Tag Archives: Calgary

P is for Putto

It’s a mystery to me how I have lived so long without knowing this word.  I also don’t know why I have neglected my Alphabet Soup category since the 23rd of October.  Mine is a life filled with wonder and confusion and maybe I’ll get into all that later, but for now, here’s a picture of a putto, (plural putti) (also known as an amoretto or an amorino when it depicts cupid);  a representation in baroque painting or sculpture of a small chubby naked boy with wings.

Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882
Sleeping Putto, by Léon Bazille Perrault, 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That would be Cupid, right?  Looks like cupid to me.  Or a cherub.  Apparently it’s common to get these things mixed up, and that’s why there’s Wikipedia to help straighten everything out for us:

Art historian Juan Carlos Martinez writes:

Originally, Cherubs and Putti had distinctly different roles, with the former being sacred, and the latter, profane. That is, Cherubs and Seraphs (Cherubim, Seraphim) are Angels, occupying the highest angelic orders in Heaven and are thus the closest to God. On the other hand, Putti, arise from Greco-Roman classical mythos (i.e., non-Christian). They are associated with Eros/Cupid as well as with the Muse, Erato; the muse of lyric and love poetry…
….By the time the Baroque Era came about, which might arguably have been the high point for Cherubim and Putti, both of these little beings were usually being depicted in the same way. Which one they were, simply depended upon the theme of the painting or sculpture: If religious (sacred) – they were Cherubs. If secular or mythic (profane) – they were Putti.

Wenceslas Hollar - Jesus, John, and four cheru...

I suppose it depends on the artist whether these putto/cherub illustrations turn out to be beautiful or butt ugly.  I think if I tried to paint one it might end up in that second category.
Anyway, enough putti pondering for this Grey Cup Sunday.  I guess since I’m in the West I should be cheering for the West.  Even though that means rooting for Calgary, which is probably against some obscure Edmonton bylaw from the baroque period of our shared city histories.  If they all dressed like cherubs I’d watch the whole thing.  But my becoming a football fan is probably not sufficient motivation for the players, especially in November.  That could get butt ugly fast.

Postcards Home

In 1936 my mom was attending teachers college in Stratford, Ontario.  The love of her life, my dad, was off to see the world.  Well, western Canada, actually, but in those days, worlds away from home.  He and a buddy headed west to find work and adventure.

Amongst the treasures I gleaned from home this visit were pieces of correspondence between my parents, and letters they sent to, or received from other people.  Interesting stuff.  And amazing that it has survived all these years.


This was written on the 15th of May, 1936.

Dear Marg,  We reached Grand Forks North Dakota at two o’clock Friday.  We’re getting along fine now.  Hope you’re keeping well.  This is a big city.  I don’t like it.  The surrounding country is prairie.  Love Hank.

“Getting along fine now” suggests that things might not have been quite so fine before that.  Imagine two young men with minimal mechanical abilities setting off across Canada in a Model T Ford.

It may have looked like this new, but after thousands of miles and many flat tires and gravel roads later, perhaps not quite so lovely.

On the 30th of May, fifteen days later, he sent this postcard from Calgary.

Dear Margaret, We’re in Calgary.  We can’t keep still in one spot.  We’re heading for Rimbey for a while.  It’s about 250 miles.  Send mail to Newton and I’ll get it.  I hope you’re taking good care of yourself.  I’m having the time of my life.  Although I sometimes get rather lonesome.  We worked for about a week.  I’ll write later.  Love Hank

Dad was travelling with a friend from home, also off on an adventure, kind of like the ‘work as you go’ holidays people go off on today.  Except they go to Europe or somewhere slightly more interesting than Rimbey, Alberta.  Dad also kept in close touch with his family back home, thus the reference to Newton, his older brother.

There was work in Rimbey and I know that he stayed there for awhile.  When my parents came here to visit us in the 1990’s we drove them out there to look up the people he knew way back when.  Obviously they made quite an impression on eachother.

It’s unfortunate that I didn’t pay closer attention to the details of the stories dad used to tell us in bits and pieces about his time “out west”.  I was more concerned about the fact that they were so far apart for so long and either one of them might have married someone else.  Apparently both of them were worth waiting for.

A Nearby Attraction

Name an attraction or town close to home that you still haven’t gotten around to visiting.

I guess that would be Drumheller, the Dinosaur Capital of the World. But it’s not on my to-do list and really never has been. Which would no doubt be one of the reasons why I’ve never been there.

“There is nowhere quite like the Drumheller Valley! In the Heart of the Canadian Badlands in Southern Alberta, the Drumheller Valley offers visitors a unique combination of spectacular scenery and interesting things to do. Within easy driving distance of Banff, Calgary or Red Deer, a few hours on good all-weather highways will take you into another world – the world of startling contrasts between the deep past and the exciting present. Rolling fields suddenly give way to steep, dry coulees ridged with the strata of hundreds of years of erosion by time, wind and water. Through it all, the tranquil Red Deer River gently makes its way through parkland and myriad of recreational opportunities.” http://www.dinosaurvalley.com/

Nope, still have no ambition to go there, although I have relatives and friends who live further away who have been there and enjoyed it. I do not resent this or feel that I have been in any way deprived for never having been there. Funny how we can live right beside something that attracts tourists and never really notice or appreciate it ourselves.

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