EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Aging better and enjoying the ride as the merry-go-round slows down with each week a new adventure of Chapleau Moments

Gosh, with all the really big stories floating around the twitterverse recently, I thought that I would pontificate on at least one of them.

But to mark the eighth anniversary of Chapleau Moments I will leave them alone, and share some thoughts based on a column written by Virginia Bell for Huffington Post on "aging better", particularly as it relates to doing the column all these years.

Bell claims it gets better as you get older "You get better. Life gets better. The merry-go-round slows down and you can finally enjoy the ride..."

I really am not the one to judge if the columns have improved at all over the years, but on a very personal basis, I have really been enjoying the ride --- I have learned so much about Chapleau, its life, its times and, most wonderfully, its people since 1885 or so. And folks, in eight years, I am the first to admit I have only scratched the surface.

As far as life goes, I agree with Bell wholeheartedly as  my merry-go-round slows down and I enjoy the ride. For example, each week is a new adventure as I research a column. and so often say to myself, "I never knew that..."

But before I continue with my metaphor mashing, I need to thank some of those people without whom I would never have been able keep the column going. And I know naming names is always risky, as my memory sometimes fades, but I will mention at least a few.

Mario Lafreniere, the publisher of the Chapleau Express has been totally supportive since Day One, and I appreciate the opportunity he gave me to do the column. And I would never have been able to co-author 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War" with my cousin Michael McMullen if I had not been writing it.

I also appreciate Michael's assistance with other columns, as well as filling in for me along with Ian Macdonald earlier this year with columns while I was away in Orlando --- and both Michael and Ian have been part of it all for the entire eight years. Both are Chapleau boys who continue to have a keen interest in the community.

Mike and Ian have produced some real insights into Chapleau's history, and I hope they will continue to do so.

Harry 'Butch' Pellow my lifelong friend died on December 13, 2016, and I often go back and read some of his contributions. Despite living in Toronto most of his life, Butch never forgot his roots, and shared his memories. I miss him greatly. Butch's brother Dr Bill Pellow has also been a great help.

Doug Greig, researcher extraordinaire, is also gone now, but all of us interested in Chapleau's history, owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his work in compiling  the community's history.

My cousin Anne (Zufelt) McGoldrick, has been so helpful too. There is little she does not know about Chapleau people, and if she doesn't, she finds it very quickly. Thanks Anne.

When I first started the column, I relied heavily on the collections of my mother, Muriel (Hunt) Morris, and my aunt, Marion (Morris) Kennedy.

The Richard Brownlee Papers have also been a great source of information, and I am so thankful to Margaret Rose (Payette) and Bobby Fortin for kindly loaning them to me.

Over the past eight years, I have heard from so many people, and I thank all of you so much.

 My two trips home for the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012 and to launch "The Chapleau Boys Go To War" in 2015 were awesome experiences as I wandered about town, and chatted with so many folks. I must mention my back lane tour in 2015 with my lifelong friend Ken Schroeder --- wonderful memories from our growing up years, and Ken has a great memory.

I have spent almost all my life doing and teaching communications, media and so on starting with a play when I was in Grade 4 at Chapleau Public School.

I recall that after retiring from College of the Rockies faculty  in 2000, the phone didn't ring as much; I was no longer the centre of attention as the sage on the the stage in front of the classroom, which I had, at least in my own mind, been for more than 30 years. It was downright depressing and I recall chatting over coffee with Dr Berry Calder, the college president about it.

Berry laughed and gave  me the solution. "Come up here and and get a cup of coffee from my pot which you have been doing for years, wander the halls and chat." I did and soon I drifted away from the college, gradually making the adjustment. I hardly ever visit now.

MJM a Michael Pelzer photo

Back to Virginia Bell who offers good advice on aging better: "The projects we pursue and the life we lead need to reflect ...and be aligned with who we are now and not who we once were. If we're able to make that transition then getting older can be a rich and fulfilling experience."

Writing Chapleau Moments reflects part of me "aging better"  as my merry go round  has slowed and each week I am able to share a bit of the life, times and people of Chapleau. Yes, Virginia, getting older is a rich and fulfilling experience!.

P.S. I have provided photos of some of the Chapleau gang at a party in 2014 at the home of Butch and Brigitte Pellow in Toronto.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Photo Info

Butch, Dr Bill, Ian, MJM

Mike McMullen and MJM in serious chat about book


All these guys played hockey in Chapleau.Back Jim Machan, Vince Crichton, Ian Macdonald, Geoffrey Hong, Mike McMullen. Front. MJM (briefly), Frank Broomhead, Bill Hong, Butch, Jim Hong, Bill Hong, Yen Hong, Aldee Martel, Ken Schroeder

All the girls were In CHS Cadet Corps. Neil Ritchie was commanding officer. Back Donna Lane, Betty Anne O'Brien, Doreen Cormier, Anne Keays, Naomi Mizuguchi, Gemma Ouellet, Shirley Cormier, Dorothy Honda. Front Neil. Diane Dowsley, Butch, Alison McMillan, Joy Evans, Jean Hong

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Flag raising ceremonies at Chapleau Centennial Museum described as 'heritage moment' in community's history

Totem pole a Terry Way-White, Jack Whitney project
When the Chapleau Centennial Museum was officially opened on July 1, 1967 as part of the community's celebration of Canada's 100th anniversary, the flag raising ceremony was an important part of the proceedings.

The centennial committee headed by Arthur Grout had contacted the premiers of all the provinces and the prime minister requesting that a flag be donated for the occasion. It happened!

The flag raising ceremony was conducted after a Colour Party composed of members of Branch Number 5 of the Royal Canadian Legion arrived.

They just didn't raise the flags  had found representatives from each province to participate and do it.

 As I was working on this column, seeing their names brought back so many memories of growing up in Chapleau.

Here are the participants taken from a Chapleau Sentinel story.

Reg Thrush, who was born In England raised the Canadian flag.

Mrs. Earle Campbell, born in British Columbia raised her home province's flag, while Mrs. Ruth Smith did the honors for Alberta where she was born. Mrs. Edith McKnight raised the flag of Manitoba her home province.

Lorrie Gerset, sister of Jim and Ted Demers travelled from Saskatchewan to raise its provincial flag.

Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Goldstein raised the flag of the Yukon. Their daughter Dawn was working as a nurse there. The Nothwest Territories did not have a flag.

Moving east, D. O. Payette raised the flag of Ontario while Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Martel did so for Quebec.

Nova Scotia born Layton Goodwin raised his province's flag while Mr. and Mrs. James Good from New Brunswick raised their flag and Emmet Brazel did so for Prince Edward Island his province of birth. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Steed raised the flag of Newfoundland.

Thirty years later in 1997, at a flag raising ceremony to replace the flags, Recreation Director Terry Piche described it as a "heritage moment", and his comments applied equally to that ceremony as it did to the 1967 one.

In 1997, coinciding with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Chapleau High School, the flag raising ceremony was re-enacted but unfortunately the newspaper reports did not name the flag raisers.

However, Terry told those attending of the significance of the flags as "a symbol of the unity of the community" and the importance of preserving its heritage. So true. Throughout its history, people have come from all parts of Canada, and indeed many other countries to live in Chapleau.

Let me conclude with an aside that I came across while doing this column. I found a very short newspaper story suggesting that First Nations people camped on the site where the museum is located before the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1885 --- members of the Memegos family.. If not on the exact site, nearby when they met surveyors circa 1881. I will leave that one alone for another day.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Thursday, July 6, 2017

'Putting wheels in motion' resulted in World War I battleground tour for Dr Frank Broomhead

Putting the "wheels in motion" while JR Broomhead was on a trip to England earlier in 2017, resulted in a World War I battleground tour for his father  Dr. Frank Broomhead, who has been a history buff since he was a kid growing up in Chapleau.

JR was visiting John Broomhead, the son of Anna and Arthur Broomhead, who lives in England, and as plans progressed, John got in touch with me about the trip. The wonders of Facebook!

John explained that given Frank's interest in the Great War specifically, and 2017 being the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge - a defining moment in the history of Canada - the battleground tour was arranged with a tour guide. JR and his father made the trip in June.

John told me he was "amazed but not surprised" at Frank's knowledge of the Great War (1914-1918), as was the tour guide. I am not. Out of the mothballs of memory, I vividly recall walking down Chapleau's main street when we were both students at Chapleau High School, and then I was amazed at his interest in history.

On their tour they wanted to "track down" as many "Chapleau boys" as possible who died while on active service in our armed forces during World War I.  Obviously I am delighted, as is Michael McMullen, my cousin and co-author of 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' that Frank took a copy of the book along and used it as a reference.

They located 12 Chapleau boys, and  provided some photos. See below for names and biographical sketches.

As an aside, 32 with a Chapleau connection died while on active service in World War I. We identified 283 volunteers, a remarkable number, given the size of Chapleau.  In World War II there were 418 enlistments and 29 died.

John shares the story of the trip that he, JR and Frank made: "On Day 1 we drove to Ypres, Belgium and covered the John McCrae Memorial (Advanced Dressing Station, Essex Farm),  Langemark Cemetery - one of only three German Cemeteries for the fallen german soldiers in WWI, Vancouver Corner (St. Julien Memorial for the Gas attacks and the Canadian defence of St. Julien in April, 1915) and the fight for Passchendaele in 1917. We ended the day at the very moving Menin Gate 'Last Post' ceremony which takes place every evening at 8pm."

"Day 2 took us to Vimy to see the trenches, tunnels and the impressive Canadian memorial there, and then a visit to the Somme battlefields in the afternoon where we saw the preserved Newfoundland Park battlefield at Beaumont-Hamel, the large (British) Thievpval Memorial to the Missing and the battlefields around the village of Courcelette (where the Canadians fought in September and October of 1916 including the Memorial to the Tank Corps -- the first usage of tanks in WWI, and the Regina TrenTrench."

"It was a lot to pack in two days - but was very moving and informative."

They were able to identify 12 with a Chapleau connection, and Michael McMullen kindly provided brief biographical notes on each of them. More details on each are in our book 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War'.

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium
E.D. Turner
Edgar Turner was a member of the Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) 24th Battalion, when at 18 years of age, he died on November 6, 1917.

Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium

The following five Chapleau Boys died in Belgium during the First World War and were listed as missing and presumed dead.  Their names are commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.  
J. Hewitt
James Hewitt enlisted in the Canadian Army at Niagara, Ontario on September 7, 1915.  He was with the Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) when
he died on June 13, 1916 at age 26.
W.D Unwin
William Unwin enlisted in the Canadian Army at Val Cartier, Quebec in September 1914. He was a member  of the Canadian Infantry (Eastern Ontario Regiment), 2nd Battalion, who died on April 24, 1915 at the age of 21.
P. Chappise
Peter Chappise enlisted in the Canadian Army at the Niagara Camp, Ontario
on August 31, 1915 in the 37th Battalion. He was 22, when he died on June 13, 1916 in the service of the Canadian Infantry (Ontario Regiment), 3rd Battalion.

W.S Haskins  
Walter Haskins enlisted in the Canadian Army at Lindsay, Ontario on March 27, 1916 in the 109th Battalion. He was 19 years of age and serving with the Canadian Pioneers, 124th Pioneer Battalion when he died on November 14, 1917.

A.A. Therriault  
Alfred Therriault enlisted in the Canadian Army, 52nd Battalion at Port Arthur, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay) on June 16, 1915. He was 24 and with the Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment), 52nd Battalion when he died on June 9, 1916.

Vimy Memorial, Vimy, France
The following five Chapleau Boys died in France during the First World War and were listed as missing and presumed dead.  Their names are commemorated on the Vimy Memorial.  
 A. Mortson
Alexander Mortson enlisted at Niagara on September 7, 1915 in the Canadian Army, 37th Battalion. He was with the Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment), 13th Battalion, when he died on September 4, 1916.  He was 30.

J. Moir
John Moir enlisted in the Canadian Army on March 8, 1915 in Toronto, Ontario. He was serving with the Canadian Cavalry Machine Gun Squadron when he died on December 1, 1917 at age 26.
A. Evans
Ambrose Evans  joined the 106th Light Infantry in Winnipeg, Manitoba in August 1914 and then enlisted in the Canadian Army at Valcartier, Quebec on September 25, 1914.  He was with the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (R.C.A.C.), when he died on May 25, 1915 at age 31.

A.E. Jefferies
Albert Jeffries enlisted in the Canadian Army at Oshawa, Ontario on November 30, 1915 in the 116th Overseas Battalion.  He was serving with the Canadian Army (Eastern Ontario Regiment) when he died on May 3, 1917 at age 26.
P. Hall
Percy Hall enlisted at Chapleau in the Canadian Army, 227th (Men of the North) Battalion on April 30, 1916. He was serving with the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, 1st Battalion, when he died on August 29, 1918 at the age of 22.

Regina Trench Cemetery, Courcelette, France
J.F.P Collings
John Collings enlisted in the Canadian Army at Halifax on November 25, 1914. He died on October 1, 1916 at age 24 as a member of the Canadian Infantry (Nova Scotia Regiment), 25th Battalion.  

 Thanks so much John, JR and Dr. Frank. Also thanks to Michael K. for his assistance. 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War' is available at Chapleau Village Shops or on  www.amazon.ca. 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