A Story of Happy Coincidences

A VICTORIAN NOVA SCOTIA CHRISTMAS

This title is a book written by Molly Simmons and published by Nimbus Publishing Limited in 1994. There is a story about the book that has many coincidences and here is the story.

About one year ago Margaret Busche, a retired school teacher living in Mahone Bay accompanied me to a consignment store where I occasionally volunteer. Margaret is functionally blind with macular degeneration but, as a former elementary school reading specialist, loves to fondle books. She came upon the aforementioned book and let me know that she and the author once lived near each other in Clayton Park and their sons played together. She decided to purchase the book and to send in to her daughter in Ontario who also knew the family.

I scanned the book and my eyes and appetite for the book also grew. The initial interest was for the recipes. My mother, a war bride, kept the “Old Country” Christmas traditions. Each year my children phone for Christmas recipes for the annual spread. This small Christmas book magically spells them out completely and so I wished to purchase a couple for my children and I thought they would make wonderful presents for friends.

Alas, the book was out of print. I searched for the book online and through various bookstores with which I am familiar and located four which I paid for and had sent to me by mail. When I picked one up at the post office Michelle, the postmistress let me know that Molly Simmons lived in the Quinlan condominium complex in Mahone Bay for many years but had recently moved to Halifax to be closer to family. Quelle surprise!

Margaret and her husband Roy had visited Molly and her husband, David Critchley one year when the Critchleys were living in Bermuda but Margaret because of her eyesight had no knowledge of the presence of Molly in Mahone Bay. Michelle let me know that Molly’s son, Owen, was living nearby and I was able to contact both he and other family members. Owen and Margaret have met at monthly luncheons promoted by the Mahone Bay Centre but thus far Molly and Margaret have not. We hope to rectify this soon. But another remarkable aspect of this connection is that Molly once painted a picture of her two boys and a dory on a beach – and the picture was purchased by Margaret Busche many years ago. At another Mahone Bay Centre luncheon Margaret donated the picture to Owen Critchley

However when this tale was told at one of the luncheons and the book was presented to the assembled clientele the unanimous response was “I want one”. We are now hoping to have A Nova Scotia Christmas book reprinted.

The Critchley family has agreed to allow proceeds from the sale of the book to accrue to the Mahone Bay Centre for several large projects this year; The renovation of the bell tower, purchase of a new furnace for the building and upgrading of several rooms. One of the highlights will be a commercial kitchen where the Centre can cater and produce cooking courses.

The book will be sold during our Father Christmas Festival from November 25 to December 4, 2016. We hope that you can include this delightful book into your Christmas gift giving this year.

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