My condolences to the family and friends of Diane Johnson Williams. Diane passed away in Dartmouth NS on March 28th. Many of us knew Diane as Tvor and author of Bluenose Corrie Blog. Tvor, I found out, stands for “The Voice of Reason.” That is what she was for her fellow Coronation Street bloggers and friends, according to a tribute on Coronation Street Blog. Diane was co-editor of that blog, which follows the British air time.
I knew her only from her Bluenose Corrie Blog. She wrote it for us, her fellow Canadian fans. With a new post almost every day, and a weekly summary, I enjoyed reading it and checked in regularly. Seeing no new posts for a while, I started wondering. Googling her, I learned the very sad news of her death at the age of 59.
Diane was a long time and very knowledgeable viewer of Coronation Street. She knew not only about story and character history, but also the production side of it. An important part of the Canadian and British Coronation Street community, she shared her knowledge and love for the show both online and in real life.
Bluenose Corrie Blog still has a wealth of information about the show. You can read more about Diane’s history as a Coronation Street fan, her photography, travelogues and photography on The Voice of Reason.
The tribute to Diane written by Glenda is here, as well as her obituary. She will be greatly missed by us all.
Sitting in comfortable chairs, reading. A pleasant, relaxing break at the end of a busy day. That was the case for Carla and Roy, and me, on Tuesday. Busy day? More like busy week on the Street. So how nice to just chill for a bit.
Such moments of downtime, of pure nothingness, have become rare enough on Coronation Street to be noteworthy. Maybe Carla and Roy are now among the very few people we see doing essentially nothing.
Well, not nothing. Carla was reading her trashy romance novel. Roy was learning about the process of turning pig iron into wrought iron and the effect of that development in the Industrial Revolution.
Carla was also thinking about the mess she’s getting herself into. Wanting to talk to Roy about it, but not wanting to tell him any details. She wanted him to reassure her. Just tell her she’s “doing the right thing”. So he did. He realized she did not want to discuss what it is she’s doing. She didn’t want to analyze it with him. She just wanted his support. He’s learned a lot from Carla, and from Hayley. He did as she asked, then went back to his book. Both were content.
The elements on Carla’s ongoing story with Ali were in that little scene. That is the situation she wanted reassurance on. What to do about her sleeping with her best friend’s son. She knows it’s best to end it. It’s not a situation that is going to end well. She knows that is what Roy would tell her, so she doesn’t tell him. She doesn’t need to. But she needs to feel his friendship and strength behind her.
So it wasn’t simply a scene – or a conversation – about nothing. It wasn’t played for laughs. It was just a nice breather, with things thought about, even discussed without words. But done in a quiet way in a quiet space. A small moment of peace before climbing back on the roller-coaster. For Carla and Roy, yes, but also for all of us getting tired on the ride along.
Below is a link to the book by Christian Wolmar that Roy was reading. Unfortunately, Carla’s book – The Tempted House by Edwina Haverson – seems to not exist.
A week ago, the death of an elderly dog made headlines. A pet’s death is always momentous for his or her loved ones. But it’s usually not world news. Willow, who died April 15th, was Queen Elizabeth’s pet, however, and her last link to Susan, matriarch of the Royal Corgis.
Willow is a 14th generation descendant of the Queen’s first Corgi, Hickathrift Pippa, known as Susan. Susan was born in 1944 and died in 1959. King George VI gave the two-month old pup to his daughter Elizabeth on her 18th birthday, 74 years ago.
Corgis in the York family
Susan wasn’t the first Corgi in the royal household. In 1933, the Queen’s father bought a pup from Corgi breeder Thelma Evans Gray. The pup’s name was Dookie (Rozavel Golden Eagle). Three years later, a female pup called Jane (Rozavel Lady Jane) joined the family.
Unbeknownst to the then Duke of York, he and Thelma had discussed dogs before. When Thelma was 9, her dog was killed by a car – the Duke’s car. He wrote to Thelma’s parents, offering to buy her another dog. Thanks but no, they replied, Thelma’s grief was too great. Thelma, however, wrote to him that she would happily accept. He told her that they must abide by her parents’ wishes.
Thelma grew up and established Rozavel Kennels. When the Duke bought the Corgi pups from her in the 1930s, he didn’t make the connection to the child Thelma. And she never told him.
The Susan Lineage
Susan was the Queen’s first dog of her own. Susan had pups and they had pups. So through the decades, there were always Royal Corgis of Susan’s line. But several years ago, the Queen said no more. She didn’t want to leave any young dogs behind.
Willow, Monty and Holly were the last three Susan descendants. Monty died in September 2012, soon after the Corgis starred in the London Olympics “007” video with the Queen and Daniel Craig. Monty was named for Monty Roberts, the “Horse Whisperer” and friend and advisor of the Queen. Holly passed away in 2016.
The Queen’s Pembroke Welsh Corgis were of the best stock. She put the same care into their pedigree that she does for her horses. But they were her pets, her friends. Unlike her horses, the Queen has never entered her dogs in competition.
Only one royal Corgi ever competed in dog shows. The Queen gave Windsor Loyal Subject, aka Edward, to Thelma Gray, along with permission to show him. He won twice at Crufts dog show in the 1970s.
The Queen still has her Dorgis. They started from an unsanctioned dalliance between one of the Corgis and Princess Margaret’s Dachshund. She also has one elderly Corgi. The Queen took Whisper home after his owner died in 2017. Bill Fenwick, her retired gamekeeper, and his late wife Nancy looked after the Royal Corgis for many years.
So a Corgi is still with the Queen. But no Corgis of Susan, a lineage that has accompanied the Queen for longer than even Prince Philip.
David stopped me in my tracks Thursday. He lectures Sarah about Gary and about trusting people. About what people will do to you, given half a chance, about hurt and hurting.
Part way through, it became clear that he was not talking to Sarah and Gary, who was also there. He was talking to, and about, himself. Well, it was clear to everyone except Sarah and Gary.
After David left following this meltdown, they sat and ate their sandwiches. Trying to puzzle out ‘what was that all about’. If they put their brain cells together, they still wouldn’t have enough to spark a synapse!
David was talking about Josh, about believing someone is a friend. Then being drugged and raped in return for that trust. He has pushed Shona away because he feels he can’t tell her what happened. Also he fears passing on to Shona any infections that Josh may have passed on to him.
He is carrying around a huge load of guilt and anger. And to make it even worse, his household is full of people equally damaged by sex and love. His sister, with Gary’s two-timing resulting in a baby on the way. His niece, with Nathan’s grooming then the lap-dancing club. At least his mother and grandmother, for now, are free of emotional and sexual entanglements.
Later in the episode, David sees the next part of his nightmare coming true. He sees Josh all palsy-walsy with Chesney. Josh even invites Chesney to his place. Then David sees Josh very close – too close – with Alya. He sees that Josh is inclusive in his targeting of victims, selecting only on the basis of vulnerability. That is putting even more stress on him, taking it outside himself and into his neighbourhood. And he hasn’t even yet seen Josh cozying up to Shona.
This overwrought man, family and street, isn’t by accident. The writers have created it. All part of the education of the public. Of course, education and awareness is an important part of continuing stories. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally, soaps have always shown other ways of living and thinking to audiences.
But there are dangers in educational storylines, or ‘public service announcement’ stories as they’re sometimes called. They can be clunky if just dropped in to make the point. They can be heavy-handed, even preachy, if the emphasis is too much on the message and not the story. If there are too many, they become irksome.
Coronation Street for many years avoided teaching storylines unless they could embed them well in their characters. Now it seems the philosophy has changed. There have been a lot of issue-oriented stories of late, from Bethany’s sexual grooming to Robert’s testicular cancer. They have been done well. But there have been so many that I am wary when another one starts.
So far David’s rape story has been done well. In no small part, that is due to the talent of Jack Shepherd. And Ryan Clayton, as Josh, is also brilliant. He’s just slimy enough.
by Rev. Canon J. T. Richards, O.B.E, to The Newfoundland Historical Society
(The Newfoundland Quarterly, Sept. and Dec. 1953)
The march of the peoples of the world westward from the cradle of the human race was irresistible. For a while it was held up by the Atlantic Ocean… Although there are indications that Newfoundland was visited by daring adventurers – Basques and Jerseymen – as early as 1450, its real and undoubted discovery is attributed to John Cabot in 1497. West Country merchantmen found in its waters, alive with fish, a source of great profit, and naturally wished to reserve the Newfound Isle as a fishing post only… The French, too, were strong competitors for ownership… Those rights became recognized to such an extent, that the coast line from Cape Bonavista to Point Rich, was known as the French Shore. Afterwards the limits were changed and the French Shore included all the coast from Cape John to Cape Ray,- nearly half of Newfoundland… There was a tendency, however, to favour the French fishermen to the detriment of the struggling English settlers, and we can safely say that, except for the Red Indians and the few Esquimaux who crossed the Strait of Belle Isle, not a single settler was to be found on that long dreary coast from Cape John to Cape Ray for about two hundred and forty years after Cabot’s discovery…
The First Settlers
The history of a country is the history of its people. So we ask, who were the first English settlers on the French Shore? I am convinced that one named Robert Bartlett was the very first, and that Anchor Point in St. Barbe’s Bay, was the first place permanently settled. Thomas Genge, born at Anchor Point in 1827, died in 1914, gave me the story. As Bartlett was his father’s great-uncle, if we allow only twenty-five years for each of the three generations, we can be safe in assuming that he settled at Anchor Point, St. Barbe’s Bay, not later than 1850. As a matter of fact he placed the date at 1740. Here is Thomas Genge’s story.
Robert Bartlett, on board a fishing schooner on the north side of White Bay, went ashore with a companion to get wood. They rambled a distance from the shore and were captured by a company of Red Indians, who compelled them to carry their loads all day. At night they formed a ring around a camp-fire with Bartlett and his companion in the ring, and fell into a deep sleep. The two prisoners, who were not tied, crept out of the ring and escaped. They travelled as fast as they could until the sun arose, and, hearing the Indians in pursuit, they hid in the thick underwood all day. When night came they went on again. After a few days they came to the salt water in what proved to be St. Barbe’s Bay, and saw the spars of a schooner over the low land to the north west. On travelling out around the shore, they came to an ideal little harbour about one hundred yards deep and twenty yards wide, sheltered from the wind and sea by a long low point extending a half mile to the westward.
Here, snugly moored, was an American fishing vessel, the crew of which were making their fish. In the fall Bartlett’s companion sailed away in this ship, but Bartlett, himself, having obtained provisions from the American vessel, decided to stay all alone. By his companion, he sent a letter to a nephew of his in England… Next year the nephew, Robert Genge, arrived, and there they were, a pair of Englishmen, first settlers on that historic portion of Newfoundland known as the French Shore. How long they lived there alone is unknown, but it must have been several years… Bartlett, and his nephew, hunted along the shore as far west as St. John’s Bay, where Bartlett’s Harbour is named after him…
Bartlett sent to Yeovil in Somerset for another nephew, Abram Genge. He was young and enterprising and soon saw possibilities of the coast. Gradually English youngsters coming out to Labrador were attracted to the long low strand across the Strait, and employed by Abram Genge, who was now the leader of the little band…
Robert Bartlett, an old man with plenty of means, returned to England where he died. Robert Genge was a great furrier, and stayed on as head man on Anchor Point room, until he died of old age. Bartlett never married, nor did his nephews. In fact there was no woman on the coast for anyone to marry. At this point there appeared on the scene one family, by name, Watts, having two sons and two daughters. The father seems to have been employed by Abram Genge in a section of the coast near Boat Harbour, four miles west of Cape Norman, and gave his name to a river in the vicinity now called Watt’s River. About this time William Buckle with his son William came to Anchor Point, and Abram Genge sent them to St. Margaret’s Bay. The following winter the father died, and the son William went back to Labrador where Slade and Co. asked him if he would go on to Belle Isle to see if there were any furs there…
Buckle had not forgotten St. Margaret’s Bay where his father had died, and went back to Anchor Point to see his old friends and his employer Abram Genge. Here too, he met one of the two beautiful daughters of the Watts family,- the only marriageable girls on the coast, and married her. They were the ancestors of all the Buckles on the coast of Labrador…
About the time that Buckle married one of the Watts sisters, a Scotchman lieutenant on board the British warship patrolling the coast happened to land at Anchor Point, and saw the other sister… Embracing every opportunity of seeing her, he became so enamoured that he resolved upon the dangerous step of deserting his ship and settling on the coast. For many years, Duncan was a hunted man, and when the time came around for the warship to come back, he had to exercise the utmost vigilance to escape…
The marriage of Alexander Duncan and Mary Watts about 1795 or 1800 resulted in the birth of three sons and no less than fourteen children, who grew into beautiful girls. This seems to have been ordered by providence, for by now, more and more English and Scottish youngsters were trickling into the coast, and these girls, half Scotch and half English, became their wives.
Abram Genge, now an old man, sent to Yeovil, England, for a brother’s son, and William Genge came and settled at Anchor Point. A sister’s son, Absalom Robbins, also came out. He was a great favourite with the settlers, and was called Rabby. He never married. William Genge met a daughter of William Buckle, whose family came to Buckle’s Point in St. Margaret’s Bay every winter. They were married and became the ancestors of all the Genges in the Strait of Belle Isle. When Bishop Feild made his first episcopal voyage to Labrador in 1848, he visited Anchor Point, and was loud in his praise of Mrs. Genge…
She was the mother of Thomas Genge, who gave me the history of the first settlers on the French Shore. On this visit Bishop Feild consecrated at Anchor Point the first cemetery to be used in northern Newfoundland.
The first settler in St. John’s Bay was a giant of a Highland Scotchman named William Griffis. He was always called Big William. In the employ of the North West Company, he fell out with another big Scotchman. A challenge was given and nothing could induce those two men of kindred blood, away from home in the wilds of Labrador, to shake hands and forget their quarrel…
It was found that the knockout blow had been fatal, and Big William, really a kind-hearted man, was stricken with grief over what he had done. That night he disappeared, and was never seen in those parts afterwards. He made his way south, crossed the Strait of Belle Isle, and visited Anchor Point. From there he went to the bottom of St. John ‘s Bay and settled at Castor River, where he lived alone for many years…
Big William was succeeded in Castor River by an Englishman, Jesse Humber, two of whose sons, William and Andrew, were living there when I first visited it in 1905. The other son, called after the father, Jesse, went up the coast, and there are descendants of his at Boone Bay today.
William Dredge and George Coombs
William Dredge and George Coombs were the first settlers at Black-duck Cove on the west side of St. Barbe’s Bay. They married two sisters, daughters of Lieutenant Alexander Duncan, who deserted from his ship to marry Mary Watts. He had adopted his mother’s surname “Gould” on his desertion, so that all his descendants were called Gould.
All the Dredges at Black-duck Cove are descendants of William Dredge, and are of a very kindly disposition. George Coombs moved a little further west to St. Manuel’s Bay, where he was joined by a nephew from England, whose descendants were among the first settlers of Shoal Cove West, New Ferolle.
The first settler on Current Island was William Toop, followed shortly after by James Williams and his brother William. Then, John Gibbons, a sturdy Englishman, most sterling and capable qualities. As an illustration of their mettle, the eldest son, John, went to Hamilton, Ontario, about 1900. He could neither read nor write, but secured work as a common hand in the Hamilton Steel Works. In about ten years after entering the mill he had attained the highest post, and became the manager with a secretary to do his writing. He retained this position until his death. (To be continued)
The First Settlers On The French Shore – Part 2
The first settler on Forrester’s Point was Bill Williams, a desperate character, one of the brothers mentioned above. He married a full-blooded Esquimaux, and many are the stories told of the vicissitudes of this union. On one occasion Bill decided to get rid of his wife Hannah. He took her out in a boat, and was putting her overboard to drown her, when another boat came to the rescue. The occupants of the other boat, before intervening to save Hannah, called out, “What are you doing with your wife, Bill?” “Be gobs, Jack, I’m goin’ to get rid of her, boy. She’s got me druv crazy.” “But who’s goin’ to cook for you, and mend your socks, and wash your clothes?” “Be gobs, Jack, I did not think of that!” said Bill, and forthwith pulled her into the boat again. Both the old Williams had died before I went to the Straits in 1903. Old Hannah still survived, and was regarded by the next generation with a certain amount of awe. Uncanny powers of witchcraft were attributed to her, and the younger folk dared not incur her displeasure…
James Chambers was a splendid type of Scotsman. He married Jane Buckle, daughter of old William Buckle, and settled in Bear Cove, three miles west of Flower’s Cove. In summer he moved out to Seal Island, which was also called French Island, because it had been a favourite resort of the French fishermen. What is now called Flower’s Cove, was first called French Island Harbour…
George Gaulton, first settler in Savage Cove, married one of Duncan’s daughters. White and Coles, English youngsters, each married one of the same sisters, and were the first permanent settlers of Sandy Cove. Thomas Mitchelmore’s first wife was a Duncan. She died young, and he married a daughter of the first settler of French Island Harbour – Whalen – by whom he had five sons. He was the first settler of Green Island Cove. Philip Coates, first settler of Eddy’s Cove East, married Sarah Duncan – Aunt Sally Coates – and had many children and grandchildren. Joseph Woodward, English youngster, married a Whalen, and was the first permanent settler of Boat Harbour, six miles west of Cape Norman.
James Dempster came out from England as clerk on Bird’s room, Labrador. He came of a well-to-do family, and was engaged to an English girl who left him to marry another. He… came to Labrador in a Jersey vessel.., married an Esquimaux widow and had one son named John. He died comparatively young and was buried in Doury’s Cove near Hawke’s Harbour.
John Dempster came across the Strait of Belle Isle, and was the first settler at Flower’s Cove, one mile east of French Island Harbour, which became the port of call for the mail boat. Flower’s Cove now includes both harbours.
Other English settlers were George Caines, first settler at Shoal Cove East; Charles Godfrey, who settled at Bear Cove, and was the maternal grandfather of the merchant brothers Angus, Charles and Isaac Genge; John Pittman, first settler at Seal Cove, and great grandfather of the Pittmans now living at Blue Cove, Darby’s Tickle. Blue Cove was originally called “Blue Guts Cove,” but when Dr. W. W. Blackall first visited it, he advised that “Guts” be omitted from the name, and it has been called “Blue Cove” ever since.
After the Englishmen, a few settlers from the south of Newfoundland came along. The first of these was from Brigus, named Henry Whalen in the year 1850. He was the first settler in French Island Harbour – now Flower’s Cove.
Henry Whalen was a brother of the great seal killer, Captain William Whalen, who never missed the seals. Skipper Henry was a great codfish man, but could make no hand of seal fishing. On the sealing voyages he noticed the land on the Newfoundland side of the Strait of Belle Isle, and heard that its waters abounded in cod. So he made up his mind to leave Brigus and take his family in his vessel, and make a new home near the fishing grounds. He persuaded John Carnell of Catalina to follow him in his schooner…
Elizabeth Whalen, a little girl of twelve, accompanied her father and could read. Her father could neither read nor write. Before she died in 1928, at the age of ninety, she related to me as follows:
“…We crossed Pistolet Bay to Cape Norman… until we came to Savage Cove, and I was reading the Pilot Book. So I said to father ‘There is an island off Savage Cove’… After we anchored and went ashore, father said, ‘This seems like a fine harbour. I think we will settle here.’ Shortly after this old George Gaulton came around the harbour where we were. He was the first and only settler in Savage Cove at that time, and lived in the extreme south west corner. Father said to him, ‘I think we will settle down here, Mr. Gaulton.’ The old man got very angry, and said ‘No you won’t settle here. There is no room, no room.’ Savage Cove is a good mile around, and he was not in the real harbour at all. Then father walked to Flower’s Cove, and went on a mile further to French Island Harbour. When he got back, he said, ‘We will go to French Island Harbour.’ Although Mr. Gaulton would not give consent for us to settle in Savage Cove, he was very glad to avail of the services of a mid-wife – Mrs. Noseworthy – who formed one of my party. That night a twin of boys was born to Mrs. Gaulton.”
They were still living when I was there in 1904, and were called Billy and Dickey Gaulton. Neither of them ever married…
Betty Whalen’s narrative continued:
“We left Savage Cove, followed by Carnell, and entered French Island Harbour. We were in first, and father and Richard Percy and my small brother John, landed right where Whalen’s wharf is now. There was a skeleton of a whale there, and they stuck up a rib to mark their place.
“Carnell followed and stuck up another rib where his wharf is now. My mother could not come in the spring as she was about to be confined. During the summer Sarah was born. She was the youngest child of our family, and when she grew up married Matthew Coles. In the fall father went back to Brigus for mother and the baby. The Carnells left Flower’s Cove again and went further west. After a few years wandering about, they returned and settled down…”
Canon Richards lived in Flower’s Cove from 1904 to 1945. I chose only the parts of his speech that spoke of specific people. He talked at greater length about the geography and economy of the area. The complete article is in Memorial University’s digital files. In the September 1953 issue, it is pages 17-19, 44 and in December 1953, pages 15-16 and 23. You can read about Canon Richards in a 2013 Labradorian article about Irving Letto’s book Sealskin Boots and a Printing Press (Amazon link below).
Pat Phelan went to a watery grave Thursday. He fell off the pier, then clung desperately to a rope pleading with Eileen to pull him up. She didn’t. He almost made it on his own, then she stomped on his knuckles. And that was that. He plunged into the icy cold water. He couldn’t survive. Could he?
Beautiful scenes, at night on the pier, looking out over the expanse of sea. Also tension. Was Pat planning to kill Eileen? Would she realize the danger she was in? Would the people in Weatherfield figure out where she and Pat were? Would either she or Pat get enough bars on their phones to make or receive a call? Yes to all, although it does seem Pat really didn’t want to kill Eileen. But needs must.
I am glad Eileen is safe. I’m glad that Pat has paid for his sins. But. I like Pat and will miss him. Not the truly evil, moustache-twirling schemer, but the funny and conflicted family- and businessman. The man who cares for others but will do whatever he believes he needs to do.
No body means options
We haven’t seen his body. Therefore he may have survived. In soaps law, if you don’t actually see someone die, they can still be alive no matter how unlikely the recovery. It’s mainly an American soap thing, but we recently saw it on Coronation Street with Billy surviving that horrendous fall off a cliff.
So, in my future storyline, Pat survives his would-be watery grave and makes landfall somewhere. He is so thankful for his life being spared that he dedicates himself to the Lord. Truly repentant, he seeks to right the wrongs he has done. He becomes an evangelist, gathering a large flock of sinners and downtrodden around him.
His personality is the sort that would be equally successful as secular conman or big-time preacher. So we wouldn’t have to suspend disbelief too much for that part.
The problem is how could he be visibly present in England and avoid prosecution? He did kill three men and watched another die. There is no statute of limitation on murder.
Maybe he could rescue someone so heroically that his sentence would be shortened or commuted. That might take some serious suspension of disbelief to successfully pull off. But I’d be willing to do it.
Known best as “the girl in the car”, Mary Jo Kopechne had a promising career as a political worker in Washington. She was idealistic and enthusiastic – the sort of person you want to see in public service. Then she died at Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts on July 18, 1969. The car she was in, driven by Sen. Edward Kennedy, went off a bridge. He survived. The next week, she would have celebrated her 29th birthday.
Mary Jo was born July 26, 1940 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. She was the only child of Joseph and Gwen (Jennings) Kopechne. Her grandfathers were coal miners. Her family had been in the Wyoming Valley of north-eastern Pennsylvania for 250 years.
Soon after she was born, her parents moved to New Jersey. She graduated from that state’s Caldwell College for Women in 1962 with a business and education degree.
After graduation, Mary Jo moved to Alabama. There she taught school at the City of St. Jude, a Roman Catholic mission in Montgomery. From its establishment in 1938, it served both black and white community members.
St. Jude was put in the spotlight in March 1965 when it opened its grounds and doors for the march from Selma to Montgomery. Harry Belafonte organized and paid for a concert there that last night of the march. The “Stars for Freedom” rally included Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Joan Baez, Sammy Davis Jr., and many more.
White parents didn’t like the attention this gave the school so they pulled their kids out. Just as it had become de facto integrated, St. Jude became de facto segregated.
Mary Jo had left Montgomery by then. She moved to Washington where she worked as a secretary for Florida Democratic Senator George Smathers. A year or so later, she began work for Sen. Robert Kennedy.
During Kennedy’s 1968 campaign, she was one of six aides called the Boiler Room Girls. They compiled and analyzed data and intelligence on primary delegate voting probabilities.
After Robert Kennedy was assassinated, Mary Jo left Washington. She was devastated by the loss of the man who represented the ideals of social justice in which she so strongly believed. But she didn’t leave politics. She moved to Colorado to work as the campaign strategist for the former Governor’s Senate campaign. Then she returned to Washington. She worked for a political consulting company, one of the first, organizing campaigns at all levels of office.
She kept in touch with friends from Robert Kennedy’s office. The party in Chappaquiddick was a reunion of the Boiler Room Girls. Ted Kennedy was the host, and he left the party with Ms. Kopechne.
One week after her death, Kennedy appeared in court. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing bodily injury. The judge suspended the mandatory jail time, saying Kennedy “has already been, and will continue to be punished far beyond anything this court can impose.”
“A man does what he must…”
Later that night on television, Ted Kennedy quoted from his brother John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage. He said, in part:
A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressure… Each man must decide for himself the course he will follow… For this, each man must look into his own soul. [NY Daily News July 27, 1969]
An odd – even audacious – choice in light of the circumstances. Legal charges, an ongoing investigation and controversy about his actions the night of the accident. However, his words somehow close the circle of the Kennedy decade.
The youngest, and only surviving, son quoting the elder brother who ushered in the 1960s. Such hope, dashed by assassination. Then his brother Robert assassinated, another loss of hope. The decade ended with this third tragedy, the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. An accident, but a messy and mysterious one. She was not a Kennedy, but her life was entwined with theirs in terms of her beliefs and work. Her death also.
Ted, his wife Joan and Robert Kennedy’s widow Ethel attended Mary Jo’s funeral in Pennsylvania. Joan, who was pregnant at the time, later miscarried. Joseph and Gwen Kopechne moved back to Pennsylvania. They received a settlement of $141,000 from Kennedy’s insurance. Joseph died in 2003 and Gwen in 2007.
The movie Chappaquiddick is now, or soon will be, in a theatre near you.
Martin emigrating to New Zealand. David bemoaning his father’s past actions. Listing off Gail’s husbands, including Martin, by almost everyone. Lots of talk of Martin in the past couple of weeks. But don’t expect to actually see him, I told myself . Still, it’s going to be a let down when, once again, we hear ‘oh your father can’t make it’ or whatever.
The excuses for not seeing Martin Platt have been many over the years since he moved to Liverpool in 2005. You’d think Liverpool was as far away as New Zealand, not an hour away, given the difficulty Martin has had in ever coming back to his old neighbourhood.
So what a thrill when Wednesday’s episode opened and there he was. Martin, in his bathrobe. I replayed it several times, to inspect him and his house. And then he appeared in the next two episodes; in Weatherfield, on Coronation Street in the Rovers and in his former house. And it was a complete surprise to me, I’m happy to say. No “as we all know…” spoilers this time!
Big news as Martin’s return is, the bigger story is his portrayer Sean Wilson coming back. Mr. Wilson left the show in 2005, after a story that he didn’t like and neither did most viewers. Martin had an affair with sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Katy Harris. He was twice her age.
The story didn’t end well. Katy killed herself after killing her father. Her dad, Tommy Harris, was played by Thomas Craig. He later turned up in Canada, a century or so earlier. Thomas Craig plays Inspector Brackenreid in CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries.
Sean Wilson became a chef and cheese maker after leaving Coronation Street. He continued acting, but said of the show on which he spent 20 years: “I would rather walk down any other street even if I had a nail in my shoe” (The Sun). But it appears he and Coronation Street have made up. I, for one, am very glad. It was just wonderful to see him again.
And his jacket? This brown leather jacket looks so familiar. Googling it didn’t give me any answers. But I swear I’ve seen it before, on Martin or someone.
It’s also nice that New Zealand is getting a proper shout out. Land of Lorde, lamb and Lord of the Rings.
I don’t remember what I was doing when I heard that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot and killed. I do remember the shock and horror I felt. The loss and hopelessness that it signified. Even to me, a kid. But a kid old enough to understand what he was saying, and how important he was. How important his message was. He was the hope.
Then two months later, Robert Kennedy was shot. Another hope, gone in the flash of an assassin’s bullet. It was like some horrible circle was being closed, the taking down of those in whom we all had invested so much. First President John F. Kennedy, then five years later Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy. The killing of those whom we believed would make change. Would indeed make America great again.
1968 was a bad year. There were no giants left. No individuals who spoke with the authenticity and lyricism of Dr. King. No presidential candidates who made you believe yes, we can!
Forty years passed and Barack Obama was elected 44th President of the United States. Dr. King and the Kennedy brothers rolled into one. If any of you ever rolled your eyes when someone over 50 said they feared for his safety, think of this: that person remembers those assassinations.
Fifty years on, Donald Trump, a president whose electoral campaign and time so far in office has spurred different memories of 1968. George Wallace, former governor of Alabama, also ran in the 1968 presidential election. Fears again felt by those old enough to remember. The white supremacism that we thought was gone, clamoring again at the White House.
They tried to make me go to rehab But I said no, no, no
(Amy Winehouse, 2006)
Give Phelan a few minutes with anyone, and rehab starts to look good. Billy found that out on Tuesday. He started with no, no, no, but after a talking to by Phelan, it was yes, yes, yes.
So if the bottom falls out of the building industry, and if Phelan avoids jail, maybe that’s a career path for him. Counsellor at a rehab facility. If he does get caught, maybe it’s still his future. Jailhouse rehab counsellor. He’s good at it.
Billy broke into Eileen’s house, planned to steal the money in the biscuit tin. Got caught by Peter, who tried his hand at sponsorship and counselling. But then he left Billy alone. He did take the precaution of locking him in, but Billy broke out.
They found him again, and that’s when Phelan told Eileen that he’d keep an eye on him. As soon as she was gone, he made Billy wish he’d stayed a long, long way away from that house.
When Eileen returned, Phelan was seated alongside Billy. His hand resting on Billy’s arm, as if comforting and supporting him. Oh yes, they’d had a nice conversation and, yes, Billy was willing to go to rehab. Billy looked willing to go anywhere that Pat Phelan was not. His frantic wish for a fix was well and truly supplanted by fear of Phelan. Good job, Pat. I think he’ll remember you for quite a long time. If nothing else motivates him to get his act together, that memory will.
I wonder what our trained therapist Toyah would say about Phelan’s counselling approach. She is using her professional skills to guide Eva toward healthy pregnancy choices. And that’s working so well!
Shocker scene: mate-rape
Josh date- or mate-rapes David. Josh has become increasingly creepy. With so much talk of Martin and Gail’s other husbands, I wondered if Josh was the son of one of them. There is some reason we’re having this wander down memory lane.
It was clear that Josh had an agenda for David and/or his family. His beating up of Lee also showed he enjoys violence. So looking for revenge for his childhood and his dad disappearing? His roaming hands showed the direction he was going. But out-and-out rape? Wow, didn’t see that coming!
Newfoundland Mi'kmaq, family history, Coronation Street, etc.