Editorial – April/May/June 2019

This is my fourteenth spring as the editor of the Wayback Times and I’ve discovered that it’s difficult not to write about the arrival of spring every year. It’s such a significant “event” when you live in a cold climate and can’t wait for it to come that it is almost a rite of passage to put words on paper. It is also somewhat therapeutic… (if you write it, it will come) and despite its slow arrival, I guess if it’s happened all of the previous years in my life, surely it will take place again. The glorious warmth and sunshine we’re all longing for is still being elusive at this point in March, but it’s coming! I’ve seen robins and red-winged blackbirds outside… and I’ve seen cluster flies and ladybugs inside. They all speak of spring… but I must confess I could do without the cluster flies and ladybugs.


This is my first spring as a grandmother, so it’s uncharted territory, but very exciting.  As I’ve watched this little person grow from a tiny newborn into a wee girl with her own unique character, it’s like watching a delightful story unfold in front of us. Her first steps will be coming soon… that’s both terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I think we’re all in for quite a ride!


Being a grandparent has shifted my purchasing interests somewhat.  Finding antiques and collectibles, both for personal collecting and re-sale by my hubby, Peter, has become secondary for me, at least for the time being.  The hunt is on now for all things “baby” that will teach, entertain and keep her safe – and even well-clothed! My outings while in Florida for January and February were rarely to antique malls and shows – in fact, we didn’t attend one show anywhere. No.. this year it was thrift shops and yard sales, and what fun that was!  The things we found were quite amazing and convinced me that I might never shop (new)  retail for kids’ things again.  I will, of course, but in the back of my mind, I will always be thinking “I bet I could have found his in Florida for one-tenth of the price”.  There is one toy in particular that I found that I’ve decided  will stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. It’s a Fisher-Price Rainforest Waterfall Peek-a-Boo Soother.  And sooth it does!  With several functions – soft lights, gently moving creatures and cute tropical  music if desired, the best option is the simplest – just the sound of crickets, birds and running water. This is one “toy” I will never tire of, it’s such a peaceful, lovely item and I am immensely grateful to the people who captured a little slice of nature for wee ones (and old ones) to enjoy.  I have also discovered that our cat loves it.  I think it makes him feel like he is in Cat Heaven, somewhere outside, slumbering by a babbling brook at dusk.  The dilemma now is to make sure I don’t wear it out before Sarah gets to enjoy it.


We have so many great things for you to read in this spring 2019 issue of the WT. As we are all aware, June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. This is critically important history for us to know – and remember- as Canadians. Our WT writer, Douglas Phillips, has crafted a poignant article (pg 18) bringing to  light the incredibly dangerous clandestine activities that Canada was involved in that directly affected the outcome of the war.  This is a case of life being far more intense and dramatic than fiction – in fact, it’s the material from which fiction is created. You will be amazed at what real people, both men and women, undertook, often costing them their lives, in order to win a war so that you and I could live in this  exceptional country we are blessed to call Canada, and our home.  Sincere thanks to Doug for his fine article, and to his wife Marja. They are  part of a proud military family and  we owe people like them our greatest thanks and respect.   “Lest we forget” should be spoken year ‘round, not only in November.  As our remaining WWII vets dwindle in numbers, it is more and more important to keep their sacrifices and endeavours alive in our hearts and minds.


Ah, royalty!  I realize that not everyone is overly fond of the royal family and doesn’t fully comprehend their purpose in this day and age, but I, personally, appreciate their role in our historic past and present… well, most of it. (We won’t get into the driving thing re Prince Philip…)  Writer Roderick Sergiades has written of some humorous anecdotes (pg 14) involving these lofty persons.  Just for the record, I am not a big fan of the “p” word, nor any of the other four-letter expletives. (They deny one the opportunity to choose from a plethora of other descriptive  word choices in the English language, right?) That being said, Roderick’s story was pretty outrageous, and being in the printing business myself, I can only begin to imagine what that unfortunate typesetter had to endure after such a colossal blunder.  (Although I suspect there was much giggling throughout the royal kingdom!)


Barns… they’re one of those things that are slowly disappearing from our landscapes and it’s becoming a case of “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” After printing “Reverence for Our Vanishing Rural Heritage” by John Carter last summer there has been some renewed interest in these humble, yet, significant structures that are such monumental testimonies to our collective past.  One reader, Greg Polan, reached out with an intriguing question about barns and has written an article about them that  perhaps some WT readers could shed some light upon.  “Just for Pretty?” can be found on page 22… I’m excited to learn more about  this question unique to barns.


Speaking of writer John Carter, we have a superb article on the Don Valley Brick Works (pg 8),  a subject that he is truly an expert on.  This great Toronto landmark is a treasure and you will learn the important role it has played in so many aspects of Toronto’s past, including its architectural history – and  links to WWII, a connection made by Italian and German prisoners of war who worked there.  The impressive narrative of production and employment over the decades is compelling and we ARE fortunate that there are people who are determined to preserve this important site as a national heritage area.


Have you ever met someone and just shook your head and thought, “Wow, what an amazing person!”? Well, Marjorie Wilson is one of those people and it is such a great gift to know her and to have her share just a little bit of her passion for the past with us, as she has done previously in the WT.  Marjorie writes about the Bancroft Museum (pg 10) and ultimately asks the question (as do so many other museums) why don’t more folks come to visit?  Bancroft (North Hastings) Museum is a treasure trove of information and relics of the past… a picture might be worth a thousand words, but there is nothing like looking at something first-hand that has been lovingly preserved for our historical learning pleasure. So, put away your tablet and make a trip, personally, to a museum – any museum!


Added to Marjorie’s article is some information about Marjorie herself that I decided was completely worthy of sharing with our readers.  If you’re an antique shop owner, chances are quite high that she and fellow-adventurer, Vera Clark-Cavanagh (think “Travels with Vera” in previous issues of the WT) will likely visit your place of business this summer.  When you see her, don’t forget to ask Marjorie about the book “Honouring the Women of North Hastings.” I, for one, am looking forward to reading it. And I think that by honouring women in one place, it actually honours them in all places.  Kudos to Marjorie.  (The book can be found at the Bancroft Museum and also at Vera’s shop there – the Bancroft Century Shoppe.)


As you have probably surmised, I am anticipating that  you will enjoy this issue of the Wayback Times. I hope when you’re reading it the sun is warm and shining, the snow and ice are gone and the birds are singing their little hearts out for you. It’s been a long and exasperating winter – especially for anyone who couldn’t escape it for even just a week or two. So, treat yourself – have a look at all of the shows lined up for the spring  (see Events pg 20) and make your plans to get out to enjoy them, with stops all along the way at the wonderful antique and vintage shops, malls and markets you’ll find here in the WT pages.


Happy spring to everyone! Was there ever a season more heartily anticipated?  May it live up to all of our great expectations.  Sincere wishes for a blessed Easter… treasure those precious moments with family and friends. Make some beautiful memories!


Thanks for reading – safe travels and God bless.

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