Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 15, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Saturday, 15, 1975 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD 5 People of the south By Chris Stewart She can tell it like it really was THE VOJCE OF ONE Dr. Frank S.Morley "I have time to do it now but what's the she sighed, attempting to conceal a slight tear. "At last I'm free to learn but it's too late." Elizabeth Wilson, 80, was lamenting her lack of jour- nalistic training despite the fact she had been writing poetry since her teens, had had her work published in the Winnipeg Free Press under the pseudonym of Myra Dean and since retiring had written for the Picture Butte Old- timer's Echo. She has also kept a running diary of events in Coyote Flats but, lacking formal training, hasn't the courage to seek markets. "It's too late now to take a writing she was say- while completely overlooking the fact her most valuable training was not in classroom exposure but from life itself. The lack of schooling had long disappointed this Finnish woman from Roland, Minnesota who arrived in Winnipeg in September, 1909, with her mother and family of eight, the youngest a babe in arms. Her woodsman father, Frank Loos, at 15 had come to Minnesota from the Rhineland, found a job install- ing sewers in Medicine Hat and had subsequently sent for his wife and family. But the fare sent to his family got them only to Winnipeg. The Loos family, among the hundreds of Dakota and Minnesota settlers heading north, were desirous of secur- ing better schooling for their children. Had they not board- ed Norwegian teacher Tillie Lingroth, 12 year old Elizabeth wouldn't have had any schooling at all, the Roland country school was so distant. As it was she was limited to five months' home study plus one in class but even so this bright youngster completed grades two to 12 with top marks, much to Mrs: Loos' disgust. She scolded the teacher' for "passing Elizabeth when she didn't deserve and terminated her absorption with reading by snatching away the teacher's text books with, "That's not for you, kid. That's for grown ups." When December's frost cur- tailed further sewer in- stallations Frank Loos moved his family and belongings by ox team to his pre erupted land near Manyberries. It was like making their way across an uncharted sea. There were no landmarks, trails or fences to guide them just black vastness filled with eerie noises. Beginning their 20 mile trek at dusk they soon realized they were lost in a great unoccupied "nowhere" and were preparing to retire when Elizabeth spotted a glimmer of light on the ominous horizon. Excited, they headed straight for the beckoning signal in the win- dow of the two room shack adjoining their homestead. She'll never forget her first Canadian Christmas in her un- derground home when Santa arrived in an ankle length black Russian dog coat with matching hat bringing the boys jumping jacks which were manoeuvred with bits of string and also leaving celluloid-faced dolls for the girls. Their tree was a piece of dry brush festooned with sprigs'of creeping evergreens and chains fashioned from scrap paper and their stockings, strung around the pot bellied stove, were filled with sugar cookies. When the smoke belched from their flimsy chimney Christmas morning, poking through their brush roof it was like an omen that hardship, loneliness and even privation couldn't rob a family of joy. In 1912 Elizabeth, 17, married Manyberries' homesteader Oscar Wilson from Turko, Finland, who had circumnavigated the world three times before becoming a landlubber. Life along the desolate cutbanks was suspense filled. One March Sunday, when taking her children to Matt Turkin's Sun- day School held at her sister in law Selma Ojal's home, the horses stepped off into deep drifts, frightening her youngsters to tears. But plucky Mrs. Wilson simply jumped off waist deep in snow, unhitched the team, led them back to the road, rehitched the wagon and went on. Manyberries had been settl- ed in 1909, the year of the Loos' arrival. First store owner A. Marchessault was. joined by I. J. Burr, blacksmith; general store merchant J. M. Courtney; hardware merchant Joe McDonald and hotelman George Holdershaw. But settlers scurried off to more productive land when successive poor crops plagued the area. The Henderson Directory of 1914 lists only the Marchessault 'family as residents. The C.P.R. reached the area in 1916 and in 1922 finally linked up with the Weyhurn to Shaunavon sec- tion. The indomitable Wilsons stayed on despite, the un- predictability of weather and crops. They harvested only 19 bushels in 1923 which sold in Medicine Hat for 19 cents a bushel and what promised to be a bumper crop in 1927 was unfortunately lost to aphids. Elizabeth's young geese would have shivered to death in a flash downpour had she not gathered them up in a galvanized tub and warmed them in her kitchen. They lost barn doors in tornadoes and saw their neighbor's out- buildings whisked away in swirling gusts. But the area also had its charms. There were luscious black currants and fragile starflowers on the cutbanks and coulees and always the odd sounds which suggested approaching wagons, barking dogs and faint campfire tunes wafted down the Manyberries creek from the direction of Ghost Hill. No one knew the source of this strange phenomenon but most settlers claimed they had heard it. With the completion of the railway from Diamond City to Turin in 1925 along with the development of the Lethbridge Northern Irriga- tion District, the Wilsons decided to move to the Pic- ture Butte area the following year and were among the first sugar beet farmers. They shipped their beets to Ray- mond to be processed. Average yield was 7.19 tons per acre, selling at 55.75 per ton. There were only two dwellings in the area when they arrived, the post office apd dance hall operated by Wes Koepke and the home of grain buyer Mr. Cogglan School, taught by Jessie Redig, was held in the Koepke hall. Wiley Orr was the drayman. But irrigation farming was hard work. Oscar wore his gum boots and carried a shovel most of the time. He dammed the ditch with can- vass and dug troughs across his land to let the water in. Help was hard to find. When their son David, 19, went off to war, only their younger son Elgin was left to assist with chores. There was no money left for food by the time they constructed their five bedroom house. Elizabeth's butter sold for six cents a pound and a dozen eggs at the same price. When offered merely three cents she decid- ed rather to feed her eggs to the calves. Her prolific gar- den yielded watermelons as late as November one year. She made cheese, salted pork and sewed underwear from bleached flour sacks, with Dave even going off to enlist in shorts stamped with the words Robin Hood. .Oscar retained many Fin- nish superstitions and traditions. A person owing a bill on New Year's day was sure to be broke before the year ended, he said, and he in- sisted a mouse would crawl into his pants if he didn't wear a new garment on January 1. He even built a Finnish bath house but, unfortunately, while emerging ''one day tripped and broke his neck leaving him hospitalized and in a cast for several months. He would come home with' sore, swollen feet after sloshing around all day with irrigation equipment and throw himself exhausted onto his bed. Elizabeth knew the pace was killing him but Oscar, a fiend for work, wouldn't let up. To do so was to die, he felt. Finally in 1954, too ill to continue, he and Elizabeth moved into town. He passed away in 1962, two months after their golden wedding anniversary. Widowed and with time on her hands, Elizabeth, a charter member of the W. A. of the Church of the Redeemer, busies herself with church projects, the Galloping Gals (a retired women's the Picture Butte Oldtimers and of her writing. After a day's work she'll sit pensively penning her thoughts, describ- ing a starling perched on her clothesline or a leaf caught on her sill. She's continually refining her craft, searching for the right word to express her thoughts, yet never fully satisfied with the result. Determined her children would receive the schooling she was denied she has seen to it that Elgin at Granite Falls; Edwin, Port Hardy, B.C.; son. David and daughter Olga Row at Barons; Wilma Green, Pic- ture Butte and Pearl Hurd at White Rock, B.C. have had full opportunity for training in their chosen fields. It is cer- tain her 20 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren will have the same. But will they, like Elizabeth, know the thrill of dipping a bucket into a coulee stream, riding in an ox cart; stumbling across a shy Johnny Jump Up in a crevice, thrill to wild pigeons swooping in from the cutbanks or discover a clump of wild gooseberries? Will they know the warmth of a chick nestling in their palm or the gentle ba-a of a new- born lamb? Elizabeth, one of the vanishing few who knows the settler's era, not from textbooks but from real life, doesn't have to research that period. She knows it from memory. All the courses in the world couldn't furnish her with her experiences. She can tell it like it is and write about' it too. And she should! Mrs. Elizabeth Wilson JViofo Bill Groenen Book Reviews New insights into the Bible "Dick Gregory's Bible Tales, with Commentary" edited by James R. McGraw (Stein and Day, 187 pages, dis- tributed by McGraw Hill Ryerson Dick Gregory, comedian become social reformer, has turned to the Bible as a means of carrying on his cam- paigning. The instinct to look to the Bible for inspiration for such a mission is sound. In this little book Dick Gregory demonstrates that he has mined the judgmental deposits of the Bible well but hasn't struck the equally rich veins of mercy that run through it. On the whole I think his applications of biblical passages ring true, although the injustices he ex- coriates are too narrowly con- fined to the black people at the hands of the whites. It would be better if he would follow the example of Dr. Martin Luther King in recognizing a more inclusive fellowship among the dispossessed arid down trodden, and in sensing that the whites have no monopoly on misery mongering. Talking about the dissen- mination of birth control in- formation among poor blacks as genocide is nonsense, in my opinion. The same informa- tion is made available to poor whites. What is more, no government yet .has attempted to impose birth control although plenty have forcibly prevented the spread of birth control infor- mation. Dick Gregory sounds like a male chauvinist when he rails against abortion for black mothers, ignoring that those mothers seek abortion and that several surveys of black WOMEN have .shown that THEY would like to have fewer children than is now the case. Despite a tendency to harp on the black theme, on Watergate and Nixon, and his commitment to vegetarian- ism, latterly become iruitarianism, I like this book. It is always good, too, to have a fresh translation of the Bible because of the new in- sights -that are invariably provided. Literalists, however, should be warned that Dick Gregory's transla- tion is very loose, includes some interpolations, and may seem flippant but that makes for fun in an area where it is too seldom found. DOUG WALKER Women in the movies "Popcorn Venus" by Marjorie Rosen, distributed by (Coward, McCann Geoghegan, Since 1896, when Edison filmed the first screen kiss sex and the battle of the sexes has been a recurring theme of the movies. Popcorn Venus follows the historic struggle for female autonomy, as society's attitude is reflected by the movies of each era and as the movies influence society's view of women by their portrayal of females on film. The portrayal of woman's role at any particular time was mainly affected by three things; (1) by the climate of society just then, (2) the per- sonalities of the actresses who gained acclaim and (3) the directors' expression of the female role. Directors were almost exclusively male, mainly of European background and apt to think of women as subservient, toylike or both. In each decade the Hollywood producers attempted to produce what the public would buy and in the 50s, as television started to show a marked influence on the movie going habits of the North American public, theatres began closing down across the country. The movie industry was pressured to put out what would keep attracting audiences to the theatres. After generations of NH CM- sorshjp, in an effort to make the movies acceptable to the vast majority of the viewing public, the industry soon felt the need for more and more nudity and blatant sex to create excitement and suspense to lure audiences back to the theatres. The cause of female respect and dignity suffered a severe blow when she was relegated to the perpetual role of sex ob- ject. The greatest hope for the future image of women in films seems to be (according to this author) more women in influential positions as producers, directors, writers, etc. There is a hope that the movies of the future will portray women in responsible, dignified roles granting them the position of first class human beings and persons. BEATRICE MEINTZER Speak the speech, I pray you Never was there so much demand for speeches; never so many poor speakers and so few good ones. Service clubs, boards of trade, women's clubs, Canadian Clubs, and a thousand more are on a ceaseless quest for a "good" speaker, though they would be hard put to it to define what they mean. No one could call Truman, Johnson, Eisenhower, Nixon, or Ford orators. Only John Kennedy had the gift since Roosevelt. Most of them re- mind one of John Quincey Adams' remark on Robert Paine, "He could make even murder tedious." There are two villages in Norfolk, England, each having a parish church, named Great Snoring and Little Snoring. Many a church could borrow the names. Of course it may not be the speaker's fault. He may, as Pope said, be trying to hew blocks with a razor. The German Chancellor Adenauer remarked in a speech, "A thick skin is a gift from God." They are abundant. Jesus warned against casting your pearls before swine lest they turn and rend you. It happens. Consequently the wisest course to follow is to refuse to make speeches. The clubs use you and abuse you. Fosdick said that for every minute of a speech there should be an hour of preparation. Leo Aikman in the Rotarian uses the old saw that "Speeches are like babies easy to conceive, but hard to deliver." Nothing of the sort. To conceive a speech is a very difficult matter. Once one has a clear picture of what he wants to say, it is not so hard to say it. Seldom do speakers have a clear outline and central thought. It is a good idea to state right at the beginn- ing what you are talking about. Then talk about it in the simplest language you know. Don't try to be eloquent. Keep clear of language the audience will not understand. As Lewis Carroll said, "Beware the Jabberwock, my son." And speak right up, clearly and forcibly. "Courage, brother, do not mumble." Intensity is absolutely necessary and if you have.it you will hold your audience without being oratorical. Reginald Reynolds tells of listening to Alan Paton, author of Cry, The Beloved Country, and says he was not a good speaker because he relied too much on reading his notes. Yet Reynolds found himself forced to listen though speeches and lectures tire him. Paton had a subject which gripped him and was ab- solutely sincere, so held him spell bound. How one wishes the voices of great orators had not been lost. It would be a rare treat to hear Richard Sheridan, not only the greatest dramatist of his day, but as befits an Irishman, thought of during his lifetime as the greatest parliamentary wit and orator Britain had known, and that during a time of parliamentary orators. His speeches during the trial of Warren Hastings dazzled William Pitt and Burke said one of his speeches was "the most astounding effort of eloquence, argument and wit united of which there was any record or tradition." In this century Britain has been fortunate to have two supreme orators and wits, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. I went to hear Churchill speak in Edinburgh and the crowd so booed him that scarcely a word could be heard. Memorizing speeches is a bad prac- tice. Churchill used to memorize until once he got in front of an audience and his mind went blank. He sat down after saying, "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen." After that he wrote his speeches and would take care to'wave the notes in front of the audience, not, trying to hide them. He advises rehearsing a speech in front of a mirror. This is an excellent prac- tice, for some reason putting much force into it. Aneurin Bevan wielded too brutal a bludgeon and carried too bitter a spirit, for either oratory or true wit. He was always try- ing to rip the skin from men's hides. Most speakers think that a speech should last lor about 20 minutes. A popular conference speaker in Eastern Canada who has found public speaking lucrative says that speeches should be seven minutes. He has a motto, "Stand up to be seen; speak up to be heard; and sit down to be appreciated." Seven minutes, however, does not give much chance to develop a theme. Take, for ex- ample, the sermons of John Knox of whom Randolph said he could put more life into his audience in one hour than "five hundred trompette's." Truly great speeches need a cause, so Churchill is remembered because he spoke during the war. Demosthenes need- ed the challenge of Philip of Macedon and Alexander. The public speaking world is full of pitfalls. The person who introduces you will try to do you in. The person who thanks you will try to do you in. If you are on radio or TV, look out for they are trying to do you in. Then there are your opponents. The whole area is full of mines which a careless step may explode. When asked to give a speech the cleverest thing you can say is, "Try to get someone else." The University of Lethbridge APERTURE Or. Kenneth Hicken New thresholds of understanding Dr. Kenneth Hicken is an associate professor of music at the University of Lethbridge. He received his PhD in music theory from Brigham Young University and joined the U of L faculty in 1967. He has serv- ed as conductor of the Lethbridge Symphony and Chorus and is an accomplished musician and composer. Dr. Hicken has published several papers on the works of Schoenberg and last summer was invited to present his theory on harmony in that composer's music to the first International Schoenberg Congress in Vienna. The hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of the 20th century's greatest composers, Arnold Schoenberg, was observed in 1974. He was a musical giant who in future years may well be ranked with such figures as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Last June the first International Schoenberg Congress was held, in Vienna, the city of his birth. The proceedings there" included the deposition of his cremated remains in a grave of honor in the cemetery where Beethoven was buried, and dedication of a Schoenberg archive. In September a se- cond major Schoenberg celebration took place, in Los Angeles, the city in which he eventually settled, after fleeing from Nazi Germany because of his Semitic ancestry, and where, in 1991, he died. Schoehberg's contributions are manifold. They include (1) his compositions themselves; (2) innovations in musical style and compositional technique; and (3) activity as a teacher. Among his compositions are songs, piano pieces, string quartets, a violin concerto, orchestral music, choral works, a piano concerto and a monumental opera, Moses and Aaron. His stylistic innovations pertain to the so called "atonal" type of writing, in which he was a prominent Euro- pean pioneer. An important contribution to the development of compositional technique is his "twelve tone" or "serial" technique, his "method of composing with 12 tones which are related only with one another. "His influence as a teacher is manifested in that two of the 20th century's most esteemed com- posers, Alban Berg and Anton Webem, were his pupils. By definition, an atonal composition is characteristically not in a par- ticular "key" (one key at a time) and is organized according to the prin- ciple known as a principle of "musical gravitation" relating tones of a piece to a single tone or "tonal centre." In Schoenberg's "atonal" music, ac- cording to the established popular view, one does not hear such a relationship to a single tonal centre, the urn-directional musical gravitation encountered in Bach's or Beethoven's works being simply not present there. This condition is perhaps analogous to the weightlessness experienced by astronauts in orbit. Schoenberg maintained that his ears had led him to the atonal style of writing. However, desiring a rational as well as an in- tuitive approach to atonal composition, he developed his twelve tone technique, a technique which has been widely adopted in recent years by many composers (including Schoenberg's arch rival Igor Works written using this technique are called "twelve tone" compositions. At the International Schoenberg Congress in Vienna last June it was my privilege to present a paper, Towards a theory of har- mony in Schoenberg's twelve-tone music. (The term "harmony" in music refers to the manner in which chords are constructed and the way in which they are combined one after another in meaningful patterns.) For many years now, the harmonic organization of Schoenberg's atonal and 12 tone music has been a baffling puzzle to musicians and listeners alike. In my paper, certain original discoveries and a hypothesis were offered which may well contain the key to this problem's solution and which may thus lead to the formulation of a definitive theory of harmony in this music. The essence of the hypothesis is that Schoenberg's 12 tone music is organized with reference to a principle which I term "fused a principle characterized by the presence in a composition of two simultaneous tonal centres which, har- monically speaking, are as far from each other as is possible. According to this prin- ciple, a 12 tone composition is in two keys at once, and the component of the music which belongs to the one key is intimately interfus- ed with the component which belongs to the other key. This fusion is perhaps analogous, say, to the integration in a human being of paternally and maternally contributed characteristics. To date, my findings and hypothesis have elicited favorable responses from several authorities, in centres including Vienna, Ljubljana, London, New York, and Montreal. However, the work done thus far is but a beginning. Having discovered fused bitonal organization in significant samples from Schoenberg's 12 tone music, it now remains to examine all of his atonal and 12 tone works in greater or lesser detail to see if the principle of fused bitonality obtains throughout them. If the hypothesis is confirmed, the ensuing theory of harmony should prove to be one of the 20th century's more significant theoretical musical formulations. As such, it should provide not only unprecedented in- sight into Schoenberg's music (and possibly music of other contemporary composers but should offer to composers a positive principle of organization with reference to which they can create music which reflects 20th century esthetics while standing firmly rooted in the tradition of the great masters from Bach through Brahms.