EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Chapleau Christmas Decoration Contest on Facebook sponsored by Kevin Walker results in two winners

The first Chapleau Christmas Decoration Contest held on Facebook resulted in a tie, according to Kevin Walker, of  "I'm so Chapleau" fame who organized it.

Just struck me that Kevin, who is from Chapleau, now lives in Fort Erie, but was able to connect to Chapleau through Facebook, and conduct a contest, no problem.

Kevin, who was born and raised in Chapleau, is the son of Billy and Betty-Lou (Simard) Walker, while his grandparents were Bill and Della Walker and Bud and Kay Simard. His brothers are Larry and Bob.

Out of about 40 entries of Christmas decorations in Chapleau all posted on a page set up by Kevin, the two winners were Claire Henderson and Roxann Lynn.
Claire entry
Roxann entry

Each received a security cam from Kevin.

He advised that Claire had the most likes on the site and Roxann the most likes with all the shared likes from posts not on the site resulting in a tie.

I chatted with Kevin on Messenger and he told me that he held the contest "out of love for my hometown".

"I got the idea one day from looking at all the decorations down here in the Niagara Region and thought about Chapleau and all the great houses and all the decorations on them."

He added that it brought back memories to when he was young driving around town with his parents and looking at houses, and felt it would be a good idea..

"I love Chapleau and everyone there."

Kevin's "I'm so Chapleau" comments were most popular so I went back to one he contributed about Christmas and the holiday season. His comments then summed up so well the reason he sponsored the Christmas Decoration Contest. 

He wrote: "When I think about it.  we are all so Chapleau!! Who doesn't remember their childhood in our small northern town without a smile! This year why not make an effort to have an old fashioned Chapleau Christmas and with that I would like to wish everyone a safe and festive Merry Christmas! Oh and a very Happy New Year."

His Facebook contest with photos of decorations from Chapleau certainly brought back fond memories to me and I extend my congratulations to Claire and Roxann, and all those who participated.

As many readers know I taught at College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC, where I founded a college graduate program in New (Social) Media Communications, and even though I am now retired, am most interested in applications of social media. Kevin's contest
is a super example, and has great potential for the future to bring Chapleau folks together, no matter where we may live now.

In  looking at the photos submitted, I thought  of Red Skelton and something he said at the end of his television show. It went something like this, "If by chance you should remember something I've said,(or seen) and it brings a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been fulfilled." 

Thanks Kevin. Happy New Year to All. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Once upon a time, Christmas memories from third pew from the chancel steps and below the pulpit at St. John's Chapleau

"Once upon a time, in a land, far, far away, and in a divisional point on the mighty transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway was erected a replica of an 'English' church found in the 'Mother Country'", Marion (Morris) Kennedy, wrote in a letter to me shortly before she died on December 26, 2007.

Aunt Marion, daughter of Lil (Mulligan) and Harry Morris and sister of my father, James E. Morris, was writing about St. John's Anglican Church in Chapleau, being a replica of a church in England. She was reflecting on memories of St. John's at Christmas time when she was a young girl "sitting with her mother who was hard of hearing, third pew from the chancel steps and below the pulpit."

Aunt Marion married Harold Kennedy who came to Chapleau as the Ontario Provincial Police officer.

She was kneeling "watching (through her fingers) the parishioners partaking in the Holy Communion rite."

But, Aunt Marion started her letter with a wonderful description of St. John's as it was when she was young, and was the same when I last visited it when home for the Chapleau High School 90th anniversary reunion in 2012.

She wrote that it was "a marvel, with flying buttreses, and inside, carved pews, railings, choir stalls, bishop's chair, pulpit and pipe organ. (As an aside, my family in 1948 donated a Prayer desk in front of the bishop's chair in memory of my father who was killed on active service in the RCAF during World War II).

"Over the entry in the chancel, inscribed on the walls, semi-circle are the words "Enter Into His Gates with Thanksgiving and Into His Courts with Praise" (Psalm 100:4)

"Above the beautiful altar screen three stained glass windows are positioned, centred with Jesus and the famous "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." (Revelation 3:20) and yes, no door latch. St. John and St. Andrew as flanks, and above 'wall to wall' fresco depicting kneeling women.

My aunt, like me, was not in favour of church doors being locked with her comment "and yes, no door latch" but that is a story for another day.

She continues with the popular story among church members years ago about the bellows being worked "by boys given the honour in a cupboard below the organ".
"There was many a tale of the organist wildly pumping the foot pedals and calling for air", when the boys failed to work the bellows.

"The boys carved or wrote their initials on the walls -- one set belonging to the brother of the narrator, and in times of refurbishing the church the initials were always left as is". I wonder if they are still there -- a pretty historic document in the life of St. John's.

As church members exited at the end of the service Christmas greetings were exchanged quietly as the congregation had been very moved 'by the devotion and faith" of an elderly First Nations person who had walked a far distance to attend.

She wrote to me that she recalled this particular service and her thoughts every Christmas no matter where she lived. She added that following the services on Christmas Eve the townspeople from St. John's, Trinity United Church and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church would greet each other on their way home.

She also noted that following Christmas Eve services, neighbours would gather, " in the clear moon lit night with the Aurora Borealis crackling above".

That was my experience too growing up in Chapleau after  attending St. John's, where my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris would leave home early as she was choir director, but walk home with us -- my grandparents Edythe and George Hunt. My aunt and uncle B.W. 'Bubs' and Elsie Zufelt and my cousins Betty, Anne, Joan and Leslie would depart at the Beech Street corner, and we would see them on Christmas Day.

I would also spend time with my Morris grandparents, and Aunt Marion when she was home in Chapleau.

Those were the days my friends in so many ways, and when I came across my aunt's letter recently, decided to share some of it with you. I extend my most sincere best wishes, and every blessing, for a very Merry Christmas. My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Santa Claus given 'rousing welcome' at Oddfellows and Rebekahs Christmas party plus Dr. Young's 'magical land' in heart of Chapleau in 1960

About 100 delighted Chapleau children, twelve and under, gave Santa Claus a "rousing welcome" at the Oddfellows and Rebekahs annual Christmas party in the Town Hall basement in 1960, according to the Chapleau Sentinel.

Each child was presented with a gift by Santa as he spent time having a "chummy chat" with all of them.

But before Santa arrived, there was a program of songs, recitations and solo to entertain the guests including lodge members and parents.

Mrs. Richard Hoath vice grand of the Rebekahs welcomed all, while Norm Veit of the Oddfellows was chair for the evening.

Janice Corston opened the entertainment program with the recitation of a Christmas poem followed by Kelly Romain singing 'Mothers of Salem'.
Norm Veit and unknown
Allen Coulter and Robbie Pellow also sang  solos. Gail May and Derek Edwards sang a duet.

Judy Godemair gave a piano solo.

Jo Anne Dunne sang 'Away on a Housetop' while Don St. Germaine gave his rendition of 'Away in a Manger.'

The entertainment ended with 'Silent Night' sung by Joyce and Janet Cluett and Beverly Hamilton.

And then, according to the Chapleau Sentinel, "with jingling bells and  a jolly 'Ho Ho' Santa arrived amid cheers and applause."

Soon, after Santa gave each child a gift a great variety of toys covered the floor in the Town Hall basement.

A special occasion was marked with a rousing Happy Birthday to past grand of the Oddfellows Roy Desson who was celebrating his birthday.

Mr. Veit was assisted by Walter Midkiff, Hiram McEachren and others while assisting Santa were Mrs. Hoath and Mrs. Isabel Robinson.

 Whenever the subject of favourite memories of Christmas arises among those of us who go back to at least the 1950s, someone, or most likely everyone, unanimously will declare, "Dr. Young's Christmas display".

It was a highlight of the season for all ages to visit a magical land right in the heart of Chapleau.

I am including a couple of photos from the early days of his display before he converted the G.B. Nicholson home, which he had purchased after returning home to practise medicine in 1944-45.  I thank Harriet (Newcombe) Bouillon for providing me with the photos.

As I reflected on my own years growing up in Chapleau, I think the display and the lights and the music were most meaningful as we walked from our home on Grey Street South on a usually bitterly cold Christmas Eve's to the midnight service at St. John's Anglican Church.

Along the way, and on the way home we would meet and greet folks from Trinity United Church and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, and when I was a teenager, I would run between St. John's and Sacred Heart to attend the service there with some of my friends.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


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Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE