Haweater featured in new Canadian ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

by Robin Burridge

MINDEMOYA—’O Canada,’ the newest book in the Chicken Soup For The Soul series features stories by and for Canadians, including one story by Haweater Rose McCormick Brandon entitled ‘Manitoulin Connections.’

‘Manitoulin Connections’ is a short story in which Ms. Brandon reflects on her family’s relationship with the Island, as well as her own, as she struggles with her family’s decision to sell the family cottage on Lake Mindemoya.

The Expositor caught up with the writer, who now resides in Caledonia with her husband, while she was visiting her mother in Espanola for the holidays.

“I starting writing the story at our family cottage on Monument Road, on Lake Mindemoya,” said Ms. Brandon, “and finished it as we went thought the process of deciding to purchase it.”

In the story, Ms. Brandon and her husband are at the cottage for a final vacation. She explains that her mother, a widow for nine years, was unable to care for the cottage, forcing her to put it on the market.

“It’ll go fast,” passersby said…”someone will snatch up your four decades of memories in a hurry,” writes Ms. Brandon.

Through the story, Ms. Brandon explores her emotions with loosing her ‘Manitoulin connection,’ the cottage and her family’s memories there.

“Manitoulin is a very special place,” said Ms. Brandon. “Very unique. A favourite quote from my story is, ‘Curiosity is an Island pastime.’

Ms. Brandon was born in Mindemoya, but moved with her parents and siblings to Espanola when she was four, “moving to a nearby booming paper town because it promised a better and more regular paycheque than life on the farm,” she writes in her story.

Ms. Brandon explained to The Expositor that even though her family moved ‘off-Island’ she still remained connected, visiting family and friends regularly until her parents built the cottage on Monument Road.

“Both of my grandparents still lived on Manitoulin,” said Ms. Brandon, “so we went back often to visit. Our hearts were still on the Island. Eventually my parents built the cottage because there were my five siblings and myself. There were too many of us just stay with family.”

In Ms. Brandon’s story, she even jokes about how a column in The Expositor would mention the event. “Whenever our toes touched the Island, the local paper added the event to its social column,” she writes, referring to Erma McAlister’s column ‘Spring Bay Rural Route.’

The story is a touching reminder to Islanders about just how special Manitoulin is and how lucky those are who are able to call Manitoulin Island their home.

Ms. Brandon is currently working on a novel, loosely based on her grandmother, about three home children.

The term ‘home children’ refers to orphaned or children from impoverished homes that were forced to immigrate to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa from the United Kingdom between the 1830s to 1930s.

Ms. Brandon said she was inspired to write the novel by her grandmother, an orphan who was forced to move to Canada when she was eight-years-old from Scotland.

She will also be starting a blog in January for individuals to share their stories about home children. She said it will be a one-year project commemorating her grandmother.

Ms. Brandon is also a proud member of the Manitoulin Writer’s Circle. The Expositor spoke with its founder, Margo Little, about Ms. Brandon’s resent achievement.

“I extend my congratulations to Rose Bandon, the newest member of the Island writers’ group,” said Ms. Little. “Although Ms. Brandon lives in Caledonia, she has expressed an interest in doing communal reading with circle members when she returns to her Island cottage in summer 2012. It’s clear that Rose has always appreciated and valued her Manitoulin heritage and connections. It’s great to see her reflections included in one of the Chicken Soup series and we look forward to her novel currently in progress—her examination of her grandmother’s life and that of other home children that will showcase even more Manitoulin history. Ms. Brandon is an up and coming talent to watch.”

To visit Ms. Brandon’s home children blog visit littleimigrants.

wordpress.com, starting in January or to learn more about Ms. Brandon visit her website at