Canada Day 2021

Last Thursday was Canada Day…The equivalent of the 4rth of July for Americans. For many, it is just a day off of work. For some it is working for time and a half pay and a banked vacation day. May be it is the launching of summer holidays. To some, it is an excuse to get together with friends and family…COVID messed that up last year but it is slightly better this year…at least where I am.

Some people actually take the time to consider why we like Canada. The land itself is lovely with loads of scenic variety. We have plenty of resources: water, farmland, and oil to name a few. I’m pretty fond of our democracy and our health care system. We are known world wide for being fairly decent humans as a whole (but I’m the first to admit that not everyone is the stereotypical polite Canadian. We have our share of “butt orifices” too.) By enlarge, Canada has treated me and mine well.

But this year Canada has been forced to look at our butt holeary in a historical sense. We have to face the fact that in the not so distant past, Europeans sailed over here and looked around and thought “this is a nice place…I can use this.” And they started taking things: pelts, land, women…. And they abusively used the land, the people, the plants and the animals for their own gain. To the indigenous peoples, the colonizers were cruel, even when they thought they were being kind. Trading can be a nice thing…except when you are ripping people off and dealing in things that was ultimately harmful (alcohol for example). Sharing of ones culture and faith can be a nice thing if it is a mutual sharing but not when it is rammed down someones throat!

The ultimate example of this “ramming” was the residential schools which were started in the Victorian era (1890’s I believe) and continued into my life time. The idea was the Europeans weren’t going anywhere and in fact they were moving in like cockroaches. The indigenous would benefit from an education that helped them adapt to the Western way of doing things. Nice concept…NOT! The residential schools ripped children away from their parents-often under threat of incarceration if they did not comply. The children were stripped of their home, family, community and then stripped of all reminders of that. Their clothing, hair, adornments and mementos were removed. They were punished for speaking their own language. The treatment in general was neglectful at best and commonly it was abusive.

My ancestors were here for the start of this. Were they actively engaged in this? I don’t think so. Were they unaware of this process? Possibly. If they were aware of this, there is a good chance they thought this was a good idea. And that idea is unsettling. But, we Canadians can not say, “this was the past. Don’t hold our fore father’s past sins against us”. We can’t say it because this was going on, to some degree, in my life time. There are still people alive today that had to go to residential school and now are living with trauma. There are people alive today that were raised by people who were ripped from family only to be abused. How do you learn to parent in those conditions? The negative repercussions have rippled across generations marking the people even when they themselves haven’t been to residential school.

So why are Canadian’s thinking about this now? Because unmarked graves are being found at these residential schools. Some are saying “don’t automatically think they died from abuse and neglect”. That may be true but the questions remain: Why unmarked graves? Did they get an honorable burial? Were the people that loved them there? Did their loved ones get satisfactory information on the life and death of this child? Did the family get the opportunity to bring their loved one home for burial? Did they get the opportunity to set up a grave marker? And the ultimate question…why weren’t they safe at home in the first place?

So in their grief and outrage for these children and in the relived memory of their own trauma, the indigenous community spent Canada Day saying out loud that the creation of this country has not been a good thing for them and theirs. Colonization has not been a blessing. And the symbol of colonization…Queen Victoria…got knocked off her pedestal in front of the government building in my location.

Honestly, I’m surprised she has stood as long as she has. People around the world have begun to look at statues celebrating people and victories and realizing that not everyone is happy about the results of these memorialized events and people. The confederate statues in the States are the most obvious examples of this.

I don’t know the long term plans for this statue. I hope it isn’t destroyed. It is part of history. But have it displayed in a museum with perhaps the paint still on her (because that is now also part of the history that shouldn’t be lost).

The name of my blog is a play on the words “I want to be Victorian.” But in actuality that isn’t true. They health care then was dreadful. Though I would be part of the “in crowd” (white, middle class or better, and Protestant) I’m still a girl and therefore would be little better than property. If I lived in the Victorian era with my current world views I’d be even more horrified by the crap I would see in the 1800’s than I am seeing now! And I’d likely be put in a mental institution or jail for my radical thoughts. If I were Victorian, I’d have no internet (heaven forbid!), Netflix, electric sewing machine with dozens of stitch options, and no car.

I just like the clothes, furniture and architecture. But these things didn’t come about in a void. The clothing styles demanded top hats for men, which demanded beaver pelts, which demanded the fur trade which demanded the colonization of North America, which demanded the native population “problem” be dealt with.

I want to be respectful to the trauma of the original peoples. I’m not sure that the respect of that trauma wont taint my enjoyment of Victorian costuming. That’s were I’m at. Wondering how I fit into this fu*ked up world.

Little Christmas Dress

I blame it on being an empty nester.  No little bambinos to dress in cute little outfits.  And because I had boys I’ve never had the joy of cute little dresses.  So this Christmas, I went nuts and hacked up a babies dress and made a dress for my fur baby.

I think she looks adorable!

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I was hunting in a thrift store with this very project in mind when I found a Christmas red dress with hearts and dogs on it.  Destiny!

She was very comfy in her little dress.

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Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!

Latest addition to my collection

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

A few weeks ago, I went on a family outing for lunch in a small city north of Winnipeg.  After a pleasant lunch, I convinced my clan to stop at a local antique shop.  I saw many things I wanted to buy but I had to put it all back so I could afford a cabinet card album.

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Unfortunately, there is some damage.

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I’d like to fix it but I don’t want to make it worse so that will involve some research on my part.

The title page…

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The first photo.  Unfortunately, it is also in bad shape.  Too much sun perhaps?

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You can still make out the figures.  IMG_20190701_082831621

Mother and child.  I can’t make out if it is a boy or a girl. Seems to be a fairly big child and I would think a boy would have been in pants by that size.  I could be wrong.  I wish I could make out more details on the dress and hat.  That hat has some serious height!

Rest assured, there are better photos in this album, that I will share later on.

 

Enjoy your Easter

Hi guys! Just me wishing you a Happy Easter! Hope you are with loved ones!

Before I pop of to begin my weekend of eating and chocolate induced sugar highs, I wanted to share another find from…

…Mike’s General Store.

I think this is an ambrotype (anyone more knowledgeable are welcome to chime in). It is missing its frame but I liked the subjects.

I am assuming it is a mother with her children and family in the background. She is wearing an apron that seems a bit tattered and the location seems rustic (outdoors on dirt) but she has nice jewelry. The hair says 1880’s to me. I’d love to know their story. Maybe they are land owning farmers taking advantage of a travelling photographer who came by during a busy season?

Welcome 2019

Just a quick note to thank my readers for joining me this past year and to wish you all a happy 2019.  My life will be different this year.  Perhaps, there will be more time for the things I love which hopefully translates into more interesting posts for you!  Have a good one friends!

Happy Canada Day to my fellow country men

Happy Canada Day and good wishes for July 4th to my US readers. 

My holiday weekend has begun with some computer issues. I am attempting to fix them myself so Lord knows how that will go. The experts either want a ton of money to fix it or they want you to buy a new one. Grumble, grumble, grumble. In the meantime, I will use my phone.

I took some of my seniors out for a jaunt in the park last week and I saw two woodpeckers. In fact I was dive bombed by the little darlings! 

How did you celebrate the Queen’s birthday?

My group, Victorian at Heart, launched our costuming season this past Victoria Day.  We dolled ourselves up and headed out to Lower Fort Garry to tour and take photos.9

Here is Shirley in her lovely plaid ensemble.  Love the jaunty hat!1

Lottie is in a lovely golden print. She had fabulous curls under her hat!

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These lovely ladies were not to proud to shake the hands of the day maids.

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I wore my 1861 Señora dress.  I left off the jacket because it was just too hot.

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I had fun with my phone afterwards, playing with filters and frames.

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The highlight of the day was the dance in the men’s quarters.

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And after a little of the Governor’s rum (aka iced tea) I took a twirl on the dance floor too.  26

 

 

Year in review: costumes that got out of the closet

I really thought more of my costumes got out of the closet this year but I guess not.  I think it was because there were no events like the Dicken’s Festival or Coco where multiple costumes get worn. Here are the ones that did get out.

Seven in total.  Eight if you count the time I played a hooker at the old jail and stood in my undies for the audience.

I’m hoping, this new year, my costuming buddies and I will make it out to the Dicken’s Festival in Saskatchewan.  That will increase the number of dresses that get worn!  I also hope that I will have the opportunity to wear the ones that didn’t get used this year.  I don’t like the idea of dresses languishing in the closet too long.  But perhaps that may encourage me to part with the ones that no longer thrill me.  The ones that have flaws that now seem glaringly obvious.

PS.  I hope you folks had a good New Year’s celebration and you enjoy this new one.  May your troubles be few and your joys be many!