My great-great grandfather, Seward Bucknam Benson lived in this house at Seal Cove, on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. Bucknams’s daughter, my great grandmother Wealtha Irene Benson wrote on a postcard, “This is our home on Grand Manan where I was born and brought up.”
Bucknam Benson was a fisherman and a farmer. He lived in this house with his wife Hannah (nee Cheney) and his four daughters, Winifred, Wealtha, Eva and Anita and his three sons Alfred, Warren and Maxwell. Bucknam and Hannah’s son, Alfred died of diphtheria at age 15 in 1886.
We saw this house when it was for sale. It had a lovely pantry but the foundation walls were crumbling. The price was around ninety thousand. It has a beautiful view of Seal Cove Beach. It is built on part of the Caleb Benson’s original 100 acre grant. The house is still there today on Red Point Road, in Seal Cove. Caleb Benson’s grave is in the field between the house and the beach.
I took the photograph for this rug in Aug. of 2000.
On February 3rd, I drove from Sunnyvale to San Jose. I went to Hanchett Residence Park and took photos of Arts and Crafts Movement Houses. I was there about noon. All three of these houses are on Martin Avenue. Hanchett Resident Park is bounded by Alameda, Hester, Park and Race Streets.
My New Year’s resolution is to scan my son Ian’s baby photos. I studied photography at the Ontario College of Art so I was used to shooting photos and making a contact print and printing a few in the darkroom. At the time I had a darkroom in the basement but I remember being in the darkroom when Laura was a baby and having to drop everything to run for the baby when she woke from her nap. Being in the darkroom doesn’t fit in with being pregnant or nursing a baby. I kept on shooting but didn’t ever print. By the time baby #3 came along, I came to the realization that printing in the darkroom just wasn’t going to happen. We had moved and I no longer had a darkroom. So baby #3 I took the film to a lab and ordered a machine print of everything. I have some of Laura’s early photos printed and all of Douglas’ and Patrick’s (machine prints) but poor Ian, his baby photos have never seen the light of day.
One of Lindsay’s aunts by marriage sent us $25.00 towards the baby’s education — the baby was Laura. But we didn’t save the money, we bought a baby swing instead. It seemed like it would be more fun. Ian is beside the wood stove. The wood stove came with a name: Reginald — I think the stove came from Ireland. The stretchy sleeper has a nautical theme — navy blue with white trim and a sailor collar. The floor was newish. We didn’t have the quarter round down yet — that is a piece of Quarter round in the background.
Here we are in the backyard — it was about as big as a postage stamp. It was my first garden. We had torn down the garage to make more room. I am babysitting my friend’s son Bennie and my sister brought Russell over to play with Bennie. There is evidence that Ian and Laura have been out in the yard — the empty infant seat and the empty high chair. My sister must have come on the subway with Anna in the stroller. My bedroom slippers are in the backyard. Did I wear them out there?
We still have this hand knit white sweater made by Lindsay’s mother. I’ve given it to Laura for my grand children. It’s after a rain or maybe even during a rain.
This is an old dairy barn in Prince Edward County that my daughter Laura lusts after. She loves this barn and wants to own it and of course the land it is on. Her dream is that someday the barn could be converted to a house. Laura and her family have the use of the land right now and they have planted hazelnut trees for the future. They have also planted marvelous heirloom tomatoes in many shades of reds, oranges and yellows, potatoes (also is many shades of reds, yellows, purples and blue), zucchini and garlic. There are apples and grapes there already. There is a view of Lake Ontario in the distance and you can swim just down the road. Laura and her family are in the process of sorting out what needs to be done to make this land theirs.
My daughter Laura was born and raised in Toronto. She started her own company, Cubitsorganics.com which sells rare and heirloom seeds for urban gardeners. And urban gardening has led to a desire a place in the country. It is reminiscent of the old TV show Green Acres. “Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreading out so far and wide” has an almost universal appeal. This rug is really just the beginning of a story. This is a place that I hope becomes important to my family’s history.