Raised on Porridge and Pond-Water: A boy’s life in the Ottawa Valley seventy years ago

Friday, 27 October 2017

Speaker: Terry Currie

Lecture title: Raised on Porridge and Pond-Water: A boy’s life in the Ottawa Valley seventy years ago

Lecture Summary

I was born in deepest rural Carleton County in the middle of the last century, and raised on the original family farm in a manner more like the 1920s than the 1960s. My family managed the intricacies of life without electricity or running water, when “shank’s mare” meant walking to a destination, often many miles away. Members of my family included a clan of odd, eccentric and downright weird uncles and aunts. The rural landscape included many old people living alone in cabins, getting by on the milk of a cow and the eggs of a half-a -dozen hens, living lives of idiosyncrasy. Church on Sunday was the big social occasion of the week, but getting there often presented a challenge. The local one-room school was the centre of kids’ lives and most community activity. Life and death, birth and marriage all took place in a tightly knit web of community quite alien to the modern world. My lecture will tell the stories of rural life set in the long-lost natural back-ground of the Valley of little farms and big families.

Bio: Terry Currie

Terry Currie was raised on his family’s 1841 homestead farm in what was then Fitzroy Township, Carleton County. He embarked on a career as a high school teacher at Almonte District High School, where he was Head of the French Department and Head Coach of the Almonte Thunderbolts football team.

During the 1990s Terry wrote two parish histories for local churches. In 2002 he completed his Master of History degree at the University of Ottawa. His Master’s thesis became his first publicly distributed book, “The Ottawa Valley’s Great Fire of 1870”. Since then he has written or edited two more books of local history. Terry has produced a video documentary, “St. Peter Celestine Roman Catholic Church, Pakenham: the Jewel of the Ottawa Valley.” He continues to lead guided tours of this unusual and significant church for groups interested in local history. He still lives on the family farm and continues his research in History of the Ottawa Valley.