This evening, dear readers, I find myself ruminating, and not for the first time, on how the absolute best part of writing Meanwhile, at the Manse is the connections it has allowed people to make. By coming across my news reports on what’s doing in Queensborough, my memories of growing up here in the Manse, and the latest in our endlessly-being-revised plans for doing some renovation and restoration work on this happy old house, all kinds of people have rediscovered some of their own memories and even sometimes people they once knew.
When they tell me about making those connections, it makes me so happy. All the hours spent over my laptop in the evening, all the photos I stop to take as Raymond and I are driving along the high roads and back roads of Hastings County and environs, seem mighty worthwhile when someone says “Thanks!” or “Good job!” or, as one nice reader put it in a comment the other day: “I lived many of the stories.”
I love rekindling those memories of our beautiful and little-known part of the world, and maybe even helping people rediscover something about themselves through those memories.
One of the best notes I’ve ever got on that subject arrived in my inbox about a week ago. It was from Joey Edwards, whom some of you will remember as the star DJ of the evening pop-music show on CJBQ radio, 800 on your AM dial, Belleville and TrentONNNN! (as the jingle used to say) back in the early 1970s when I was a young teenager in this old Manse. My sister, Melanie, and I were huge fans of the great mix of music and laughter that Joey delivered over the airwaves every weeknight, and his zany cast of characters – remember Wilbur, who I believe was a mouse? – and hilarious accents, including an impeccable Beatle one.
Oh yes, and Joey was from nearby Madoc! So he was not just a star, but a local star.
Now, I have recounted before – in one of my favourite posts, I have to say, and it’s here if you’d like to read it – about finding Joey again after all these years. He was, and is, busy being very successful in the radio/audio business and happily married to Nancy, who doubles as his business manager, way off in Beijing. (Which is a heck of a long way from home, if you ask me.)
And here’s the best part: in recounting here at Meanwhile, at the Manse the happy discovery of the local area’s favourite 1970s radio DJ, it seems I was able to put Joey in touch with some old, old friends.
An email with the subject line THANK YOU! showed up on Feb. 1, and to my delight it was from Joey. He started by explaining that he’d resolved a problem with his computer that had prevented him from viewing Meanwhile, at the Manse for a while – prompting both him and me to wonder briefly if the Chinese authorities had somehow decided that stories about the Manse were seditious material and blocking them – and then went on:
Bottom line: I can access your wonderful blog again. I have spent the last few days catching upon all the “back home” news I have sadly missed. Hard to focus on some of the images and words due to tears! Your stories, photos and news about my old stomping ground make me feel like a boy all over again.
What incredible joy you have brought me and my twin brother, Bud. Because of you, MANY old high school friends have written to me and many of my radio fans have popped in. Every time I open my computer, I never know who might be showing up from CHSS [Centre Hastings Secondary School], circa 1964. My wife is stumped by her husband sitting in front of his computer crying like a baby occasionally reading a sweet letter from an old Madoc chum.
How can I ever repay you?!
You and Raymond have a wonderful 2015!
Now how about that, people? Isn’t that just about the nicest letter a person could ever get? (I should mention that Joey gave me permission to quote it.)
Then a day or two later another email arrived, from an old school friend of Joey and Bud who had recently been in touch with them for the first time in 50 years!
We have been sharing many a story these past couple of days, he wrote. I was researching cheese factories in the Madoc area and “Curds” pulled up your site about DJ Joey. [Note from Katherine: That would be thanks to the comment Joey wrote, about desperately missing cheese curds, on my post here about the local cheese factories.] The 3 of us created many memories during our years at Madoc Public School and CHSS. Thanks again!
Isn’t it amazing that a brief reference Joey had made to cheese curds on a long-ago post I did at Meanwhile, at the Manse here was sufficient for his boyhood friend to come across him and reconnect after half a century?
And best of all, for me, that both of them were kind enough to write and say thanks?
You have to love it. You really do. Or at least: I sure do.