|It was always odd to me that my parents never invested themselves more in the god given
natural wonder of the north with a cottage. It came as a total surprise therefore to find
several images of them canoing, taking picnics and fishing. For whatever reason, they
dropped all of that when there family came along. Cottages were viewed as too much
work. I recall Dad telling me a story of being offered a place at Big Island after I left home.
I practically broke out in a cold sweat at the prospect of a potential place at the lake but
as it turned out, he was talking about an incident from the thirties that he turned down.
Mind you, when you wear a suit and tie to go canoing, there is clearly a disconnect with
|This personal photograph from 1964 is a
favorite for recording not only Mom and
Gram, but also Daughter and Mother.
Certainly there are the fashions of the day
but there also is personal choice and the
eyeglasses and bright prints only reinforced
the lines of the faces.
The Goodwin Family
Child of the north. One weekend, a friend
of the family invited Dad fishing and I was
taken along. I burnt a finger in the fire we
had grabbing a piece of molten glass. NO
fun. Dad caught a twenty pound Northern
Pike which was the catch of the day. Fishing
never happened again. At least this can end
on a thin note!
Grandma Wiggins with my brother, Dennis as
a toddler. It has to be my Father's hat. I
believe this would be taken at the
homestead farm in winter. The barren
landscape seen throughout holds up.
Our family continued the tradition of the studio family
portrait. Two were taken and they nicely illustrate the
two distinct phases of our family's growth.
The first is the young family with Dennis at the center.
This is my favorite. It appears Mom and Dennis were
looking at someone on the left for a moment while my
Father looked right at the camera with considerable
pride quietly expressed.
A second portrait was taken when I came along. The
hidden element I suspect was operating in both of
these portraits was my Mother's battle with TB. For
each of us, she had to go south to sanitariums. She
called them generically, "the San" and had special
memories of her years in them.
These stays forced separations for our family. Dennis
went to relatives in Tisdale, SK for Mom's first stay. He
had lots of country adventures, probably just enough
to put him off country life for a lifetime. Garth went to
his Grandmother's in Neepawa, probably soon after this
second portrait was taken. Gram took him down on
the train, something he does not quite recall yet
something that stayed in his Father's memory. Dad and
Dennis toughed it out on Princess Boulevard as he
finished the house. The family does not really have the
opportunity to form as such until 1954 or so, when
they were all able to live together at 365 Princess.
Mother and Daughter
My parents went north to Flin Flon in the 30's. Dad followed his brother
Gilbert up to what would have been a bit of a boom town in those days as
Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting was becoming established. Dad worked first
as a miner but soon transferred over to the Carpenter Shop for a life time of
town building. An entire town needed to be built in Flin Flon including the
plant, residences and our own home. In the 60's, he would do it all over again
in Snow Lake, something that saw him flying out to work Monday to Friday,
for a few years.
They look so young here and happy sitting on top of one of the bluffs
overlooking the town. In those days, they literally built on rock, encasing the
sewers in insulated boxes that ran between them. (see lower left) Our
neighbourhood, Willowvale was notable for its buried utilities and level yards.
The care taken to dress well was interesting to me. Dad is always well turned
out as was Mom who had a huge closet of fine outfits.
On the Rocks
This short clip was a spontaneous and rare use of the movie feature on the camera. It
remains one of my favorite images as it captures Mom being Mom. She was always
aggravated by Gizmo's restlessness. As a Bearded Collie, Giz just had to move to check
on everyone, pay attention to them and stay on top of the herd, so to speak. Mom liked
nothing better than sitting in her chair, reading, clipping things, watching television and
putting off her list of things to do. She would begin each day with that list and then
curse her way through the day about all the interruptions to her getting down to it. All
the way along, she would miss the fact that she herself, was the biggest interruption,
sitting and reading. It took several visits for me to realize this pattern as I always
accorded her the credibility of her word. In later years I understood to simply set up
camp in the living room and simply listen. Mom would go on throughout the day, talking
about everything under the sun. Amazingly, it was almost always fresh talk about the
neighbours, the family, the news on the television, whatever. The clip nicely replicates
the drill with its repetition. In fact, the dog would always be getting up, trotting back
and forth, giving her a greeting and then trotting off. Gizmo rarely just sat but she would
give Mom a good minute or more of sitting every now and then being willing to please.
If history teaches us anything, it is that history is always open to
revision. For a summer project I created a history wall for the
cottage using vintage images gleaned from old photo albums.
Imagine my surprise to find among the tiny ones a number of
images of my parents totally enjoying the northern lakes. They did
it all with canoes, paddles, 5 Star sleeping bags and early motors.
Whoever these people were they had ceased to exist when we
rug rats (scatter rugs, wall to wall not being invented as yet),
came along. It is fitting their outdoor years are now celebrated at
the cottage allowing it a kind of pedigree reaching back to its hay
day if nothing else.
As this project went along, it expanded some from my parents outdoor times to
include the wider family. Here is an early image of my Grandfather, Bliss Goodwin out
rowing with his kids. I believe my father and Helen or my Grandmother are sitting in
the front. From Lauraine, I now have an early shot of Grandfather Bliss in what is
possibly the same boat but as a young man with lots of dark hair and a broad and
wonderful smile. He is well into male pattern baldness here, something most men in
the family know quite well.