Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Rosa Sky-from Sea to Shining Sea


I can see for miles. Here’s the view from Glen Major Forest; previously, I’ve been calling it Walker Woods, but upon perusal of my maps I realized that while my access point is Walker Woods, the fantastic view is part of Glen Major Forest. While the names change, it is all the same to the trees.

From here, I realize, I can see all the way to the Nuclear Power Station on Lake Ontario, which means I am looking directly at my birth place, and the place where I lived for 20 odd years. Both the vision of a vast blue band of water on the horizon, and an eagles eye view at what once passed for home evoked thoughts and memories of long ago.


From Sea to Shining Sea refers to Canada’s vast East/West border, but the phrase is evocative of the voyage that my parents took to get here.

It was a long time ago. Shortly after the Second World War, my parents where a newly married couple with a babe in hand. Germany was in a rough state, and at the time (little did they know) they saw no hope of things getting better. They decided to emigrate to Canada, the land of blue lakes and silver birch and that was their impression, built upon Promotional Posters from Immigration Canada and the wilderness romances of Karl May. They were of an age that nowadays means pub nights, university exams and borrowing dads car. Instead, they packed their bags, said a permanent goodbye to their known world and stepped on board an Trans-Atlantic ocean liner, Economy class, or whatever they called the cramped berths below decks where the peasants piled on and lived below decks,


As my parents are no longer alive, I’m gleaning this story from the myths of childhood told across the dinner table (we actually ate in dining room in the early years, that was BST <Before Star Trek>) so please excuse me if I muddle the facts, but vividly in my mind, I can see the high seas as described. Seas so rough that even the seasoned sailors were going green around the edges. My sister, under one year old, apparently had a wonderful time, gurgling joyfully as her bassinette slid from one end of the cabin to the other. Somewhere along the way while crossing the Atlantic, they met up with, intimately, an ice berg (this is true).


Unlike the grand drama and tragedy of the Titantic, their voyage did not end in catastrophe. The hull was breached with a slow leak that the pumps could not quite handle; by the time they reached vicinity of Halifax Harbour they’d shipped so much water they couldn’t make it into port. That said, there was no mad scramble; in due time they were transferred in by rescue boats, each and every one of them, babies, baskets, luggage and all.

What became of the Rosa Sky, I do not know. It was left behind at sea in their story and its future was not part of my parents story. They never made another voyage by sea, and never hankered after a cruise ship holiday either. They did have an affinity for row boats and canoes.

Thanks Jenny, for asking…more to come in random bits and pieces.

Images: more from the 365 Art Card Project. Only the last created specifically for this entry. I tried to recreate exactly what pops into my head when I remember the tale of my parents voyage. The 2nd from the top is more happy memories of Lake Superior being ‘sportive’ but I figured it would do. The next is an abstract of frozen waterfalls but let it stand in as iceberg. And the 1st is a penciled image of the view from the top, but I think I should of wet the colours, or added darks, but never got brave enough. I’m just not used to grand vistas.

P.S. Sorry about all the small stuff. I’ve been busy, some of it’s on Etsy, some of it’s secret, and some of it involves getting busy with social networking (ie. twitter & facebook) and hoping it pays off in the end. So far so good…meeting some intriguing tweeple.


Jennifer Rose said...

this is really interesting to read :) always great to get a family history from someone :)

I keep finding out all these things about my family that people didn't think to tell me when I was younger. interesting to know, but I wish people would have told me earlier

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Great story.... I think I'd have been very stressed about that leak...

I am just learning more about my family history. Odd coming from someone who researches old houses...!

kaslkaos said...

Jennifer, please do tell (if allowed of course). Hmmm...
Michelle, I'm sure it was a horrible voyage, but I get the feeling it was all par for the course. Immigrants then and now are very brave.
How are you learning more? I have no sources but vague memories.

Jenny said...

The drawings of the ocean waves are wonderful, especially when seen as a sequence. What an interesting story. Now of course I wonder whether the family stayed in Halifax for a while, or did the family go immediately to Ontario... you say there are very few sources of information. I wonder if there are any cousins or siblings who have stories to tell. As far as my own family is concerned, all of my parents' generation is gone, and I have only a small number of cousins, but everyone in my family seems to have been a compulsive letter-writer and journal-keeper, so there are some documents available. I wish you luck in any further explorations along these lines.

kaslkaos said...

Jenny, I think they did stay in Halifax for awhile. There was a story about a horrible flu & the heat & humidity & I'm placing it in Halifax because it went with the phrase Welcome to Canada.
I had much fun doing those waves,thanks.

Jennifer Rose said...

allegations of dealings with the mob was one that I was told lol


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