A Tribute To Mom ~ Gladys At Lumina, Lake of Bays, Ontario: 1936 by artwhiz47

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A Tribute To Mom ~ Gladys At Lumina, Lake of Bays, Ontario: 1936 by 

Here’s Mum, Gladys (Elson) McConnell (1912 – 1996) in her ‘Rose-Marie’ phase. ‘Rose-Marie’ was a film, released early in 1936, starring those screen lovers Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy, involving an opera singer (MacDonald) & a Stout-Hearted Man (Mountie, played by – who else?) who met, distliked each other, sang ‘Indian Love Call’, & eventually succumbed each to the charms of the other. Stout-Hearted Man was after criminal James Stewart (27 years old at the time, in his third film), whose character happened to be Jeanette MacD’s brother, racing & chasing through the Canadian wilds with his men, behaving like the alpha male in a ‘pack of wolves on the trail’…. My parents married in June of that year, & spent their honeymoon at Lumina Lodge on Lake of Bays near Huntsville, Ontario. Today the Muskoka Region in which Lumina STILL thrives is ‘cottage country’, a destination of major proportions for Torontonians of all stripes, & a few Americans including my husband & me. But in those days, it was the Back of Beyond, reached only via miles & miles of dirt or minimally maintained paved roads, or, if you were wealthy enough, by plane. The area did contain some of those ‘resorts’ of legend ~ the rough-&-tumble but still upscale ‘camps’ offering ‘wilderness’ experiences. And in their way, they truly did ~ getting there was not necessarily half the fun. And so Gladys & Charlie set out from Lewiston, NY, & in a day-&-a-half or so, were ensconced in Sunset, one of Lumina’s rustic little cabins. Now by this time, Gladys had seen ‘Rose-Marie’ about a dozen times (Charlie not so much), & she knew every line, every error, every miscue. She could sing ‘Indian Love Call’ most beautifully, & she was thoroughly hooked. Somewhere along the line she acquired this outfit (she had also thought of being a pilot which might account for some of the accoutrements, but she was too short, so by this time she was through college & on the unhappy road to social work), & my dad took this romantic picture of her as she dreamed about her Charlie-cum-Nelson Eddy, Stout-Hearted Men & True, & saw many, if not all, things in an ‘Oh, Rose-Marie I Love You’ kind of fog (she was nobody’s fool, ever, however). As the years went on, Mom & Dad continued to vacation in Muskoka, though when Lumina began to cater to a cushier crowd & cut down a glorious old White Pine to build a swimming pool right next to the lake, they moved themselves to a less dazzling lodge nearer Huntsville. During this time, they met a REAL mountie, retired, name of Trulove. He looked nothing like Nelson Eddy, but he did have an absolute treasure trove of true tales from the Northwest Territory & elsewhere, & he told them, often, with tremendous histrionic flare, & the constant insertion of a bug-eyed ‘You know…’, a sort of half-question, half-statement. He was a fabulous man. We all loved him dearly, & my father could imitate him perfectly. Give me some men who are stout-hearted men, I say. And I close with ‘Here come the Mounties to get the man they’re after … Now!’ HOWEVER ~ having heard wolves howling in the wild on numerous occasions, & having sung ‘Indian Love Call’ with my mother, a feat that inevitably led to our dissolving in mirth, I think I’ll leave the wildwood to the wolves.
More on ‘Rose-Marie’ can be found here . Or more precisely, as I cannot, no matter what I do, get this link to work properly, go to what appears when you click on ‘here’, & make your way from there to The Real Deal….


family history, canada, ontario, nelson eddy, macdonald, muskoka, mounties, operetta, lumina, rose marie

A short bio, eh? I am Sheila, & I am short.

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  • Torfinn
    Torfinnabout 4 years ago

    A lovely old phot Sheila!

  • Thanks, Torfinn – isn’t she a peach?!

    – artwhiz47

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezabout 4 years ago

    I love your family tales young Sheila and the old photographs are allways excellent. Time you wrote your family history down. I’m willing to be bet it will run to at least three volumes …

  • Many thanks, Tom. I already have some writings under my belt – most noteworthy, an annotated & illustrated book of 118 family letters transcribed my me (perhaps at great cost to my eyesight…) beginning with letters sent from my great great great great grandfather to his son, my 3 greats, in 1810. The whole lot of them were writers; it’s part of my heritage, I guess you could say, young Tom….

    – artwhiz47

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezabout 4 years ago

    Why am I not surprised? – hehehe

  • And hey! Thanks for the favorite.

    – artwhiz47

  • oulgundog
    oulgundogabout 4 years ago

    Awww! Makes me me wanna get my checked shirt and big chopper out!!… Just kiddin’ ya Sheila! Watch out for them Red coats .. they always get their man you know!!;-)

  • Oh, go for it. But the Red Coats, to most Americans, are the Big Bad Brits during the Revolution. I myself don’t see what the fuss is about, but now we have a Tea Party to add to the confusion over here. Anyway, in the words of Mr Trulove, known by my parents as simply ‘The Mounted Policeman’, ‘we always get our man… you … know….?!’ Thanks!

    – artwhiz47

  • jazzdevil
    jazzdevilabout 4 years ago

    Wow – I love this! And I want her boots.

  • Ha ha! I wouldn’t mind having them myself. The jacket was still in evidence after I came along in 1947, but I never saw those jodhpurs or those boots. Thanks, JD.

    – artwhiz47

  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyabout 4 years ago

    Cool! What a wonderful shot of Gladys, looking very intrepid. And a fascinating read to go with it. Marvellous, Sheila, simply marvellous! “When I’m calling youuuuuu!”

  • Well, I keep answering; I inherited that from Gladys. Thanks, Mikey. He likes it! Hey, Mikey!! In later years, during her years as an underpaid & PAINFULLY overworked child welfare professional, she was known in the office as ‘Glad-ass’. There was another ‘ass’ there as well, a woman whose last name was Sideris, who became ‘Cider-ass’. Had to do something to lighten the load….

    – artwhiz47

  • WatscapePhoto
    WatscapePhotoabout 4 years ago

    Super photo and a great read, Sheila. A fine tribute to your mother.

  • Thank you, Steven. Mom & I were the best of friends, & her sense of humor about herself & the world in general was unimpeachable…. She would have absolutely loved this whole exercise!

    – artwhiz47

  • Phillip M. Burrow
    Phillip M. Burrowabout 4 years ago

    Great photograph!

  • Many thanks, Phillip! The one of my father that was taken at the same time isn’t quite so evocative… but maybe I’ll post it around Father’s Day.

    – artwhiz47

  • sundawg7
    sundawg7about 4 years ago

    A great old fashioned photograph of your Mum Sheila…and a splendid write up. >Ron<

  • Thanks, Ron. I really enjoyed writing the text & reliving the happy, nostalgic tales!

    – artwhiz47

    BIRGlTTAabout 4 years ago

    Wow…that’s the real deal right there!

  • Well put! Many thanks for that.

    – artwhiz47

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