Sunday, October 18, 2009

Write...Then Research?

      Yes I've just committed this error. I wrote a blog and posted on Hiawatha House without doing research first. When I researched immediately after posting the blog I found all kinds of in formation on Theodore Taylor and his novel  The Cay.

      I had wanted to something about tolerance and understanding. I was using The Cay to make my point. I had used the novel for many years and with numerous grade 7 classes. I found it a real gem as it was written in such a way that it appealed to kids on many levels.

     Now most of the information I discovered wouldn't have changed much in my post. I was just amazed at how much material was out there. I found numerous book reviews.

     I discovered that many teachers are still using The Cay for novel study. I retired in 97 and many teachers I taught with were not using it any more.

      I found out that Theodore Taylor had died.

    Most surprising I found that the Cay had at one time been banned!

     So yes, I learned a lesson. Do some research before you open your mouth on Hiawatha House.

My Ship is Sold

My ship didn't come in today. It was sold! In 1978 I saw a freighter canoe for sale at an auction. I was actually looking for 12 foot fishing boat. I knew what a freighter canoe was and it went for the right price, so I became the proud owner.

Not many people know what a freighter canoe is . Those of us who know them have a strong affection for them. Freighter canoes are larger than the double-pointed paddling canoes. They have a flat stern and you can attach an outboard motor for power. They are much wider than regular canoes. These vessels draw very little water and as a result can be propelled with very little power at a good rate of speed. They are easy to handle and smooth riding. I have used them on lakes , rivers and the sea. Aboriginal people from coast to coast like to use them as they were reasonably priced , very sturdy and easily repaired . And you guessed it; they had a large capacity for cargo.

I first encountered the freighter canoe when I was teaching in Inuvik, NWT. One of the best trips I ever had was going down the Great Bear River. This river drains Great Bear Lake into the Mackenzie River. There were 21 miles of rapids, which we floated down with the outboard motor turned off. I then met the canoe again on the far northern coast of Quebec. There we ran up and down Wakeham Bay and out on to Hudson Strait. In all cases it handled beautifully. Many fish, seals and moose carcasses could be transported with ease.

As a family we used the canoe on a lake where we had a cabin.  It was an odd looking boat on central Alberta lakes , but it cruised effortlessly. The time had come to part with the ship as we were no longer using it. Someone from Thunder Bay saw my ad, knew these canoes well, and came out and picked it up. Our family had lots of fun times, and of course it was always referred to as "the ship".