Memories of Innisville – By Mrs. Edith Bolton–
Here on the hill and in this park at Innisville
Which overlooks the lovely Mississippi Lake,
The urge came over me to take my pen
And tell of things as they were told to me.
The placid pond above the rapids fast
Is calm and peaceful in a changing world,
It mirrors round its banks the trees and reeds
And soaring fish-hawks with their wings unfurled.
It isn’t bridge of steel I see in memory
But dam of logs with flume at either end
That forced the water fast to turn the wheels
Of two grist mils and woollen factory.
This little village on the river banks so green
Did know depression in the troubled days of old
When woollen mill closed down and building ceased
The fire then destroyed the big stone mill.
The old Orange Hall so sorely needing paint
Has stood the gales and winds of many years:
Then farther back and in the old log house
Lived Robbie, John and Fanny, his good wife.
The village Church, which stood upon the slope.
The choir which so sweetly sane, “Abide with Me”,
They all are gone but still the timbers of the Church
Were used to build a hall in a community.
And memory brings back to me the wooden bridge of old,
The lady who did live a hundred years and two,
The old board sidewalks with their crazy slant
And there, I think I see, Jerry with his came.
He walked as sailors walk on deck of ship
And stories told of travels far and wide,
How proud he was of all that he had seen
Then settled here, with Bessie for his bride.
And women here, with names as told to me
Were Granny Hughes, McLaren and Granny Dial,
No cigarettes were theirs to comfort bring
They smoked their ‘baccey in their old, clay pipes.
The blacksmith ship, high on the river bank,
The forge, the anvil and the horses’ shoes,
They all are in the past, but there the old stone house
Reminds us still that there lived Bob and Susan Hughes.
The Fenders house that burned in later years
The schoolhouse with its flight of wooden steps
Up which the schoolboys trudged reluctantly
With small birch switch which took the place of strap.
The wagon-shop of Johnathan of old,
The home where typhoid fever struck,
The old log piers beneath the bridge of wood,
The big frame house where once lived Jimmy Mac.
The brick house which was owned by Mr. Code
The old post office and little general store
And down there by the point, a tannery
All these were here, and I know there wee more;
The two saloons with whisky made in Perth,
The spittoons and their dark, old oaken floors
The hunter bold who stalked the mounted crane
While two girls watched him though the window pane.
And I recall the names of Hillis, Paul and Dial
As some of those who walked this street as girls and boys,
Crampton, Evoy, Churchill, Morris, Rath, Cornett and Irvine,
Hammond, Ruttle, Bolton, McLaren, Rathwell and Ireton
And let not forget the Martins and McCoys.
They skated boldly on the river ice,
And raced the spotted pony far above the current swift;
They watched the wild ducks southward fly in early spring.
And heard the wild geese northward fly in early spring.
They listened to the songs of whip-poor-wills at twilight
And wakened to the rumble of the rapids in the dawn
And some there are who will remember two who drowned
For one was Percy and the other one was John.
And there are those who travelled far away
And of their dreams, I’m sure that there are some
Of boom of bull-grogs in the soggy march
And splash of fish when sucker-time had come.
And there are other things that are remembered
The hunting of the coons on moonlight nights,
The fishing through the ice in wintertime,
The Log Drive in the Spring, OH, what a sight!
The rushing of the water through the flumes,
The turning of the stones which ground the grain,
The rattle of the carders and the looms.
All here were heard, but ne’er will be again.
Nostalgic memories come back to me
Of honey taken from the hive of the wild bees
And spread on Scottish scones of oatmeal dark,
And picking cranberries beneath the tamarack trees.
It isn’t cars and trucks I hear today
Nor tires as they screech and skid and scream,
But what I hear is the thunder of the rapids in the spring,
And crack of frost in ice when winter came.
The elm tree down by the river’s edge,
The pine grove with its trees so very tall,
If they could tell the tales that I have missed
‘T’’would make my story very, very small.
But, if you now, my readers, have grown weary
Forgive me, for I dearly love to rhyme,
And if my story has not been too dreary
I’ll come again and visit you sometime.
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)
thanks to Larry Clark