(Story submitted by Jane Von Bredow)
In the picture, above, which was published on November 2014, two of the girls in the boat were Ina Livingstone and Isabel Murchison. They had been school friends earlier, and were still good friends at that later date, in 1927, when the picture was taken.
It was just one year later when some very significant changes began for both of them. My mother, Isabel, married my father, Edwin Johnstone, in 1928, and went to live in Charlottetown. A few years later, Ina married Dr. Mark Inman and went to live in London, Ontario. Then in 1933, at just 30 years of age, Isabel died.
There may be some people in Clyde River who would be intrigued, as I am, at something relating to them that occurred more than 50 years later.
My son, Alex, whose home was Toronto, attended Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1983, at the end of his first year there, he approached his friend, Dave, about looking for a place where they might have the experience of living on their own. Dave told him that he knew of another student who had the same idea, and suggested they look for an apartment that the three of them could share. Alex agreed to this, though he had not at the time met the other student, a friend of Dave’s named John. He had confidence in Dave’s judgment that John would be suitable and congenial.
They found a place and moved in. But it was actually not until after they were settled and had been together a while that Alex began to get acquainted with John. They had no classes together and John had come to Queens from British Columbia. While washing dishes one evening they spoke about how much travelling each had done, and concerning how much of Canada they had seen. It was in the course of that conversation they discovered that both had been to Prince Edward Island more than once because both had family connections there. They spoke of the Island, and then to their mutual surprise, they discovered that both of them had roots in a small place called Clyde River!
Alex phoned me about it, and though I was surprised at the coincidence, it was not difficult for me to establish that John was the son of Dr. Faye (Inman) Dirks, and grandson of Ina Livingstone Inman. Alex is a grandson of Isabel Murchison Johnstone.
In the years after her marriage, Ina and her family continued to visit at home in Clyde River every summer. My grandmother spoke often about her and her family whom she heard about from Ina’s mother, Daisy, (Mrs. Boyd Livingstone). There was a photograph of Ina’s daughters, the two little girls, Faye and Heather Inman, on the mantel in our parlour, but I recall meeting them only once or twice.
We were school aged children when my cousin, Carl Brown, and I happened to be in Clyde River at a time when Ina and her family were at home visiting, and we went with our grandmother to visit them. It was sometime in the 1930’s and I recall only that their Uncle Watson let us have the fun of riding on a load of hay together that day! Although worth little as a picture, the snapshot taken that day records the occasion. It was almost 50 years later that Faye’s son and mine met by accident at Queens. Naturally we did not become friends on the basis of meeting so briefly as children, and in fact I did not hear anything further about the Inman girls after my grandmother’s death in 1952.
Sometime after we had established the coincidence of Alex and John living together in Kingston, Alex brought John home with him to Toronto one weekend and I was able to tell them my memories of the connection in Clyde River. I told them of going often with one of my uncles to get our butter from John’s great-grand-mother, Daisy Livingstone. The Livingstones, like many others at the time, did their own home churning, and they always made enough butter to supply our household also.
I was able to show Alex and John the jug that we took back and forth to get some of the buttermilk that was a welcome accompaniment, and I told them how all of the family at what is now Murchison Place welcomed the oatcakes that Daisy often gave us on those occasions. (I am not referring to an oatmeal cookie, but to real old-fashioned Scotch oatcakes that are much plainer and are eaten with jam or cheese as a snack. With cold fresh buttermilk they were a very special treat.)
The friendship that John and Alex formed so accidentally at Queens became one that they have maintained throughout the years since then. This picture of them was taken in 1991 on Alex’s wedding day, when John was his best man.
John has roots in Clyde River through both of his maternal grandparents, not just through the Livingstones. His great-grandfather, Peter Inman, father of Dr. Mark Inman, was at one time the store keeper in Clyde River. Alex, as one might guess, was named for his great-grandfather, Dr. Alexander Murchison of Murchison Place.
Editor’s note: Thank you, Jane, for this contribution to the “Capturing Collective Memories” project. One of the wonderful results of this project is to read such rich multi-generational stories that have a chance to be told.
For those of you who were not able to attend the NeuroConX public lecture hosted by the PEI BioAlliance and Neurodyn on July 12th, here is a video of Katherine’s presentation, “How Senility became a Disease: The early years”. Katherine Livingstone Bick who grew up in Clyde River was also featured in an earlier story on our site.
Clyde River Women’s Institute will host their Strawberry Social on Wednesday, July 22nd, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Riverview Community Centre. It’s a little later than usual due to our late Spring delaying crops. We will savour the taste of the strawberries that much more.
The Social is a great homecoming occasion with neighbours, families and relations home from away.
An added highlight this year will be tours of the Emily Bryant Room where you can view a gallery of photos and display of artifacts depicting Clyde River history from the late 1800s to 1960s. This collection represents a great deal of work from a dedicated group of seniors from within and connected to the community.
Dr. Bick will also be a guest speaker at the NeuroConX Public Lecture on Sunday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Delta Prince Edward. You can RSVP by calling PEI BioAlliance at 902-367-4400, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or registering online here. This is a free public lecture. Refreshments will be served. We featured Katherine’s story on this website earlier this year.
Art the Park – Plein Air – will take place on Saturday, July 25th from 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon at Murchison Place Park. Clyde River artist Julia Purcell will lead the morning which will offer participants a choice of self-directed group painting or an optional group lesson with Julia for a portion of the morning before spreading out in and around the park to paint.
Julia welcomes any level of painter, whether you are a beginner or beyond and offers the following overview of what she will teach.
“Thinking and understanding the style/approach to your painting is useful and then defining your personal preferences in relation to style. The question is, do you prefer the linear style or the painterly style? And then how do you achieve that? And can your painting have aspects of both approaches and still work as a successful, convincing painting?” Julia will show how that it possible.
Julia will also spend time talking about the many colors of green that we encounter when painting en plein air. “We will experiment with suggestions on how to mix a sunlit green or a shadow green, a distant green hill or nearby field of green grass, the deep green of evergreens or the bright green of deciduous trees or whatever else nature sets out before us. It’s all fun for painters,” Julia describes.
Participants need to bring all their own supplies including paints, brushes, palette, tape, paper and backboard or canvas. An easel would be useful as would a clamp-on beach umbrella and sunscreen, plus a hat. Pack a lunch, if desired. Coffee will be provided. The event will take place in sunshine or light rain.
All are welcome to join us on Wednesday, July 1st – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to celebrate Canada Day at the Riverview Community Centre. It’s a birthday party! Be a kid again or still. Enjoy hotdogs, cake and ice cream. Help us raise the flag, sing the anthem and celebrate Canada’s big day.