Corrie Street Jan. 31/16

Construction Work

Nothing jumped out at me all week – until Friday. Construction work construction work - jason and phelan with maskby the low bid contractor started at Kevin’s new garage. Problems also started almost immediately with a power line getting cut accidentally. But the biggest problem isn’t going to be shoddy workmanship as Jason had predicted.

A worker with his face hidden behind a mask and goggles took them off to introduce himself to Kevin. “Pat Phelan. Nice to meet you.” I didn’t see that coming!

kevin-meets-pat-phelanIt makes me very happy when I can avoid all spoilers, including the ones hidden in statements like  “since x is leaving” or “as we know, x is returning”. I knew that Phelan likely would be back at some time, and that was okay. He is such a good villain that I looked forward to his return. Didn’t look forward to it as such: I wanted to see him again and didn’t want to.

Because he’s such a good villain, he is truly scary and upsetting. He does horrible things to people’s heads and lives. Anna has just got her phelan-introduces-himself-to-kevinlife back on a relatively even keel. I like her with Kevin. Dealing with Sally about that will be traumatic enough for Anna. And now Phelan is back? Might as well just kiss her new relationship goodbye, and check Anna into the psych ward right now.

If you’re not familiar with this odious man’s previous storyline with the Armstrong-Windass household, type ‘Phelan’ in the site search box on the left sidebar for my posts about it.

Heaven

When my dog Jack died, I believed in heaven. After his burial, my mother-in-law gave me a card with a little story in it. It’s about a Heaven - Doug with Jack in Outer Battery, St. John's 1998man and his dog walking along the afterlife road looking for heaven’s gates. At the beautiful golden and pearl gates with a sign saying Heaven, they’re told “sorry, no dogs allowed.” They continue walking. At a rickety gate in front of a small farm, a sign also says Heaven. The man asks if his dog can come in and is told “Of course he can.” So in they went.

It made me feel better to think of Jack in that heaven, met at the gate by my dog Jamie and cat Cedric who died before he came to me.  I knew they would recognize him as one of the family.  Doug, the German Shepherd who had ‘mothered’ him when he was a pup, would be there too.

They would take him to Heaven’s Porch, where my dad would be George Anger and Jamie dog 1991sitting with his brother and brothers-in-law.  Dad would pat his side and say, “well hello Jack, so you’ve come to join us.”  Dad’s brother would say “so you’re the sonovabitch she named after me, are you?”  Jamie would run around in front of the porch, barking and tail wagging, legs dancing.  No trace of the arthritis that had crippled him up.

That’s what I pictured the night Jack died, thanks to that story in a sympathy card.  It comforted me.

No sin means no heaven or hell

I had read the story aloud to Jack’s mourners and, of course, I cried. My mother looked askance, and said “dogs don’t have souls.” I put the card away. That was a debate I wasn’t taking on right then. Neither was my mother-in-law. Like my mother, she was a church-going woman of strong faith. But a different church.

Mom’s thesis, I knew, is that animals cannot sin and do not have immortal souls. They are innocent beings, so do not have consequences in the afterlife. Heaven and hell do not apply to them.

It has famously been said that there are no atheists in a foxhole.  Of course there aren’t!  Why, when you are in danger or great despair, would you not cling to anything that gave you hope or solace?  Part of that solace is that you can make it anything you want or need.

You can picture your enemy burning in hellfire, screaming and clawing at the walls of the pit.  You can even picture it before he dies, and enjoy the anticipation.  If you reconciled yourself with him by the time of his death, perhaps you’d see him being welcomed into the arms of Jesus.  Jack at Man o' War's grave, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington KYEven if his sins hadn’t changed, you can see what you want his afterlife to be, and believe it to be reality.  You can maybe see yourself going beyond the white light to “a better place”.  If you picture yourself in the pit of hellfire, you might find yourself looking for a way to avoid that place.

Heaven needs Hell

The afterlife, being something we can’t know about, is pretty much whatever you believe it to be.  Different faiths have different pictures of it, some more detailed than others.  In the fundamentalist Christian belief system in which I was raised, one of the truths is that animals have no souls and therefore are incapable of sin.  Their death is final with no afterlife, either good or bad.  Heaven cannot be an option if Hell is not also a possibility.  If my dog Jack cannot go to hell, he also cannot go to heaven. Thinking of him in heaven is misinterpretation or blasphemy.  It’s nothing personal toward the dog; it’s just the “reality” of the world we don’t yet know.

I don’t like thinking about a heaven without dogs. So I’d rather stick with my fuzzy and situational spirituality and comfort myself with the Jack beside Kettle Creek, St. Thomas winterpicture of Jack on the Porch of Heaven with my other animals and my dad and Uncle Jack and other family and friends.  That gives me comfort.  If I were in a foxhole, I’d be praying non-stop to God to keep me alive or at least ensure that I go to the Heaven where I can sit on the porch with Jack.

James Herriot wrote a lovely story about dogs’ afterlife. “Prince and the Card Above the Bed” is in a small, beautifully illustrated volume entitled James Herriot’s Favorite Dog Stories, New York:  St. Martin’s Press 1996.

If you haven’t seen this, Church Wars is a concise little debate on the question of dogs’ souls.

This was first posted July 31, 2010 in Stories on my St. Thomas Dog Blog. This Saturday, Jan. 30th, marks the eighth anniversary of Jack’s death.

Corrie Street Jan. 24/16

Librettos – Stilettos

I haven’t liked Nessa since she arrived. But Thursday when she left, I nessa-in-hall-doorwayadmired, even liked, her. The signs of an exit soon to come started a while ago. Hauling Ken off to dance, drink and chat at the New Year’s Eve party that was her idea to have – at his house where Deirdre is everywhere. Breaking the mug that Deirdre had made. Worse, being clueless that such an “ugly”, obviously handmade, object with his name on it would likely have sentimental value. Having no clue about the crassness of her interruptions during Ken’s emotional leave-taking of Emily.

Ken says I like librettos and you likeThose are her sins from the present. When the sins of her past came to light, you knew it was game over. The discovery of her affair with her late brother-in-law finished her off, and her attempts to cover it up and to deflect the blame sealed it.

Ken sat her down for the “it’s not you, it’s me” talk. To illustrate their stilettos says Nessadifferences in lifestyle and outlook, he said “I like librettos and you like…” “Stilettos,” she said immediately. I saw right there what Ken has seen in her. Never in a million years would Deirdre, bless her soul, have come back with that. Neither would Audrey.

When she realized that telling him what they have in common wouldn’t change his mind, she dispatched their relationship quickly and politely. She made it easy for Ken and kept her dignity and ken laughslikability. She just said goodbye.

After leaving Ken’s, she tried once more to make peace with Cathy. Her new attitude of straightforwardness, apologies that seemed genuine and a willingness to accept that amends may not be made went some distance, I think, to Cathy maybe forgiving her. Cathy seemed to look at her in a new light.

Nessa’s final stop was Audrey. With the same directness, and a few digs, she told Audrey that she and Ken were ken-thoughtful after nessa leaves, photo of deirdre nearbyfinished and “he’s all yours”.

This Nessa I liked a lot. I am sorry to see her go. Too bad, chuck, she’d likely say, you had the chance and too late now.

Corrie Street Jan. 17/16

Silver-Topped Che

Emily Bishop left for Peru. Monday she announced her plan to go see her nephew Geoffrey, aka Spyder, who is working in an orphanage emily bishop looks at streetthere. Thursday we said hasta luego to her.

When she first mentioned Spyder, and that she hadn’t heard from him in such a long time, I thought maybe he was coming back. Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Then it entered my mind – maybe he wasn’t coming back, maybe she would go see him. And so it came to pass.

Billy encouraged her to go. Rita told her to seize the moment, do what ken-rita-and-emilyyou want to do while you still can. Norris told her and anyone who would listen that she was insane to leave her home and a lifestyle befitting her age and abilities. A “silver-topped Che Guevera in wide-fitting shoes,” he scoffed. She told him that she would like his blessing but was going with or without it.

New Year’s night in Weatherfield, she was in front of her house all-outside taxi saying-goodbye-to-emily bishopawaiting her taxi. Ken was there to see her off. Tracy, her goddaughter, was not. Big surprise. Rita was there. Billy and Anna were there. Mary came with the gift of a diary and many pens so she could record her activities and moods with different coloured inks.

At the last moment, Norris rushed up carrying a bag. “Pencils,” he emily-holds-pencils norris is giving hersaid, “300 pencils.” He had been emailing with Spyder who told him that’s what would be most useful that Emily could bring. Norris included writing pads as well. I’d been doing well up to that point, but then I couldn’t help but cry.

ken-sad-he-is-missing-emily-leaving as nessa looks at phoneAnd Nessa ran to the group, arms full of Freshco bags and plans for dinner and phone calls about something her son was up to and impatience at Emily not being gone yet. “She’s making a meal of it!” Ken looked at her with disgust.

emily-smiles-goodbyeNessa flapping distracted him during those precious moments with his friend of 55 years. But Ken got rid of her in time to rejoin the others in saying goodbye.

There was one more poignant scene after Emily’s departure. Norris norris in dining room picks up remotealone at their dining room table, Emily and Ernest Bishop’s wedding photo behind him. He turns the television on and flicks through channels, trying to put some life in the house. He turns it off, and scrapes his uneaten dinner into the bin.

James Burwell UEL

Confused by many men centuries ago named Samuel, Adam, John and James Burwell in my database, I gave up trying to sort them out. I then picked up my mother’s family history binder. It pays to do that occasionally. So here is a letter from the late Lloyd Burwell to my mother about their mutual great-great-grandfather James Burwell UEL. Also included is information on James’ brothers and father and possible connection to the Virginia Burwells. I removed only small parts not relevant to family history in my transcription.

lloyd-burwell-1983-pg131 July 1983

Dear Ruby, …

I am sending you a copy of the obituary of James Burwell as you requested. I am also sending you copies of several other items…

Upper Canada Land Petitions

The list I made of the Upper Canada Land Petitions from PAC in Ottawa includes our ancestor James Burwell (No. 1 and 12) and our ancestor Lewis Burwell (No. 8). The others are the other sons and daughters of James (brothers and sisters of Lewis). The list of Upper Canada Land Grants on the same page includes James (No. 1) and Lewis (No. 10). I have copies of all the petitions and grants in these lists.

I have included copies of the Land Grants for Lewis (Warrant 3855) and James (Fiat 2347) together with the Certificate signed by Col. Talbot certifying that James Burwell had completed his settlement duties 2nd July 1819. I have also included a copy of the survey for Lot 13 North, Talbot Road East Branch. By the assignment recorded on Warrant 3855 it is evident that Lewis did not take up his Crown Grant. Instead he sold his right to a land agent by the name of James Anderson.

I had first seen the Biographical Sketch of James Burwell by Lorenzo Sabine (p 277) back in 1974 and wondered where he got his information. Two years ago I found out when Wm. Yeoger, curator of the Eva Brook Donly Museum in Simcoe, published the results of his searching old newspaper records at the Ontario Archives (OA) including the obituary of James Burwell reported in the Church of England paper “The Church”.

When vacationing in New Brunswick

When vacationing in New Brunswick in 1976 we visited Esther Clarke Wright in her home. She listed James Burwell in her book The Loyalists of New Brunswick among some 6000 Loyalists she had researched. She is a PhD; a retired professor of history from Acadia University in Wolfville NS. I did not get any new information from her.

I also went to the Dept. of Lands & Mines in Fredericton NB to look at the original Crown land grand maps. I did not find a reference to a specific lot but did get a copy of the land grant to the Regiment of 38,450 acres and reference to James Burwell being entitled to 250 acres. I believe he sold his right to his officer, Captain John Borberie.

At the PAC in Ottawa

At the Public Archives of Canada (PAC) in Ottawa I researched through microfilms of the British Military Records and ordered copies of all the Muster Rolls that listed James Burwell. I made a list (copy enclosed) of the ones I found. James Burwell had a brother Samuel and his father’s name was also Samuel. Since there is a Samuel Burwell listed on some of the Muster Rolls, we can speculate that it may be James’ brother or father.

William D. Reid (now dead) was an archivist at O.A. On p. 43 of his book “The Loyalists in Ontario” he lists James Burwell and his 10 sons and daughters who received Crown Grants of land. Actually there was an eleventh child, Timothy, but there is no evidence that he applied for or received a Crown Grant.

I am enclosing a photocopy of the monument in Fingal cemetery near the east gate having inscriptions on three faces for 1, Lewis Burwell, 2, his wife Levonia Williams and 3, Laura A. Kennedy. I transcribed Laura’s year of death as 1881 but have since found her mother Amy [d/o Lewis and Levonia] age 25 in the 1881 census so Laura, being age 15 at death, must have died in 1891.

I am enclosing a photocopy of a 1908 newspaper clipping I found in a scrap book at the O.A. about Levonia Burwell, wife of Lewis. Lewis died at age 42. Did you ever hear what the cause of death was?

Mahlon and James Burwell 1st cousins 1 remove

I am enclosing copies of p. 327 and 328 from Vol II July 1920 of Tyler’s Quarterly Historical & Genealogical Magazine. The chart supplied by Mr. Raymond W. Smith of Orange NJ shows our ancestor James as being a first cousin of Col. Mahlon Burwell. Maria Burwell who married Howard Johnson spoke of Mahlon Burwell being a cousin of her father Lewis [s/o James and Hannah]. According to this chart they would be 1st cousins once removed.

lloyd-burwell chart1 James BurwellI am also enclosing a photocopy of a 1935 newspaper account of the celebration of Maria Burwell’s 100th birthday. I believe I copied it from a clipping owned by Gertrude Bowes of New Liskeard, Ont.

I am enclosing photocopies of the last two pages of a 16 page article by Archibald Blue in 1899 about Col. Mahlon Burwell. He quotes Lorenzo Sabine in the Biographical Note with reference to James Burwell, then states that his relationship to Adam Burwell, the father of Mahlon, is uncertain. I have a copy of Adam Burwell’s petition for land which Archibald Blue states “appears to be lost”. The record is with the Upper Canada Land Petitions at PAC in Ottawa.

USA to Bertie Township

In James Burwell’s 1811 petition for land (Vol 37 B10/24) he states that he sent his brother (not named) with his cattle and goods from Presque Isle on the south side of Lake Erie to Upper Canada on or about the 1st day of July 1798 and that he arrived with his family in the Township of Bertie on or before the twelfth of July 1798. It would appear that the date 1796 stated in James Burwell’s obituary and all subsequent quotes by others is in error. Adam Burwell also affirms (he was a Quaker at the time) that James Burwell’s cattle and goods were brought to his farm in Bertie about the 19th of July 1798.

No mention is made of the relationship of James to Adam. Adam Burwell came to Upper Canada 12 years earlier than James, i.e. in 1786. He had been a spy for the British during the Revolution.

I am enclosing photocopies of the 10 pages of genealogy of the Burwell family of Virginia as recorded in Colonial Families of the Southern United States of America. It is Edward Burwell identified as 2-6 at the bottom of the 1st page (p. 94) that is referred to following the chart in Tyler’s Quarterly on p. 328.

Lewis Burwell family Bible

Mr. McDermott who lives in Fort Erie, Ont. is the present owner of the family bible of Lewis Burwell of Brantford, the surveyor and younger brother of Col. Mahlon Burwell. I have photocopies of all the family information recorded in this bible.

Lewis, writing in the bible in 1837, states that about the year 1607 or 1610 his great-grandfather Edward Burwell was named in a Royal Charter to a Plantation Company, who came from the city of London to the Province of Virginia. He states that his great-grandfather’s son John who married Agnes Lee removed from Virginia to the Province of New Jersey. He states that his grandfather John had several sons and the youngest son was his father Adam who married Sarah Vail, daughter of Nathaniel Vail of New Jersey. Also in this bible Lewis records the death of James Burwell, a cousin who died at Port Talbot on 25th June 1853 aged 99 years and 5 months.

Our ancestor John Burwell

I find it hard to believe that our ancestor John Burwell who is said to have left Jamestown, Virginia in 1721 would be the son of Edward Burwell who was in Virginia in 1648. John Burwell is believed to have been born in 1705 and Edward in 1625. This would make Edward 80 years old when John was born. It seems to me there should be another generation in between.

lloyd-burwell-1983-pg7Well I think this is enough genealogy for one letter.  I trust it will all be of interest to you…

Your (2nd) cousin,

Lloyd Burwell

Also see my Burwells in US & Canada. I will post the papers referred to above in a photo gallery or post format.

Corrie Street Jan. 10/16

Christmas Again

Corrie Christmas with people-coming-out-on-streetIt was like having another Christmas this week, the perfect one you dream of. Sleighbells ring, snow is glistening. It was way better than visiting Santa’s village in Lapland. It was seeing the magic at home in your community, brought to you by your friends and family. And that, Tyrone, is the true value of Christmas.

There was sadness – the reason for the street extravaganza – Hope’s tyrone-asks-ches-and-kirk-about-motorillness. There was impatience, thwarted plans and ingratitude. Mechanical problems meant lights and the snow maker didn’t work on Christmas Eve. Tyrone snapped at the elves. But they recognized that he had a bigger sadness, the likelihood that Hope would not be able to come home, that she wouldn’t see any of it anyway.

fiz-and-hope home Christmas EveThen the beautiful moment: Hope walked around the corner with Fiz and saw the display. Her face lit up. The lights weren’t on, the decorations weren’t all in place, there was no snow. But it didn’t matter to her. It was her Lapland. And so it was Tyrone’s too.

santa-arrivesAll the people of Weatherfield got a beautiful present on Christmas morning, snow. The elves continued to work. Carollers and a brass band. Trees all lit up. Hot chocolate and mince tarts. And Santa and his reindeer.

mary-rita-and-emily-open-giftsIn the houses, gifts were opened and turkey dinners ate. There were squabbles too, overt ones and hidden tensions. At night, residents gathered at the Rovers. And there was a fight. What would Christmas Day be without somebody obliging us with a good fight?

Corrie Christmas Carollers

Corrie Christmas everyone on street-at-nightOn the street, people sauntered along and joined in with the carollers. Another lovely moment, part of the storyline for Hope and for us in tv-land, passersby looking up to the top floor window of Tyrone and Fiz’s house.

fiz-hope-and-tyrone-at-windowThey were upstairs in the girls’ bedroom, looking out at the winter wonderland. Fiz was appreciating what Tyrone had done for their daughters, and Tyrone was appreciating what their neighbours had done for all of them.

ches-and-sinead-waveDown below, those neighbours smiled and waved Merry Christmas up to her. And the camera angle put us in Hope’s place. Merry Christmas, Coronation Street, I said to the television.

For a lovely discussion of the Corrie Christmas episodes, see Emma Hynes’ post on Bluenose Corrie Blogger.

Watch Dog

watch dog Bing with Dad at Esso station grand openingBing was a small German Shepherd or Alsatian as Mom called her.  She was a watch dog. My dad got her from another service station when he opened his.  She was very good at her job – the perfect Walmart greeter during the day and to those who had legitimate business, a holy horror of snapping teeth and bristled fur at night or to those without good reason to be on the property.

Bing-in-WindowWhen Dad sold the business, Bing came home with us.  She quickly adapted to house living, but she kept her principal loyalty to Dad.  Mom was second on her list and we kids, well, she liked us all right but didn’t pay much attention to us.

One summer evening my parents were out and only my older sister and I were home.  My sister was talking on the phone and I had nothing to do.  So I decided to teach Bing to walk on a leash.  Well, Bing had never been on a leash in her life and had no intention of starting now!  But, out in the driveway, she humoured me or figured the bits of hotdog I was using as bait were worth her putting up with my foolishness. Dusk started to fall.  I noticed a car pull up and stop in front of the house.  I didn’t recognize it, so went on with the “training”.  Bing noticed it too, and kept one eye on the car and the other on the hotdogs.

After quite a while, the driver opened the car door and started to get out.  A rumble started deep in Bing’s throat.  She took off, ripping the leash out of my hands.  She flew towards the car, roaring.  The man jumped back in, jammed the car in gear and took off, door still open.  I stood in the driveway crying and screaming for Bing to come back, which she did, of course, as soon as she realized she couldn’t catch the car.

My sister came out to see what the noise was about.  When my parents got home, we told Bing at homethem.  My dad’s face went ashen, lips white.  He asked for a description of the car.  It was light blue – that’s all I knew.  My sister had seen it through the window and knew a bit more, it was a sedan and I think she knew the make.  Turns out, the police had put out a notice that there was a man trying to abduct little girls in our area.  The car they had seen him in fit the description of the one in front of our house.

I don’t know what would have happened to me, a little girl playing in her own driveway, if there hadn’t been a dog there too.  Bing had been alert to his presence the whole time, but had been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he opened the car door.  I have no doubt he was the child molester.  She did not react that way to strangers simply stopping to ask directions.  Bing saved me that night – perhaps my life, certainly at least my innocence.  She got extra pats that night from my dad, I remember. Bing may have retired, but she was still a watch dog.

Many dogs have watched over me, guarded and protected meBing on home watch.  In childhood and teenage years, my dogs always helped me solve my problems or at least comforted me so that I could cope with them.  I guess I never had problems so big that a dog couldn’t deal with them.  For that I’m thankful. I’m thankful too for those dogs who shared their brave, big hearts with me.

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, July 4, 2010

Corrie Street Jan. 3/16

Ladies Who Lunch

Wednesday the Platt ladies lunch at the Bistro – grandmother, mother and daughter. Bethany bursts through the door. How nice, Platt ladies lunch at the BistroAudrey holds up her glass to clink, we’re four generations.

Bethany ignores her and zeroes in on her mother, and the new addition to the family tree. She had just overheard David, Kylie and Todd discussing Sarah’s pregnancy in the salon.

Andy comes to take drink orders. “She’s pregnant” says Gail. “With steph-says-no-shellfish-thenCallum’s baby” Bethany adds. “I could do you a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail?” says Andy to Sarah without missing a beat. Steph comes to ask what they’d like to eat. “She’s pregnant” Andy tells her. “No shellfish then,” Steph says.

The Bistro is crowded. Billy and Sean eavesdrop on Billy asks Sean do you think-i-should-go-over-therethe discussion at the nearby Platt table. Sean’s ears are almost wagging back and forth. “Do you think I should go over there?” Billy asks Sean who assures him, “No need, I can hear them quite well enough from here.”

If Noel Coward wrote for the Platts…

The discussion grows heated and loud quickly as Audrey and Gail assimilate the fact of Sarah being pregnant by Callum. Billy summons gail-tells-billy-none-of-his-businessup his vicar courage and goes over to ask if he can be of help. No thank you, Gail tells him emphatically. After he slinks back to his table, she exclaims “The cheek of the man!” Audrey agrees, “Yeah, stickin’ his nose in!”

Evidently the concept of a vicar’s work including counselling and gail-says-the-cheek-of-the-manmediation in family matters is a foreign one to the elder Platts. Sarah knows why Billy came over, but her attempt to defend him are pooh-poohed. Gail informs her with pride, “We make our own mess and we clean up our own mess.”

Continuing her effort to look on the bright side of life, Sarah says that maybe the baby is a good thing. “Up the duff by the monster who gail-reacts-to-sarah-saying-it-may-be-goodterrorized our entire family!” is Gail’s summation.

The Noel Coward-ish lines were beautifully delivered by the actors. Timing and expressions were perfect. Just watching the extras was fun, as other diners in the restaurant looked over to the Platt table then quickly looked away in case they too came under fire.