Sunday, February 03, 2019

Remembering Summer



We had our first skiff of snow last night. The grandchildren are excited for more in the forecast, as am I. We'll see. Very often these weather warnings are greatly exaggerated. It is dark and chilly out there, with a wind that nips at ears and nose, although nothing like the effects in the middle of the continent. 

We had our local families over for lunch after church to celebrate a little boy turning 5 soon. The girls made tissue paper parachutes and jumped off of things so the parachutes would puff up. Very creative. 

After they left I sat by the fire doing some hand stitching on my quilt and my mind cast back to last summer's boating adventures. And so I thought I'd tell you of one of the most interesting people we met on our travels in the rather remote Broughton Island Archipelago. 


Tim and Bill Proctor sitting in front of the museum Bill created.

Billy Proctor is a legend in these islands, and along the coast. Bill was born in 1934 so he's the same age as my father. Bill lived his entire life on the coast and has worked as a hand-logger, a fisherman, a boat repairman, and more. He tells the story of how he hated school and ran straight away into the woods when his mother ordered correspondence materials for him. He returned home later that day, but his repugnance towards school was so strong that his mother packaged up the materials and sent them back. You can read more of his early life in an article published in our local paper. He loves the land and the sea. 



We were tied up to the dock at Echo Bay Marina where we enjoyed hot showers, a small grocery store, filling our fresh water tanks, and a fish and chip dinner. Echo Bay was once a thriving coastal community with a school building, fishermen and their families, and loggers. As time passed, the area has become less populated and there are only poignant reminders of the lives once lived there. Empty cabins and beached derelict boats hint at the tales. A trail from Echo Bay leads to the place where Bill and his wife built a home. There is an enclosed garden where a bush of yellow flowers blooms profusely and I wonder if it was Bill's wife who planted them. 



On one of his rare visits to larger centres, Billy visited a museum. He is a collector, a beachcomber, and realized that he had more stuff than the museum. He returned home and built a museum to house the many artifacts he's found over the years. 
He also built a hand-logger's cabin, seen above. This cabin was typical of loggers' cabins in years past, built from one large cedar tree in about a week. Just one room, with a wood stove, a bed, and a place for snowshoes, rain gear, and other tools. Tea was a staple, strong and bracing, steeped in teapot, not bags dunked into mugs.  


The stuff Billy collected ranges from old trading beads, seen above, to logging equipment, flint stones from pre-literate times, newspapers, school effects, and more. It's an eclectic collection that strongly reflects the remote coastal life. 



I loved the blue bottles on the windowsill, and throughout the rest of our trip I kept my eyes open for trading beads and blue bottles, but alas, I found none.


Back at Echo Bay, tiny flowers, yellow and white, dot the field where children once played in the school yard. How pretty they are. Can you imagine children sitting in the sunshine making daisy chains? I can. Thinking of them, and thinking of that time last summer has warmed me.

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. 

30 comments:

  1. Interesting story with wonderful summer photos Lorrie. I could feel the warmth and the summer breeze. We have also abandoned houses or small villages that have slowly been emptied in the countryside. It feels a kind of sad but great that Billy created a museum in his pretty blue house - for modern people to look back in the old times.

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  2. I enjoyed your story-telling about the man who loves the land and the sea and my heart was warmed up. The simple blue-white house and the cabin built from one large cedar are nicely tuned into the surrounding nature. I also imagined children making daisy chains in the comfortable sunshine. My winter is unsatisfactory cold, not cold enough for frost or snow to make children delighted, in spite of the highest temperature below 10 degrees C (50 F).

    Yoko

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  3. I’m sitting reading this post as the rain streams down on the window outside. Lovely to have a taste of summer and a fascinating account of a different way of life. Perfect. Have a good week. B x

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  4. Bill looks to be such a relaxed and contented man, someone who has happily walked his very own pathway through life.
    I am presuming that the trading beads were used by the First Nation people!
    We had a beautiful covering of snow for two days, went to bed last night with the earth still white, and this morning, as if by magic, not a single flake is to be seen.

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  5. It was a joy to stroll along with you as you reminisced about a summer past and learn so much. A delight to visit your blog today.

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  6. It’s an amazing Story... I love to read such one. Thank you for sharing. Your captures are fantastic to accompany the Post.

    Happy MosaicMonday

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  8. I'm glad you peeked back and shared this with us. So many lives . . . each with a story . . .

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  9. What an amazing man with his collection of things from the past! It's so interesting to meet people like that along the way. It helps us appreciate the past...and our lives in the present too! Hope the weather is nice this week. Hugs!

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  10. This is wonderful! I love this kind of small, personal museum. My husband and I have often joked that I should curate my own museum, possibly in my summerhouse, so it really would be very small. We are still waiting for snow here... x

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  11. What an interesting man he must be! I would definitely want to sit next to him at a party and listen to his stories. He's really marched to his own drum and good for him! One of my sons built a tiny house in his back yard to house his geiger counter museum. For real! He buys the old ones and restores them. And he is fascinating talking about it, has his own youtube stories about it. I love that!

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  12. Very interesting. Happy mosaic Monday

    Much­čĺčlove

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  13. Thank you, your post and lovely photos hits the spot like a cup of hot tea!

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  14. Lorrie - a terrific story about a remarkable individual! I admire the one-room cabin and the lifestyle of those who worked in the 'frontier' to make a living for their families. I would enjoy sitting with him, a cup of strong tea in hand, to hear the tales about his artifacts! So glad you shared this with the Mosaic Monday community!

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  15. The weather in our country is so odd. While you're enjoying the snowfall, most of the white stuff here has melted thanks to balmy (10+ degrees Celsiuis) temperatures!

    I liked the prominent role of tea in Bill's interesting story!

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  16. Hello, Lorrie! Your photos are excellent and they wonderfully support the story.
    The small museum looks very interesting, such an admirable work.

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  17. Dear Lorrie,
    Your Remembering Summer photos are so very charming. I especially like your first image. It brings back images of summer picnics and fields of wild flowers.

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  18. How lovely to see these glimpses and experiences from summer and the stories you heard. Nice mosaic.

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  19. Thanks for the story!

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  20. What a warm and cheery visit!

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  21. Wonderful glimpse into another place and time, almost lost to history. Love the little logging shack and all the vintage finds.

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  22. I really enjoyed the story of Billy Proctor and your beautiful photos. My husband bought an assortment of vintage blue bottles at the last estate sale we went together. They are so pretty in the sun.

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  23. What a lovely post. I especially enjoyed hearing about Bill and his museum. The blue bottles and beads would be my favorite too.

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  24. ...summer is appreciated more after a hard winter. Something to look forward to.

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  25. It's good to look back and remember people that we've met and enjoyed spending time with. Billy Proctor sounds like a practical person with interesting tales to tell. We can also appreciate individuals who have taken the time to curate a personal collection of items that remind us of our past heritage. The wild flowers, hopefully, will continue to flower, set seed, grow and flower again on the land where once there was a school playground. I think that's a positive idea to dwell upon.

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  26. Lorrie, what a fascinating story! It's a place and people most of us will never see and meet, so thank you for sharing this with us.

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  27. What a cool story! There are some very fascinating people in this world. Loved the blue cabin and oh my...that collection blue bottles!!

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  28. Wayne and I would love to get our boat up the Broughtons and Echo Bay. We tried once but I was too afraid of the waves so we turned back. I would especially like to get to Echo Bay to visit my friend Yvonne Maximchuk who lives near Billy's place. She has her home and art studio there. She came to stay with me at the float cabin a few years back when she was in Comox for a book signing/art show. We also went to Tofino together last spring which was a lot of fun. - Margy

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  29. What a great time out! I love quaint visits like this one.

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  30. What a fabulous post Lorrie.
    I loved the blue cabin and the collection of blue bottles.
    A great read, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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