Keeper of the Flame

I am cross-pollinating today… this is my blog re-posted from “Little Book of Miracles” which continues the story…

I am back from Kingston, home of my birth, and feeling quite reflective on what I found there…  Not only did I find my grandmother in a new hospital by the lake, doing relatively well (see Let Sleeping Lions Lie);  I found myself with my mother, and countless photos and letters dug up among boxes and boxes of stuff in my grandmother’s sun-porch…

In these boxes, we found my great-great grandparents Lawrence E. Moore and Emma Belle Deacon staring out from their front porch rockers in Haileybury…

…and their seven daughters (my great aunts), girls and women in tranquil Georgian-style dresses lounging on the front swing with flowers in their hair, or leaning with snowshoes and warm-mittened hands against the family’s seemingly chicken-wired fence;  my gr-great grandmother Emma standing solidly with her youngest one wrapped around her skirt, she looking quite tired but still strong in the heat of days… and another where she smiles brightly to camera, which delighted me beyond measure.

Moore women in Cobalt

These are The Moores I had always wanted to know: to play cards with at the dining room table (which is now in my mother’s dining room); to tell stories with, to laugh with…  I see Emma playing the  mouth organ (which is now in my grandmother’s hall closet); I hear their old Irish twang and crazy war-time songs (I shall never repeat them here – we were Protestant Northern Irish, if that says enough).

I feel I know them. I am bonded to them. I am proud to be one of them. I see myself in their tall languid frames, the way they hold their hands, tilt their heads, play to camera. The Moore Women.

I am a part of a long, and timeless heritage of self-assured women. Of strength. Of beauty. And of rebuilding. Death after death has taken them. But their faces tell me another story; they are still here, in my blood and in those whom I love now.

My grandmother had protected and shielded these treasures for years and years. She didn’t have the heart to go through them, or dispose of anything. I’m glad she didn’t. I’m glad I had the opportunity with my mother to get on my hands and knees and know this family I inherited.

The details won’t matter so much. The garbage bins will go out; the trinkets will disappear. But their eyes, their hands, their laughter and their tears will never go out in me.

Me in my red boots in Nanna’s backyard

 I am blessed to be here, the Keeper of the Flame.

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Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Moore & MacDonald Reunite

Recent Update to last week’s post Let Sleeping Lions Lie:  My grandmother Moore, who started this whole family history fascination with me was in the hospital in Kingston last week. At the age of 93 I thought that was it. But no, she has chosen to rehabilitate, and has just been moved to a beautiful facility on Lake Ontario, where she is enjoying her new view – overlooking…. the house of….  Sir John A MacDonald!

Sir John A

Moore & MacDonald come to blows!

        For those who missed the first post on how the Moores are connected with Sir John A, read this.

Published in: on May 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Let Sleeping Lions Lie

Lion

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? Dogs are one thing; Lions another.  Here is my grandmother on top of the Lion mounted at Sir John A. MacDonald park at the waterfront of Kingston Ontario, where I visited this past week.  I happened to be over there, across the street from Kingston General Hospital where I was born (along with my father and Bryan Adams), and where she is now resting and recovering from a long week. At the age of 93, she decided she wants to be rehabilitated.  This, apparently, is unusual. Not in my family.

My mom and I had come in for a few days to help out, after a scare the Monday before.  But “Nanna” was sitting up in her chair as if nothing had happened, charming the nurses and rehabilitation staff with her spry smile and intelligent wit. One time she was getting a manicure on the one hand by my cousin, while the other hand waved in the air.  After her daily physio exercises, she would declare, “I just want to do my best.”

What is so amazing about being 93? Nothing, really. To be old is no special feat, as she will tell you quite pointedly. But to be  alive, resilient,  with cheerful attitude is a force quite unseen. I suppose it still startles some who are used to seeing people lose their will and functioning.  One nurse leaned in to my grandmother and talked loudly in her ear. My mother and I had to laugh as we whispered gently to her, “She’s not deaf.”  She hears everything, she remembers everything.  She is as sharp as a tack.

Back at her house my mom and I sorted old boxes from the basement after a flood had taken most everything.  What might have been a tedious task turned fun when we found delightful old costumes, vintage gloves, a baton-berg lace tablecloth, and some carefully wrapped photos. One was a clear picture of my great grandmother whom I had never met, Emma Bell Deacon (wife of Lawrence E. Moore – the family I have been researching all these years), and another was of a woman staring out from the 1860s in her original frame, her eyes seemed hauntingly familiar and alive…

I took the precious finds into the hospital on the last day to show Nanna. As I pulled  each one out for her to see, my mother said later that I was so captivated looking at the photos with her that I failed to notice how much she was affected: she glowed.  Nothing delighted her more than a shared obsession!  Everyone else in the room was quiet. As we talked and identified the ancestors, my younger cousin whispered to my mother in wonder, “Krista sounds like she knows all these people!”  My mom smiled and replied, “She does.”

More on that later!

Here I am with my daughter and grandmother at the Great Lion again. The faces and backdrop may have changed, but the Lion still stands, just as fierce and sturdy as ever, guarding the fortress of our native town.  I am upheld, along with my family and ancestors, by its ferocity, persistence, and Will to carry on.

It’s not so important whether someone lives; but whether they are alive while they are here. My grandmother is a testament to that.

The Lioness in us will never lay down.

Published in: on May 14, 2011 at 11:38 pm  Comments (10)  
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