25 June 2018

The Dustiest Bookcase: E is for Eaton

Short pieces on books I've always meant to review (but haven't).
They're in storage as we build our new home.
Patience, please.

Memory's Wall
Flora McCrae Eaton
Toronto: Clarke Irwin, 1956
213 pages

The Bombardier Guide to Canadian Authors places Flora McCrae Eaton as second only to Malcolm Frye. Both writers transcend the boundaries of our literature: Frye rates 6½ out of a possible five skidoos, while Lady Eaton is an even six. According to the Guide, Morley Callaghan is a third the writer she is, and yet I've never read Lady Eaton's work.

Memory's Wall was Flora McCrae Eaton's second and last book. The first, Rippling Rivers: My Diary of a Camping Holiday, was published in 1920 by the T. Eaton Company, the department store headed by husband Sir John Craig Eaton. That just two books propelled her to such heights in the Bombardier Guide speaks to her talent.

Before moving to St Marys, Ontario, our home these past ten years, I'd never seen a copy of Memory's Wall. They're not at all uncommon in this small town. My copy, purchased four blocks down the street, set me back a dollar.

It's signed.

The Eatons were once prominent in St Marys; Lady Eaton's father-in law, Timothy, had a store on Queen Street, as did his brother Robert. They stand with celebrated violinist Nora Clench (Lady Streeton) and Arthur Meighen as the town's most famous residents. The latter, our ninth prime minister, provided a forward to Memory's Wall.

It begins: "This book is truly a Canadian product." 

That's as far as I've made it.

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  1. Ah, I'll be waiting for the review. Got my hopes up now.

  2. Except for the positive endorsements this sounds like a vanity publication.

    1. Certainly, Rippling Rivers has all the appearance of a vanity publication... that vain person being, Sir John. I'm now wishing I could read the Bombardier Guide entry, but it's been packed away for our move.

  3. Ah, yes. This one is on my TBR shelf of Canadian memoirs. It's been there a long time. (I have a much larger shelf of read and possibly TBRR Canadian memoirs.)

    1. When - if? - you do read it, Susan, I promise to read my copy so that we can compare notes.