EMAIL mj.morris@live.ca


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Aging better and enjoying the ride as the merry-go-round slows down with each week a new adventure of Chapleau Moments

Gosh, with all the really big stories floating around the twitterverse recently, I thought that I would pontificate on at least one of them.

But to mark the eighth anniversary of Chapleau Moments I will leave them alone, and share some thoughts based on a column written by Virginia Bell for Huffington Post on "aging better", particularly as it relates to doing the column all these years.

Bell claims it gets better as you get older "You get better. Life gets better. The merry-go-round slows down and you can finally enjoy the ride..."

I really am not the one to judge if the columns have improved at all over the years, but on a very personal basis, I have really been enjoying the ride --- I have learned so much about Chapleau, its life, its times and, most wonderfully, its people since 1885 or so. And folks, in eight years, I am the first to admit I have only scratched the surface.

As far as life goes, I agree with Bell wholeheartedly as  my merry-go-round slows down and I enjoy the ride. For example, each week is a new adventure as I research a column. and so often say to myself, "I never knew that..."

But before I continue with my metaphor mashing, I need to thank some of those people without whom I would never have been able keep the column going. And I know naming names is always risky, as my memory sometimes fades, but I will mention at least a few.

Mario Lafreniere, the publisher of the Chapleau Express has been totally supportive since Day One, and I appreciate the opportunity he gave me to do the column. And I would never have been able to co-author 'The Chapleau Boys Go To War" with my cousin Michael McMullen if I had not been writing it.

I also appreciate Michael's assistance with other columns, as well as filling in for me along with Ian Macdonald earlier this year with columns while I was away in Orlando --- and both Michael and Ian have been part of it all for the entire eight years. Both are Chapleau boys who continue to have a keen interest in the community.

Mike and Ian have produced some real insights into Chapleau's history, and I hope they will continue to do so.

Harry 'Butch' Pellow my lifelong friend died on December 13, 2016, and I often go back and read some of his contributions. Despite living in Toronto most of his life, Butch never forgot his roots, and shared his memories. I miss him greatly. Butch's brother Dr Bill Pellow has also been a great help.

Doug Greig, researcher extraordinaire, is also gone now, but all of us interested in Chapleau's history, owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his work in compiling  the community's history.

My cousin Anne (Zufelt) McGoldrick, has been so helpful too. There is little she does not know about Chapleau people, and if she doesn't, she finds it very quickly. Thanks Anne.

When I first started the column, I relied heavily on the collections of my mother, Muriel (Hunt) Morris, and my aunt, Marion (Morris) Kennedy.

The Richard Brownlee Papers have also been a great source of information, and I am so thankful to Margaret Rose (Payette) and Bobby Fortin for kindly loaning them to me.

Over the past eight years, I have heard from so many people, and I thank all of you so much.

 My two trips home for the 90th anniversary reunion of Chapleau High School in 2012 and to launch "The Chapleau Boys Go To War" in 2015 were awesome experiences as I wandered about town, and chatted with so many folks. I must mention my back lane tour in 2015 with my lifelong friend Ken Schroeder --- wonderful memories from our growing up years, and Ken has a great memory.

I have spent almost all my life doing and teaching communications, media and so on starting with a play when I was in Grade 4 at Chapleau Public School.

I recall that after retiring from College of the Rockies faculty  in 2000, the phone didn't ring as much; I was no longer the centre of attention as the sage on the the stage in front of the classroom, which I had, at least in my own mind, been for more than 30 years. It was downright depressing and I recall chatting over coffee with Dr Berry Calder, the college president about it.

Berry laughed and gave  me the solution. "Come up here and and get a cup of coffee from my pot which you have been doing for years, wander the halls and chat." I did and soon I drifted away from the college, gradually making the adjustment. I hardly ever visit now.

MJM a Michael Pelzer photo

Back to Virginia Bell who offers good advice on aging better: "The projects we pursue and the life we lead need to reflect ...and be aligned with who we are now and not who we once were. If we're able to make that transition then getting older can be a rich and fulfilling experience."

Writing Chapleau Moments reflects part of me "aging better"  as my merry go round  has slowed and each week I am able to share a bit of the life, times and people of Chapleau. Yes, Virginia, getting older is a rich and fulfilling experience!.

P.S. I have provided photos of some of the Chapleau gang at a party in 2014 at the home of Butch and Brigitte Pellow in Toronto.

My email is mj.morris@live.ca

Photo Info

Butch, Dr Bill, Ian, MJM

Mike McMullen and MJM in serious chat about book


All these guys played hockey in Chapleau.Back Jim Machan, Vince Crichton, Ian Macdonald, Geoffrey Hong, Mike McMullen. Front. MJM (briefly), Frank Broomhead, Bill Hong, Butch, Jim Hong, Bill Hong, Yen Hong, Aldee Martel, Ken Schroeder

All the girls were In CHS Cadet Corps. Neil Ritchie was commanding officer. Back Donna Lane, Betty Anne O'Brien, Doreen Cormier, Anne Keays, Naomi Mizuguchi, Gemma Ouellet, Shirley Cormier, Dorothy Honda. Front Neil. Diane Dowsley, Butch, Alison McMillan, Joy Evans, Jean Hong

Michael J Morris

Michael J Morris
MJ with Buckwheat (1989-2009) Photo by Leo Ouimet


click on image


Following the American Dream from Chapleau. CLICK ON IMAGE