Dipping in the Mailbag — Electronic and Otherwise

One of the pleasures in writing the twice monthly Tantramar Flashback has been my contact with you, the readers of the Trib. From the beginning I’ve encouraged feedback and to date, have not been disappointed.

My original comment that a region with over three centuries of recorded history would supply lots of subject matter has been borne out. In addition to a list of personal topics, there is now a thick file containing your suggestions for future Flashbacks. Keep them coming — they’re the lifeblood of any newspaper column!

As regular readers will have noticed, I try to vary the subject matter and at the same time, provide coverage to the Tantramar region and beyond. This can mean that your suggestion for a Flashback may not appear immediately. Also, some subjects require more research than others; often causing unavoidable delays. Since I am involved in a number of writing ventures, there are always those additional deadlines to meet.

Modern technology has been especially helpful, as a number of comments have reached me via e-mail. The fact that the newspaper is now online means that the audience is much wider than the regular subscription list. Several people, with ties to southeastern New Brunswick, have made contact as a result of surfing the net. Your queries and comments are always welcome.

In addition to regular letters through Canada Post, a number of you have taken the time to give me a telephone call; to chat during line ups at the bank, drug store or in the Post Office. Like many others, I always sort the junk mail for recycling before stuffing the real mail in my briefcase. This daily chore has provided an opportunity for conversation with many people.

Let me provide one example of reader contact. Last June, I received an e-mail from Brian Dunfield of Braintree, Massachusetts. He was writing in response to one of my early columns: Murder On The Marsh. He mentioned that his mother, Marion Fawcett Locke, was originally from Middle Sackville. The latter had just celebrated her 90th birthday on June 2, 1998. He further noted that Marion would be visiting relatives in Sackville, Shelagh and Austin Ward, during the first week of August.

Immediately the thought occured: Is this an opportunity for an interview?? I hesitated… then an inner voice told me Go for it. Arrangements were soon made to meet Marion. Very quickly, I realized that this was going to be an enlightening and valuable experience. Not only did she fill me in on her early years in Middle Sackville; she walked me through a remarkable lifetime spent in several parts of the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, Florida and now Massachusetts where she retired to be near her son and daughter.

As is well known, the Sackville Fawcetts have descended from James, John and William Fawcett who emigrated in 1774 from Hovingham, Yorkshire, and Marion is no exception. Her parents were C. Fred Fawcett and Myrtle Wheaton Fawcett. Marion’s reminiscences of the one and two room country schools will be incorporated in a later Flashback.

During the interview I could not help but be taken with her recall of past events and dates. For example, she remembered Christmas 1917, and her first pair of skates. It was a clear, sunny day and Bowser’s Pond beckoned, despite parental warnings that the ice might not be safe. The inevitable happened; however, resourceful even then, Marion rescued herself thanks to a nearby tree branch.

Perhaps even more important than remembering past events was her optimistic approach to life. Proud of her heritage, she turned the tables and questioned me about plans for Yorkshire 2000 and the 225th anniversary of the arrival of her ancestors. I will publically confess that Marion and I have a date to meet when she visits Sackville in the year 2000!

With many other interesting people waiting in the wings, writing this column will never be a chore.