.  The ticket didn’t relate to their theme, and the only suggestion the curator had, was The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

There’s actually another ‘museum’ in Kitchener. It’s the Joseph Schneider Haus, built by one of the first settlers from Pennsylvania, in 1816, and still standing, in downtown Kitchener.  It has people in 1850s period costumes, demonstrating pioneer life, which is one reason why the Pioneer Village became the Heritage Crossroads.

A year ago, the Grandson moved to Ottawa to be with his fiancée as she attended college. In August, the son drove him, and a bunch of his stuff, in the new sport-ute.  Last October the son and I drove up another load of food and trivia.  After a six-hour drive on the Saturday, we barely had time to unload, a quick visit, and back later for a restaurant meal.

JUST as we were leaving the house Saturday morning, the son wondered aloud, if we might have the time to visit The War Museum on Sunday.  I ran upstairs and grabbed the ticket in its display frame, and brought it with us.

We did have time to tour the Museum on Sunday before leaving.  Since it was Sunday, and no office staff was working, I carefully put the ticket in an envelope, and left it and a note, with Security staff.  A couple of weeks later, I got a nice refusal letter from the Director of Acquisitions, who later mailed it back to me.

Northern Lights

It relates to Britain, and World War Two, and The Canadian War Museum is about Canadian wars, starting with French-Indian Wars, then British-Indian Wars, and Indian-Indian wars, etc., etc., etc.  Damn, we’ve had a lot of wars!  It’s back on a shelf on my stairway landing, beneath an impressive photo of the Northern Lights.  I can’t give this thing away.  Perhaps I’ll contact the bus company – they’re still in business.  Maybe they’d like it back.

***

ADDENDUM;

About 30 years ago, one of the wife’s nephews met a girl from Ottawa here at University, and moved there to marry her. We hadn’t begun taking our trips, so we let the most worldly-wise of her sisters, book motel rooms for 7 couples, to attend the wedding.

The motel that the son and I stayed at was an unusual creature, a sprawling old, two-storey, semi-Tudor style building….with a modern, 7-floor tower, epoxy-glued to one end. But the tower was closed off, and not available to guests.  When I asked why, the desk clerk told me that the 50-year-newer section was condemned.

It wasn’t till I got home and thought about it, that I realized that the now-condemned, haunted tower is where we slept, lo those many years ago. I wonder why it was condemned – and when??   😯

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Flash Fiction #94

Antiques

PHOTO PROMPT © Mary Shipman

HARD-TIME MACHINE

They’d spent a wonderful week at the little lakeside tourist town when he finally succumbed to curiosity about the sign. It read;

TAKE A TRIP IN A TIME MACHINE
Shuttle Leaves At
9:00AM 11:00 AM 1:00PM 3:00PM

The psychedelically-painted hippie love-bus dropped them off at a moribund factory, next to another bright sign declaring;

Welcome to Terri’s Temporal Temple
Come on in and see how your
ancestors lived 150 years ago
(And our Amish neighbors still do)

It was a cute come-on for a ratty little antique shop, but the tour was educational. Our pioneer ancestors worked hard! Vive technology!

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

You Get The Picture

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While fairly small, Batavia, NY, which we recently visited, has been historically important. It is a relatively old city.  While Kitchener has a pioneer tower at the outskirts, celebrating the arrival of the first settlers in 1820, the oldest cornerstone I saw in Batavia was 1804, with many others in the 1860s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

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Batavia is celebrating 100 years of being a city.  They have a new(ish) no-nonsense, get-the-job-done City Hall, so much nicer looking than Kitchener’s pretentious, architectural Frankenstein’s monster.

City Hall

Towers, and roof-top cupolas seemed common in Batavia.

SDC10905 Used to be a Farmers’ Insurance company, now a Charity’s headquarters

SDC10906 The back of the county courthouse, from about 1900.

SDC10894 Front/side view of cupola.  I believe the building’s style is ‘Federalist’, solid, trustworthy, about as exciting as mashed potatoes.  This is the first indication of the move forward from the uselessly ornate Victorian Era architecture.

SDC10896 1890 Police station.  The turrets and towers continue down the side street, until it merges with a utilitarian 1980s jail.

SDC10903 When the Cold War warmed up in the mid-’60s, the basement was designated a fallout shelter.

SDC10899 What was once a County Court judge’s magnificent home, half a block from the cop-shop, is now carved up into tiny apartments.  The shingles on the Russian Orthodox Church-style end tower need some uniform replacement.

SDC10900 The side shot shows a front chimney which disappears after it becomes a second-storey fireplace.

SDC10895 A side-street view of the original municipal Fire Department building.  The section on the left c/w alarm bell on the roof, was the Chief’s apartment/home.  Now it houses a crafts and memorabilia store.

SDC10904 The main-street angle shows the round tower on the left, which the firemen climbed to get to the dormitory, with a brass strippers’ fire pole down the center for fast response.  The square tower on the right end was for hanging hoses to dry so they didn’t rot.

SDC10901 There’s a lovely little downtown park, just up from the old firehall, along the edge of Tonawanda Creek, which ambles through town.  Perhaps they celebrate Disney princesses there, or maybe that’s where gay weddings are held.  The park is named Peace Park.  There are memorials to several pioneers and politicians, as well as veterans.  There was a display of about 20 little American flags around the Veterans’ stone.  The son commented that approximately 1 of every 10 houses also flew a flag.

SDC10898 A little wooden footbridge across the creek into a residential neighborhood.  A close look at the middle right shows a Federal Government authorized and registered sewage outflow.  Imagine how bad it might be if the Government didn’t have it under control.

SDC10897 An upstream view, back toward the park.

SDC10902 The old Sherriff’s office, just downstream from the park.  Ironically, it’s now used as a water-quality monitoring station.

SDC10893 A Catholic Church – every city’s got one (or more).  With the afternoon sun directly behind, the best shot was from the shadow of the tower, in the left-turn lane in the middle of an almost-deserted Sunday street.  The son didn’t trust me to warn him of impending traffic, instead, taking a higher-angle shot from the safety of the sidewalk.

SDC10912 From a candy store at the other end of the main street, a present for the warden wife, as thanks for allowing us an unescorted jail day-pass.  With a flurry of intellect and originality, Batavia calls their main street, Main Street.  My little British-styled home town called ours, High Street.

Quit Your Witchin We didn’t know that while we were gone, one of the daughter’s cats had broken her favorite glass, but we used some of grandson WillowThorn’s kind donation, to purchase her another.  The Wiccan Witch of the West loves it.

These were the photo chronicles of a lovely, sunny, warm, Sunday stroll through an historically interesting little village which grew up into a productive city, without losing too much of its heritage.  Next week I tell the tale of our welcome(?) return to Bureaucratopia Canada.

Flash Fiction – Part 1

That title is incredibly optimistic.  It implies ongoing capability and commitment.  I accepted BrainRants’ challenge to write a short-short story.  Go to Rochelle’s, Addicted to Purple blog.  Each week, she publishes a picture.  You are to use the photo as a prompt, and write a complete story about it, in only 100 words.  Below is my first attempt.

PENSIVE

miriam-reubenShe paused to reminisce.  She wrote to her mother regularly, but so many things had happened.

Those years ago, as a newlywed, leaving the safety of New York for the wilds of the Oklahoma Territory with an ambitious husband, had seemed both a wild risk, and a marvelous adventure.

His tenacity, intelligence and canny business sense had combined to make him the proprietor of the greatest and finest Dry Goods Emporium in the Territory.

Being his family had made her and their beloved children both safe, and well taken care of.  Civilization continued to sprout around them.  Mother would be pleased.

Magical Mystery Tour

Photo Hi-lights of Historical Sites around Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Pioneer Memorial Tower

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In 1925, the city council decided to commemorate the establishment of the first farms in the region.  The piles of stone which had been laboriously removed from the rich river flood plain below this lookout point, were used to construct the tower.

 

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 In Kitchener’s Victoria Park

Small industrial buildings in what had become the downtown area, burned, or were torn down.  Council used the land to create a public park, and in 1895 dedicated it to Queen Victoria and erected this display.

Queen Victoria’s Statue001

 Clock Tower from Our Original City Hall

DSCF2950   When the city hall was torn down, this clock tower was dismantled and saved.  Twenty years later, the clock was cleaned and rebuilt, and it and the rest of the tower were erected at the main park entrance.

 Kaiser Wilhelm’s Plinth

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Funny thing about the Kaiser……In 1916, Berlin residents were so incensed that he caused World War I that they took the bust of dear old Wilhelm & threw him in Victoria Lake…….he was rescued and reinstalled…..he got thrown in the lake again.  Somebody pulled him out, but he was never seen in public again.  Perhaps he became shell casings in the war effort.

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 Note:  Before this event Berlin‘s name had been changed in 1912 to Kitchener, after a British, Boer War officer named Lord Kitchener, who was lost off the coast of Ireland, when his destroyer struck a mine on the way to negotiations in Russia, in 1916.  A tiny lumber/railroad town in the depths of British Columbia had already named themselves after Kitchener in 1896/7, and still claim that they are the real Kitchener, and my Ontario version unjustly appropriated the name.   Germany and the Kaiser’s aggressive actions in Europe caused the “German” people of Berlin, Ontario to show that they were not allied in any way.

 

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Never common in Upper Canada, this is the last surviving covered bridge in Ontario

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Historical Field Stone House

Like the pioneer tower, the stones to build this house beside the bridge were removed from the fields so that they could be plowed.

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Castle Silo

A rich city dweller who retired to the country built this castle around an old, stone, farm silo to produce a workshop for his hobbies.

Following the Path the Cow took

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At the intersection of the main streets, King and Queen, we’re still driving around an apple tree that stood here, two hundred years ago.

Hans HausHans Haus

Even after the change of name from Berlin to Kitchener, the city retains a strong German heritage.  In 1968 it was decided to host a Munich-style Oktoberfest, which is still celebrated each year.  This building was erected beside a downtown hotel to house administrative offices and storage.