A V I E W F R O M C H A R L O T T E T O W N , P R I N C E E D W A R D I S L A N D
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As much as I truly prize the contacts I'm making with this adventurous web site, when I must talk about what happens to me personally I get pretty up tight and that is truly what has happened to me in the last couple of weeks and it froze me. But as each day passes and I received your messages by web, e-mail, mail and telephone, I am overwhelmed by your support and love. Because of all of you I can now say out loud - that I am going to receive the Order of Canada [in late May, I think] and I did have Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson come to see my house on Sunday the 11th.
I did know about the Order of Canada since the day I went to Victoria for Christmas. I opened the letter [that I thought was a Christmas Card from Rideau Hall] somewhere over Manitoba. Honestly I had stuffed my mail into my pocketbook at the last minute and thought somewhere over the country that I should get it organized. Oh what a Canadian happening - and I could not even tell the person next to me! I have always felt that flying over Canada is a most Canadian thing to do - but to open up a letter re O of C was almost more than I could absorb.
The envelope had "confidential" written out strong so I had to wait until Valentines Day [what a Valentine] when the public announcement was made , to tell most of you. I did tell my sisters, Mary Liz, Hon. Gilbert, Curtis, Johanna and very few others, but some of you I simply couldn't trust. I am not being inducted in February, but likely in late May, altho' it's still written in pencil. Curtis Barlow has promised a party in Ottawa. I'm bring the lobster and my family, and we are going to have a wonderful time - so if you're in Ottawa around that time be sure to let us know. I can't of course get you into Rideau Hall, but I'll have some pull with that party.
It is very important to remember that many of you - and some very dear people no longer with us - had a big part to play in this. "If it hadn't been for you, if it hadn't been for me, if it hadn't been for all of us, I wonder where we'd be..." so I say thank you from the bottom of my heart and let us hope that this recognition for heritage will help move our causes along.
Now I have to tell you about Her Excellency, The Governor General's visit to my house . She had mentioned last summer that she wanted to see the house, but the day it was convenient for her I had to conduct an Elderhostel Tour. I told her I'd be most honoured, but it would have to be next time. When she was coming down to the East Coast Music Awards, she had her aide call to see if it could happen this time. The aide and an RCMP gentleman came to call and we discussed it - all the time me stressing "it is a work in progress". A couple of weeks later it was confirmed that she would arrive after church service at St. Peter's on Sunday, the 11th. Perfect, but then I had to clean the house. This was going to be a four kleenex job plus a few buckets. The elements have been playing havoc with a lot of houses around this winter and mine was no exception. Snow on the roof is more than 30 inches thick and the ice build up around the edges is scary . For the GG I got a lot chopped off and it dealt with the leak in the laundry room etc. When she arrived the house looked pretty presentable. It was nice when I had the two fireplaces going and fresh bread out of the oven - thse things can cover a multitude.
It was a perfect visit. She was so easy and so were her staff of five. We sat around the kitchen/dining room, picked at food and talked about old houses, the crazy condition of the house when I bought it, about bootlegging and scrips, Nellie my dog, Curtis in Ottawa and about leaks [Rideau Hall, too] and about the ECMA. She and her entourage had been to the Old Dublin Pub until 2 o'clock the night before! I would love to have had a picture of her car with the official flag flying parked outside of my house. I am sure that morning with security etc around, my neighbours must have thought I was being raided.
I was honoured, of course, by her visit, but I was especially pleased that all of us who work for the heritage cause were recognized by her visit to the house.
Written Wednesday, February 28, 2001 at 11:37 PM