Thursday, June 28, 2012

Queenie, my latest 'Murfitt' friend

Since starting this project 6.5 years ago I have had the honour of meeting hundreds of people that I may have never connected with otherwise. Some of them have turned into great relationships, and it's the true meaning of 'Murfitt'

Shortly after the first article came out in the Citizen in March 2006, I received a phone call from an elderly lady from Saltspring Island, Queenie. She told me she loved wood and wished she could come over to see the burl, so we tried to arrange it. At that time the burlshack was just an idea, and all I had covering it was tarps held up with a ladder for a centre pole and brooms etc. to try and keep the wet tarps off the wood. I tried to put off Queenies visit until Peter Murfitt had the burl shack completed so she could enjoy it more.

Once the burl shack was set up we tried several times to hook up but it just never worked out. I was to come over and pick her up once and that failed because I got called out to work. It was disappointing to both of us but that was just the way it was. Through all our communication I was learning that Queenie is quite the character to say the least.

I ended up mailing her a couple small finished trimmings off the burl in the mail, so she could at least get an idea of the quality of the wood. But I never heard back from her after that! I was saddened at the thought that she never got the chance to see it and I never got the chance to become friends with her face to face. To top it off my computer crashed and I lost everything including the contact information on Queenie.

Then, on Monday evening after years of not knowing what happened I received a message on my phone. Guess who? YES! Queenie! "Hello, it's Queenie from Saltspring, I've been reading about your burl again Glen, I've always wanted to come and see it and to see you. I've never have written to you since you sent me those two little samples and I just love them. And I have a little quilt I made with the Canadian floral emblems that I wanted to bring. I don't suppose it'll mean much to you but it might to your wife or mother and I would just love to come over, my son can bring me. So will you call me? It's Queenie, you'll remember." and she left her phone number then hung up.

I could not believe it! I got alligator tears in my eyes and I called right away! I asked if she could come over on Saturday and draw the pool cue winners name. So that's what we're doing.

Queenie was a welder in the war, I think she said the first woman welder in Canada. She made 200 Blankets for babies in Africa last year, and she spent four years writing a 300 page book on her life. She's a character that I am honoured to be able to call my "Murfitt" friend!

I'll post a couple photos and the cue winners name after her visit. She's now 97!

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