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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

They arrived!

We spent the morning cleaning up Newman and putting stuff away that didn’t have a home yet. We had very important guests arriving from Victoria, so we wanted to make sure that Newman was looking spiffy and was in tip top shape for our visitors!

While we were waiting for my son Josh and his girlfriend Alicia to arrive from Victoria, I spent the morning ordering materials to renovate our master bathroom in our home in Fort Erie when we get home. We have been putting off this renovation for so long and now is the time to get it done! While I was on a roll I ordered cupboards for the laundry room as well as a new bathroom vanity for the Brock room bedroom, and new light fixtures for many rooms in the house, including the sunroom! Whew, that sure was a lot of online shopping today!

After I spent quite some time on hold with the fraud department at Scotiabank to approve my online purchases, I decided to see what was going on with the Player’s Championship on the PGA tour, at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is definitely a course I want to play someday. The 17th hole - par 3 -island green scares me to death! I’m sure the PGA tour players dread the hole, but some survive it and do really well there. Some, not so well.

The scariest 9 iron shot of his life I’m sure and only 146 yards too! Yikes!!! It’s nice to see Lee Westwood playing so well. Even though he didn’t beat Bryson last week at Bay Hill, he’s leading the tournament this week, and its nice to see the ‘old guy‘ playing well!

My son Josh and his girlfriend Alicia arrived just shortly before 2pm this afternoon at Lighthouse RV Park to have a visit and take a look at Newman.

When I greeted Josh at the door he was holding this beautiful bouquet of flowers for my birthday next weekend, from him and Alicia! How special. They are beautiful! The little card with the flowers is done in hand quilled paper. How very thoughtful of them both to bring me these beautiful flowers!

With our masks on, we had a quick visit inside Newman and we let the kids walk around the RV to check it out. They were very impressed with how big the RV was! We are still amazing that we have spent the winter in Newman and don’t feel cramped in the least! It’s amazing how much space you really need to live in, after you’ve lived in a small space for awhile.

After a quick visit inside we ate some pizza and sandwiches out at the picnic area.

Josh and Alicia having a quick bite to eat before we walked over to the pier.

Hiking over to the pier to see the sea lions

Wondering what was here before, as the shoreline is shored up with the ruins of bricks and mortar. We have a feeling someone just dumped the ruins there without any concern for the environment.

My son Josh and his girlfriend Alicia. Alicia saved me big time by going to Kiehl’s for me in Victoria to pick up some face cream for me! A big thank you to her for being so kind to get that for me so I don’t run out!

Richard taking my picture of me taking the picture of Josh & Alicia.

That awkward ‘where am I supposed to stand?’ Covid picture. I can’t get too close, but I still want to be in the photo!

Josh and Alicia both thought that our spot in Fanny Bay was absolutely stunning! The views we have of the sea and the mountains and being at the end of the RV park with what feels like no neighbours, has certainly been more than we could have imagined when I made the phone call last summer to Matt at Lighthouse Rv Park to see if he had availability. I mean there is availability, and then there is this million dollar view!

Alicia’s Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Josh & Alicia wanted to head out to the ‘Fireside Books’ bookstore in Parksville for a visit before checking into TIgh-Na-Mara. ‘Fireside’ is Alicia’s favourite bookstore on the entire Vancouver Island. Alicia is a HUGE reader! She read 108 books last year!! I read 38 books and I thought I was doing well! If you are a reader you might be interested in her You Tube channel she hosts which is called “Alicia Reads”. She provides very insightful reviews of the books she reads on her channel. I enjoy the enthusiasm she brings to reading and she inspires me to read more!

We made plans to meet Josh & Alicia at Englishman River Falls for a hike tomorrow. Neither one of them have visited the Falls before, so we will enjoy showing off this beauty to them tomorrow!

We headed out to Cumberland after our visit with Josh and Alicia. I have been wanting to visit the Japanese and Chinese cemetery in Cumberland since learning about the history of the area and how these immigrants had come to work in the mines in Cumberland.

The cemetery was established in the late 1800s by members of the Chinese community and is located near Cumberland.

A stone monument to commemorate the Chinese and Japanese workers who lived in Cumberland from the late 1800’s donated by various mining, industrial and pulp and paper associations.

The Chinese cemetery was laid out according to Fung Shui principles, ‘toward a rising sun, protected northwards by a forest of trees and good spirits were not drained out by flowing streams.’ The cemetery was set on a sweeping hill and there was still forest to the north, with no water visible anywhere near the cemetery.

The top of the Chinese cemetery with a hill leading down to the front of the cemetery.

Some grave markers remain in the Chinese cemetery, but many grave markers that were original, and that were made out of cedar, have disappeared.

Former grave marker made out of wood.

The practise of leaving stones or rocks on the graves of Chinese people was to prevent the deceased from rising up and escaping the body as a spirit, to torment others. It is also customary to leave a stone on the tomb to indicate that you have visited the grave and that you have paid your respects to the deceased.

A very recent gravestone in the Chinese cemetery in Cumberland.

An interesting custom of leaving cans of food on the Chinese graves. The custom is to provide offerings for the deceased with necessary sustenance in the afterlife and to quell any lingering spirits, so the spirits had something to eat. I saw quite a few old rusted cans of food around the graves in the Chinese cemetery today

Notice the money on the gravestones, as well as the rocks. The practise of leaving money on the gravestone dates back to the Shang dynasty when cowrie shells were used, in the belief that the money would be used in the afterlife as a bribe to Yan Wang (also known as Yama) for a more favourable spiritual destination. The practise changed to replica currency to deter grave robbers and these coins and other imitation currencies were referred to as ’clay money’ or ‘earthenware money‘. Chinese burial money has been discovered dating as far back as 1300 BC and remains popular today with dimes, nickels, loonies and toonies evident on the graves we saw today in Cumberland.

After I finished walking around the Chinese Cemetery in Cumberland, I hiked up the hill to the Japanese Cemetery.

Hiking up the hill to the Japanese Cemetery In Cumberland.

Entrance to the Japanese cemetery near Cumberland which was established in 1901. I was very curious to understand why all of the headstones were grouped together, unlike the Chinese cemetery where the headstones were very spread out.

The headstones in the Japanese cemetery are all grouped together. During WW2 in 1942 the government of Canada ordered more than 20,000 residents of Japanese ancestry in Western Canada to relocated to ‘protected areas’ in the B.C. Interior. Japanese Canadians in Cumberland were among those who lost their homes and most of their possessions as part of the security measure. Fuelled by war-time resentment and racism, the small Japanese cemetery in Cumberland was vandalized and many of the grave markers were damaged or destroyed. In fact, almost every Japanese cemetery on Vancouver Island was vandalized at this time. To pay respect to the Japanese citizens buried in the graveyard, the tombstones which were not vandalized, were all grouped together in one place and this is how they remain today.

A nice idea to see photos of the person who was buried at such a young age in this grave

I couldn’t find any references to why sunglasses would be left on a Japanese grave. Perhaps to help them see into the after life?

The orange is left on the grave as a sign of good fortune. The departed souls need food for the journey to the after world and to keep the evil spirits away, so they will not eat the soul of the departed.

French fry and stones on this grave.

This Japanese grave has toys, money and coins on it.

After visiting the Japanese cemetery I walked back down the path to Jerry. I was glad that I had finally visited these cemeteries . I felt that it was the closing of a chapter for me on the history of the Japanese and Chinese workers who had emigrated to Canada to worked so diligently in the coal mines in Cumberland.

I heard from both Josh and Alicia that they love the cabin they are spending the weekend at, in TIgh-Na-Mara resort. We are happy they arrived safely and are looking to spend some more quality time with them this weekend, showing them our ‘neck of the woods’ so to speak!

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