Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

28 November, 2008


Jesus went about doing good,
or did he do good "in a boat"?
I included the above scan of two antique Sunday School cards in my new Perry Family web site this week. The cards, and several others, were left to me by my Great Aunt Lizzie Perry. She received the cards at Sunday School in 1858 when she was six years of age, so they are prized possessions.
A couple of years ago I used the cards as the subject of a Children's Story presentation during a church service that I was conducting. Truth be known, I have always had reservations about Children's Story time as part of an adult worship service....Nine times out of 10 the minister's best efforts go right over the children's heads, so why bore the kids any more than necessary and let them escape to their Sunday School classes where teachers have lessons and exercises prepared for them.
Anyway, I thought the first two verses of the "Mother Telling Sunday Stories" card on the right might just grab the children's attention on this particular Sunday because it speaks of a time that was so different from today.
God made the day of rest
The holy Sabbath day,
For us to think and talk of Him,
And not for work or play.
I'll put away my toys
Safely the night before,
And Sundays I'll be very still,
Till Monday comes once more...
I drew a parallel for the kids, explaining that "the Sabbath" as a day of rest was no doubt the way it was for their grandparents when they grew up but that things have changed today. Rules about our activities on Sundays have been relaxed considerably, perhaps to a point where there are no rules. I stressed, however, that one thing that has not changed is that "we come to Sunday School to learn about the Bible and how we might copy the good things that Jesus did for the world."
I left my spell-bound (?) young listeners with a little story about my four-year-old cousin Curtis and his first exposure to Sunday School. Naturally, it was a completely new world for Curtis and he tried very hard to listen to everything the teacher said.
When Sunday School was over his anxious mother Norma was waiting outside for him. "What did you learn in Sunday School? she asked. "Oh, about Jesus in a boat," was young Curt's surprise answer.
"Jesus in a boat? Are you sure? his mother questioned further. "Yeah," he said, handing his Sunday School card of the day over to his mom. "See, Jesus in a boat doing good."
Curtis couldn't read of course and it sure sounded to him like the teacher said "Jesus in a boat..." His mother waited until they got home to explain that the teacher had actually said: "Jesus went about doing good," just as it said on the card and in the Bible..
I reasoned to the sober, wide-eyed faces starring up at me that it really did not matter if Jesus "went about" or if he was "in a boat". The message was the thing..."doing good!" After all Jesus walked on water and he instructed the fishermen to re-cast their nets, so why wouldn't he minister from a boat?
In retrospect, I kind of like Curtis' interpretation better.
My concluding prayer with the children went something like this:
"Thank you Lord for loving us and giving us Jesus.
Thank you also for giving us Sunday School.
Bless our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles
who look after us and make us feel safe.
We pray in the name of Jesus who 'went in a boat doing good'. Amen."

27 November, 2008


Story of commitment, work and love

It never stops!...I have set up another blog site featuring the Perry family, the other branch in my family tree. Those who are interested may visit The Perrys: My Other Half at I think that has my family background pretty well covered now. But I`m not promising anything.

26 November, 2008


I continue to receive interesting responses from equally interesting people who feel moved to comment on our Memories of Dresden web site. It is encouraging to realize that we may have struck a chord of sorts with this reflective piece of work.

Brian Tricker of Barrie was referred to the site by his cousin who still lives in Dresden. In an email Brian expressed amazement with my reference to taking trumpet lessons from his father Gordon in 1949-50. He was ony a tyke at the time but he shared with me some memories of his own from that period. He said that his father Gordon passed away in 2005 and that his mother is currently in a nursing home in Barrie. In a reply email I mentioned his grandfather, Walter Ticker, who was the resident paint and wallpaper merchant in Dresden for years and Brian kindly forwarded a wonderful photo of his grandfather (circa 1945) standing in front of his shop. Needless to say, I have added the photo and a special reference to Walter on the Dresden site.

My close relationship to the Sharpe family of Dresden resulted in a fruitful exchange with Rev. Ryk Brown of Hamilton, himself a family historian and genealogist. Ryk, minister of the Aldershot Presbyterian Church, is married to the former Heather Sharp. He was so interested in my references to taking singing lessons from Heather's great grandmother May Sharpe and buying Orange Crush and playing the pinball machine at her great grandfather Ern Sharpe's gas station, that he has added them with credits to his data base and web site forum. He too, sent me some excellent photos of Ern and May's family from the 1920s and I was able to provide in exchange a photo of my uncle Harold Sharpe (Ern's brother) as well as a photo of Alex Cuthbert (May's brother) taken from a baseball team picture, circa 1910.

Ted Misslebrook was also referred to the Memories of Dresden site by a neighbor friend and was thoughtful enough to email some complimentary comments after spending his entire afternoon perusing the contents. Ted and his partner Gordon Claws (both now retired) started up the Dresden Leader newspaper in the 1960s and he and his wife are now in the process of establishing their own web site reflecting on the early days of establishing a small town weekly.

I am so relieved to know that I am not the only one inflicted with the nostalgia bug. It's a small, small world afterall. Kind of makes you feel good inside!

22 November, 2008


I have added another blog to this site "I Was a Figure Skating Dad..." which features a story I wrote in 1970 about my experiences as a first-year figure skating father. I ran across the clipping in my constant search for forgotten gems and it brought back many fond memories, so I thought I'd share the story once again with readers of Wrights Lane. In the accompanying photo I made adjustments to daughter Debbie's "Fairy" wings in preparation for her Figure Skating Carnival debut at the St. Thomas-Elgin Memorial Arena.
To access the NEW site, just click the following

14 November, 2008


Everything else goes on hold
When I started construction of an en suite bathroom addition to our house in August, 2007, I thought no problem...a month on footing, framing, siding and roofing and another month on inside insulation, drywall, flooring, tiling, plumbing and electrical and I will have the job finished by Thanksgiving at the outside.
Boy, was I ever wrong! I'm still at it 14 months later, with a long way to go. Now I'm thinking that Christmas 2008 would be a realistic goal for finishing the project, providing I rearrange priorities starting immediately.
Of course I have a few excuses like complications with the town planning department, a fussy building inspector and a long wait for installation of rough-in plumbing. I must confess, however, that the start up of my blog site this summer and far too much time spent at the computer keyboard in the interim, has been largely responsible for the situation that now looms large in my life.
Rosanne is getting antsy and has finally issued an edict: "Either finish the job, or hire someone to do it!" Understandably, she wants our bedroom back. For the past 10 months it has served as a workshop/warehouse (see top photo). Naturally
my pride will not allow me to hire someone so I have had to make a painful decision -- no more computer and Wrights Lane for the next week with every available minute spent working on the long overdue bathroom (see photo at right.)
I'll keep you advised of my progress and will certainly announce "the big flush" -- hopefully by Christmas.

12 November, 2008


When someone might care

Travis Tritt pretty much gets it right when he sings convincingly: "Here's a quarter, call someone who cares..."

I've been thinking a lot about the expression "who cares?" in recent days. Why do I write some of things that appear on this blog and elsewhere? Why do I assume so much? Who cares?

Why do I get so exercised at times -- angry, discouraged, inspired, excited, intense, emotional, sympathetic, nostalgic? Why do I expose myself and my vulnerabilities, often as a means to an end? Why do I search for rationale and reasoning?

I mean, really...Who cares? Why bother? After all, who am I?

I came across a poem this morning written by a 12-year-old boy by the name of Rae. My first impulse was to say, this kid was me 60 years ago, in fact he is pretty much me as I am today. Then I got to his last two lines and I realized that he had snuck one in on me. To be sure, a lesson that I was not expecting. See what you think.

Get up, get dressed
Wash your face
Think you're a disgrace
Go to school, bite your lip
Say to yourself, "I'm OK",
But you know you feel the same
Low down. Hurt. Confused.
Waiting for answers, day after day,
Not knowing what I'll say.
Am I going home or am I staying?
What are they saying?
Time's ticking, you just don't know.
Months pass, things are said
Tears are shed
But you don't give up
There still might be luck.
-- Rae, 12
Out of the mouth of a babe! "You don't give up." You keep coming back because of a natural, in-bred trust in hope. There is always the possibility of good fortune, or a blessing of some sort, just around the next corner.
Tomorrow there just might be someone who cares. Someone who can relate. And you know what? More often than not, someone does. That's why I do what I do!
Thanks for reminding me of that, Rae.

07 November, 2008


Bobby overcame odds all his life.
. .
When he was born with more than his fair share of health defects, doctors suggested to his mother that she should just put him in a home, walk away and forget about him. His mother refused to give in to the doom and gloom predictions and slowly but surely the little guy responded to her steadfast love and tender nurturing.
They said he would never walk, but he did.
They said he would never talk, but he did. Oh boy, did he talk!
He just did things a month or two later than most children.
He grew into an energetic, gregarious bundle of joy for his mother and everyone who came in contact with him. Granted, he had health problems -- mother and son beating a well-worn path to doctors and specialists at Sick Children's Hospital and Crippled Kids in Toronto -- but that did not slow him down a bit, any more than the hearing aids he was required to wear and troublesome unannounced epileptic seizures that increased in frequency as time wore on. "On our way home from hospital each time I would just hold him tight, so thankful that he was not as bad as the other kids that we had seen there," comments Rosanne in reflection.
Bob loved Superman, Spiderman, hockey, soccer and McDonalds hamburgers. His two-wheeler bike was his prized possession. One day he was gone from the apartment for an extended period and when he finally rushed through the door, his face beet red and sweat dripping from his face, his anxious mother asked, "Bob, what have you been doing?"
"I was doing wheelies (on his bike) in the parking lot, mom," was his matter of fact reply.

Living close to the Bramalea City Centre in Brampton, he frequented the mall with his friends after school. Clerks in almost every store knew him by name, likewise he was everyone's buddy in the apartment building where he and his mother lived. It was like he was his own goodwill ambassador. His mom would meet people she did not know in the elevator and in the hallways and invariably they would respond to her by saying, "Oh, you're Bobby's mother."
Always happy and with a big smile on his face, Bob never knew hate, anger or bigotry. He was unspoiled and innocent. He was his mother's son.

He was integrated into the public school system, played floor hockey, minor soccer and was a member of the Wolf Cubs...All normal and natural activities for a young pre-teen lad in the 1970s. He was the apple of his grandparents' eye and he looked forward to frequent visits with his Uncle John, Auntie Jane and their three sons, Paul, Ryan and Sean.
As a single mother, Rosanne made sacrifices almost daily in order to provide the necessities of life for a growing son. When there was not enough food in the home, she did not eat so that Bob could, peanut butter sandwiches being a staple. She slept lightly at night so she could respond quickly should he cry out. Bob always came first. She never tired. In truth, they needed each other. Two peas in a pod.
Sadly, health complications mounted for Bob in his early teens and out of necessity he spent the balance of his life in an extended care environment, removed for the most part from the mother who refused to give up on him at birth and with whom he had an everlasting bond. For those who loved him, the past 20 years are a blur -- private and not to dwell on.
Bob passed away recently, 14 days shy of his 40th birthday. If there is a deck of cards in Heaven, he is sure to be playing a hand at this very moment with his beloved Gzi Gzi (Ukrainian for grandfather) while a dauting Baba (grandmother) sits nearby offering encouragement, as she always did.
Rosanne meantime, smiles through tears as she repeatedly replays the precious first 14 years of her Bobby's life. He brought joy then, and he brings joy now.
Rest well young man. Rest well!

04 November, 2008


It is with sadness that I ask readers of Wrights Lane to offer a prayer for Rosanne as she mourns the recent death of her son Robert John Webb, 39, at the Dufferin Oaks Nursing Home in Orangeville.
It is not supposed to happen this way.

Out of respect, The "Word" According to Rosanne has been suspended from this site. It won't be fun any more!


01 November, 2008


She's skating with the best in women's hockey
Congratulations to "almost kissing cousin" Mallory Johnston who is skating with the world's best in the elite Canadian Women's Hockey League this year. The seven-team CWHL is stocked with players from the Canadian Olympic and National teams and cream-of-the-crop graduates from American university hockey. The CWHL is the female equivalent of the National Hockey League and is the only professionally-run women's hockey league in the world.

Teams in the premier womens league consist of Mallory's Burlington Barracudas, Brampton Canadette Thunder, Ottawa Senators, Mississauga Chiefs, Vaughn Flames, Quebec Phoenix and Montreal Stars.

One of Mallory's teammates on the Barracudas' defensive corps is Becky Keller, a 33-year-old mother of two who is a senior stalwart with the Canadian womens national hockey team. Mal says that after a couple of games she is finding the CWHL "competitive but a little more relaxed" than playing in the Eastern College Athletic Conference in the U.S.A. where she was a star performer with Colgate University Raiders for three seasons.
At Colgate she quickly became a steady contributor to the Raiders blueline and was assistant captain of the team in her last two seasons. Possessor of a hard, accurate shot, she was particularly adept on the powerplay and scored a number of game-winning goals. Upon graduation this past spring, she was awarded the Marian LeFevre Memorial Coach's Award which was indicative of the coaching staff's appreciation for her performance and overall contribution to the team.
Mallory will go down in Raiders' records as having scored one of the fastest goals in Colgate's Division 1 history, against nationally ranked Mercyhurst, just 30 seconds into the second period.
Before collecting her athletic scholarship to Colgate, Mallory played for the Bluewater Junior Hawks team which won the Intermediate AA Provincial Championship in 2003-04. Previously she played for the London Junior Stangs and the Chatham Bantam Outlaws.
She is currently living in Hamilton and hoping to find employment that will allow her to remain active in hockey with the Barracudas. Her major at Colgate was biology but she is prepared to be flexible in exploring options. Her proud parents, Dr. Curtis and Jennifer Johnston of Chatham, meantime, fully expect to see a lot of their daughter during the hockey season, what with normal magnets such as laundry facilities and a full refrigerator to pull a 22-year-old athlete home between games when the need calls for it.
Mallory comes by her athletic ability naturally. Her dad Curt was a pretty fair Junior goaltender in his hometown of Dresden and he still swings a mean golf club on courses in the Chatham area. Her late grandmother Norma Johnston, a Dresden Sports Hall of Fame inductee, was a well-rounded high school athlete and standout softball player and oraganizer/coach of minor girls softball for a number of years.

Though Hell should bar the way, I have vowed to get to at least one of Mallory's games this season. I have yet to see her play.