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Journal Le Haut-Saint-François
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Art et Culture
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Mercredi, 6 novembre 2013

Wells Writes

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I took off as usual on horseback into the blizzard. We galloped full speed ahead right into an 8' or 10' drift. Betsey fell down and I went over her head into the snow. This was right in front of the house of one of the only two French-Canadians living on Warner Avenue. How they knew, I don't know, but Mr. Cormier and his oldest son, Romeo, came out and rescued me and put me back on my horse to continue the ride home.

That's Wells Coates telling about a horseback ride home from school. He was just eight years old. He was, as usual, on the back of his beloved horse Betsey. The story is one of many in his new book, Recalling Life in Westbury: The Memoirs of Wells Coates.

He says he wrote his book primarily for his 10 grandchildren. But he seems to have quite a few honorary grandchildren! So in response to public demand, he is planning a re-printing.

Reading his memoirs is to sit at Wells' side and hear his voice telling stories of yore. But the stories are strangely present because they're stories of here. Decade merges into decade, story blends into story - Betsey his horse, the coming of tractors, how the Great Depression stopped cars in their tracks. The learning of French, from generation to generation.

Cooperation across language boundaries. Municipal and agricultural politics. And so on, from the Statesman of Westbury.

"As you go down life's highway, don't forget where you came from." That's what he wrote with his autograph for his grandchildren. The Memoirs of Wells Coates is a personal document. It brings alive the land of Where We Are From, thanks to a lifetime of keen observation and an encyclopedic memory. That lifetime spans almost 90 years, now.

The book's first printing was 150 copies, but most of them went to family members and friends who attended the book launch.

To order your copy, contact the Eaton Corner Museum at 819-875-5256, or The price is $30 each, of which $5 will be donated to the Museum. Act soon, so the Coates family knows how many copies to re-print. Then you should be able to receive your copy before Christmas.

Townshippers' Association is celebrating its 35th birthday in 2014. How? By publishing a fifth edition of Taproot - an anthology of poetry, prose, artwork and photography from the Townships. In English. Brenda Hartwell spearheads the editorial committee. She is seeking contributors. That includes Haut-Saint-Françiscans. Us.

Previous editions of Taproot have contained works by young and old writers and artists, both new and seasoned. So don't be shy. As Hartwell wrote, it "will bring together the works of local writers and artists, and act as a stepping stone for emerging talent."

Submission details are under the cultural tab at The submission deadline is January 31, 2014. Questions? Want to buy a previous edition of Taproot? Call Townshippers' at 819-566-5717.

A day of creams and gifts - crèmes et cadeaux. At the approach of the holiday season, how appropriate. Two half-day workshops are coming up at the Eaton Corner Museum. They are on Saturday November 9.

The theme is Herbal Christmas Gifts. Participants will learn how to make natural creams with the scents of the season. Chantal Parent, a therapeutic herbalist, will lead the workshop. The action starts at 9 a.m. The morning workshop features moisturising creams and body lotions. Bring a lunch to eat together with the other participants at noon. Then from 1 to 4 p.m., learn how to make unique Christmas gifts such as lip balm, bath salts, massage oil and aromatic vinegar.

The fee is $40 for one workshop, or $70 for both morning and afternoon workshops. Each participant will take a booklet of notes home, as well as the products made during the workshops. Space is limited. Register quickly at 819-875-5256, or

United: Sunday services and Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m. in Cookshire, and at 11 a.m. in Sawyerville (for details, listen to message at 819-889-2838, and for more info, leave a message and phone number).

Anglican: Sunday services are at 9:30 a.m. in Bury (with Sunday school for children) and 11 a.m. in Cookshire (819-239-6902).

Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French (819-239-8818).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email by November 11 for publication November 20 and by November 25 for December 4.

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