Page 35 - Flora McPherson: The Quest for Rev. Norman McLeod
ISSUE : Issue 66
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1994/6/1
Flora McPherson: The Quest for Rev. Norman McLeod • On the Making of Watchman Against the World • Flora McPherson's WATCHMAN AGAINST THE WORLD undoubtedly ranks as a.Cape Bre? ton Classic. It is a book of remarkable material, well-written and well-informed, first pub? lished in 1962. Breton Books has issued a brand-new edition with larger type, more photo? graphs, and the kind of national distribution that this book deserves. But Flora MacPherson grew up in Ontario, not Cape Breton. And we wanted to know how she came to research and write WATCHMAN. During a phone conversation, she said that the book grew out of a 1946 bike trip to Cape Breton. Then, a few days later, we got a letter from Flora that said: Flora McPherson: I'm sorry that I gave the off-the-cuff re? sponse that Watchman was writ- '' ~ '' ten because of a holiday bike K' 'W' trip in 1946--a flippant answer ** • ?? to a sudden question. That was i my first sight of Cape Breton but the book actually happened because it fitted into a pat? tern developed long before. My older relatives had lived in widely scattered parts of Cana? da. They were eager storytell? ers, fond of recalling the past. They were not celebrities and did not brag of their own achievements, but they took ac? tive parts in their community life. When they came to visit in Ontario they chatted about what they had experienced or about the background of their communities. Watchman Against the "'-rld Like many only children, I of- * * ., - - -r ten listened to adult conversations. Life in other times and places in Canada was very interesting to me because of its con? nection with these talkative visitors. I couldn't understand why most of my friends found Canadian history deadly dull. I presently realized that for the bored people it was made up of a series of re? mote celebrities--politicians, explorers. irkable y of ylcLeod ople lotland 'ape Breton New Zealand Flora McPherson 4, Flora on the road to Cape Breton Island in August 1946. Here, she stops at Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick. and other "great * men" formally presented in ,' thick, sombre volumes--while ' .' for me it was peopled by groups of individuals making a living in communities as we did, but af? fected by strong or unusual people who came among them. I thought that these latter stories could attract a wider audience to Canadian his? tory and help to display its range and va? riety. They would need to be carefully re? searched and presented on an adult level. STOP AT DINO'S fresh baked goods * souvenirs magazines * film * charcoal gifts * novels * camp fuel * ice Ingonish I'Mmnnniiiiiii One Stop Store & Deli STAY AT DINO'S Trailer Park Laundromat close to the National Park Ingonish Gas Tank Replacements & Repairs For Personal Efficient Service: Call 539-2122 Sydney Radiator 20 Years a Family Business 2 Years Warranty on All Paris * We Accept VISA & MASTERCARD New Heaters & Radiators or Repairs We Service and Ship 121 Prince Street, Sydney Anywhere on cape Breton island 35
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