Category Archives: Blog

Through the garden gate …

remembering summers at Point O’ View!


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Christmas House Tour this December 2015

St. Andrews Church in Oakville has our old house, ‘Point O’ View’, on its Christmas House Tour this year! I’ll be signing books at the Parish Hall on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm. I’ll be giving out new bookmarks with pictures of the house as it USED to be, so please come say hello if you’re in the area.  More details of their tour are here:

The new owners are already getting the house ready (“all gussied up,” as Mum would say). I happened to be in Oakville last night and took a stroll along the lake with my son. He took these photos below. It sure beats Dad’s one little string of lights that he used to hang between the hydro pole and the garage. His only had three bulbs!
26 Trafalgar lights lake



26 Trafalgar lights street



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Portrait artist Jean Reasoner

In late June, 1951, shortly after we arrived from Singapore to stay with cousins in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the artist “Jean Reasoner” came to the family farm (called ‘Rokeby’) to paint all the cousins’ portraits in one afternoon. I believe she painted seven that day. We sat in a highchair while she worked. I remember Mum telling me she charged $25 each. They are done in pastels on paper, and they captured us exactly. Absolutely charming and amazing work. Below are the ones she did of  my younger brother, Sandy, and myself. There is now more information online about this talented portrait painter, whose married name was Plunket.

"Sandy" by Jean Reasoner"Plum" by Jean Reasoner

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Spoiler Alert- Freebie with book!

I love to design “Freebies.” Ever since I was five years old, and found in the bottom of my cereal box a yellow plastic ring shaped like a cannon that pinged out Cheerios, I’ve been hooked on giveaways. But what’s an appropriate freebie for my book,  They Left Us Everything?

I’ve decided on a letter. When we cleared out Mum and Dad’s house, we found thousands of them. I figure letters are becoming more precious than ever. The next generation won’t have any – right? Certainly not stamped via snail mail and addressed in cursive hand.

MY DEAR WIFE 1840 -page 1-lo-res

If you come to one of my author talks, I’ll give you a copy of this one, written in 1840 by my great-great-grandfather, George Lind. They didn’t use envelopes, it was just folded and sealed with wax: Environmentally responsible – right?

disintegrated letter

I decided I’d soak the copies in tea – to make them look old. But paper has no “rag” content these days, so the whole thing disintegrated. Phooey. Never mind, I’ll tie them in a bundle and make the string look old!

measuring string on cupboard

I measured the pieces of string using the gold knobs on my kitchen cabinets – they were my “renovation” twenty years ago. You can see on the counter I was supposed to be making meatloaf.

string in tea bags 2

Then I soaked the string in a bowl of tea bags …

folding letters

and folded and tied the letters in front of the TV, waiting for news of the Malaysian flight disaster, wondering if any passengers had written a note, or if we’d ever find them …

George Lind letter tied

et voila … George Lind’s letter, reincarnated. He was a nobody –like most of us – but he’s become a somebody now … because he wrote this letter … and because somebody saved it. It’s also about a disaster at sea. Wait til you read it …



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Bathing Beauties

I’m still coming across historic photos that I love. This one shows my mother with cousins and  friends on a hot summer day in Virginia, getting ready to jump into their pool at Rokeby. Mum is standing third from right. Don’t you love their bathing suits? I think the year was 1938.


ROKEBY SWIMMERS closeup 1938

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March 3, 2014 · 8:41 am