I knew how to enjoy myself when I was a child, as.you can see in this 1955 photo of me getting a groove on with my ukulele. But my exuberance was often problematic for my parents, e.g., my penchant for cutting off my hair.
A discussion of my intriguing Royce Relatives: “Frontier Lady” Sarah Royce (1819-1891) whose published account of life during the 1849 Gold Rush is still in print, Marion Royce (1901-1987) women’s rights advocate and Order of Canada recipient, and Jean Royce (1904-1982) the longest-serving registrar of Queen’s University (1933-1968).
Cree writer and pianist Tomson Highway’s memoir Permanent Astonishment provides many insights into why he is a Canada Indigenous frontrunner. He successfully navigated his way through nine challenging years at a residential school. Then from 1975 to 1978, he got two B.A.’s from Western, coordinated the Festival of Native Music ’78 and became my friend.
Peterson family Christmases from 1952 to 1965 were multi-faceted. My mother Jay Peterson (1920-1976) created unique Noel-inspired artwork. My brothers Stu and Chris (1954-2009) prepared Christmas cards at the Leith, Ontario print shop. I wrote an account of what London, Ontario’s Victoria Park Christmas displays were like in the mid-1960s.
London, Ontario Metis office holder, John Baptist Askin (1788-1869) hailed from Detroit, where his family were well-known citizens. His grandfather’s son-in-law Elijah Brush (1775-1813) advocated for the freedom of two Black slaves, Peter and Hannah Denison. The Denison’s daughter, Lisette Denison, helped establish a church in 1868 where people of any background could worship.
My mother’s cousin, RCAF Pilot Officer Geordie Fleming sadly lost his life when he was a bomber captain flying over enemy territory during the Second World War. I have assembled an 11″ x 17″ binder about his remarkable life. During a February 2020 London, Ontario Heritage Fair, I showed the binder to interested participants.
My post discusses Peterson family home life from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. It includes a poem my brother Don wrote about what life was like in our unusual household, e.g, my father’s “save the trees” campaign, and how “rock music coming from our house” gave “a headache to the sexton’s spouse.”