Heather phoned about supper time on Thursday to say they had just got back from the airport. Robyn was on a plane to arrive in Paris at 9.45 P.M.our time. in the middle of the night theirs.
Yesterday, Friday at 3.07 P.m. we were forwarded an e-mail from Robyn to say she had visited the Louvre and seen the Mona Lisa .gone to Notre Dame Cathedral but didn't have time to go in because they were running late.
They were to be up at 6.30 a.m. this morning, breakfast at 7.15 and off to visit Versailles ,the Eiffel Tower and a cruise on the River Seine.
Robyn is sixteen.On a school trip.She has been desperate to see Paris since her brothers went for a three week European tour in 2009 and kept us posted on all their activities .
I have never seen Paris. Neither has Robyn's mother. School and parents have given Robyn the opportunity. There was never any question she would take it.
All the movies I've seen. History lessons. News on television. Last week ,we saw the Mona Lisa on the wall of the Louvre in a television feature. It was like being there and standing in front of it.
But it's not the same. From such an experience, Robyn will benefit personally more than anything she could imagine.
In Aurora and other small Ontario towns, there is nothing like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre,the Mona Lisa . the Eiffel Tower or the Palace of Versailles.
What we do have , is a community that gave a Canadian girl the opportunity of a lifetime. Robyn grew up in Newmarket ,a place of the same vintage as Aurora.
We can reach back just three or four generations to the beginning of our history here,
We can learn how things were for grandparents four places removed. Those of us who came from the same places they did, have comparators memories of how things were for the first immigrants. What they left behind.
It is easy to scoff at a community museum and dismiss it as irrelevant .Someone refers to "just a bunch of old clothes" .
Museums here reflect the newness of our history; hardships encountered , resilience of spirit.
In one of the pioneer villages there's a shoemakers shop with a set of lasts. Adult pioneer shoes would not fit to-day's a ten-year old.
In 1967, the Royal Ontario Museum had an exhibition of clothing from early Ontario. Men and women were tiny little people.
Pioneer cemeteries in King Township. tell a grim story.Children wiped out by an infectious disease of childhood ,we do not even hear of to-day. Women who died in childbirth and the new born several days later The common story of more than one wife and child lost in childbirth.
It's only a little while since I realised with a shock, the horrible history of the French Revolution happened in my grandfather's time.
The British created a police department at the time.They were afraid the poor in Britain would also rise up in rage and revenge against the inequality and injustice that saw children in their thousands die of disease and starvation while the" upper classes" revelled in unimaginable wealth.
Early Canadians were not tall and strong with all that was needed to brave the hardships and challenges.
They were refugees from the slums and factories of industrial Britain. Or driven from their crofts in the HIghlands by greedy Clan Chiefs who found they could make more money from sheep.
In the Upper Canada Village ,the small boats that brought them over the ocean are there to see and marvel at the courage of the people who trusted their lives to them
There was little option for many.
They came with the dual driving force of despair and hope.
There is reason the value of a community museum cannot not be measured by dollars and cents.
It tells how much they accomplished. Who they were and how they lived their lives. How much courage it took to face the unknown.And integrity to create a civilised society. How much we owe to those who came before and created the society we enjoy today.
It makes them real and meaningful in our lives. As they deserve to be... gives us an appreciation of what they created and a resolve to honour their memory and sacrifice by being worthy stewards of the principles and standards by which they governed their lives.