Not In My Father's Footsteps
General Store Publishing House
General Store Publishing House
Run of the Town
General Store Publishing House
General Store Publishing House
Ripe For The Picking
Clayton's Kids: Pioneer Families
St. Joseph Document
Run of the Town (Short Story Collection - fiction)
The two pictures on the jacket of Run of the Town - a little boy playing hockey on a street (front cover) and a young adult holding a stubby beer (back cover) - represent R.J. Martin and the twenty-year time frame in which the 17 short-stories take place. It’s 1940-65 and R.J. happens to be growing up in Hearst, Northern Ontario, although it could be any of hundreds of small communities across the country.
Canada in the mid-twentieth century was neither better nor worse than the Canada of today. But it certainly was different - mothers stayed home, few people had cars, radio was king, a holiday meant a couple of weeks at the lake, childhood diseases could be fatal, teachers gave the strap, condoms were hard to obtain (only at the local poolroom in Hearst, because the druggist was Catholic). It was a time when families were large and kids expected to do chores. Children were loved but unencumbered by parents micro-managing their lives or hovering over them every minute of their waking day. Result? Kids had the run of the town. In short, it was as golden age for growing up.
This is the world R.J. observes, from the apartment over his dad’s hardware store on the main corner of town, as he grows from youth to manhood. The stories in Run of the Town chart his progress in three phases - preteen, adolescent, young man.
The preteen stories show R.J. and pals - Rusty, Veiko and Normie - roaming the town. The scrapes they get into, the people they encounter and the events of their day - German prisoners of War, tragic telegrams from Europe, displaced Japanese students, French kids with whom they share the town but not their loyalties, hobos in the jungle by the tracks - mold their sense of tolerance, fair play and compassion. These early stories beg the question: what of today’s youth living in modern suburbia? Will their environment - sheltered from society’s casualties - or their experiences - chaperoned from one parentally controlled event to the next in Mom’s taxi - give them the skills needed to handle the human condition in all its manifestations?
In the middle stories R.J. is a teenager coming to grips with emotions that will shape him as a man - bonding, jealousy, insensitivity, humiliation, face saving, first love.
The last stories show R.J. returning to the community after university. He’s changed and so have his friends. Fitting back in is a struggle. Feeling more and more like an outsider he finds himself trying to please others, rather than following his own instincts - hunting in spite of his aversion to killing, struggling to make the local hockey team, hiding intimate pleasures from his friends (newfound love for birding, relationship with a married woman). It takes the Cuban Missile Crisis and wise counsel from his father for R.J. to finally reconcile his future with his roots.
The Stories in Run of the Town include:
The Telegram - played on CBC radio
So Long, Tojo. Hello, Junichi - used to open conference NAC
The Roll Up Yonder - Ottawa Independent Writes 2nd Prize 2005 - played on CBC Radio
Burwash Arnie - 1st Prize Ottawa 55+ 2005
* plus 13 other stories
Listen to a reading from Run of the Town
Testimonials of "Run of the Town"
Your mother lets you out to watch two lumberjacks in a vicious fist-fight. ‘Just stay back,’ she warns.
You have the Run of the Town.
This is Hearst, Northern Ontario and environs, mid-20th century. Author West has evoked with first hand loving care the raw, individualist, sensual, sub-arctic bush town persona by offering up 17 stories separate but simultaneously bound by a thin but unbreakable thread.
A fine achievement!
recent winner of the prestigious NSK Neustadt prize
from World Literature Today, University of Oklahoma
short-listed six times for a Governer-General’s Award for literature
... the uniqueness of small-town Northern Ontario life revealed in stories that are sometimes tender, sometimes brutal, but always engaging. If you haven't already, give this book a read.
CEO, Ontario Library Services North
... a delight to read ... love the way he handles the time period.
Host, Literary Landscapes, CKCU
Scenes and plots depicted with such accuracy and freshness that I was deeply moved ... marvelous details that are alive once again in my memory.
Creative Writing Teacher
These stories are also my stories.
Japanese-Canadian, displaced from west coast in 1942 by Gov't of Canada
Slice of life, coming-of-age Canadiana - stories that resonate. I found myself still thinking about them days later.
author of, Swimming in the Ocean
"Terrence Rundle West’s short stories are a pure delight. Set in Northern Ontario at the end of World War Two, these snapshots of our Canadian past from a boy’s perspective weave history and bitter-sweet but heartwarming memories into timeless accounts that will be treasured by youth and adults alike. This collection is a wonderful addition to a school’s Canadian literature library, illuminating our collective past in a sensitive and relevant way."
SUSAN ANNE NOUVET
"Compelling stories of growing up unencumbered by parental interference"
former Assistant-Director Ottawa Board of Education
"... vivid images of a time and setting that for most can only be lived in the imagination. By reading these narratives and experiencing the emotions they evoke, today’s youth will better understand the culture of growing up in Canada in the generation of their grandparents. We need to understand the culture of the past to value its contribution to our current world. These stories help in this process."
C FRANK ALLAN
Principal, Curriculum Services, Ottawa Carleton District School Board
Reviews of "Run of the Town"
Growing up in a small town is a unique experience that many of today’s kids living in suburbs will never truly understand.
Ottawa author Terry West, in his new book, Run of the Town, brings some of his experiences living and growing up in a small Northern Ontario town alive in an attempt to bridge the intergenerational gap.
Run of the Town is a series of short stories involving R.J. Martin, a boy growing up in Hearst, Ont. The stories follow R.J. as a young boy, an adolescent and eventually as an adult.
"It could be any town, it just happens to be northern Ontario which was a little more rough and tumble at that time," said Mr. West.
The author used his hometown as a reference point but says the book is not necessarily about him, though he does draw on some of his own experience.
Mr. West, who writes under his full name, Terrence Rundle West, says the book is a reflection of how times have changed since he was young. In his day childhood and growing up were lessons in discovery and exploration without all the safety and structure he sees today.
"Mine was a laissez-faire upbringing, as long as you got home in time for dinner nobody asked too many questions. We had the run of the town," said Mr. West.
"Today’s kids can’t climb trees, they can’t ride bicycles unless they’re wearing body armour, they can’t walk down the street alone, they have to be chaperoned and transported in mom’s taxi from one parentally organized event to the next."
Mixed into the book are interesting glimpses of history, such as one story about German prisoners of war who worked in nearby bush camps and one about displaced Japanese-Canadians who came to town from the west coast and tried to integrate.
Mr. West, 65, says he hopes the book will give younger generations abetter understanding of their parents and grandparents and will remind his generation of their days growing up.
"There’s a transfer there from one generation down to another. It really pleases me that younger readers can pick up something and maybe understand their grandparents a little better," said Mr West.
EMC News, Ottawa
Ripe For The Picking (Political/Economic fiction, 129,000 words)
Ripe for the Picking Until 9/11 rekindled the need for security, Boston financier, Benoit Lefebvre, thought history had erased Manifest Destiny from the American psyche. But in a whirlwind of events Benoit finds himself playing the role of point-man for a consortium planning a massive raid on Canadian industry. With Quebec about to win its third referendum, the economy is in free fall and Canada is theirs for the picking - that is if they act quickly, before offshore undesirables gobble everything in sight. On the block are mouth-watering industries, secure resources and, if they play their cards right, a chance to expand US borders and tighten continental security.
On paper, Benoit is the perfect choice for the mission - brilliant boardroom strategist, first generation American of Quebec parents and graduate of the University of Ottawa. Although he disagrees with the ethics of the raid he accepts the role in order to overcome domestic problems and to prevent a younger rival from taking the mission. He will hold his nose, do a thorough job, and return to the accolades of a grateful corporate America. Involvement in the sorry political mess unfolding in his ancestral land is not part of the mandate. But he is induced to meddle as he meets up with former varsity friends who now play pivotal roles in Canadian affairs - albeit on opposite sides of the divide. There is Maurice Vaillancourt, planning the mutiny of French personnel from the Canadian Army; Scotty MacDougal, resorting to terror to save an English Quebec he no longer understands; Anne Slaboda, struggling to hold onto her Ministry of Defence portfolio in Ottawa; Francine Gagnon, former fiancée, stumping for Quebec separation. As events unfold, Benoit and Quebec become mutually supporting metaphors; both caught in marriages of convenience with partners who know best; both develop a taste for independence; both must make decisions regarding the future.
Ripe For The Picking is about missed chances and charting new courses; about relationships and squaring new realities with old loyalties; about hijacked agendas. There are no villains, only determined characters clinging to incompatible perspectives. The background for the story, a Canada tortured by the debate over language, is a page from my own history. I grew up a 'wasp' in a small, bilingual town in Northern Ontario and did not really come to grips with the 'peasoups' until high school. It was a turning point; my cultural horizons doubled. I began a long journey towards understanding both sides of the French-English divide. The insights gleaned along the way have propelled me to the national presidency of Dialogue Canada and to the administration of a bilingual high school.
Who will read this book? English and French Canadians who know the separation issue and will want to agree with or dispute some of the twists taken in the plot; Canadians who have never had the chance to see separation from the 'other' side; Americans, puzzled by the linguistic and cultural issues fueling the turmoil north of the border; people who love an engaging story.
Testimonials of "Ripe For The Picking"
Looks like Canada has found itself a new master of the political thriller ... An all too believable scenario glues us to the edge of our seats. Strong, engaging characters ... meaningful dialogue helps us understand the under-lying tensions between Canadians ... West launches himself into a new career at blistering speed. Here's hoping he has another book up his sleeve.
PROFESSOR JOHN TRENT
Past Secretary-General, International Political Science Association; Fellow, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa
Ripe for the Picking lends itself admirably to the 'what if' methodology of teaching. What if Montcalm had prevailed on the Plains of Abraham? What if the Quebec referendum had gone the other way? ... A wonderful book which must be read.
former Assistant Director, Ottawa Board of Education
Imaginez un Franco-Américain qui devient une sorte d'entremetteur entre les deux solitudes canadiennes. Parviendra-t-il à éviter le pire? C'est ce que vous découvrirez en lisant ce roman haletant, dont l'intrigue est menée de main de maître.
author of Mots de tête
Caught between the lure of corporate America and the violently conflicting political ideals of old university cronies, Benoit Lefebvre has tough decisions to make and time is running out. Soon the Québec separatists will have fulfilled their mandate and Canada will be standing on shaky ground with American vultures poised over the remains. Well researched and thought-provoking, Ripe for the Picking is a complex and carefully plotted ride through Canadian politics and corporate America.
author of Swimming in the Ocean
Reviews of "Ripe For The Picking"
Novel About Quebec split has Northern Connection
Although book reports are something I have studiously avoided since high school, a novel recently produced by a native of Northern Ontario provokes this venture into the unfamiliar domain of literary comment. Interest in this book is generated as much by the timing as by the subject matter, both having much to do with the current political situation in Canada.
Ripe for the Picking is a story about the break-up of the country following a successful referendum campaign by separatists in Quebec. Unlike the last real referendum that took place in 1995, this fictional version does not see federalist politicians coming through at the last minute to win the marginal support of Quebec voters. This time it is a landslide for the cause of sovereignty and the winning side wastes no time in pulling away from the rest of Canada.
This book deals bluntly with the issue of bilingualism in Canada and weaves a tale of political intrigue that includes strong viewpoints from both sides of the language barrier. The main focus in this regard is the split between French-speaking troops and Anglophones in the Canadian Armed Forces, a division that is formalized immediately after the referendum when the majority of Francophone soldiers switch allegiance to the new Quebec army.
The country is plunged into uncertainty as former comrades-in-arms face each other along the Ontario-Quebec boundary, and elected leaders try to figure out how Canada can function without its second largest province. In Quebec, there is equal anxiety among the politicians who have been handed responsibility for a new French nation, surrounded by English-speaking North America. Across the United States border, a group of predatory business barons prepares to take advantage of the fiscal chaos caused by the break-up of their largest trading partner.
The central character is a seasoned Boston financier with links to Canada that make him uniquely qualified to engineer the American commercial coup. Benoit Lefebvre is not only a U.S. citizen whose parents came from Quebec, but a University of Ottawa graduate with friends from his college days that now occupy important positions on both sides of the national divide. In reconnecting with these former classmates, Lefebvre is increasingly immersed in the political and cultural consequences of Quebec separation.
Author Terrence Rundle West presents a fast-moving and quite believable account of what might happen to a fractured Canadian nation, but it is the individuals involved in the story that make Ripe for the Picking particularly interesting for a reader in Northern Ontario. West is a retired Ottawa educator who grew up in Hearst as an Anglophone in a mainly French-speaking community.
He draws on that background to introduce such people as Anne Slobada, the Canadian Minister of Defence who was raised in a small Slovak community near Hearst and now represents a Calgary riding in the House of Commons. There is also Francine Gagnon, Lefebvre’s girl friend in university and fierce advocate of the Francophone cause who serves as a top advisor to the new separatist regime in Quebec. Gagnon’s family still lives in her native Hearst and Lefebvre makes a sentimental journey to the lumber town as part of his effort to understand the French-English dichotomy.
Another point to be noted by Northerners is the plan by the Boston financial manipulator to gain control of big Canadian mining companies such as Inco and Falconbridge. Visits to Timmins and Sudbury figure prominently in Lefebvre’s cross-Canada corporate-raiding campaign, confirming the long held notion that Americans view this part of Ontario primarily as a source of supply for raw materials.
The most fascinating aspect of this novel, however, is its arrival on my reading schedule at the same time as a rise in separatist fortunes in Quebec. Thanks to the sponsorship shenanigans of the Liberal government in Ottawa, political analysts are once again prediction that sovereignty could be a move approved by Quebec voters in the not-too-distant future. If that cataclysmic development should take place, Ripe for the Picking provides a provocative scenario of the nation’s reaction. Depending on what takes place in national politics over the next few months, this could be another case where truth turns out to be stranger than fiction.
For Northerners who want to enjoy a good story with a bit of a local twist, the book is available at the Highway Book Shop in Cobalt, Chat Noire Books in New Liskeard, The Book Cellar in Kapuskasing and Librairie le Nord in Hearst.
Editor Emeritus, Northern Times, Kapuskasing, Temiskaming Speaker, New Liskeard
"What is curious, splendid, and sometimes downright frightening, is that the scenarios in the novel do not sound too far fetched. This makes the novel a page-turner and a work of fiction that forces the reader to stop and think ... 'Ripe for the Picking' is a book that will grip any Canadian, English or French, no matter what side of the political fence they sit on."
Chronicle Telegraph, Quebec City, December 1, 2004
Le Canada ne serait-il qu’un fruit mûr que les Américains s’apprêtent à cueillir?
Le premier roman de Terrence Rundle West, Ripe for the Picking, intrigue dès l'abord. Sur la couvèrture, un home en habit-cravate, porte-document à la main, s'avance sur une immense carte routière. Son pied gauche est posé sur Boston mais son pied droit levé suggère qu'il marche vers le Canada et son ombre menaçante couvre pratiquement tout le Québec.
Le symbole est facile à interpréter dès que l'on commence à lire le premier chapitre. Nous sommes plongés dans un avenir assez proche semble-t-il, même si l'année n'est pas précisée. Les Québécois viennent de voter oui au troisième référendum sur la souveraineté et le diable est au vaches comme on dit. Les politicians, à Québec comme à Ottawa, concoctent des plans qui ne peuvent que mener à un affrontement majeur. Les militaries s'en mêlent. Est-ce que ce sera la guerre? Minée par l'incertitude, l'économie est en ruine...
Un consortium américain basé à Boston décide que le temps serait propice pour faire main basse sur des centaines de compagnies canadiennes affaiblies par la conjoncture. Il confie cette tâche à une étoile montante de la haute finance américaine, Benoît Lefebvre. Cependant, le choix de Lefebvre ne fait pas l'unanimité au sein du consortium: il est d'origine québécoise, parle encore un peu français, a fait son baccalauréat à l'Université d'Ottawa où il s'est fait des amis (en particular une amie intime, Francine Gagnon, originaire de Hearst en Ontario).
Sa connaissance du Canada en fait un candidat tout désigné mais ne risque-t-il pas d'être trop attaché à ses anciens amis pour mener à bien l'impitoyable enterprise? Restera-t-il fidèle à sa femme, la bostonnaise high class ou renouera-t-il avec Francine qui fournit l'élément romantique indispensable à l'intrigue pleine de rebondissements dans la plus pure tradition du roman d'anticipation?
Le roman se lit comme un journal où la date est toujours donnée en en-tête de chaque chapitre, parfois même l'heure, mais jamais l'année. Les scènes détachées nous transportent aux quatre coins du continent: Boston, Montréal, Val-Cartier, Brandon, Ottawa, Wakefield, Québec, Gagetown, Hearst. Le lecteur a l'impression de suivre d'heure en heure une vaste épopée dont l'enjeu est crucial.
Terrence Rundle West sait tenir son lecteur en haleine. Cet enseignant à la retraite connaît bien la réalité canadienne, l'histoire, l'économie, la politique. On peut questionner le scénario un peu apocalyptique qu'il imagine suite à un référendum gagnant et espérer que, le cas échéant, nous serions tous plus civilisés que ce qu'il prévoit, mais son intrigue reste toujours plausible. Son narrateur ne dit que l'essentiel et laisse beaucoup de place aux personnages. Les dialogues, abondants et parsemés de mots français, sont naturels et contribuent au réalisme des épisodes mouvementés.
Terry West est originaire de Hearst. Sa jeunesse dans le Nord laisse des traces dans le roman aussi bien au sujet de la connaissance du milieu et des francophones que de la langue française. Dans quel autre roman trouverait-on une Ann Slaboda ministre de la Défense du Canada d'origine slovaque et née à Bradlo et un personage, meme très secondaires, prénommé Doric? Le roman, intéressant pour tout lecteur canadien par les enjeux qu'il soulève, aura une saveur toute particulière pour les gens de Hearst.
Professeur de littératures à l’Université de Hearst
The Roll Up Yonder (Short Story Collection - fiction)
The Roll Up YonderIn this CD Virginia West reads three stories. The first story, entitled the Roll Up Yonder, is about a journey in a car in 1950. In the story a troubling event takes place and several hymns are sung to ease the pain of one of the passengers. Subsequent to the publishing of the story the author has been asked on several occasions to read it in churches, following which the hymns were sung by the congregation. Many of us were brought up on hymns. This CD offers the opportunity to listen and sing along. Enjoyable at home, it is especially perfect for long car trips. The music is provided by the Da Camera Singers, Edmonton, Alberta.
Old Favourite Hymns On the CD
The Roll Up Yonder
Softly And Tenderly
The Old Rugged Cross
Ninety And Nine
The Strife is O’er
Breathe On Me Breath Of God
Rock Of Ages
The Day Thou Gavest
Clayton's Kids: Pioneer Families of Hearst Public School (edited by Terrence Rundle West)
Clayton's KidsRubble where once there were homes. Ruts where once there were roads. Forests where once there where fields. What became of those intrepid homesteaders who chased their dreams to northern Ontario and struggled to break the sod of the Great Canadian Claybelt? Why did they abandon the land? And what about the urban pioneers—merchants, railroaders, timber barons, developers, labourers? Homesteader and townie had arrived at the same time, lured northward by glowing prospects for a new community at the point on the map where the Mattawishkwia River meets two great railways—the Transcontinental (CNR) and the Algoma Central.
These 106 stories are told by the men and women who lived the early days or by their descendants. They’re an intimate window to the expectations and disappointments of those who crossed oceans and continents to buy into the myth that “New Ontario” farms and towns were destined to become a vibrant, economic engine on the Canadian scene. The farmers, enticed by cheap land after World War I and during the Great Depression, found that even their herculean efforts were no match for the forces opposing them—winters too cold, summers too wet, markets too distant, governments too indifferent. One by one they sold their only cash crop, the trees, and drifted away. Many moved to Hearst. Here they joined the townsfolk in creating the institutions that would provide their children with the key to a better future—churches, hospital, schools, industry. If they had missed the golden ring, they were determined their offspring would not. Through their combined efforts a dynamic community was born.
The riveting historical vignettes chronicled in this book are centred on Hearst, but the stories they tell could be from any one of dozens of communities across northern Ontario.
Reviews of "Clayton's Kids"
"I didn’t just like this book, I loved it." Mary Ito CBC Radio "Fresh Air"
"A treasure-trove for geneologists." London Public Library