Uncle Billie wasn't my uncle at all, he was my first cousin once removed - my father's first cousin. But I was taught as a child to regard most non-parental adults as aunts and uncles, including some who were not related at all. So Uncle Billie it was.
With the arrival a couple of days ago of Package #2 from Leona, the shape of my near future is becoming clearer. Basically if I do nothing else I will probably be able to do everything the material cries out for, which is in effect, make books of it. Leona has advised me sternly not to start on any project until I have reviewed the whole and while I estimate I have only about 20% of "the main herd" now in hand, I have been entirely unable to resist getting started on the project that jumped right out at me from the outset. Uncle Billie's stories.
When he was retired in the late 1960s and early 1970s Billie wrote stories of his childhood in England, of immigrating to Canada and of pioneering in Saskatchewan, and also of his work with the Moral Re-Armament movement. These stories were in one of the files in Package #1 from Leona and I have (with difficulty considering the wretched quality of the photocopy) now transcribed them into my computer. Next step - to transcribe certain passages from the book Uncle Billie wrote in 1950, into the book I am evolving. My interest is very much focused on his early life and his pioneer experiences; his MRA career can be left to the existing book. However, I did take a side trip into the Internet to discover more about the MRA, which was a kind of quasi-religious organization which became a fad in the Borden Quaker community in the thirties and forties. Once again family history has led to better understanding of a wider history. I plan to include the Wikipedia essay on the MRA as an appendix in Billie's book of stories.
Meantime, some of the other projects have been neglected, which is regrettable, but it seems I need to heed the loudest call. Perhaps I operate in my family history efforts on the squeaky wheel principle. Some projects emit bellows, some mere squeaks, and perhaps unwisely I heed the loudest calls, which often seem to come from the new material that comes to my hands. I really do need the discipline of a Leona in this matter!
Leona meantime has been deployed with her army unit (she is a logistics officer) to Winnipeg, where the soldiers will help deal with the flood threat. I am not to expect to hear from her until late May. When she returns we will resume our email conversation on her observation in her last post that she has reconciled being in the army with being a practicing Quaker. Quakers, like Mennonites, are pacifist....