Welcome back, everyone. I hope the transition into spring has been a good one. I’m excited to see the daffodils ready to bloom, with tulips soon to follow. The grass has had its first cutting – and that means it’s time to put up the hummingbird feeder.
This issue looks a little different without our columnist John Cosway on page 4. I considered his suggestion in the March/April that page 4 could be the new home of my editorials, and I planned on a permanent relocation to that page, but I’ve had a digital uprising on my hands for the past three weeks and very few of my “best laid plans” were executed as originally hoped for. Have you ever been in one of those situations where you can’t use software because your OS (operating system) is out of date? That was the case for me when I wanted to simply upload photos from a cell phone I use in the U.S.A. to my Mac computer. I was assured that once I downloaded/updated my OS the app I needed would work like a charm. Well, it didn’t. And then came the domino effect… my publishing software had to be updated to be compatible with the new OS. Fine. Okay. That software was a bit old, after all – but I am a firm believer in “If it ain’t broke…” (And I’m pretty sure that software, sold in US$, was a lot cheaper last year.) I sincerely wish I had stuck to my guns in the first place, especially when the publishing software wouldn’t install. It (the software) decided there was a conflict with fonts, those innocent looking little letters, numbers and symbols that come in all shapes, colours and sizes and are at your beck and call from somewhere inside your computer’s hard drive. Ha. Don’t be fooled by fonts. They can be the equivalent of nasty little gremlins that are determined to skewer an entire publication without you even knowing that they’re lurking – waiting to pounce. I have dealt with font problems in the past, and I think I recall complaining about them in a long-ago editorial in much the same way. I have been skirting my way around them with great caution ever since, but along came that upgrade/download/update/app-conflict with those “corrupt” little monsters and I felt like I was in a deadline war zone.
My brain was never designed for digital technology, and “learning curve” is just a nice name for a really big headache. Thank goodness for people who actually understand, and apparently enjoy, technology. My Mac “guy” came to the rescue and unravelled some of the mysteries of the uncooperative installation. Another friend refreshed my memory about how to deal with those pesky font problems, and after “limping along” as one of them put it, I hope to see all pages of this 40-page May/June issue looking exactly as they are intended to look – no surprises. I will be on tenterhooks until then. (And if you find typos… just blame them on the font problems, okay?) At this point it’s not a full-out war with the new software, but I would call it an on-going skirmish. One of us has to win eventually. I suspect it won’t be me.
I hope you enjoy this issue and all the great articles. As I get older I find my appreciation of history is growing and I’m grateful to our writers who bring some of our own local history to the pages of the WT. It’s important to learn about our roots, to acquire an understanding of why so many things are the way they are today. With 2017 being the 150th birthday of our fair nation, we really should take the time to learn about our past. May is traditionally “museum month” so try to plan some visits to at least a few of these wonderful time capsules that have so much to teach us. They are usually managed by folks who have a passion for the past. We can all learn a thing or two from every museum out there, so enjoy the fact that there are so many to choose from and show them your interest and support. Get the kids involved. Let them choose a place that holds a specific interest for them. Dr. John Carter’s article about the Park Brothers, entrepreneurial men who brought their vision to Upper Canada, pays tribute to our American connection in the past and how we have all benefited in the decades that have followed. In fact, to learn first-hand about the Parks you can visit the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area, 915 Essex County Rd 50, in Essex, or the Park House Museum, 214 Dalhousie St., Amherstburg, Ontario.
Our Canadian history is, of course, closely knit to our British roots. With the current airing of “Victoria” on television, Douglas Phillips’ article is timely and informative and definitely more historically accurate – but who doesn’t love a thwarted, heart-breaking romance? (I wonder what Queen Victoria would think of the artistic license applied to her life story? “We are not amused…” comes to mind.) I’m enjoying the series and like the fact that it is stirring up some of those history lessons tucked away in my brain… somewhere under the technology-saturated cells … way under.
Working on Jim Trautman’s article about cookbooks had a very nostalgic effect on me that took me by surprise. Looking at the images of the cookbooks in his article brought back some very poignant memories of Sunday family dinners, going grocery shopping at our local A&P, wanting to try every recipe in the cookie cookbook my mom had (and used frequently) and many other ordinary, but precious, moments of my personal past. I have a fairly large number of cookbooks, many of them from my mother, and one or two from my grandmother. I rarely use them, but not because I don’t want to; there just never seems to be much time to get organized enough to actually cook from scratch anymore. How sad that that’s the case. I love those old books with stains and dog-earred corners. Some have notes written in pencil by my mom or grandmother. There’s always a newspaper clipping or two that fall out of the pages of the books featuring a recipe that must have seemed irresistible at the time. One day, when time is less demanding, maybe I’ll get out the old pink apron of my grandmother’s and start a weekly attempt at some of the old recipes that fed us well in decades past. That would be a good way to conjure up some pretty happy memories.
Ladies, you will really enjoy Leigh Anne Brown’s article on her wedding gown collection. I was fortunate enough to attend one of her exceptional presentations in 2015 and have wanted to “share” her with you ever since. She has a wonderful story and a remarkable collection, but be warned that your embroidered hanky collection will probably pale in comparison – just so you know! Men are welcome to read it too… you guys might appreciate that your wife’s collection of just about anything is probably smaller than one of wedding gowns.
We finally have some warm weather to look forward to, so suit up in your vintage summer clothes (Hawaiian shirts included) and get out there to all the shops, markets and shows that have been waiting for your visit. For those of you who are year-round constant supporters of the antiques and collectibles businesses – thank you, we appreciate you very much!
Thanks for reading. Safe travels as you venture over hill and dale in search of those wonderful old or vintage things that bring you great pleasure.
Take care, God bless.