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

27 November, 2012


Before the death of her 16-year-old twin daughter, Sarah, Caroline Flohr says she was living under some major misapprehensions.  “Like so many, I believed that tragedies happened somewhere else, to other families, and were something we only read about,” she says.

On Aug. 23, 2004, it happened in her community – to her family. Sarah died in a car accident. It would take Caroline several years to come to some kind of peace.  “I believed that death came after a life had been fully lived, when one was long past childhood. I was wrong,” says Caroline who writes about her family’s spiritual journey in the memoir, “Heaven’s Child,” (

On the fifth anniversary of Sarah’s death, her friends and family agreed to gather enmass in order to set Caroline free. She would be released from her family’s pain and grief, powerful emotions that ensnared her spirit. The family accepted her loss in a celebratory ceremony at Sarah’s grave.  “I’ve allowed my heart to mend, to hold onto Sarah’s memory but not the pain of her loss,” she says, adding that she has become a more complete and spiritual person since the death of her daughter, and explains how her faith made that possible:
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King … What does a bereaved mother do with the rest of her teenage daughter’s life, which has moved on to the next stage? After a few weeks, Caroline cancelled Sarah’s cell phone, and the family slowly returned to a regular routine. Caroline lights a candle during dinner, with a picture of Sarah and her twin sister placed nearby. Though she can’t see Sarah, she feels her presence. It may be in the kindness of a stranger, the sudden appearance of something that was lost, the smell of a certain fragrance. Faith is believing in that which you can’t see – and not ignoring what you can feel.

• The present is a present: Within weeks of Sarah’s death, the family dog, Emmett, died. After so much loss, the family welcomed a yellow Labrador, which would be named Lady Brooke. While witnessing the joy the dog brought back to the household, it became abundantly clear that experiencing joy in life was a gift. Indeed, every moment given to us should be considered a gift, including the memories of loved ones no longer physically in our lives.

• Interweaving death with life: In the five years from Aug. 23, 2004 to Aug. 24, 2009, Caroline learned how to weave the reality of death into her daily life. Death is no longer one heavy fact that cuts through life but rather a part of life that makes joy sweeter and relationships richer. By interweaving death with life, we are always reminded of what is important.
NOTE:  Caroline Flohr was a busy wife and mother to five children when her 16-year-old twin daughter was tragically taken from her. She was forced to dig into the deeper meaning of existence and came away with profound edification. Flohr lives with her husband and children on Bainbridge Island, a suburb of Seattle. She will be a participating author at Seattle University’s Search For Meaning Conference in March 2013.

Thank you to a friend for bringing this story to my attention.

24 November, 2012


AUNT FANNY, 1856-1938
I was very pleased to be able to scan successfully the above tintype portrait of my Aunt Fanny (Perry) Pike taken in 1874 when she was 18 years of age.  "Tintypes" have become precious collector's items and I learned the hard way not to attempt to clean them with anything...Not even a damp soft tissue.  Touching the tintype in any way (i.e. rubbing it) will destroy the image, as was the case with another prized tintype in my possession that I thought I would "clean up just a little".

I will now post "Aunt Fanny" on my Perry family web site and place the tintype in an envelope for safe keeping.  It is remarkable to me how it survived 138 years virtually unprotected, rattling around in a collection of family photographs.  I never met Aunt Fanny.  She died as a result of burns suffered in a Strathroy house fire in 1938 when I was just a baby, but I am the benefactor of a number of her personal belongings, including a family bible.
Tintype photography falls between the invention of the daguerreotype in 1833 and the introduction of rolled film in 1888.  In the mid-19th century, the tintype provided an inexpensive technology for the masses to capture their loved ones on film.  They were widely popular or a few decades, but remained in use right up to the 1950s.
A tintype -- also known as a ferrotype -- is an image produced on a thin metallic sheet that is not actually tin but coated iron. The name "tintype" may refer to the tin snips used to cut the sheets apart. Or the name may have generically referred to a cheap metal -- anything other than silver. A tintype is a form of ambrotype, which is an under-exposed negative that appears as a positive image when placed on top of a dark background. Tintypes were a major step forward from glass plate negatives, which were fragile and more time-consuming to produce.

Adolphe Alexandre Martin of France invented the tintype process in 1853. Tintypes were extremely popular among Civil War soldiers, who loved to have their pictures taken in uniform to send back home. Tintypes were also commonly used to photograph the dead, a practice that was popular throughout the 19th century. Itinerant photographers would make tintypes from their tents or horse-drawn wagons. Town photographers used them in their photo parlors.

To create a tintype, the photographer coated the metal plate in collodion or gelatin and other chemicals. He would allow the plate to dry until it just became tacky. Next he dipped the plate into silver nitrate. The photographer had to take the picture before the plate dried completely. It took about five seconds of exposure, so photographers often provided a headrest for portrait sittings to help the subject remain still. The tintype was then mounted and coated with varnish before being presented to the customer. The image on a tintype appears "backward" because it is a negative. Objects held in the right hand appear to be held in the left, as if looking into a mirror.

Tintypes were sturdier than ambrotypes, so they could be mailed or mounted in an album, yet they were thin enough to be cut into smaller shapes for brooches or lockets. Tintypes were also less expensive to produce than other technologies available at the time, making them more affordable for the working class. Before tintypes, only the wealthy were able to create images of their cherished friends and loved ones.

Read more: History of Tintype Portraits |

16 November, 2012

Hey turkey, we cross here!
Saugeen Shores has to be the Wild Turkey capital of Canada.  The savvy birds can be seen just about everywhere this time of year, especially in farmers' fields.  Averaging in the 20 pounds range, the turkeys suddenly take cover during the open hunting season in April and May.  Mother Nature equips them well.  The pedestrian birds in the above photo follow the leader in crossing the road -- and they took their good time doing it.  Wild turkeys were pretty much wiped out in Ontario in the early 1900s through unregulated hunting and deforestation. In the mid-1980s, the province embarked on a restoration program with contributions of wild turkeys from the U.S. Approximately 4,400 wild turkeys were released at 275 sites across Ontario and the turkey population now has exceeded the numbers projected by the Ontario Wild Turkey Management Plan.  The province-wide population currently exceeds 100,000.

05 November, 2012


I was taken by a little item tucked away at the bottom of an inside page of a newspaper this morning.  It "talked" about the joy in doing something right.

True enough, when things fall naturally into place, we cannot help but smile.  The universe clearly loves us.  The cosmos is on our side.

But, wait a minute...What about the times when things do not seem to work out so well?  We figure we must be in receipt of punishment for some terrible choices we made at some point along the way.  Rarely, if ever, is it all quite so simple, however.

So we should not take it all too personally the next time we find ourselves entering a series of situations that bring a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction and leave us feeling as if we must be doing something right.

Right is right and wrong is wrong.  Never the twain shall meet.

I'm not sure what I just said.  Ever have days like that?  Hopefully you get my drift though.

I'll get back to you after I have had a chance to think about this a little more.