Illustration by James Reaney, 1962 from Twelve Letters to a Small Town (page 6).
Stratford Ontario’s literary heritage and take the Stratford Literary Walking Tour — James Reaney’s old high school Stratford Central Secondary School is one of ten stops on the way.
James Reaney was born and raised on a farm three miles east of Stratford in
South Easthope Township, and he bicycled to and from high school every day for five years (1939-1944).
Between the highschool & the farmhouse
In the country and the town
It was a world of love and of feeling
Continually floating down
— From James Reaney’s poem “The Bicycle” (1962)
“The Bicycle” illustration by James Reaney from Twelve Letters to A Small Town (1962)
For more of James Reaney’s Stratford and Perth County inspired writing, see the links below:
♦ Colours in the Dark (1967)
♦ The Box Social and Other Stories (1996)
♦ “The Royal Visit” (1949)
♦ “The Windyard” (1956)
♦ From Twelve Letters To A Small Town, “The Bicycle” (1962) and “Shakespearean Gardens” (1962)
♦ “Going for the Mail” (1964)
♦ “Gifts” (1965)
♦ “Maps” (2005)
♦ “Brush Strokes Decorating a Fan” (2005)
♦ “The Fan” (2005)
♦ “Elderberry Cottage” (2005)
Perth County history:
♦ The Story of North Easthope (1982)
August 2010 — James Reaney’s birthplace and childhood home near Stratford, Ontario. The farmhouse was built in 1875 and demolished in 2015.
♥ ♦ All the best for the holidays and for 2017 ♦ ♥
Circa 1960 – Christmas lights at the Stratford City Hall in Stratford, Ontario: “O City Hall, O City Hall, How lovely are your Christmases!” (Image courtesy Alex Wilson Publications Limited, Dryden, Ontario)
Here are holiday snaps of James Reaney and his family from December 1964:
December 1964: James Reaney (Jamie) with his son James Stewart Reaney visiting the farm near Stratford, Ontario.
December 1964 in London, Ontario: Colleen, Jamie, James Stewart (age 12), John (age 10), and Susan (age 5) assisted by friends Eleanor Catto and Broughdaler Steve Keene.
December 1964 in London, Ontario: The Reaney Family and friends
The snow fence drawing and the poem appeared on the December 1960 Christmas card designed by James Reaney.
Beside the road the snow fence stands
And holds the snow in slatty hands.
Once our humanity did hold
A dove of white, a boy of gold.
James Reaney, 1960
James Reaney and Ian Chunn (son-in-law) with granddaughter Edie Reaney Chunn, December 25, 1996 in London, Ontario.
James Reaney on a winter walk with his son James Stewart Reaney, December 25, 1996.
“Hark! Who knocks at our door so late?” Watercolour sketch by James Reaney, undated. (Possibly from 2001 and perhaps based on a childhood drawing or an illustration for a story. The old house, the tree, and the windmill are like the farmhouse near Stratford where James Reaney grew up.)
All the best for the holidays and for 2015
December 26, 1996 in London, Ontario: James Reaney at the piano with his granddaughter, Edie Reaney Chunn (age 3 months), and his son-in-law, Ian Chunn. Photo by Wilma McCaig.
December 25, 1996 in London, Ontario: James Reaney with granddaughter Edie and daughter Susan Reaney. Photo by Wilma McCaig.
Dark trees, red sun
Short the days
And long the nights
Until our earth
Sets things to rights
All the best for the holidays and for 2014
Linocut by James Reaney, 1965
On his birthday there is a blue sky
In the swale there’s clear ice
Two boys skate an X, the Greek letter Chi
Because it stands for Christ
from the Reaneys
James Reaney made this linocut design in December 1965 and printed a set of Christmas cards for friends and family at the Alphabet Press in London, Ontario.
Merry Christmas and All the best for 2013!
“Angel” woodcut by James Reaney, 1980
Yes we are that too: we are everything who feel it.
Everything that has meaning has the same meaning as angels: these
hoverers and whirrers: occupied with us.
When the band of the moment breaks there will come angelic
— Colleen Thibaudeau Reaney, from “This Elastic Moment”
All the best for the holidays and for 2012
Merry Christmas everyone!
Here are some photos from
Stratford Central Secondary School‘s recent production of , a Christmas play James Reaney wrote in 1943 when he was a student. Mimi Lights the Candle
On Christmas Eve, Laura, Mimi’s long-absent mother, returns home.
Mimi: But you came!
Laura: Yes, because it was Christmas. My money was nearly gone,
but I managed to pay my fare here. And then Mimi’s candle drew me.
November 26, 2010: Stratford Central Secondary School students in a scene from Mimi Lights the Candle. Photo by Wilma McCaig.
November 26, 2010: Carollers from Mimi Lights the Candle, Stratford Central Secondary School. Photo by Wilma McCaig.
Snowflake woodcut by James Reaney, 1970
All the best for the holidays and for 2010.