Wardsville Legacy Portrait display wraps up

The Wardsville Legacy Portraits in the Heritage Gallery at the Arts and Cookery Bank will be replaced by a new show featuring the natural beauty of our region.

The Legacy Potraits occupied the Great Hall gallery September 30, 2011 – March 31, 2014

Legacy Portrait, Wardsville

“Photographs Capturing a Moment in History”

How the Subjects Were Photographed

Over the course of two days in June 2011, about 260 people posed in 69 groupings in a temporary studio set up in the pavilion of the Wardsville baseball park.  A team of “wranglers” provided logistical support as folks signed in and queued up for the sittings.  David Chidley, an accomplished local photographer, shot each group using a digital camera and provided invaluable on-site counsel and equipment. The local “Package Nanny” (Heather Rowe) set up a digital printer in the ‘studio’ and every group received a high-quality color print on the spot.

Larry Merin used a vintage Hasselblad camera for the portraits, since archivally processed film can be safely stored for decades without deterioration. The project was designed to provide the people of Wardsville with a ‘shoebox’ of images that could be stored in a form that could be seen easily in the future.  Stored in archives, the Legacy negatives should remain in pristine condition for many years.  Hopefully, they will be printed anew in 2110.

Folks grouped themselves for the sittings; most were couples and families.  We also photographed people linked by work (the Wardsville Volunteer Fire Department) and by hobbies (barbershop singers, ballroom dancers, barn quilt painters, a brass band).  It was a special honor to photograph a group of War Brides.

There was no 1-2-3 and no “Say Cheese.”  Larry reminded each group that the purpose of the photography session was to produce a historical record.  He asked them to look into the camera and imagine that their expression and pose would be the way future generations would come to know them.  Some responded with smiles, while others were pensive.  Some adopted formal poses while others were spontaneous.  The photographs reveal the people of Wardsville the way they see themselves and wish others to see them:  straightforward, friendly, proud of their village and comfortable with their way of life.

I am grateful to all who presented themselves to our cameras and allowed Dave Chidley and I to record their names and faces for coming generations.

Lawrence Merin, September 2011, Nashville


 


Lawrence Mitchell Merin

Lawrence Merin conceived the Legacy Photo Shoot to honour his clan, the Lutchin family of Wardsville

MERIN, Lawrence Mitchell A devoted family man and gifted photographer, whose work improved the lives of others, died Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at home in Nashville. He was 61. Larry was the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Ophthalmic Imaging Center at Vanderbilt University, and an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology. A loving father, husband and brother, Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Anne and Earl Merin. He is survived by his wife, Becky; daughter, Sydney and son, David; sister, Elaine Merin Perri of Chicago; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Esther and John Cervantes; sisters-in-law, Julie (Doug) King, Anna (Mike) Lemos and Debra Vazquez, all of CA, and many loving nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins. The funeral service was held Sunday, November 11th at Congregation Micah.

Twin Valleys Thanks Wardsville

Mary,  my thanks to you and your cohort for the magical opportunity you gave to the former Twin Valley people to come together, especially in your beautiful town of Wardsville. I doubt that a TVS reunion would have happened again without some unusual catalyst, and it was probably Georges last opportunity to have such an experience, to be together with so many former staff and students.  I myself can say that I had the best weekend of my life.  I am so impressed with the overall organization of the event, the meal was exceptionally good and I was thrilled to see that Wardsville has grown into a beautiful village.  I always waited to see that sign change beyond 200!  I think the reunion has launched a BIG resurgence in communications amongst us, that is the special spinoff of the weekend and  on top of that, I will have beautiful memories of Wardsville forever.                             Patricia Kristie (formerly Bullied)

Dear Mary, Just wanted to send you a note of thanks to let you know how much I appreciate the fact that you sought out the old Twin Valleys people to join the Wardsville Bicentennial.  What a great thought you had and because you did and act on it, I was able to reconnect with 3 dear friends I had not seen or heard from in over 30 years.  It was life changing for me and I am forever in your debt.  Thank you so much.  Also, you and the people of Wardsville did such a nice job with the event and made us feel so welcomed.  I am humbled at your greatness! in peace,

Mary Lisa Zimmerman, Morton, Illinois, United States of America

We wanted to congratulate all of you on an excellent event !!!!! Our “Lutchin” family had a great time and were most impressed with everything.  A historic event for us…all 8 cousins attended ( Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, etc…) It’s been decades since that happened !  Please pass our congratulations to all the event organizers !!!

We wanted to congratulate all of you on an excellent event !!!!! Our “Lutchin” family had a great time and were most impressed with everything. A historic event for us…all 8 cousins attended ( Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, etc…) It’s been decades since that happened ! Please pass our congratulations to all the event organizers !!!We wanted to congratulate all of you on an excellent event !!!!! Our “Lutchin” family had a great time and were most impressed with everything.

A historic event for us…all 8 cousins attended ( Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, etc…) It’s been decades since that happened !  Please pass our congratulations to all the event organizers !!!

Cathy Spooner

Twin Valleys Community and School – appreciation

Mary,  my thanks to you and your cohort for the magical opportunity you gave to the former Twin Valley people to come together, especially in your beautiful town of Wardsville. I doubt that a TVS reunion would have happened again without some unusual catalyst, and it was probably George’s last opportunity to have such an experience, to be together with so many former staff and students.  I myself can say that I had the best weekend of my life.  I am so impressed with the overall organization of the event, the meal was exceptionally good and I was thrilled to see that Wardsville has grown into a beautiful village.  I always waited to see that sign change beyond 200!  I think the reunion has launched a BIG resurgence in communications amongst us, that is the special spin-off of the weekend and  on top of that, I will have beautiful memories of Wardsville forever.                             Patricia Kristie (formerly Bullied)

Dear Mary, Just wanted to send you a note of thanks to let you know how much I appreciate the fact that you sought out the old Twin Valleys people to join the Wardsville Bicentennial.  What a great thought you had and because you did and act on it, I was able to reconnect with 3 dear friends I had not seen or heard from in over 30 years.  It was life changing for me and I am forever in your debt.  Thank you so much.  Also, you and the people of Wardsville did such a nice job with the event and made us feel so welcomed.  I am humbled at your greatness! in peace,
Mary Lisa Zimmerman, Morton, Illinois, United States of America

Hal Jenner from Ottawa did an amazing job organizing the Twin Valley’s reunion!

Ottawa, May 28, 2010 – Twin Valleys School is returning to Wardsville on Saturday, June 19th, for a reunion on the occasion of the town’s 200th Anniversary Celebration.

Twin Valleys School was an alternative educational community founded in 1971 by George and Pat Bullied. It ran until 1983. Twin Valleys was an alternative to training schools and group homes for hard-to-serve teenagers. It provided them a home and community environment where they were accepted unconditionally. In addition to learning life skills and a host of job skills like basic carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, farming, animal husbandry (the school was also a fully functional farm) and kitchen skills (try cooking three meals a day for 300 people), they learned about their own uniqueness and self-worth.

The students also received a high school education in a setting that they did not find threatening given the small classroom size. Learning was based on “the 7R’s of life”: Rules, Roles, Relationships, Responsibilities, Respect, Resources and Returning Cycles. In essence, the school prepared them for a different kind of life than the one they had known before.

One lesson that has stuck with almost everyone who heard it was one of George’s favourites. It was the story of the “empty roll of toilet paper,” that true spiritual expression was “replacing that roll of toilet paper and not leaving it empty for the next guy.”  It was all about doing what was right and what was needed in the moment. So many people who lived at Twin Valleys have told that story because it has continued to remind them to do what is right in the moment, not to wait for someone else to come along and do it.

“Those who lived there were profoundly impacted by the closeness, the challenges, the triumphs and the spirituality. Thus the community lives on!” – Ben Goerner, former student.

There will be a public multimedia presentation on the history of Twin Valleys at 2 o’clock on Saturday at the United Church, 207 Church Street, in Wardsville. Don Nisbett, Reeve of Wardsville and old friend of Twin Valleys, will introduce George Bullied, the former director of the school.

The public is invited to come learn about a special time and place in Wardsville history and perhaps to meet some of the returning residents of Twin Valleys, who love to share their experience.

– 30 –

Hal Jenner, Reunion Organizer

613-744-7399

Bicentennial bash includes reunion for unusual school

News London

WARDSVILLE: Twin Valleys had ‘hard-to-serve’ students

By GEOFF TURNER, THE LONDON FREE PRESS

Last Updated: June 18, 2010 5:55pm

The tiny town of Wardsville celebrates a big birthday this weekend as it marks the bicentennial of its 1810 founding by George Ward.

But the weekend-long celebration will feature a reunion of another kind as former students and staff of the Twin Valleys school gather to remember a unique community.

Founded in 1971 by George and Pat Bullied, Twin Valleys was part commune, part reform school and part spiritual retreat. Students at the community were “hard-to-serve” youth with criminal, behavioural and psychiatric issues.

At Twin Valleys, they learned farming and practical trades as well as basic life skills in a highly unorthodox environment. Staff and clients alike worked shoulder to shoulder in a “carry water, chop wood” approach to education.

The rural property was distinguished by the geodesic domes (built by staff and students) that created a focal point for the community. The school closed in 1983, the victim of changing government funding structure.

Reunion organizer Hal Jenner lived at Twin Valleys for four years, from 1975-79, beginning as a student but rising to the role of teacher or “communitarian.”

He said when he arrived at 23, he had just spent time in an Indiana prison on a drug conviction. He said he turned his life around at Twin Valleys, where he learned the values of hard work, co-operation and tolerance.

He said the non-judgmental atmosphere was essential. “We weren’t judged for our mistakes.”

Jenner said his experience in the community changed his path in life forever by leading him to a 25-year career in social services.

Tony Vischschraper, 54, of London, arrived at Twin Valleys in 1974 with a bad attitude and no direction.

He said he hated the place, but after just two days on the farm he knew he’d found a home. He would spend most of the next five years there.

Like Jenner, Vischschraper says Twin Valleys set his course for life. He learned every aspect of farming, from harrowing fields and planting crops, to raising and slaughtering cattle.

He has fond memories of founder George Bullied, whom he describes as “a presence.”

“He’s the kind of guy that when he walks in a room, people notice.”

Vischschraper recalls a class Bullied taught that was called the “art of living.”

“That’s what I learned at Twin Valleys,” he said. “Living is an art.”

Jenner said Bullied is coming from B.C. for the reunion along with more than 60 former staff and students.

There will be a tour of the property — now a Baptist Church summer camp — on Saturday.

geoff.turner@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/GeoffatLFPress

-30-

Glencoe District High School artists

The Glencoe District High School barn quilt painting group worked extremely hard to create pieces of art to be on display at the Wardsville Bi-Centennial. We completed the barn quilts “Tree of Life” and “Apple Tree.” Those who volunteered would come to the Metal Shop during their lunch hour to draw out the designs and paint. As it got closer to the due date, a bunch of students also came in during their spare period to help finish it.

These barn quilts required much dedication and hard work, but the volunteers enjoyed working together on this project. Great job volunteers for taking part in this painting project! Thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into it. It has been much appreciated.

Tabitha Carter

Twin Valleys School returns to Wardsville

Twin Valleys School is returning to Wardsville on Saturday, June 19th, for a reunion on the occasion of the town’s 200th Anniversary Celebration.

Twin Valleys School was an alternative educational community founded in 1971 by George and Pat Bullied. It ran until 1983. Twin Valleys was an alternative to training schools and group homes for hard-to-serve teenagers. It provided them a home and community environment where they were accepted unconditionally. In addition to learning life skills and a host of job skills like basic carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, farming, animal husbandry (the school was also a fully functional farm) and kitchen skills (try cooking three meals a day for 300 people), they learned about their own uniqueness and self-worth.

The students also received a high school education in a setting that they did not find threatening given the small classroom size. Learning was based on “the 7R’s of life”: Rules, Roles, Relationships, Responsibilities, Respect, Resources and Returning Cycles. In essence, the school prepared them for a different kind of life than the one they had known before.

One lesson that has stuck with almost everyone who heard it was one of George’s favourites. It was the story of the “empty roll of toilet paper,” that true spiritual expression was “replacing that roll of toilet paper and not leaving it empty for the next guy.”  It was all about doing what was right and what was needed in the moment. So many people who lived at Twin Valleys have told that story because it has continued to remind them to do what is right in the moment, not to wait for someone else to come along and do it.

Those who lived there were profoundly impacted by the closeness, the challenges, the triumphs and the spirituality. Thus the community lives on!” – Ben Goerner, former student.

There will be a public multimedia presentation on the history of Twin Valleys at 2 o’clock on Saturday at the United Church, 207 Church Street, in Wardsville. Don Nisbett, Reeve of Wardsville and old friend of Twin Valleys, will introduce George Bullied, the former director of the school.

The public is invited to come learn about a special time and place in Wardsville history and perhaps to meet some of the returning residents of Twin Valleys, who love to share their experience.

– 30 –

Hal Jenner, Reunion Organizer

613-744-7399