Then and now: really — half a century?!

Picturing the bo(a)orders: graduating, in 1969, after three years at St. Catherine’s School for Girls in Richmond, Virginia, and composing a life between the lines.

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In the summer of 1968, my mother and I made a pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island, Canada, the setting and inspiration for L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.  PEI felt like home; I vowed to return.  Secretly that fall, I applied to only one college: Prince of Wales College, L.M. Montgomery’s alma mater, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.  After our June 1969 graduation and much too late to apply anywhere else, I received a letter telling me PWC no longer existed but I could come to the newly amalgamated University of Prince Edward Island if I wished.  Yikes! But of course I went and was so early that I was the very first student to register at the new school. 

Except for the time I spent in England doing a Ph.D., I stayed in Canada and  became a Canadian citizen; taught English literature for thirty years in two universities; founded a research institute in 1993 devoted to the study and informed celebration of Montgomery’s life, works, culture, and influence (www.lmmontgomery.ca); wrote books and articles on Anthony Trollope and on Montgomery; and eventually served as the first woman president of the University of Prince Edward Island (www.elizabethepperly.com).  I became Professor Emerita of English in 2007 and received an honorary doctorate ten years later.  That is the black-and-white snapshot.  The colour version has warmth and a laugh track.

When I graduated from St. C., I thought I would be a writer of fiction and a geologist.  I imagined I would live again in Virginia. I assumed I would probably get married and have children of my own.  I am so glad life has surprised me again and again!  I still love fiction and rocks, and my partner (of almost 30 thirty years) and my step children and step grandchildren remind me every day that Wordsworth was right: we do half create what we perceive. The other half is a gift.

– Betsy

LMMI Honours the Work of the Macneill Family

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Photo by: Joanne Craig

It was a wonderful moment at the 13th biennial conference banquet when Jennie Macneill received an LMMI Legacy Award for the work she and the late John Macneill have done in creating, developing, and maintaining the Site of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Cavendish Home.  Their son David Macneill now runs the Site (where a Project Bookmark was unveiled on June 24th).

From left to right: Dr. Philip Smith, the Honourable Antoinette Perry, Jennie Macneill (recipient of an LMMI Legacy Award), and me.

-Betsy

Project Bookmark

Project Bookmark unveiled the very first Bookmark for Prince Edward Island — a poem by L.M. Montgomery describing the view from her bedroom window on the Macneill Homestead site, where she grew up, learned to read and write, and composed hundreds of poems and short stories.

You can read more about it here: https://www.projectbookmarkcanada.ca/bookmarks-21-25#21-the-gable-window

Please Join us for the Launch of Summer in the Land of Anne!

My sister and I have an illustrated story book (sixteen original paintings!) coming out with Acorn Press on Prince Edward Island!  The story is about two sisters in Virginia who travel to PEI after their mother reads them Anne of Green Gables.  Exploring the Land of Anne, six-year-old Elspeth and eleven-year-old Willa discover something new and powerful about reading and imagining.

Please join us for our book launch!

-Betsy

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Celebrating a Canadian Patriot: Lucy Maud Montgomery

I was a keynote speaker in Leaskdale, Ontario, at the conference Celebrating a Canadian Patriot: Lucy Maud Montgomery (October 20-22, 2017), and my paper was “Capturing Canada: L.M. Montgomery’s Career of Creating Place.” Jowi Taylor, with his Six Street Nation guitar that tells the story of Canada, was there and Rosalee Peppard, creator of a wonderful musical tribute to Montgomery, performed.  Barbara Pratt, one of the conference organizers,  snapped this picture of me holding Jowi Taylor’s special guitar.

– Betsy

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