Pages From The Past: Moving to Newtown

Moving to Newtown, Newfoundland in 2010

These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog.  We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.  

Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath.  Also of note is my poem at the end.

Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?

But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.

I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…

I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.

Sept. 21

So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??

And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.

Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.

Sept. 23

Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!

Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.

I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.

The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.

And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.

As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.

God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead

we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede

First we lose our father to a death no one should know

too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..

The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear

her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared

I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste

she lives and yet she doesn’t;  a stranger took her place

Where is my mother’s heart?  Where is her winsome smile?

I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style

God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream

let her put her arms around me;  let her hold me as she sings

Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone

reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.

***

Winter Morning

Peaceful winter morn
Dressed in snow – the only sound:
Soft moan of the sea.

I wish this was the view from our yard today, but no. This snap was taken last winter when we had snow. Positively springlike all weekend!

Photo originally published here.

“The Flower that Smiles Today”

The flower that smiles to-day

To-morrow dies;

All that we wish to stay

Tempts and then flies.

What is this world’s delight?

Lightning that mocks the night,

Brief even as bright.*

 

*This is the first stanza of The Flower that Smiles Today by Percy Shelley, one of my favourite poems. Read the entire poem and a brief analysis here.

And a favourite quote:

“Man’s life is brief and transitory, Literature endures forever.”

― Rory Stewart, The Places in Between

Flowers of primary colours: travel theme by wheresmybackpack.com

Photos: jenniferkellandperry.com

I Dream*

Always in my heart – Happy Father’s Day, Dad

 

*Poem originally published here on Sept. 25, 2013

She Was The Girl

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She was the girl,
the self-conscious new student 
who had her chair pulled out
from under her
in morning assembly.

She was the teen
they loved to humiliate
for being human,
had ugly words about her
scrawled inside her textbooks.

She was the young woman,
the doe-eyed bride who rushed in,
got in over her head. 
She wondered
where the vows of love went, or

what she did wrong.

She was the jaded, weary soul
bullied by family, by pain,
by life. 
Sometimes
it all comes back
on her
in waves.

She dreams of being nowhere.

***

It’s that time of year, the long Labour Day weekend, the last chance for many of us to pay homage to fun, sun, and summer vacation. September is firmly in place and the majority of children will head back to their classrooms this week.

This is not meant to sound preachy or ranty. It is simply a plea. Whether you are a student, a teacher, a parent, a spouse, a co-worker, a community citizen, or a bystander-witness, please consider taking a conscious stand against all forms of bullying.

Why? Because whatever action you take – or don’t take, someone’s well-being, someone’s future, SOMEONE’S LIFE just might depend upon it.

*September is Suicide Prevention Month*

What are you doing to fight bullying?

Gratitude

Bath Time Bliss
Bath Time Bliss – jenniferkellandperry.com

Gratitude

Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way;
Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day;
Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.

Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom;
Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.

Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blessed you are,
How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
And what if rain shall fall today and you with grief are sad;
Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.

~ Edgar A. Guest

Edgar Albert Guest was born in Britain but grew up and spent most of his life in the U.S.A. He was a product of “small town” America and the values and lifestyle he had as a boy permeates his writing both prose and poem. He worked most of his adult life as newspaperman, syndicated country-wide and is reputed to have had a new poem published in a newspaper every day for over 30 years. – AllPoetry.com

Travel Theme: Poetry – combine a favourite poem with a fitting photo.

Do you have any favourite poems to share? What are you grateful for?

Early Rise

001Waking up too soon
dreams dissolve, sleep elusive,
I rub my tired eyes

006But then my heart smiles
a new day, a new chance – Life’s
consolation prize.

010

Do you ever wake up too early?
Or do you like to start every morning at daybreak?

Photo Challenge: Early
wheresmybackpack.com

Blogger Bouquet #34

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Nurse Kelly is a sweetheart of a blogger who is working on her first book.

From her About page:

Nurse Kelly is a registered nurse, health educator, coach, speaker, and writer. She holds a BA in Communications, an AAS in Nursing, and numerous certifications. She resides in northeast Ohio with her husband, daughter, son, and beloved dog, Ruby.
Known for her commitment to functional healthcare, she wished to expand her reach to a larger audience – hence, nursekellyknows.com was born.

In her own words:
This blog is authentically me. I write from my heart in a very personal voice, which I hope you will find engaging, enlightening, and entertaining. I can also cause just enough mischief to keep things interesting… so please be aware, as it is never my intention to offend.”

I have chosen the following post because I love finding a poem that makes me smile the way this one does.

Birthday Suit

Comments are closed here but you can share a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspiring weekend, everyone ❤

The Best Gifts

2009
Christmas 2009

Dear Santa:

Just a little message
it’s the same one every year
I do not yearn for presents
as Christmas Day draws near

what I wish for yuletide
is not inside your sack
I have been blessed already
there’s nothing that I lack

because on Christmas morning
 when we gather ’round the tree
to see these little faces
is the only gift I need.

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I’m taking a short break from blogging until after the New Year.
Wishing one and all a happy and healthy Holiday season!

Further Reading from Jennifer’s Journal:
Christmas Renewed

Man of a Thousand Songs

A Newfoundland legend has passed.

Ron Hynes lost his battle with cancer yesterday, but the St. John’s native and the “man of a thousand songs” will be remembered in this province as one of our best and most talented singer-songwriters.

I’ve loved Ron’s music ever since he performed as front man with the Wonderful Grand Band on a local early-80’s TV show. But when I saw him sing and play at the Fat Cat on George Street one night in the early nineties, I knew he would be an enduring musical storyteller and an artistic treasure.

Sonny’s Dream, his most famous song internationally, has been recorded by many artists such as Valdy and Emmy Lou Harris. Have a listen:

As much as I love that song, the following is perhaps my personal favourite. The lyrics alone, in my opinion, elevate its author Ron to the deserving title of our finest wordsmith and poet.

St. John's Harbour
St. John’s Harbour

St. John’s Waltz
by Ron Hynes

Oh the harbour lights are gleaming
And the evening’s still and dark
And the seagulls are all dreaming
Seagull dreams on Amherst Rock
And the mist is slowly drifting
As the storefront lights go dim
And the moon is gently lifting
As the last ship’s coming in

All the sailors got a story
Some are true, some are false
But they’re always wrecked
and they’re up on the deck
Dancin’ the St. John’s Waltz

Amherst Rock Jennifer's Journal
Fort Amherst (Amherst Rock)
Jennifer’s Journal

Oh we’ve had out share of history
We’ve seen nations come and go
We’ve seen battles rage over land and stage
Four hundred years and more
For glory or for freedom
For country or for king
Or for money or fame but there are no names
On the graves where men lie sleeping

All the nine to fives survive the day
With a sigh and a dose of salts
And they’re parkin’ their cars and packin’ the barsRON-HYNES
Dancin’ the St. John’s Waltz

Oh my heart is on the highway
And I’m sold on goin’ to sea
All the planes fill the skyway
The trains run swift and free
So leave the wayward free to wander
Leave the restless free to roam
If it’s rocks in the bay or it’s old cliche
You’ll find your way back home

So don’t question or inquire
What’s been gained, what’s been lost
In a world of romance don’t miss out on the chance
To be Dancin’ the St. John’s Waltz

Rest in peace, Mr. Hynes.
Your music will continue to live on through our playlists and in our hearts.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ron-hynes-death-reaction-1.3327456