Page 11 - Hattie Carmichael of the Meadow Road / Book Review: The Glen "An Gleann's an Robh Mi Og"
ISSUE : Issue 35
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1
I remember a young woman that was here the other day, and she was talking about how busy she was and all the things she had to do, and she was talking about something a- bout the men's work. Now, she said, "The men--they don't know what it's all about." I don't like that kind of talk. I think the men do their share. And I think they are very good to do it, some of them. But I know that they don't take a woman's place. I know that they don't take a wo? man's place as far as thinking of doing a thing, and doing it, too"' (That' s right, the thinking of it is very important. I think a man gets reminded by the season.) Yes. That's right. (But a woman has to be alert in a different way.) I know she has. Yeah. And some women are different, too. Some women are shocking as far as I'm con? cerned, shocking to think about, how lit? tle they know how to do anything. And I don't know why they are like that. But they are, some of them. And I guess we can't help them. (11) Our thanks to the following for the numbered photographs used as illustrations for this article: (1) and (2) Canadian Geographic Magazine, (3) Ruth Matheson, North Shore, (4) Marble Mountain Museum, (5) Malcolm Mac? Donald, Fourchu, (6) Allan Gwinn, Sugarloaf, (7) Canadian Geographic Magazine, (8) Malcolm MacDonald, Fourchu, (9) Beaton Institute, UCCB, (10) Ruth Matheson, North Shore, (11) Beaton Institute, UCCB. For their help in preparing this article, thanks to Shirley MacDonald, North Sydney, Donna Mikol, and Christine MacKenzie. Book Review: The Glen: "An Gleann's an Robh Ml Og" by Msgr. M. A. MacLellan, Illustrations by Terry Sutherland, Antigonish: Casket Printing and Publishing Co., Ltd., paper, no price given. Review by Mary K. MacLeod In The Glen Msgr. MacLellan has written a moving account of thetoeauty, history, lifestyle and people of his native community, Glenville, Inverness County. He charts the evolution of the place from its settlement by Highland emigrants in the 1820s through MacLellan's departure for university a century later. Throughout this era few, if any, dramatic changes occurred • farming remained the chief occupation of the people; most belonged to the Roman Catholic faith; most, if not all. continued to speak the Gaelic language. The drama in the Glen took the shape of the ability of the people to sun/ive • as exemplified in the MacLellan famify's struggle for survival after the early death of the father. Life in the Glen was not easy The work was long, onerous and difficult. Faith, weddings, wakes, pie socials and ceilidhs eased the strain and helped the _ people to endure. Endurance is the theme that emerges from this small book, the ability of individuals to overcome the adversities of life. MacLellan's description of his native one-room school causes one to marvel at the educational success he attained himself. His tale of the Christmas celebrations is a testament to the faith of the people and an indictment of what we have allowed Christmas to become. His account of his mother's premature widowhood, and her efforts to raise the family (in the days of no government assistance) leave the reader with a sense of wonder at her strength of mind and character. And this chronicle is riot without its humour, a sense of fun that is highlighted, for instance, in the portraiture of Joe Allan ("the King's") casual approach to life: "He was generally late with the planting and so also with the harvesting: even his marriage was so late that regrettably he did riot have a family" In his unsentimental account of Glenville,' MacLellan hopefully destroys forever the myth that there was a certain romantic glamour attached to growing up in rural Cape Breton at the turn of the century. The beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people should not detract from the fact that life was hard, so hard that our country communities nearly disappeared in the early decades of this century MacLellan has written the story of Glenville with realism, dignity and lucidity. His writing easefully recreates the Glen and its people. The simple and concise illustrations by Terry Sutherland add an appropriately meaningful dimension to the book. This Book Review courtesy THE ATLANTIC PROVINCES BOOK REVIEW, Atlantic Canada Studies, Saint Mary's University.
Cape Breton's Magazine