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Posts Tagged ‘Anecdotes’

The Neighbourhood bookshelf in front of 152 Irwin Street got all prettied up last week for its TV debut next week.

"Hey, I'm not 'the belle of the ball' but I get the job done."

"Hey, I'm not 'the belle of the ball' but I get the job done."

As pretty as it could get.  Its first winter wasn’t great…a few face plants on the sidewalk, neighbours Heather and Harold performed CPR and did a bit of weatherproofing.

But even over the winter books moved constantly, from the quiet young man who discovered the joy of reading through murder mysteries  to the whoops of delight when the right book met the right kid.

Many more books left the shelf than arrived.  My freecycle buddies (3,000 in Nanaimo) helped fill the gap. By June, though, I was too busy to pick them up, and I figured it was time for the shelf to move on to the next stage…looking after itself.

Now you remember...?

Now you remember...?

First, I  let the shelf sit empty, figuring people would “get” it.  Nope.  For almost 2 weeks, the sole book on the shelf was Richard Simmons’ autobiography.  No one even wanted to level out a table leg with it…:(

Next bright idea: put up a sign and ask people to donate.  While that did lead to someone leaving piles of pennies on the shelf, with a little re-wording, books started to trickle in…some directly onto the shelf, others mysteriously left in boxes at my door.  From the neighbours, from freecyclers like Venus, George, Val, & Tara (to name a few), today there’s everything on the shelf from a recent best seller to……..Richard Simmons’ autobiography…:)

The Neighbourhood Bookshelf will be featured on Hidden Heroes on Shaw Cable Channel 4:

  • from 6 PM Wed Sept 2 to 6 PM Thurs Sept 3
  • from 6 PM Sat Sept 5 to 6 PM Monday Sept 7

The show is normally on during the first 15 minutes of the hour.  Thanks to Bill Robinson from Hidden Heroes and Melissa Hall from Shaw TV, who made the interview a lot of fun!

~ Barbara Densmore

If you would like to comment, just click on the title and the complete article along with a comment box will magically appear…:)

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It was the early thirties, not long after the stock market crashed, and times were tough everywhere. In Nanaimo, miners would get off shift at the Number One coal mine and walk home.  Just outside of the mine property was a big old run down house. The  family who lived there really felt the pressure of the times. The father hadn’t worked for two years and it was very hard to feed ten children on relief.

Out of necessity the children would go outside just at shift change and wait for the miners to pass. If any of the men had anything left from their lunches, they would gladly share with the children.

One day John Mackenzie gave one of the boys a Peanut Butter Log. Just as he was about to take a bite his brother yelled “Don’t eat ‘um Dick, it’s poop.” In disgust, Dick threw the cookie to the ground. The brother who shouted the warning jumped off the fence lightning quick and gobbled down the chocolate morsel.

I remember hearing that story when I was a child and to this day those Peanut Butter Logs are known as Don’t Eat ‘Um Dicks.

Submitted by: Glenda Nikirk (nee: Ramsay) b. 1958

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We understand that there’s a recipe after this story, reprinted from The Southenders. If Nanaimo is famous for Nanaimo Bars, perhaps there’s a signature dessert opportunity for the South End here?

Laura Ramsay telling stories at her book launch

Laura Ramsay telling stories at her book launch

Laura Ramsay’s book, The Southenders, was launched on November 8, promptly selling out the initial run of copies.  But never fear, the staff at the new Nanaimo Museum are currently printing a second run right now.

So if you’re looking for that certain Christmas gift for someone with ties to the South End, this might be it.  You can pick it up at the Museum (call 753 1821 to ensure that it’s in stock)…a large book and 152 pages with lots of stories, newspaper clippings and pictures ranging from the 1800’s to today.  Reasonably priced at $14.95.

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