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About the Author

Virginia Houston

Books by this Author
- Huskies, In Pursuit of Excellence

- Huskies, In Pursuit of Excellence

A Celebration of Saint Mary's University Varsity Athletic programs: 1951-2012
photographs by francis Mitchell; Joe Chrvala & Mona Ghiz
from an idea by Paul Puma
cover design or artwork by Virginia Houston
drawings by Barbara Dorey
assisted by Walt Tanner
by Frank Mitchell, General Editor
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THE STUDENT_ATHLETE Moulding the Student-Athlete: A Personal Memoir of Four Decades at Saint Mary’s by Colin Howell

Forty years ago, in the fall of 1970, I arrived at Saint Mary’s to take up a teaching position in the Department of History. Just twenty-six years old, still wet-behind-the-years and thinking I knew far more than I did, I shared the optimism of those children of the sixties who trusted no-one over thirty and were determined to remake the world. A graduate of Dalhousie, where I had once captained what Bob Hayes enjoyed calling the “soot and yellow” rugby team, I left Halifax in 1967 to do doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati. To say that this was a tumultuous time in the United States would be an understatement. Campuses resonated with the language of civil rights, protests against the war in Vietnam, the tragic assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and the shooting of students at Kent State. In this environment, the place of sport on campus was controversial. Wasn’t sport with its emphasis on competition rather than cooperation simply a tool of the establishment? Wasn’t too much money spent on sport rather than on the university’s educational priorities? Wasn’t frisbee in the park more democratic, participatory and healthy than having a handful of football players perform for 30,000 passive spectators? And wasn’t it true, as feminists suggested, that sport was a male-dominated activity which reinforced masculine power in the society at large? If universities were to fulfill a socially transformative mission, some asked, didn’t sport just get in the way?

In those days prospects for change seemed to be everywhere: Dylan crooned that the answers to many of these questions were simply “blowing in the wind”. In 1970 the winds of change also blew briskly down Robie Street. Three years earlier when I left for the States, Saint Mary’s was an all-male university, still controlled by the Jesuits, with a little more than 600 students. When I returned to teach there it was operating under a new University Act, becoming increasingly co-educational, and enrollment had grown to over 2,000 students. At the same time the University began out of necessity to increase its faculty complement. Given that tenure-track academic jobs were in short supply across the continent, Saint Mary’s was able to recruit an especially talented group of young academics who brought with them a vision of a university that would compete nationally for research dollars and scholarly recognition. In working toward that end, however, conflicts over funding were inevitable. It is hardly surprising that the faculty was one of the first in Canada to unionize. Nor is it surprising that in the struggle for scarce resources many of the same questions being raised in the United States about the place of sport in the university would also emerge here. I remember at the time not always being sure where I stood on the issue. I had grown up in a family that loved sport, spent my summers as a teenager playing baseball in Kentville from sunup till sundown, attended every game the Halifax Junior Canadians played at the old Forum, played rugby for the Halifax Rugby Club and Dalhousie and, as my daughter grew up, coached her soccer club for a dozen years. I loved watching the Huskies whether on the football field, the basketball court or at the drafty old rink and undersized ice surface that even then needed to be replaced. Yet I could appreciate the arguments of those who worried about the negative effects that sport could exert in a university setting, and heard the arguments from aggrieved students that athletes had a kind of “special status” on campus. Whether these concerns were legitimate or exaggerated, one image remains in my mind to this day. I used to teach American history to a class of over 100 students in old Theatre B in the Burke Building. One day as I looked up through the elevated rows of seats, a football player named Mike Riley (who later went on to play for a few years in the CFL) was occupying the entire center section of the theatre, legs over the seats in front of him and arms spread across the adjacent ones. No one else was within fifteen feet of him as he spread himself over about eight seats at once. Since then social theorists have often written about the male sense of entitlement to space and the way in which women occupy as little space as they can, knees demurely locked together and giving appropriate attention to good posture. Given that women’s athletics at Saint Mary’s had yet to develop its own space - as was true everywhere before Title IX in the United States altered the university sporting landscape - and given that debates continued about how resources should be distributed in the university as a whole, young Riley had made the point with dramatic effect. I don’t think I ever mentioned it to him, but wish I had been able to take a picture of him that day.

Teaching both American and Canadian history at a time when a course in history was required for graduation, my classes were filled with athletes. I enjoyed the feelings of camaraderie with football recruits from Bishop Kendrick High School in Philadelphia like Ralph Panzullo, with high-profile athletes like Mickey Fox, Bob Warner, Lee Thomas, Kenny Clark, Angelo Santucci, Mike Curry, Chuck LeCain, Keith Hotchkiss, Brian O’Byrne, Dennis Reardon, Rick Plato and Hec Pothier. When they went on to win national championships, signed on to play at the professional level, or eventually fashioned successful careers in the community, I was gratified by their success and proud to have helped contribute to their education. Some of them such as Rick Plato, who went on to a successful career as a teacher and basketball coach, epitomized the ideal of the “scholar athlete”, and clearly demonstrated that the divide between sport and academic excellence was far from unbridgeable. So too with Chuck LeCain, Dennis Reardon, Bryan O’Byrne, Hec Pothier, Syd Moore and a number of other student-athletes such as Academic All-Canadian volleyball player Christena MacRae, whom I have come into contact with over the years. At the 2009 Saint Mary’s Sports Hall of Fame induction of the 1978-9 men’s basketball team, I had a chance to talk to Donald “Taps” Gallagher who came here from south of the border to play varsity basketball. After a year playing with the Huskies, the CIAU placed a limit of three Americans on university rosters, “Taps” found himself relegated to spectator status. Rather than challenging the ruling, or leaving the University, he dedicated himself to making the best of his degree. He worked on his courses with the same discipline that he had taken to the basketball court, never missed a class, and went on to a successful career as a lawyer in Chicago. By that time the University had gone through a period of maturation and it had become clear to me that the athletic and academic missions of the school were more complementary than divisive. Building on the vision of the legendary Bob Hayes, and the coaching excellence of Al Keith, Brian Heaney, Larry Uteck and Bob Boucher, as well as the leadership of Kathy Mullane in women’s athletics, Saint Mary’s built a tradition of sporting excellence uncommon in a school that had no supporting kinesiology or physical education department. Elizabeth Chard, who chaired the History Department when I first came to Saint Mary’s and later took over as Registrar, was a powerful voice for the importance of both the academic and athletic enterprise, and another influential figure in the development of the University as an institution of national prominence. Elizabeth was a tour de force, flinty, tough and dedicated to the University, and in becoming the first female president of the CIAU, demonstrated a willingness to take on the male-dominated bureaucracy of university sport. What all those coaches and builders shared - as did the father figure of Saint Mary’s sport, Father John J. Hennessey - was a passion for the University. This enthusiasm carried over to the student-athletes. I still recall the day when a young soccer player, Rocco Cianfaglione, stood up in a crowded Theatre B to lecture Premier Gerald Regan on the necessity for more funding for its academic programs so that the University could realize its goals of both athletic and academic excellence. Later I was invited to Rocco’s wedding, a gala event notable for its celebration of both his own family and the family of Santamarians that were there as well. Rather than focusing on the old mind/body divide – the idea that because sports were of the body and academics of the mind that somehow they were in conflict -- I came to think of them more holistically. As our world changes through the development of modern industrial, scientific and medical technologies, personal computers, and the internet, sport remains a profound social technology, an implement for social change and improvement. Saint Mary’s in fact exemplifies the blending of three grand social technologies, (sport, education and religion), that are dedicated to improving lives and building stronger communities. None of these operate without imperfections, but in touching the lives of so many students, alumni, faculty, administrators and others at the university, they have given Saint Mary’s its unique character. For me personally, a love of education, of history and of sport and a realization of how they contribute to social responsibility, has shaped my academic career and brought me deep personal satisfaction and affection for the University. I hear this from others all the time, often from student-athletes who came to Saint Mary’s through athletics and got an education that allowed them to live successful lives and contribute to the community at large. It is a story often told at the induction ceremonies by our best athletes, our Paul Pumas, Chuck Goddards, Bob Ruotolos and countless others.

The more I thought of sport as a technology, the more I wanted to bring this into my own teaching and writing about Canadian history. For many years the traditional narrative of Canada was written into often dry textbooks that told the story of politics, war, and diplomacy, and focused on the accomplishments of great men. While this was an important story to tell, it left so much out, silencing the voices of women, saying little about the history of the Maritimes, and rendering sport to the realm of the merely frivolous. Through the 1970s and into the 80s I had concentrated on writing the neglected history of Atlantic Canada into the national narrative, and just as the energy and camaraderie generated by Huskie teams, there was a great team of scholars throughout the region that took this on as their mission. At Saint Mary’s a group of faculty members that included Ken MacKinnon, Cyril Byrne, Don Higgins, John Reid, Gene Barrett, Martha Macdonald, Anders Sandberg, Madine VanderPlaat and others were part of a team that helped develop the Atlantic Canada Studies program and the Gorsebrook Research Institute. Just like national champions in sport, this team fought for the region and a recognition of its importance to the nation. By the mid-80s, moreover, the turning away from the exclusive preoccupation with past politics and military history, and the new emphasis on social history, provided me with the opportunity to remake myself as a sport historian.

As I focused my research increasingly on sport, began attending conferences on sport studies and wrote books and articles on the subject, I was able to develop courses in sport history and supervise graduate students who were excited to write about sport. I point this out because while when we think of sport at Saint Mary’s we often only focus on formal sport activity, and remain largely unaware that there is an academic tradition of research and writing about sport that is being built here as well. This extends beyond the research being done by the Saint Mary’s Sport Hall of Fame and heritage center, by people such as Heather Harris, who along with Brian O’Byrne and Dennis Reardon were graduate students in history during my first year of teaching at Saint Mary’s. Other grad students, including Jim Myers, Mac Ross, Daryl Leeworthy, Dan Macdonald, Beverly Williams, Michael Smith, and Cindy Kiley, have written wonderful theses on baseball and rugby in Cape Breton, sport in industrial communities and in rural areas, boxing in the Maritimes, women’s sport, and leisure time in Halifax. Then there are the graduates of Saint Mary’s who took their interest in sport (whether it be athletic or academic) to other universities. In addition to Rhodes Scholars such as former Huskie quarterback David Sykes, other Saint Mary’s grads are continuing their studies elsewhere. Erik Lyman, who played on the national champion football Huskies, is presently completing a doctoral program at the University of Edinburgh working on sport in the Scottish military; former history honours student Leah Grandy has recently completed a doctorate at the University of New Brunswick with a study of harness racing in the Maritimes and New England; Daryl Leeworthy is working on sporting space in working class districts of Wales at the University of Swansea; and Mac Ross is doing a doctorate at the University of Western Ontario looking at the history of hockey in Nova Scotia.

Given the absence of a kinesiology or physical education program which would provide a formal linkage between the athletic and academic programs at Saint Mary’s, I took the initiative a few years ago to establish the Center for the Study of Sport and Health (CSSH) which has now moved into the new Homburg Center for Health and Wellness, which was opened in April, 2012. The Center is committed to bringing world class researchers in sports studies to the campus, developing curriculum in the area of sports studies, and establishing a solid academic counterpart to Saint Mary’s tradition of sporting excellence. It also will build upon its experience in hosting important sporting conferences. As part of the run up to the 2001 World Junior Hockey Championships and 2004 Women’s Worlds in Halifax, for example, we hosted two major international Putting it on Ice conferences that are generally acknowledged to have begun a renaissance of hockey scholarship in Canada. Putting it on Ice III took place in July, 2012, just prior to the publication of this book. In the first two conferences our organizing committees included Elizabeth Chard, Nick Murray, Bobby Warner, Bob Boucher, Trevor Stienberg, Paul Boutilier and Bryan O”Byrne and were supported by the staff at the Gorsebrook Research Institute. Here was a textbook example of the academic and athletic side of the University working closely together. Jean Beliveau, Ken Dryden, Danielle Sauvigeau, John Paris Jr., Stacey Wilson served as conference co-captains. At a special convocation which bestowed an honorary degree upon him, Dr. Dryden emphasized how sport and university learning worked together to provide a culture of civility and responsibility. “There is an important connection between sports and learning and educational institutions,” he emphasized, “one increasingly forgotten, one that needs to be reinforced.”

Over the years the University has taken great pride in preparing its students for the challenges of the future. Sport, religion and education have been at the heart of that mission, providing Saint Mary’s students with a well-rounded preparation for living lives of purpose and social responsibility. Sport and education at Saint Mary’s work hand in hand. As we celebrate the accomplishments of Saint Mary’s athletics in this volume, therefore, we should not forget the tradition of academic excellence that we struggle to build. Nor should academics in their pursuit of that end dismiss the important role that sport, both at the varsity and the intra-mural level, has played in the educational process. Often the priorities of the university are evident in the buildings we construct to house them. Around us the new Atrium facility and improvements to the McNally building are a testament to the academic environment we offer our students, and the new Homburg Center for Health and Wellness recognizes the connections between individual and social health and well-being.

Now if only we had that new rink!

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R.E.A.L., from the Edge of the Rock

R.E.A.L., from the Edge of the Rock

... a Newfoundland Memoir (2nd Printing)
by Rita Mary Stamp
editor-in-chief francis Mitchell
cover design or artwork by Virginia Houston
foreword by Lisa Catherine Cohen
tagged : historical
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My First Breath

It was late in the fall. The heat of summer was gone and the air had taken on a cool. Dawn was at least an hour or two before breaking. Like every other good day in St. Vincent’s, the sun would peek over the horizon at the Big Head, a landmark of densely populated trees on the other side of Holyrood Pond. The Stamp family’s little two-storey wooden-framed home sat near the edge of a cliff overlooking the magnificent Atlantic Ocean and Holyrood Pond. A long, narrow beach separated the two.

From their bedroom, Nellie and Val Stamp couldn’t help but hear the tumultuous roar of the waves as they splashed day and night up on the shore, but on this very early morning, louder - and a lot closer than the waves - were the excruciating screams of Nellie, between calling out to her husband, and second-time-father-to-be, Val, and Jesus, Mary and - ahhh, ohhh - St. Joseph! “Get up and get yourself ready, Val, while I look after ‘meself’. I need to get ready to go to the hospital. I just know it. It’s time we better start ‘movin’ quick!”

Val sprung out of bed and jumped into his trousers in one heck of a hurry. It was usually a very peaceful and quiet time of the day, but not at this wee hour of the morning. Val felt around on the night table with his big weather-wrinkled hands until he finally found the oil lamp. “Now where are those god-darn Eddy matches to light it with?” Val scowled. Nellie, did you move my matches? Where are they? I gotta find them!”

“Shhh....! Be quiet,” Nellie demanded, “Don’t talk so loud. You’re going to wake up the youngster. She’s still fast asleep.”

“Well, I gotta get some light to find my way downstairs.”

Maybe they - aghhh - fell down on the floor by the night table,” Nellie strained to say, “Look on the floor, will you? And don’t knock over the pail!” (Neither the Stamp family, nor most of the families in this outport Newfoundland community, had running water then - no sinks or bathtubs with faucets; having an indoor, modern flush toilet was a remote fantasy). The “pail” was the repository for the unfortunate side effect of humanness - human waste. Yes, it had a lid on it, although not as tight fitting as one might have wished, especially when you knocked it over, or worse, missed, in the dark of night.

Val scuffled his feet around in the pitch dark and finally heard the scrape of the matches moving and the thin crack-crack of them spilling onto the linoleum floor. He stooped down and scooped up one of them, and with it, lit the oil lamp. A trail of sooty smoke followed him as he carried the lamp across the landing and headed for the stairs. He began to count each step…one…two…three… stepping down each one cautiously in the pale, fluttery lamp light in the still-pitch dark…twelve, thirteen…all the way down until he reached the fourteenth step. Val knew then he had made it to the bottom. He couldn’t afford to trip and fall - not at this stage of things - perhaps hurt himself, or even set the house on fire! What, with Nellie about to pop!

When he reached the kitchen, he lit the Aladdin, (Fig. 1) the kitchen lamp that illumined the room with a lot more light. There, that makes more sense, he thought, pleased with his accomplishment and, like most men, unable to fully grasp the vastness of the task his wife is about to take on. Val then carried the oil lamp back upstairs for Nellie, who needed the light to get herself ready, and then holding onto him, her tiny, weighted-down body would lumber her way down all fourteen stairs.

When Val reached the top step, he saw that by now, Nellie was deep into labour. This is no false alarm, she was thinking. And so was he. Nellie gasped and cried, squeezing her eyes in pain, and managed to tell him that the contractions were becoming more unbearable with each passing minute. She couldn’t deny it any longer; it was her time all right! She was too deep in pain to be able to time her contractions. Val filled the old Waterloo stove (See Fig. 2: Waterloo stove) with an armful of splits - dried wood, shaved with curls for easy igniting - to light the fire, so he could at least warm the house up before Nellie came downstairs. Again Val misplaced his Eddys (matches). Where did they go this time? he wondered. I could have sworn I put them on the kitchen table, or on top of the Waterloo. Val looked in the most likely places, but still couldn’t find them, excusing his foggy-brain with his wife’s labour. Finally, he glanced toward the windowsill…and there they were, sitting innocently the whole time. “Ah, St. Anthony musta bin ’round here again! He always seems to hear our prayers when somethin’ goes missin’. “

Val lit the splits and got the old Waterloo firing hot. He half filled the old, cast-iron kettle and began to make a pot of hot Red Rose, Orange Pekoe tea - always the loose tea, never the bags - for himself and Nellie; likely in that order. Ah, he thought, maybe she might like a mug-up (that’s Newfie for having a cup of tea with a piece of toast and a dab of bake-apple jam, or just plain old bread and butter, or a tea biscuit). Mug-up time is any time of the day or night. The hallway door opened and in waddled little Nellie huffing and moaning. By gosh, perfect timing! she thought, smiling bravely through the next stabbing pain.

“The kettle is ready now,” Val announced. He poured her a cup of hot tea and placed the chipped, lilac-patterned cup on the saucer. It wobbled into place. “There you are! That should fix you up. Maybe the pains will go away, at least for a while. I bet it’ll do wonders for you.” Nellie took a few slurps of the tea and had just begun eating her piece of toast, when she let out another awful scream, “Jeeeezus, Mary and St. Joseph!” Val, startled, spilled his own tea and winced from the burn of the liquid on his leg.

“Oh, Sacred Heart of Jesus, help me! God forgive me for saying so! I think I am going to have this baby right now, right here.” Nellie did not swear; no, she never used a single profanity in her entire life! However, calling out for this or that saint - often as the need arose - took its place. She was totally incapable of uttering the curse words that other people say aloud all the time without a shred of guilt. God, she knew for certain, would never forgive her - or anyone else, for that matter - for using His name in vain. “Of course, you know perfectly well, Val, that good Catholics - ow-w-w-w-w - don’t swear!” Nellie declared to Val, “Please go find out and see if the taxi driver has left yet for St. John’s! And ple-e-e-ease hurry!”

In St. Vincent’s, telephones had not yet been introduced in people’s homes; only the post office had one that the residents could use, but only in emergencies. And this was an emergency! And it is where Val (and Nell - the mare) would momentarily gallop off, to use the phone and call Stefan to come and fetch Nellie because she was about to have her baby. Stefan, the only taxi driver in the village, lived about ten miles away. It could take him quite a while to get to the Stamp home. Maybe too long a while… Nellie was taking tiny sips of her tea, between gasping for breath. Val was, however, being his slow-moving, charming self. “Hurry up, Val,” she heaved “I’ve got to get out of here real soon. You’d better make it fast! Also, Val, call Bridget, because I think I will need her to come with me, just in case”.

Bridget Hayward was the only midwife in the community. She was 80 years or maybe older; she didn’t know herself. There had been others who were either dead or too old to practice anymore. Bridget was also the community healer. She must have delivered hundreds of babies in her time. Bridget, like the midwives before her, had no medical training, yet never encountered a single problem with any delivery that she couldn’t remedy in her own, natural way. Her deliveries were all success stories.

Her house was only about a fifteen-minute walk from Nellie and Val’s. Bridget was always dramatically draped in a long, loose-fitting, black dress with a white pinafore over it. She always wore old-fashioned, high-cut, laced-up black boots. Her long, pure white hair was always braided and pinned up in a bun on the top of her head. A gentle, wise old crone, she was always calm and relaxed, a necessary component of being able to soothe people in such stressful situations as baby birthing. Of course, someone had to be in control, and Bridget definitely was. “Stefan can pick her up along the way,” Nellie added, but Val felt chided, because he already knew that.

I hope Nellie doesn’t have this youngster here, Val privately pleaded with God. Either way, I’ll be all alone with the youngster we’ve got. Another blood-curdling scream… I surely wouldn’t make a good doctor. Ginny is still sleeping; thank God for that! Val grumbled to himself as he threw on his bare-at-the-seams windbreaker. The other youngster he was referring to was Virginia (Ginny) who was just a year old.

Before he could finish buttoning his coat, and raise its collar against the chilly fall wind, and before he could hurry, as ordered, out the front door, Nellie kept adding instructions, and Val valiantly tried to remember them all. “I’d better tell you what you should know so you can look after Ginny properly when you come back.” Nellie laid herself down on the stool - the long, narrow, wooden bench in the kitchen. It was used solely by the head of the household for resting at the end of the day. Nellie’s stretching out on it was a brazen, and rather brave act that under the circumstances Val did not disallow. She sat down in that awkward, arms first pregnant way, then swung her feet up, grunting as she sat, secretly keeping her fingers crossed the whole time.

The storm door slammed a couple of times. “Got to fix that hinge,” Val muttered aloud to no one in particular…. With not another moment to spare, he ran up to the stable to saddle the family transportation - the old mare, whose name was also Nell, and Val had to be careful not to call his wife the horse’s name, or vice versa, the first being most important. Val tackled Nell, put the collar on and harnessed her. “Ready, Nell? Let’s go, ol’ pal.” He mounted her gently, held those reins tightly and grabbed the whip. He whacked old Nell on the arse a few times to get her to top speed. “Giddy-up! Go Nell, as fast as you can. Don’t let me down this time. I know you can do it. You’ll get lots of hay, oats, and a good drink when we get back here, I promise!”

The sun was well above the horizon by now, but hiding behind the usual thick curtain of fog and haze, like an actress with stage fright, afraid to come out and shine on this nerve-wracking drama. Val rode Nell down the road spurring her to yet greater speed and holding on for dear life to get to the post office to use the old-fashioned telephone in which you hold the handset to the ear and speak into the base. He prayed he’d be able to catch Stefan before he left for St. John’s, because he usually had a carload of passengers every morning, all in their own rush to do some kind of business, or buy something in the city. Val hoped against hope that Stefan didn’t have any customers this morning.

Val dismounted Nell, and tied her to the wooden fence outside the post office, huffing and sweating from the ride. “What in tarnation is going on with you?” demanded Viola, the hefty and jovial postmistress.

“I need to use - puff, huff - the phone, Viola; Nellie’s in labour!” Without another word, Viola dialed to connect to the operator and handed Val the phone. In an audible and single breath, while trying with great effort to compose himself, he whispered, “Stefan, I need you to come down quick and pick up the wife and take her to the hospital in St. John’s. This is an emergency situation, you see. The wife is going to have a youngster and she just woke me up with one hell of a scream. She’s in labour. Did I already say that? Yes, I did, that’s true!”

“Are you sure, Val?” Stefan replied, ever the realist. There were hollers of “Yes! Yes! Ye….ssss!” coming from Val. “And you need to pick up Bridget after Nellie, okay?”

“By God, you’re not kidding! I’ll be there right a…” Stefan promised. His last word was cut off as Val banged the phone down.

Val untied Nell, mounted her and galloped, as if the lumbering run of Nell could be called galloping. We, I mean, we’re not finished yet, Val whispered to the mare. We have to go up to the Point to wake Bridget and tell her to get ready to go to the hospital with Nell…the wife I mean. Another few minutes on Nell’s back, Val arrived at the midwife, Bridget’s house. Fighting a losing battle with time, he knocked less than politely on Bridget’s unlocked storm door and to his relief, found she was up and dressed already. She was happy to hear the good news, and assured Val she would be ready when Stefan and Nellie would be coming by.

Once more, Val and old Nell galloped back to the house. Out of breath, Val stood in the porch, bent over, hands on his knees, breathing even harder than Nellie. Between grunts of pain, as if no time had passed, except now, still on the stool, and hunched over her pregnant belly, Nellie began explaining to Val all the things he needed to do while she was gone to have the baby. Pointing to a pile, she began her litany: “Those diapers over there are all wash-and-wear.” Nellie was always prepared for any turn of events. She had sewn a new batch of flannelette diapers in preparation for the new baby. She knew she could never have too many of these things around. “Val, listen. You have to be very careful putting these diapers on because you’re not very experienced. Those danged safety pins; they’re enough to really get your goat! When you’re changing her diaper, make sure you put your finger on the inside first, and be very careful not to let the pin stick her. You hear me?” Men don’t always listen to their wives, and Nellie knew it, so she reiterated, louder this time, allowing the volume of the words here and there to replace the screams “Watch out for those safety pins!” That bout of labour pains subsided long enough to continue instructing at a normal volume. “Now, after the diaper is changed, be sure to soak it, ‘poop and all’ in the pail reserved for this purpose only. Remember, the pail is out there in the porch behind you.” Val recovered from his ride enough to hop out of the pail’s way. The porch was enclosed and there the wood was stored, as well as other nasty items, like pails of poopy diapers and, although not a great conjoining, some food was kept directly above the pail on the shelves. “That’s where I always keep it”, Nellie resumed, “so I will know where to find it. So, that’s it! That’s all you need to know for now. Oh, don’t forget to feed Ginny, too.”

“Feed her what?” asked the clueless Val.

“Well-cooked porridge, scrambled eggs, if the chickens lay any (they haven’t lately) a bottle of warmed milk - not hot, warmed - and for the love of St. Joseph, don’t ya be choking the youngster while I’m gone! Give her tiny pieces of food, okay!”

Distracted, Val heard the sound of an approaching car and looked out the window, hazy from the dampness outside, and saw Stefan speeding up the hill on the dirt road, with a flounce of dust in his wake.

Stefan had wasted no time and arrived within the half hour. He stopped the mud-caked black, late ’40s Dodge cab in front of the house. As he helped Nellie to the cab, Val grabbed a few rag-stuffed pillows from their bed and placed them on the back seat before the grunting, bent-over Nellie manoeuvred her expectant body into a partially lying-down, partially seated position as comfortably as possible. As they prepared to pull away from the house, Val leaned in to Stefan, now back in the driver’s seat, and forgetting his Christian manners in the kerfuffle, almost ordered Stefan to “Don’t forget to stop along the way to pick up Bridget and take her with you. I rode by after I called you; she said she’d be ready. If you don’t get to St. John’s in time, you know, Nellie will need her. You never know what could happen along the way. It’s a heck of a long way from here and certainly no place to have a baby! So long! Good luck, Nell…Nellie I mean.”

As Val waved good-bye from inside a new dust ball, Stefan drove away, but once out of sight, he sped up to the Point to get Bridget. She was wearing one of her black dresses, but hadn’t bothered with the pinafore. A swipe of her toothbrush and a quick twist of the long, white braid into the usual bun, Bridget pranced down her stairs with just enough time to peel an orange and pop three sections at a time into her mouth, dashed outside and was ready and waiting on the second step. In this Catholic community, Bridget was well used to being called at ungodly hours. So, almost before Stefan’s taxi had come to a full stop, she was scurrying around to the front passenger seat. She opened the door, not without some effort, and Stefan, to aid her, reached across to pull the door handle up from the inside. Bridget, spry for her age and weight, jumped in. She twisted around to face the perspiring and pain-etched Nellie, and reached over the seat to gently brush the hair from the forehead of her pregnant patient and whisper soothing words of comfort. She had a way, all right; it mattered not what she said but the way she said it, and Nellie felt immediately soothed. Now, no matter what happened, Nellie knew she was in good, veteran hands.

If you were to look through Val’s kitchen window, you could easily see a horse, car or a buggy go around the Point - a landmark, blind hill and sharp curve in the road near where the first church was built - and where Bridget lived.

After the old Dodge left in a balloon of dust, with Stefan and Nellie in it, Val wasted no time getting back into the kitchen to gobble a fast breakfast before baby Ginny awoke and another busy day began. With his tea and a plate, Val sat down at the dining room table to nibble from the loaf of bread Nellie had baked yesterday. Fresh bread always sat on that painted-green, wooden table in that darkened room where no one ever ate, and where most of the food was stored in cardboard boxes, stacked on the floor. With the knife that always rested beside the loaf, he sliced off another piece of bread and carrying it in his mouth, tip-toed back into the kitchen, trying to keep quiet so the baby remained asleep for as long as possible. Then Val began the process of cooking the porridge in the old, burn-stained saucepan with the bent handle. He lifted up the damper (the round lid that goes over the opening where the wood or coal gets thrown). He placed the slice of Nellie’s bread across the opening to make toast, ready to take it with a poker, fast! Val slathered it with some jam and swallowed it in seconds.

Shortly thereafter, Val heard little cries coming from upstairs. He dropped the damper into its place and ran up to retrieve his daughter. By the time he reached the bedroom, her chubby arms were outstretched; her cries were so loud, his first instinct was to cover both of his ears. Overly gentle, he picked her up out of her crib he’d fashioned out of junk wood, and carried the still-wailing baby Ginny down the stairs and into the kitchen. The porridge was bubbling in the pot and smelled ready, though it looked a little soupy. He tried valiantly to remember all the instructions Nellie had given him, and luckily did recall the part about making sure that whatever he feeds the baby, it’s well cooled off first. Testing some on his wrist the way he’d seen his wife do it all year, Val managed to feed Ginny the porridge without burning her! Then, turning his face away from the amazingly unpleasant odour of his tiny child’s poopie, he dutifully washed and changed the wiggling, fidgeting, crying baby, and realized in these few hours since Nellie left what a tough stroke of bad luck it is to be born female. It must be really difficult being a woman, wife, and mother, all at the same time! Oh, I’m so glad I’m a man. Women have so much to do! He thought to himself. Val was tasting motherhood, an unfamiliar and most undesirable role he’d be happy to give back the minute Nellie returned with another youngster in her arms.

As Val fed little spoonfuls of porridge to the hungry child, he was muttering to himself and pacing, something expectant fathers universally do; I don’t know why. “They’ve been gone well over an hour. They must be halfway to the hospital by now,” said Val unabashedly aloud to no one, “surely to God.” The reality had finally hit him, and he suddenly realized that this was no toothache Nellie was having. “What am I going to do with this youngster? I gotta get outa here and do some work - something to keep my mind busy.” The truth is, Val was wrestling with a premonition that this was destined to be to be a rough time for all.

It didn’t take long for the word to spread through the community that Nellie was in labour and on her way to the hospital in St. John’s. Nellie and Val’s neighbour and close friend was Maude, a bosomy, salt-of-the-earth kind of woman who had four children, three daughters and one son (Dorothy, Hilda, Dermot, and Theresa, her youngest, who was six years old). Maude and Theresa came in, so close in proximity and friendship that they could just walk in - to check on things; Maude knew Val was going to need some help with baby Ginny. She could see that Val was bungling his way through all Nellie’s chores so she just took over the reins of taking care of Ginny, and did some cooking for Val, too. Her neighbourly, maternal, take-over way gave Val some free time to do his own chores outside.

Val had been working as a carpenter in St. John’s at Newfoundland Hotel when Nellie’s birth date was nigh, and decided to stay at home with his frail, but heavy-with-child wife and baby Ginny until the new youngster was born. Then he planned to go back to work.

It had turned cold in early November and winter was just around the corner. The sun had decided to smile through the morning fog and began to burn it off. “It’s not so dense for a change,” said Val, “but you know, Maude, I went outside last night just before I went to bed, and saw a big circle around the moon. Yes, like you never saw before. You know what that means! There’s a storm brewing somewhere. Not too far away, either… I’m worried….”

“Now don’t you worry your head ‘bout nuthin’, Val; everything’s gonna be jus’ fine; you wait an’ see!” smiled Maude in her usual, calming voice.

“Okay, what if they hit a big bump or wash-out in the road, what with Stefan’s speeding, especially with Nellie screaming at him to hurry up? What if she pops that youngster out on the back seat, Dear God?” Val kept imagining aloud all the catastrophes that might happen if Nellie didn’t make it to the hospital in time. The hospital in St. John’s is approximately ninety miles from the little settlement of St. Vincent’s. It usually takes around two to three hours to get there, because the roads are always in terrible condition. There was only one road from St. Vincent’s to the intersection on the Salmonier Line - a section of the main road leading out to the main roadway straight into the city. In certain areas, the turns are angled at almost ninety degrees, and bumpy to boot. Those damn potholes are everywhere. Parts of the roads get completely washed out after every winter, and to make matters even worse, some parts were so narrow only one car at a time could traverse them. If a car came up too fast, a crash was hard to avoid. “Dear God, let them all make it in one piece; no, three; no, four, with Bridget….” Val prayed aloud in answer to his tortuous musings.

Stefan was relieved to turn off his one working windshield wiper as actual sunlight made its appearance through the wet, drizzly fog. He was speeding as fast as he could, within the bounds of safety, of course, up hills and down hills, around corners and over bumps. The trees seemed to fly by in a blur as his wheels were almost hydroplaning around those nasty, sharp turns; the road was still wet from yesterday’s rainfall. Bridget’s calming voice helped Nellie to keep her focus off her pain. There wasn’t much else left to do other than pray, along the way. Nellie always said that God would be there to help you, if you ask for His help sincerely enough. Well, she was asking sincerely enough now! She prayed for Him, with all her might to guide Stefan, herself and Bridget. Besides everything else Stefan had to watch out for, he also had to be on the alert for the possibility of a ‘big mudder f……er’ of a moose running across the road in front of them. Not an unusual sighting almost anywhere in Newfoundland. Under the circumstances, a moose would have looked the size of an elephant. Any animal darting out of the woods onto the road could spell disaster. But no moose put itself in harm’s way that morning. There was enough to deal with!

It was still fairly early in the morning and, fog lifting or not, cars still had their headlights on. The law was years off that would require every driver in Canada to keep them turned on all day long, but people have a sense of what’s prudent, with or without laws. Most people, anyway….

Once they had driven through all the little settlements, there was nothing to be seen except thick brush and evergreens towering above the road and partially hiding oncoming sections of it. Some of the time, the clear blue sky was completely out of Stefan’s view. Bridget’s attention was focused on Nellie, and neither of them was concerned with the scenery nor the hide-and-go-seek blue sky. Stefan’s was on the road ahead. He could only manage a glimpse of that blue sky, when he mounted the crest of some of the hills, and there were many of them to mount. Even if there weren’t a baby inside her wanting out, Nellie, or even any non-pregnant passenger would have felt car sick in the back of this taxi speeding over bumpy hills and screeching around bobby-pin turns! Stefan himself wasn’t sure whether he was driving or flying. Undoubtedly, this was a roller coaster ride all the way. (I must have loved the ride, kicking up a storm in my placenta sea and staying cooperatively inside my mother, at least so far!) Some say a trip along those roads is an experience no one will ever forget, even driving at the posted speed! It was a darn good thing for mom and me that there were so few cars travelling in either direction that morning.

Being a taxi driver and quite familiar with the roads, Stefan knew when he could step on the gas of his old Dodge on a straight stretch of road, because, most often, the Mounties (the RCMP) wouldn’t be patrolling. Certainly not in the early morning. No, not a chance in hell of seeing a Mountie. Most often, people drove in the middle of the road and quickly moved over to the far right side as soon as opposing traffic was approaching. It was somewhat easier at night due to the headlights coming at a driver from the distance; he or she would have more warning to move over. Every few minutes, Stefan would ask Nellie whether she was doing okay. If “okay” meant the baby was still inside her, then the answer was a pain-fractured yes. But despite Bridget’s soothing voice, Nellie really wasn’t okay. Disregarding her weak pleas for help, they continued on. A moment later, he drove over a huge pothole, practically ejecting them all from their seats, and again he asked Nellie how she was doing and declared his genuine concern for everyone, in particular, Nellie and her unborn child. This time she only gave a sigh and kept praying out loud to God and every accessible saint to help them get to St. John’s alive! Nellie’s labour pains soon became so intense and so regular, the baby was so ready to arrive on Earth that all Nellie wanted to do was prepare to meet her Saviour. We’re not going to make it there, she thought, and decided she’d best keep that thought to herself and pushed it away as she tried not to push her unborn child out onto the cold, faded black leather back seat of Stefan’s taxi cab. Stefan’s thought to himself was: beJesus, if she hasn’t had the baby yet, she’s not going to have one. I’ve got news for her if she thinks she is going to make it to St. John’s! Not a chance that we’ll make it there if this continues. The shocks on the car are in shitty condition, because this old Dodge rides the same deplorable road Monday through Friday, but so far, without a hitch. What car could possibly stand up to this kind of abuse every day for all the years I’ve owned this old baby? Oh, Dodgie, oh Nellie’s saints, don’t give up on us now!

Despite all Nellie’s prayers, as well as Stefan’s and Bridget’s too, the taxi driver had only gone as far as St. Joseph’s on the Salmonier Line when one long, terrifying scream made him realize he had best pull in to the nearest house, hoping the willing residents would welcome them in and help them create a make-shift hospital, where Nellie might take refuge, be more comfortable and a heck of a lot safer, and where she could give birth to her child.

As they neared the attractive, recently painted, homey-looking house with a lawn and a few decayed chrysanthemums planted along its edges, Bridget and Stefan’s tension eased somewhat. Bridget knocked on the bright red door and a tall, thin housewife answered the knock with a cheery “Hello, may I help you?” Then she saw Nellie, as Stefan attempted to extract her from his back seat, buckling under her weight, almost falling out of his arms onto the ground, and trying unsuccessfully to muffle her cries of pain. Mrs. Ryan hurriedly introduced herself and whinnied, “Oh dear me, I guess we had better!” Mrs. Ryan called her neighbour to help carry Nellie inside and gave this haggard bunch a warm welcome. Then she jumped into action.

People were so much less cautious fifty years ago, and in the outports of Newfoundland, they are probably still to this day just as welcoming as Mrs. Ryan was on that fateful morning of my first day on Earth. People in big cities today might even doubt the veracity of a pregnant woman in labour knocking on their door, thinking it to be a ruse to gain entry to commit all manner of terrifying crimes. Not so then, thank God! The Ryan’s were happy to assist and do the best they could for this lady in waiting. Everyone bustled, and Bridget commandeered Stefan and Mrs. Ryan’s neighbour to carry Nellie to the couch. Mrs. Ryan offered them all a cup of tea from the pot of Lipton’s she had steeping on the kitchen stove, almost as if she knew this odd crew would be arriving. Nellie didn’t even get a chance to taste the tea. The labour pains were too intense to even think about tea. “Stefan,” Nellie managed to say, “we’ll be staying here for a while.” Before Stefan, the next door neighbour, and Bridget half-carried, half-walked Nellie to the sofa, Mrs. Ryan, according to Bridget’s sweet-voiced orders, hastily threw some sheets from the laundry pile onto the sofa beneath Nellie as the two gently laid her down on it. As towels were being warmed by the stove to catch me when I was born, Bridget took over, gently but forcefully instructing Nellie to breathe, push, breathe deeper, push, harder, breathe, as she kept apart Nellie’s legs and Mrs. Ryan was alternating dry washcloths to Nellie’s wet forehead….

My head made its entry into this world, while Bridget eased and cajoled the rest of me out. “Congratulations, Mrs. Stamp, you have a...a bouncing baby girr…lll!” cried Bridget, triumphantly. This long ordeal was finally over for my mom and me. I had arrived. A new life had begun.

Mrs. Ryan, being the very fine lady she was, asked Nellie, my mother, to stay with them for a couple of days until she felt strong enough to go home. My mother and I gratefully accepted the invitation. Stefan drank a cup of tea and left by himself to pick up passengers in St. John’s, where he promised to call the post office in St. Vincent’s and ask Viola to send a messenger out to tell Val the good news. Bridget stayed on too, until later that evening when Stefan picked her up on his way back from St. John’s, and dropped her off at her house. When Val heard the news that his wife Nellie and new baby girl were doing fine and would be home in a day or so, his reaction was: “What? Another girl?”

I was and am still so fortunate to have an older sister. She would be my role model, someone who would play with me, someone to confide in, and be my best friend.

Within seven months, my mother was pregnant again. This time, she stayed at home for the birth. Bridget was there for the delivery, and Mom didn’t have to take one step out of her own bedroom. Well, that was the end of the run on girls. My father was especially pleased the new baby was a boy! My brother, named in proper Catholic Newfoundland tradition, was christened with the name of his father, Valentine. It was not an easy moniker to grow up with.

A year later Mom gave birth to yet another chubby baby boy. My brother, Cecil became a companion for his older brother. It was several years later before my youngest brother, Thomas, was born. That made five of us. We were the Stamp family. Mom and Father ran a tight and very restrictive ship. By the time Thomas came, the rest of us were already in school.

This was Chapter 1 of 18 in this memoir !

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- Oak Island Unearthed!

- Oak Island Unearthed!

a miner's investigation into the enigma of Oak Island, the Mesoamericans and the treasures buried therein
by John O. O'Brien
designed by francis Mitchell
cover design or artwork by Jacqui Mitchell
drawings by Terrilyne E Cameron
guest editor Virginia Houston
tagged : mexico
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Foreword to the International Edition

Various points of view have produced a richly-loaded cart of published conjectures about Oak Island’s treasure, easily generated by the familiar question, “who buried what, and when and why?” That song book, and compilation of guesswork, has itself become a treasure whose value diminishes with each fresh addition. Before the publication of John O’Brien’s Oak Island Unearthed in 2014, no one had been singing from the song-book, geology and mining-for-valuable-commodities. No one had twigged to the significance of there being shafts -- yes, mining shafts – dug down through clay, in a bay rich with islands and peninsulas that were singing “here be huge amounts of clay” to anyone rowing or sailing past and among them.

In writing this, I am acting as a temporary spokesman for things having to do with geology and mining engineering. I was stunned by the primary premise of O’Brien’s book: that some very clever people constructed a fantastic booby-trap by repurposing a mine which for several centuries had been producing a natural commodity that they, alone, considered extremely valuable. That commodity was blue palygorskite clay, and the people were the Maya and the Aztecs. Their palygorskite away-from-home mining was going on as early as about 250 AD, mainly in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia. And by about 800 AD, the Gulf Stream had carried them far enough to reach what would later be known as Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. In that bay, in close proximity to one another, there is evidence of three such mines. But only the one on East Oak Island, whose bedrock is much deeper than that of West Oak Island, had the huge potential for mining extremely thick veins of blue palygorskite. Carbon-dated coconut fibre has been found from about 800 to 1240 AD. But contact could have been made earlier, and continued later.

Ultimately, the full potential of that mine’s workings was achieved in 1521-1522, when an Aztec armada, escaping from the clutches of Cortés and carrying with them the body and remaining treasures of Montezuma II, made their way up to the old mining grounds in Mahone Bay. In West Oak Island – the one which had not been mined, and whose bedrock was much closer to sea level -- they tunnelled a burial chamber and a treasure chamber. And in East Oak Island, they transformed their old clay-mining-works into a hugely-complex (and now hugely-famous) booby trap. That remarkably clever ruse ensured that their god-king and his treasure were safely entombed.

If the Spanish had managed to learn enough, they might have sought it out. But it was only in 1795 that a couple of Nova Scotia youths accidentally found the depression that was associated with the ancient mine’s tall and capped-off ventilation shaft.

The alluring complexities of that booby-trap have kept ”the search for treasure” going for some 222 years. And, yes, everybody who has been involved in that deep East Oak Island search has been digging in the wrong location. This is to say: the booby-trapped East Oak Island mining-works has served its ultimate purpose.

Just incidentally, the very-experienced former miner and mining supervisor, John O’Brien, has a remarkably deep voice. But more importantly, it is his broad and rich mining experience that has given him a deep understanding of what has gone on at Oak Island. What he has written can resonate well with almost anyone who is a mental deep-digger. From reading his work, one can be transported from believing one or another conjecture, to actually understanding revealed truth.

The people who constructed that remarkable booby-trap had come up here to make use of mining-works that their ancestors had been visiting and working – probably on a regular basis – from about 800 AD. The carbon-dating of coconut fibre from the original mining shaft – now slightly below sea level and found in the mid 1960s – puts the stamp on the beginning of that enterprise. The additional and taller shaft, which is about 320 feet (103 metres) inland from Shaft No. 1 (the South Shore shaft), is what was discovered in 1795 and is the famous “Money Pit.” It would have been dug down when the large potential of the “claim” was fully apparent, and ventilation and product-removal required enhancing. The relentless slave and human-sacrifice culture of the Yucatán area is what sustained the mine and profited from it.

Although O’Brien would not claim to be a scholar, he is an imaginative and relentless seeker whose bold, masterful, and richly-revealing argument has set up conditions for me to swallow his theory, hook, line, and sinker.

Jack Sorenson (PhD) November, 2016

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- Three Centuries of Public ART

- Three Centuries of Public ART

Historic Halifax Regional Municiplity
edited by francis Mitchell
photographs by Barbara DeLory; Gary Castle & Andrea Johnson
illustrated by Janet Soley
guest editor Virginia Houston
foreword by Sandra Alfoldy
tagged : canadian
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Three Centuries of Public ART Then look across the square to St. Paul’s Anglican Church, the oldest public building in Halifax (andoldest Protestant church in Canada), founded in 1750, although the steeple was added in 1812 and the side wings in 1868; the Fallen Peace Officer’s Memorial, dedicated in 2010 and described in greater detail inthis essay; the massive flagpole standing in front of City Hall for over 60 years. It was a gift of the CPR to his worship, Mayor ‘Gee’ Ahern, in September, 1947; it is used on many ceremonial occasions, but always flies the red maple leaf of Canada; and finally the ‘electrical box’ paintings, two of which are found here (The Poetry Box and Downtown Dusk Walk ) and described near the end of this chapter on Halifax Centre.It also contains many benches on which to sit or picnic in this serene setting just beyond the bustle of Barrington Street at noon.

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Reluctant Target

Reluctant Target

avoiding motor vehicle accidents and other survicval tips
by James Mitchell
foreword by Bob Rivers
retold by francis Mitchell
associate editor Virginia Houston
tagged :
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As an accident reconstructionist, I’ve heard more wailing about this type of collision and more lame duck excuses than I care to remember. We are living in Canada; it rains and snows here. Roads get slippery when it rains or snows. The aim of the game is avoiding collisions with all kinds of things like poles, traffic signs, telephone and cable boxes, ditches, to name but a few, and last but not least, other motor vehicles.

To do this you must understand your enemy, the slippery road. Just how do we know when a road is slippery? One habit initiated many years ago that has helped me avoid a stupid collision is testing the road shortly after I leave from the house. On your more than likely rather quiet residential road run the car up to 30 km/h and then brake rather hard. You will notice immediately if the road is slippery or not. Anything from heavy dew or a light mist to pouring rain or a blizzard is going to make the road slippery. Some of the more common extremely slippery situations are as follows:

• Rain: It has just begun to rain. It hasn’t rained for several days. The rain begins to mix with the fuels/oils that have been deposited on the road surface. The closer one gets to an intersection the more prominent the oil/water mixture becomes. It is at this place that the vehicles have stopped for traffic lights or stop signs and have time to dump their waste products on the road. The available friction required to slow and stop your vehicle has now been cut in some cases in half. That 10 metres you need to stop suddenly becomes 20 and you don’t have that much anymore. Now imagine this situation on a down-slope and your troubles have just begun. Within an hour of the commencement of the rain this situation should all but disappear; the slipperiest times during a rainfall will be just after the rain has commenced

•”Black Ice”: Temperatures that hover just above the freezing point cause a special problem that is known as “Black Ice”. Black Ice is also known as “glare ice” or “clear ice”. This refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a roadway surface. It is transparent, which allows the usually-black asphalt roadway to be seen through it, hence the name. It is unusually slick compared to other forms of roadway ice, and as it contains very few bubbles, black ice is very difficult to see. In addition, it often is confused with a wet road, which is identical in appearance. Bridges and overpasses can be especially dangerous. Black ice forms first on bridges and overpasses because air can circulate both above and below the surface of the elevated roadway, causing the pavement temperature to drop more rapidly. Black ice can form when the temperature of the road surface is at or below the freezing point whereas the air is normally just above the freezing point. This occurs during dawn periods, or under bridges, near bordering tall trees or anywhere where the shadow of an object blocks the warming of the road surface. Add any amount of water to this surface and voila, instant ice!

There is a notorious location (see Figure Three below) in my city where a combination of several traffic lights, a down-slope and the shadow of the provincial highway overpass create a devil’s mix of black ice covered with oily water especially when the air temperature is just above freezing. For strangers to that location, it’s an instant invitation to disaster. You only have to listen to their descriptions of total loss of control to understand their frustration. • Bridge May Be Slippery: Warning signs are erected for a purpose. Be aware of the potential danger, both under and on bridge decks or overpasses. (Fig. Four) Black ice may form even when the ambient temperature is several degrees above the freezing point of water (0° C) if the air warms suddenly after a prolonged cold spell that leaves the surface of the roadway well below the freezing point temperature.

• Snow:-- Snow at intersections presents another problem. If the temperatures are not extremely cold the constant braking of vehicles especially near stop signs will cause the snow to begin to pack. The more cars that stop there the more slippery it will become as the tires scuffing on the snow produce enough heat to cause some of the snow to melt and then re-freeze almost immediately. Thus the snow begins to turn to ice. With sufficient vehicles stopping there, an ice skid pad is created. Then you, the unsuspecting driver, arrives upon the scene assuming you can stop, as at the last stop sign. Well if someone is still at the stop sign, we have a rear end collision; or if no vehicle is there you go sailing through the intersection into an angled collision with another vehicle, which could even be worse.

• Another common “driving too fast” collision occurs when one inadvertently demonstrates Newton’s First Law of Motion. Sir Isaac determined that if you put something in motion at a constant speed (such as a car) in a straight line then it would keep following that straight line unless acted upon by an external force. Such an external force is found when a car’s tires act upon a roadway. People continue to drive through curves on the road with wet or icy surfaces and expect that their vehicle will go around it as any other time. Well it will not! If you are entering a left hand curve at a too high rate of speed then you should expect to leave the road on the right side and pray you don’t hit anything such as a light standard or telephone pole. The photo below illustrates what can happen if you hit a pole at high speed. Far too many people assume that hitting a snow bank won’t hurt their car; however snow will push against the side of your vehicle when it comes up against it and the soft parts such as the door shells and fenders will buckle. The door frames will not. This can cause thousands of dollars in damage. I’ve actually seen vehicles hit a snow bank that looked as if they were extruded from a lasagne noodle machine. • If you lose it on a right hand curve you can expect to cross into any on-coming traffic. In both instances because the vehicle did not have enough traction (external force) it kept going straight. Now before someone starts complaining that their car did not go in a straight line but rather was spinning around let me explain further. It is the centre of mass of your vehicle that will keep going straight and it is that centre of mass that your vehicle was spinning about as it left the road.

Just a word to the wise here, do not argue with those who have studied physics that a car rounding a left turn will run off the road on the left side because of the “yawing” action (that’s what the above rotation is called). That is not going to happen in this universe; it will leave the roadway on the right. Another issue that makes investigators cringe is when people tell them about their vehicle beginning to yaw as they enter the curve and that they applied their vehicle brakes to attempt to correct it. Well, that is the worst possible thing anyone could do. Any chance you had of correcting your skid flies out the window when one applies the brakes. The car’s tires only have so much traction. When you attempt to steer hard to avoid crossing the centre-line or leaving the road and then apply your brakes you simply defeat the purpose. In those situations, steer without braking! A few words about those forces that I indicated were necessary to allow you to turn corners, to brake to a stop and to accelerate. Understanding this can keep you out of many a traffic mishap.

Every physical system has a limit. Vehicle tires have a limit as to how much traction they can provide for cornering, braking or accelerating. If one causes a vehicle to exceed the traction limit of the tires there will be a loss of control.



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The Boys of '62: transcending the racial divide (Limited Second Edition)

The Boys of '62: transcending the racial divide (Limited Second Edition)

Vaughan Furriers Maritime Junior Baseball Champions
by Frank Mitchell, General Editor
consultant editor Lynn Moulton
associate editor Virginia Houston
designed by francis Mitchell
tagged : sports
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The period from the early fifties to the mid-sixties was the time frame for the first edition of this book, which coincided with the period of civil rights protests in the USA and similar, but perhaps less confrontational changes in Canada. It follows the team until late in 2007. [The Limited Second Edition updates the exploits of this team and its members to 2009.] The early 60s was the time of Rosa Parks and the bus company of Montgomery, Alabama; the march, confrontation and bloodshed at Selma; the confrontation between Gov. George Wallace and John F. Kennedy, where the president used federal legislation and the National Guard to permit blacks to enroll in white universities; as well as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Washington and his famous “I have a dream! “speech.

Much of the impetus for desegregation and hence integration was based on the Brown vs the Board of Education (1954) argued by Thurgood Marshall, where the unanimous landmark decision by the Justice Earl Warren-led U.S. Supreme Court, ruled that separate education was inherently unequal treatment and inferior education under the equal treatment clause of the 14th Amendment. This was also time of the official separation of races in many southern states. However the ruling on Brown opened the way for the integration and civil rights movements. It did not, however, remove violence as the Klu Klux Klan was still operating, and there were the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King and the crippling of Gov. George Wallace.

In Nova Scotia there were segregated seating areas in many theatres, no service in certain restaurants, while some barber shops would not cut the hair of blacks. Other discrimination in housing, education and employment was more subtle, but no less damaging to the aspirations of the African-Canadian population, or as they were then known as, the coloureds. It was also a cyclical and perpetuating discrimination where blacks were denied employment based on their training or education, but then received a poorer quality education or lowered expectations within school systems. One landmark case in Canada, albeit a few years earlier (1948) than the U. S. decision but rather closer to home, involved Viola Desmond1 who was refused a ticket for a ‘whites only’ section in a New Glasgow, N.S. theatre. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia rulesd against her on a technicality, but it would subsequently bring about landmark changes in this country for equal access for blacks to public facilities and services. In 2012 the government of Nova Scotia officially pardoned and apologized to Ms Desmond in a special ceremony.

But as a reader you might ask: ”What has this to do with sport, baseball or this book?” Well the short answer is that segregation in sport existed as well, although the barriers eventually broke down faster in sport than in the society as whole - and the Vaughan Furriers were an important part of those changes. Black players were not permitted on white teams, so consequently the Coloured League (hockey) was formed in Nova Scotia, producing some great teams and many exceptional players. In fact the Coloured League existed nine years before Lord Stanley put his famous cup up for competition in 1893 - for whites only - whereas the Coloured League in Nova Scotia had begun in 1885. The same was true for professional baseball with the existence of the Negro Leagues south of the border. In Nova Scotia the Black Leagues or individual all-black teams in both sports continued right up to the mid-to later fifties, with several of the Furrier’s 1962 team members being connected with such teams earlier in their own lives; a few of the Furriers players even played or had close relatives on these famous early teams.

Quality black players in both baseball and hockey such as New Brunswick’s Willie O’Ree (who eventually broke the NHL’s colour bar with the Boston Bruins) and Manny MacIntyre, who along with Herb and Ossie Carnegie played on a single line with the Quebec Aces during Jean Belliveau’s time. They were dubbed the ‘Black Aces’2 and although they were great players, discrimination held them back, limited their possibilities in professional sports. Many readers are cetainly well aware of O’Ree’s and MacIntyre’s abilities in hockey, few likely knew they were very good in baseball as well.3 But major league baseball’s training camps were all in the deep south, as were some of their ballparks. The mid-fifties was still a time of official segregation in the south, so hockey wound up as the sport of choice for them as the north (including Canada) was somewhat less discriminatory than the southern U.S.A.

In Halifax, in the late fifties-early sixties, opportunities for blacks in employment, access to higher education, as well as many walks of life were limited, but the players on the Rangers-Vaughan Furriers were perhaps unaware of it. They had grown up with blacks and whites in the same neighbourhoods who played together, attended school together, spent time in each other’s homes. So when the Vaughan Furriers went to recruit additional players to build a championship team, they asked other white players to join them. It seemed natural to them, but in doing so they transcended the social and racial divide, performing a kind of reverse integration 4 that at the time seemed impossible in many segments of the larger society. As Jason Bruce wrote in 2007: “Although they wouldn’t realize it for decades, the Vaughan Furriers were trailblazers in 1962.” 5

1, 3. Northern Sandlots, A Social History of Maritime Baseball by Colin D. Howell. Ph.D. © 1995, University of Toronto Press, pp. 182-3 2. www.blackhistorysociety.ca/Black Aces Hockey 4. Colour Blind, CTV news documentary (March,2007) www.youtube.com 5. Jason Bruce: See the initial paragraph on the back cover jacket of this book.

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: nature's way to heal your body
tagged : cancer
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Susan’s Story begins: In the past I enjoyed eating as most families of moderate means in North America did: home cooked meals; an occasional frozen entree; packaged meals in a box; refined and processed foods; plus a weekly visit to a take-out of choice. Since 1993, I had exercised regularly, including weight resistance training three times a week at the local YMCA, yet was still about forty pounds overweight with an increasing number of health issues. When I looked in the mirror, it reflected what I assumed was a relatively healthy, normal adult of fifty plus, but, in retrospect, I now understand what was happening inside my body, at the cellular level, was very troubling. Symptoms had accumulated over the years, some of which were explained away by medical doctors as a result of genetics, yet other indicators of my poor state of health were more difficult to diagnose or explain away so easily.

On December 4, 2002, after four years of allopathic medicine failing to explain the unusual sets of symptoms I had been experiencing, my perception of a healthy body was shattered! I was diagnosed with terminal cancer: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma1, low indolent follicular, stage 3a. My condition was critical! Furthermore, a mere three weeks later, when all tests had been completed, my condition was downgraded even further - to the most acute diagnosis possible. Since the cancer was now in my bone marrow, it was determined to be 4b, the very last stage ultimately leading to death! Tumors were in my upper diaphragm: neck, shoulders, chest, and underarms, as well as in my lower diaphragm, including my stomach and groin. I was extremely fatigued, unable to sweep or wash the floor, or even carry a handbag. The abundance of tumors in the lymphatic nodes of my neck and shoulders even caused a dislocation of the joints, which only a chiropractic adjustment brought some relief from the unbearable pain in my arms.

Almost every evening, both during and immediately following the evening meal, I would experience symptoms of shock: diarrhea, nausea and vomiting; rapidly followed by alternating bouts of cold chills and hot flashes; as well as deepening anxieties and feelings of overwhelming panic. I subsequently learned, through research and the experience of detoxification, that those were symptoms of toxic attacks - and that the negative reactions were simply attempts by my body to warn me of an impending catastrophe. My liver was overloaded with toxins and, therefore, could not support the digestion of larger meals. In addition, one of the more than 500 functions of the liver is to balance the body’s natural hormone levels, but the overload of toxins prevented this process from occurring effectively. As a result, anger became a part of my ‘new character’ - and it took months of additional searching to discover that this too was the result of a weakened and stressed liver. The loss of independence that this disease created had a profound effect upon me. My husband had not only become the maid, cook and chauffeur, but on many evenings, he often literally had to be my baby-sitter, as I could not be left alone due to the all consuming fear that threatened to overwhelm me.

The oncologist explained that low, indolent cancer meant that it was a slow moving cancer, and, normally, I would have had from five to seven years to live from the onset of this disease. That date was initially pegged as 2000, but I now understand that 1998 would have been a more accurate date, as that was the time my symptoms had become significantly more pronounced. The cancer was quite literally beyond

the point where allopathic medicine could save me. Chemotherapy might be used to clear a blockage, or to relieve pain by reducing the size of a tumor, but this kind of lymphoma had a ‘brain of its own’ and a more virulent cancer would eventually return, sooner than later in another part of my body, most likely in my brain. Yet, I was still offered three choices: a low dose of chemotherapy in pill form; aggressive doses of chemotherapy by injection; or to take a ‘wait and see’ approach. The oncologist believed all three would get me to the same place at the same time - death! He predicted that a more aggressive form of cancer would return following each chemotherapy session, until it eventually killed me. I chose to wait. Conventional medicine was no longer a viable option for me.

During this process, it was easy to understand why someone without any prior knowledge of the dangers of chemotherapy might initially choose to go that route. My initial reaction was: “Get the cancer out of me now! I don’t care how, just do it!” However, as my research continued, I gained more knowledge, and with that knowledge came empowerment. That process changed my initial knee-jerk reaction to one of calm and determination based on understanding. I learned that once the body’s immune system is returned to peak performance, the tumors would completely dissolve. I needed to believe that; it was a real test of faith. In the meantime, detoxification would relieve some of the pressure on my liver, as well as reduce the anxieties and panic attacks that resulted from the accumulation of toxins. A lack of knowledge also created even more apprehension, as there were times when it felt as if the contrasting emotions of fear and courage were fighting a war within the confines of my body.

Looking back to December 2002, I now realize that I was in shock. The trip home was one of silence, accompanied by more than a few tears that escaped as droplets, running in slow motion down my cheeks. My husband, Jim, was rather stoic, but upon our arrival at home, held me in his arms tightly. It seemed as if he never wanted to let go. At the time, I recall asking if he were okay? His response was that it was not about him, but about me. Jim then suggested that he should call our three children. They were aware that I would have received the test results earlier that day and would be anxious to hear from us. Although the words terminal cancer had initially knocked me to my knees, many of my past life experiences had somewhat prepared me for that moment. At first I agreed, but within seconds replaced that initial response with an emphatic no! I reasoned that it was necessary for me to make those calls, as such an important call coming from Jim might have led them to believe I was really going to die of cancer, and I did not want to leave them with that rather bleak prognosis. With that more considered response, I had begun to achieve balance, to adjust my stance towards this disease.

My daughter, Tammy, was at work and called before we had the opportunity to contact her. After hearing the news, she quietly suggested that she would come over immediately with the grandchildren, Benji and Katie. Charlene, my other daughter, was a lot like her Dad; rather stoic, but I knew them both too well. Driving to our home, Charlene recalled thinking that whatever it took, she would be there for me. Our son, Dan, was taking an important test at work and could not be readily contacted, so I called his wife, Stacy. She had just lost her father to colon cancer only a few months earlier, and as a result, left work directly to join the rest of the family who were gathering at our home. When Dan arrived, his primary concern was whether I was suffering any pain. No doubt he was remembering the amount of pain that Junior, Stacy’s father, had endured during the months that preceded his passing. Dan was quite relieved when I assured him that I was not in pain, while the others were buoyed that I was not depressed with the potentially devastating news received earlier that day. Quite the opposite, I was ready for the fight for my life!

In the beginning, writing this chapter was relatively easy from an emotional standpoint, but during the process of editing it became an important life lesson that I would never forget. Normally, I deal with most problems by working diligently, and in attaining knowledge in order to make more informed decisions. As a result, it was normal for me not to take hours or days before committing myself to a course of action. In this particular situation it was literally minutes after the original diagnosis that I began to ask questions - important questions about the possibility of finding other, perhaps more natural, ways of healing my body. Although the process of jumping immediately into a research mode was very beneficial in locating much needed answers, it was not one that encouraged facing life squarely and directly. To achieve fullness, life must be experienced and felt, but I did neither at that time. It took three years, and a progression through several other life-threatening health issues before I finally resolved the past and began to move forward. When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I had spent mere minutes in tears, then put away the pain and got on with life, things I had routinely learned to do since early childhood. As a consequence, the process of re-reading and editing my personal story developed into a nightmare that had to be faced - and resolved - before this illness annihilated me. It was necessary to let the tears flow, to permit pain and vulnerability to emerge, and allow anger to surface - within myself, with God and with a conventional health care system that I felt had failed me! Unfortunately, modern medicine tends to simply disguise or negate symptoms with medication or surgery, and in doing so often fails to correctly identify and eradicate the root causes of illness. That is what had happened to me! It was also critical to learn how to give permission to others to comfort me, something that had not been easy in the past. Unfortunately, I had learned those early lessons far too well, and had routinely put my feelings aside, as simply as returning a book to its place on a shelf.

On that watershed day in 2002, everyone was willing to join me in my battle. It was essential to locate as much information as possible about non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, especially the variety with which I had been diagnosed. My daughter-in-law was a real trouper. Having lost her father to cancer only a few months previously, she eagerly shared information learned through his illness and subsequent death to help guide me on my own journey. For example, her specific knowledge of an immune builder, Tahitian Noni juice, has been prominent in my recovery as well. Information on the body’s immune functioning, and in my case, an absolute absence of functioning, was a beginning upon which to build - and that knowledge gave me hope.

To improve my immune function I immediately eliminated all refined, chemically altered or synthetic sugars1 from my diet. As a consummate chocolate lover this was not an easy task, but the prospect of living beyond the sentence I had been given was a strong inducement for change. I also made many other nutritional changes within the month: the elimination of red meats, which the liver can have difficulty processing; all hydrogenated oils, which create free radicals; bleached flours with questionable nutritional value, unwanted chemical additives, as well as processed dairy products that could facilitate cellular growth, including cancer cells. As a result, my chocolate cravings soon became a non-issue. Once the initial cravings had passed, life without chocolate became quite tolerable. Today, for special holidays or events, I buy dark, organic Belgian chocolate, containing no dairy, waxes or sugars, to make almond clusters or other healthier chocolate treats for my family.

Changing my diet completely was not an easy task. In the beginning, there were many frustrating days on which I experienced alternating bouts of anger and depression. Fortunately that was only during the period of transition. As the weeks passed, my emotions became more balanced and stable. For those who find change or renewal difficult, remember that many changes can often be cemented into the subconscious if performed diligently for as little as three consecutive weeks. Cravings often become a non-issue and that makes it easier to implement other changes required to reduce or eliminate illness within the body. Within five days I had figured out what I absolutely needed to know to rid my body of cancer. Now I had to set this plan in motion - I must prevent toxins from entering my body in order for it to be able to work on those toxins already present. Then I had to devise a way to rid my body of fifty-plus years of toxins. Most of the frustration in the latter phase of my recovery centered on locating food and personal care products that did not contain toxins. In fact, I asked: “What in hell didn’t?” However, I immediately stopped dyeing my hair, which I discovered was actually more white than grey. Today, the pigments are slowly returning due to a healthier body - the back and top of my head are now a darker color, while the sides and front are beginning to move in that direction as well. It is remarkable what proper nutrition can do.

Within the first month, I also ceased using nail polish, changed my shampoo, soap, toothpaste, laundry detergent, as well as many other household and personal care products. I also introduced rebounding to move my lymphatic fluid; experimented with several detoxification methods such as Epsom salt soaks, dry saunas, and dry brushing, as well as adding green tea to my daily regimen. I also drank four ounces of Noni juice daily, added two tablespoons of flax oil (an essential fatty acid) mixed with one-quarter cup of organic quark. Both had an unpleasant taste at first, but as my taste buds changed, I actually began to enjoy them.

Each day was spent reading yet another book, searching on the Internet, and communicating with others to learn as much as I could about cancer in general, chemotherapy, the body, and what I now have come to call ‘natural medicine’. At the time, it was not an easy task as the daily toxic attacks were still occurring. There were times I would be wrapped in a blanket with a bowl at my side should I not make it to the bathroom in time to vomit. Those frailer moments were hidden from friends and family. Jim and my naturopathic doctor were the only ones who experienced these emotions first-hand, but there were times I was even able to hide them from myself. Dr. Bruce Hayhoe, my naturopath, who eventually became my teacher and mentor, supplied me with my first book: How to Fight Cancer and Win by William Fischer. The information in this publication taught me valuable lessons about protecting cells in the body through the inclusion of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in my diet. Later I learned more about the partnership between EFAs and quark (a German cottage cheese) and their combined role in increasing oxygen in the blood that had been stolen by cancerous cells. Subsequently, I was also able to teach others, including Dr. Hayhoe, with my common sense approach to the diagnosis. The entire world is a university if one utilizes all aspects of the wealth of knowledge that surrounds us, especially if a common sense approach is applied to the synthesis of information. On December 9, 2002, while on a trip to Ottawa to visit my siblings, I gained additional strength. Each member of the family offered to be bone marrow donors, if required, although my brother Bob cajoled that he was so tired all the time it might be better to leave him until last! After that trip, I returned home with a very significant book that gave me even more hope: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide to Cancer by Burton Goldberg. In that publication, thirty-seven physicians had researched and catalogued a wide range of safer, non-toxic, and successful (proven) treatments and practices for reversing cancer through natural, alternative or complementary medicine. I was both astounded and elated to find so many possible treatments in a single publication.

From December 17th to the 21st, I made daily trips to the hospital for what seemed like every x-ray and scan known to man, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. At least it seemed that they were being thorough! On December 23, 2002 it was confirmed that the cancer was in my bone marrow, as well as throughout my body. As a result, it was difficult to focus on Christmas, an important event in our family life, with x-rays as daily reminders that this year might be one of my last. Christmas was always one of my favorite times of the year and it was especially meaningful that year - and has been ever since. It was not only the prospect of having, perhaps, only one or more Christmases together as a family, but my husband suggested another factor - I had given family members permission to spend more time and money that year - on me! On Christmas day, I cried when I saw the card attached to a gift from Jim. It was a digital camera. He knew that I loved photographs; the card read appropriately: “For those treasured moments caught in time”.

The months from January to April 2003 were spent combating daily bouts of depression with an exercise program, while the toxin attacks were reduced with detoxification methods described earlier in this chapter. In 2004, I began using organic coffee enemas for liver detoxification, and by 2005 became more knowledgeable about cellular detoxification methods. Still later in 2005, I purchased an energy balance cellular detoxification machine for my own use, which I now employ in a new health-consulting venture. By that time, I was able to fill in some of the blanks between allopathic medicine and more natural approaches to healing. I was also frequenting health food stores, discussing new products with staff and customers, and contacting manufacturers via the Internet. I continued to read magazines such as Vista, Canadian Health, and Alive. There were many setbacks and the path was not always smooth. For example, my dietary changes created power conflicts with my oncologist. During visits to his clinic, he would upset me with rather off-hand comments such as: “Why would you give up something you enjoy, when you are going to die anyway?” He then referred me to a registered dietician, as he did not believe in my protocols, or in the information I had obtained from a nutritionist. At first, the dietician seemed upset with my decision not to include dairy in my diet. That immediately put me on the defensive, and I had to summon up courage to defend that decision. At the time, I felt I had to convince her that my decision was a considered one, and that I was, in fact, eating properly. To make the visit more positive, I had produced a monthly chart of my food consumption, which made it more difficult for her to respond too negatively. In fact, as a consequence of our conversation, I came to believe that I was actually eating a more nutritionally sound diet than her. As a result, that appointment strengthened my resolve to continue on my chosen path. Subsequently, I have learned that many dieticians generally view standard food guides in relation to the average person’s body according to age and sex, whereas most nutritionists or nutritional consultants take an approach that recognizes each person as unique and works with the person’s symptoms in relation to their specific quality of nutrition required. The former is especially true of many hospital-based dieticians, but today, thankfully, there is a gradual increase in the number of dieticians who have begun to adopt the latter, more individualistic, approach when dealing with clients.

By February 2003, after learning that an acidic pH often creates a vacuum for disease, I was able to return my pH to a normal alkaline state. But in March I ran into a crisis that pushed my pH back to acidic levels. My mother had passed away on the eleventh day of that month. That change, combined with the toxins remaining in my body, caused me to become severely agitated, followed by bouts of anger and depression. When friends and relatives came to the funeral parlor to show their respect, I was physically too weak to stand and greet them. About that same time two new tumors also appeared, one on each side of my neck. I was frightened, devastated! I had learned through research that cancer, as well as other forms of illness and disease could be defeated by natural means, but had not found any specific references to the type of advanced stage lymphoma with which I had been diagnosed. Fortunately, I already knew the factors that influenced pH1 readings, so it did not take long after this incident to do the necessary work to return my urine pH readings to a healthier alkaline level. However, what I did not realize at the time was that urine pH was not sufficient in itself as an indicator for wellness. It was only in 2004 that I discovered more about testing my salivary pH2. At the end of February 2003, it finally hit me - illness and disease in the body could be cured if the body were given the proper tools and conditions to do so. Subsequently, between February and May of that year, I developed a program entitled A Journey to Wellness on B.A.L.A.N.C.E.: nature’s way to heal your body and began to deliver that program through the YMCA only three months later. Helping others to help themselves was gratifying - and that positive attitude benefited me physically as well. However, after working with the program for a while, I realized that four hours were insufficient to bring about change in a life that is filled with illness or disease, although it appeared to be optimum information for preventative health care, as well as a reasonable place from which individuals could begin to reverse disease. That is when, with God’s guidance, I began to collate and organize materials to support the initial program with additional workshops. The latter ultimately led to the development of this book, written with the intent of providing material that would not confuse readers with unnecessary complexities or hidden agendas. What was required was a more direct approach with personal examples included as often as possible. However, during the attacks brought on by an overload of toxins, it was, at times, difficult to concentrate and extract common threads from the material I read. Thankfully, my past experiences, continuing research and problem-solving with others had given me the tools and tenacity to continue, so I soldiered on!

Early in April 2003, I ceased the consumption of all dairy products, except quark. By the middle of April, I began to notice a significant increase in my energy level, and eventually was relieved of anxieties created by toxins and/or allergies that I had accumulated since the early 1980s. I could even drive myself to appointments - the old Susan I used to know was nearly back! My body was exhibiting other signs of improved health: thicker hair, softer skin, and no more plaque on my teeth. Although my body was not where I wanted it to be ultimately, there were many promising signs, and I learned as I progressed.

May was a distressing month as I broke my big toe. To many this may seem a trivial event, but for someone already diagnosed with a major illness, it weighed heavily upon me, adding to the existing burden on my body, both physically and emotionally. When surgery, or in my particular case, a broken bone occurs, the body’s immune system normally kicks in to repair the damage and as a result, it has less time to work on other issues, including the reduction of tumors in the body. Inthis situation I this ended up with a virus, nausea and extreme pain on my right side. Unsure about the larger picture of my health, I was afraid, uncertain how to deal with this event. Still, my faith in conventional medical treatment had been ingrained in me from my past, so my first visit was to my family physician. He was somewhat apprehensive about my decision to use natural health approaches to healing and seemed rather unsure of what to do with me. As a result he recommended that I go to the hospital outpatients’ clinic, where subsequent tests confirmed that I had actually contracted a virus. By that time, my bowels had ceased functioning for over twenty-four hours. A comment by the attending physician that I might eventually require surgery to unblock the bowel scared me. In fact, I was on the verge of panic! Most practitioners of modern medicine do not consider constipation a significant issue unless it persists for four or five days. But, I did not want to wait and took immediate action by obtaining an appointment with my naturopath, who immediately taught me how to massage my colon to relieve this condition. The massage began halfway between the naval and the crest of the ilium (iliac crest or hip pointer), on the right, upward to the rib cage, then from right to left below the ribs, and then down the left side of the body. This procedure moved the intestine away from an enlarged node blocking my intestines. My bowels eliminated in short order. Additional vitamin C, Noni juice, Kyolic garlic and exercise helped relieve the viral symptoms, while the pain in my right side eventually subsided. It also improved my mood, helping me through a rather difficult moment in time.

In July 2003, I was sent to a specialist to aspirate a cyst on my thyroid. It took three separate visits, as they were looking for indications of thyroid cancer, but found none. Again, I refused an anesthetic for this procedure in order to prevent further toxins from entering my body. The process was not painful, and when viewed in combination with an earlier experience during a bone marrow test, it supported my decision to avoid anesthetics and pain medications as much as possible, as many of them may not only have been unnecessary, but in my case would have likely increased the level of toxins in my body. At this point I had drawn an absolute line in the sand with respect to toxins entering my body. I also refused further x-rays1, making a decision to opt for one only if my body experienced pain or impairment from a possible blockage – and only if more natural methods could not be utilized to help that situation. It took two visits to the oncologist before he understood that when I said no, I meant no!

Some readers may wonder why would I seek the services of an oncologist while going through natural healing. When the short-term medical coverage through my employment expired, it was necessary to establish a long-term disability claim in order to obtain the financial means to at least partially cover expenses for a naturopath and nutritionist; to ensure that death benefits were available; and to maintain, to some reasonable extent, our previous standard of living. Even with the modest compensation I received, nothing covered the additional costs of organic food, supplements or traveling considerable distances to seek the assistance of natural health practitioners. But both Jim and I felt these expenses were absolutely necessary for me to heal, as well as for our future together. In addition, if I really wanted to become healthy naturally, I was advised to take time off work to allow the body to heal. That further reduced our income at a time we really needed more, not less. Unfortunately, services provided by naturopathic doctors and nutritionists are not covered by provincial government Health Insurance Plans, and few of their services are covered to any extent by many private medical insurance plans. This is something that must change in the future.

I also applied to the health benefits section of the Canada Pension Plan, a federal government health insurance program. I had been paying premiums through employment insurance (EI) and Canada Pension (CPP) since I was sixteen. But both the Canada Pension Plan benefits program and the disability insurer denied these claims, stating that I was not sick enough according to their standards. Imagine that - after having received a letter from the oncologist who stated unequivocally that I was terminally ill and was going to die. It makes one wonder who is responsible for writing those regulations, and based on what logic?

Then, to obtain long-term disability, the insurers made an appointment for me with a psychiatrist. I was advised to keep that appointment, as they would no longer correspond with me on this subject if I did not. The psychiatrist was quite surprised with the response of the insurance company, but after he filed his letter of support, I was finally able to establish a claim.

I did not reapply for Canada Pension benefits as the entire fiasco was such a negative experience, and to heal naturally requires one to remain positive. That is difficult to do in today’s world. To heal naturally one must visualize being healthy, but to access the funds I had worked so hard to acquire, I was forced to proclaim that I was not only disabled, but was going to die. That certainly was not positive, but rather the complete opposite of what was required for me to become healthy again It was a paradox that had to be overcome.

It is crucial to understand that when someone is informed that (s)he has a terminal disease, that such information is according to one tradition and one tradition only - that of allopathic medicine - and there may well be other alternatives to consider. When the subconscious is given no hope, an individual can move rapidly towards death, quite often without just cause. As stated earlier, the body can heal itself when the proper conditions and tools are available to do so. Finding those conditions with help from others, including medical doctors, naturopaths and nutritionists is crucial. Reducing toxins from all sources (including toxic medications), undergoing detoxification, the inclusion of proper nutrients, immune builders, and hope gives each person the best chance to live. And first on that list are toxins, which must be removed, not added to the body’s burden.

At the beginning of my diagnosis for cancer, had the information gathered for the writing of this book been readily available to me (in a single book or location), without having to research and test each situation as I went along, perhaps what took me almost three years to learn could have occurred over a much shorter period of time, even as little as several months. That is what I hope to give to each reader of this book, much as Judit Rajhathy did with her seminal publication, Free to Fly: a journey toward wellness. Unfortunately, I did not have the advantage of reading Ms. Rajhathy’s book until I was many months into my research and had already begun the detoxification process. While my liver would have required two years to completely regenerate, had I known about this book, as well as other information earlier, the process would certainly have been much less stressful. Although my emotional link to illness was only hinted at slightly in the beginning of this chapter, it was not until much later that I came to realize the critical impact that emotions1 had on my health.

Reversing illness or disease is a unique process, somewhat akin to peeling an onion. Not only does the body heal itself from the top down and then inside out, but it also heals from the most recent illness (in my case, terminal cancer) through past stages in one’s life. As each layer heals, the next one is ready to be worked upon. Each layer is hidden by symptoms from the previous stage and it is not until that layer is repaired, that the next becomes apparent. All illness or disease has an emotional attachment and those issues will often relate back to childhood situations. As such, resolution of an attached emotional issue must occur before moving forward through the next layer. To achieve this resolution I utilized several books, researched the Internet, located a spiritual medium, as well as a program entitled The Way of the HeartTM. I also had help from my naturopath and nutritionist, as well as self-analysis utilizing muscle response testing (MRT). It is also necessary to come to terms with the illness or disease itself. The latter can be completed with the help of a health practitioner who can check one’s subconscious levels through MRT.

Once the cancer was in remission, the next step on my journey was to begin to support a weakened liver and pancreas, which had created a pathway for body wasting, known as cachexia. After that I had to deal with a yeast condition (Candidiasis) that had caused digestive issues and another bout of acidic pH. After that there was adrenal fatigue that affected both the thyroid and parathyroid, which along with arsenic poisoning, eventually helped to create a blocked lymphatic capillary; as well as other health-related issues, including an under-active stomach and parasitic infestations. Re-building my immune system was a vital part in this process, along with the removal of environmental and emotional toxins, from childhood to the present. My journey was rather long, as I had to learn at each step. It was not found in a single place, in plain black and white to read and follow, but required many books and many sources of information from which to glean what was essential for me to heal.

The personal relationship with my husband also changed following the diagnosis for cancer. At first, I felt that he pulled away emotionally from me and became distant. It appeared as if Jim was subconsciously protecting his heart. If I died it would hurt, but if he slowly stepped away now, he may have unconsciously thought it would be less painful. But we were lucky. We had always communicated our feelings to one another, so we talked it out and then worked with the naturopath as a team. However, another aspect of our relationship was less fortunate - our sexual relationship had changed as well. At first Jim was afraid he might hurt me, and, perhaps, at a subconscious level, he also feared that he might ‘catch’ my disease. Then later, we could no longer be spontaneous with one another. The process of stopping long enough to assess the situation made us realize that each time we had intercourse my body received more of Jim’s toxins. Due to the excess levels of toxins already in my body, each time we were intimate my body produced a negative response. Often a virus would appear and I would have to add extra Noni juice and Kyolic garlic to gain control again. At that point, we began to use condoms regularly and Jim began to detoxify his body on a regular basis.

Blood tests, observation of tumor growth and the regular analysis of symptoms became my constant companions, as well as guidelines and directions for the future. However, x-rays were not an option for me as a diagnostic tool. The body tells us what it needs on a daily basis, and cancer, although a very serious disease process, it is just as much a symptom of problems in the body as a headache or stomachache. Cancer is a symptom of a malnourished body due to many of the following: weakened cells, lack of appropriate amounts of pure water, excess protein intake, insufficient carbohydrates, environmental and emotional toxins, improper nutrition, as well as a lack of exercise, fresh air and sunlight.

The body is the first to warn us when something is wrong; it talks to us through the experiences of pain, pleasure, anxiety or even feelings of relaxation. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to take the time to listen to the body, and most people are not well versed in what their body is saying to them. They have not been trained or educated in this very important skill. The position one should adopt is to determine the cause for each symptom, and ascertain whether those causes can be reversed, rather than seeking out medications that may simply postpone or mask those symptoms.

Editor’s Notes on reading and using this book: A detailed chronology of the author’s illness from her first benign tumor in 1976 to allergies and food poisoning in the early eighties, through an entire series of devastating symptoms during the later years of the last two decades, ultimately leading to the diagnosis of terminal cancer in 2002, is detailed in Appendix A. This appendix also chronicles a very real failure on the part of specialized or compartmentalized allopathic medicine, which unfortunately treated each episode or condition as separate incidents or illnesses, while her body gradually broke down, resulting in an inevitable slide into a state of chronic disease with the ultimate diagnosis of 4th stage terminal cancer. This chronology not only describes each episode or stage of the disease process, but also presents a retrospective analysis of the most likely cause or causes of each event or illness.

Although it is fascinating reading, the information in this chronology overlaps much of Susan’s personal story thus far, and is not essential before proceeding through the subsequent chapters of this book. Therefore, it has been placed as Appendix A of this publication, giving readers a choice of turning the page to proceed to Chapter Two (B for body, the first letter in B.A.L.A.N.C.E.) or reading Anatomy of Illness and the Development of Cancer: a Chronology on page 273 before doing so. Many readers may also find the latter chronology a good summary once the entire book has been read. It is a choice each reader gets to make!

The remainder of Susan’s personal story is included, as relevant and appropriate, in each chapter of this publication. These personal anecdotes are intertwined with research on how readers can reverse disease if they are currently ill and live a healthier life in the future by following this advice. Susan’s personal story, which relates to the content of each chapter, have been designated by placing the text between two medieval garlands as follows: Shorter passages were often placed in rectangular boxes within the body of the text to assist readers to maintain the connections and threads of the essential messages of the publication, as well as to explain Susan’s progress, including setbacks, during her journey towards wellness.

The book not only includes one individual’s personal recovery from the very brink of extinction in this mortal world, but also includes extensive research from the allopathic and ‘alternative’ medical literature, as well from the vast world of natural healing. We trust that the substantial amount of information and research contained in this publication has been presented as simply and clearly as possible, although we recognize that the scientific and medical information can be somewhat technical at times. The appendices, footnotes and references to web sites or reference books were included for those who want more detailed research - without interfering with the flow of the main story.

The chapters are inexorably linked to one another as they unfold to tell the story of Susan’s recovery from cancer and triumphant return to wellness through BALANCE. However, each chapter is also a complete concept in itself, and some readers may wish to skip to a section that is particularly relevant to their own personal situations before proceeding to the remaining chapters. That will work as well. The order is less important than eventually reading the entire book to uncover the intricate healing connections that result from knowing one’s body well and giving it the support it requires to heal itself. It is anticipated that this process will provide each reader with the information and tools required to travel from a state of illness to one of wellness, and to remain healthy and happy in the rather complex, but often toxic, world of the 21st Century.

Much of the material is relatively easy reading, albeit some information is rather complex and will require time to distill and incorporate into one’s base of knowledge. That is why this publication has also been indexed: to enable readers to easily locate and/or to return to selected concepts or topics; to use this publication as a reference book on specific health-related issues or concerns; or, indeed, to use it to begin their own research on conditions or illnesses of particular interest to them. Such approaches will not only permit readers to emulate the processes followed by the author on her path to recovery, but should assist them in tailoring that research to their own situations.

So make your choice now.

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