From the logging camps (2)

We are not finished with Port Renfrew. You see, Mum created my indoor pets. The best were giraffe, little Lambsy Divey, and Blue Teddy. I had loved them, my whole life long and, at the time of the event which is about to unfold, with a four-year old’s passion. Into that mix, came my tiny hot water bottle.

As alluded to in my previous post, I was not a sickly child, but was always recovering from this or that.  Our household operated under the keep moving concept, for except under the direst of circumstances, such would keep the blood flowing to best exit any poison.  That trip to the hospital was not for what I told you they found, which made me celebrity in the hospital. Rather, my Mum had diagnosed “a mump”.  The visiting nurse came, maybe monthly, up the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria, aboard the Princess Maquinna. Perhaps Maquinna was guided by the tugboat “Fairbanks” which was operated by Hemmingsen-Cameron who owned the logging operations, (Hemmingsen was my Grandfather Matt).1

No, not mumps said she. Maquinna was on her northerly bound path, toward Quatsino. So, that night a trip through the forest ensued on my father’s shoulders when the logging tracks quit. I had highly infected and engorged glands in the neck. Why so, was not to be found, except that, it was not TB.

Mum found a child-size, rubber hot water bottle to conform to my neck. I loved it. One day, for reasons perplexing to his day, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce it to a number of punctures of a safety-pin. When it lay flat, and bedding lay wet, I called for Mum to come and fix it. Mum could fix anything, except plumbing and my hot water bottle.

A little after that, Mum thought I should go outside and get some fresh air. I did not always play outside, but it was pretty glum in the house. The air is beyond fresh and the stars, bright in the night, when you live deep in the woods. Out I went.

What Mum had forgotten; it was sunny, hence, wash day. My pets were flat as pancakes, flapping in the wind. I had been previously shielded from such treachery.  They were stuck on by millions of clothes pegs, known in hindsight, against, God forbid, being exited to the wilderness. Inconsolable! How could she!  Giraffe, Lambsy Divey, Blue Teddy and the most of the crew. All dead.  Dead I tell you, and not to be resurrected.

Mum showed me the stuffing for Lambsy Divey, her cotton batten, already dry. She tried to convince that its shape was exact to her pelt, and all that was needed was for Lambsy to dry and the batten to be sewed back into place. Now, I was pretty certain I knew what needled felt like and was sure Lambsy would need some disgusting ether. Thank goodness Mum did not persist with Blue Teddy. She got re-stuffed and needled, yes, needled, in private, thus, was totally acceptable, once more.

Photograph “Blue teddy” from Marilee Wein Scrapbook © 2018

Now, Mum, as I said, was a bacteriologist.  She had made the menagerie out of sturdy but washable material. Wash was the word of the day for her sick little girl. OK, “don’t be afraid of dirt” preceded that!” You can see below, that Blue Teddy lives on. Done right, the first time, was the second order of each day! Her 75th birthday picture, is left. Her second eye, which is still perfectly fixed in place, is hidden by a “wrinkle”, poor dear, because she was too large for her scan. She bathed when the sun was verifiably strong, and was going to hang on. Sunlight; best disinfectant, so, said my Mum. Hung to dry with no SPF. Such abuse. You must imagine her glorious blue, her luxurious fur.

It should now be obvious to all, except that, it was a secret, known only to my father, that I had gained acclaim, both as Mairsy Doats and Dozie Doats. They somehow corrupted to Maral and Dozul. Here is a picture of Maral eating a shoe in her buggy. Dozul would never have been so dimwitted. [Inside information: Maral called her father Pope-ul, but the wiser Dozul, called him Dope-ul, whichever fit best. He shirked both when, by other means, he was elevated to MoPops. (You got that all sorted out, Samuel? It is so utterly, important, you know). Mum, was Mo, so you know.]

Letter from Marilee Wein Scrapbook © 2018

Before moving on – or – before another memory of Port Renfrew detains, here is a picture of my grandfather, Mathias Hemmingsen, and me, on the banks of the San Juan River in Port Renfrew, BC so long, long ago.  (Should you want to know how Mathias made his way from Norway to BC, through Wisconsin look under the tab “Before Memories” for “Dear Granddad: If Only November Had Been August”


Posts written by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are copyright © All rights reserved.


  1. From Marilee Wein scrapbook, authored by John Oliver Hemmingsen (1913-2008). All postings and pictures are © 2018 The Hemmingsen Family Collection. Posthumously published at this blog under its copyright, below. All rights reserved.

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