Dream of my People: A Home on Lake Erie’s Shore (2013)


Author: Margaret E. Derry

Book details:

  • ISBN 978-0-9738335-8-4
  • Format: Soft cover, 6″ x 9″
  • 190 pages
  • pub. Date March, 2013

Publisher: Poplar Lane Press


This book is the story of life around an Ontario country home in the late 19th century, based on the diaries and letters of Adelaide Shay Bell. Enriched by public documents, and letters written to her by other family members, the book describes what it was like to heat houses with wood stoves, preserve food with no refrigeration, travel in open buggies and sleighs on poor roads, and face illness at a time when the medical profession was, at best, unable to offer much help. In spite of these difficulties there is much sunlight in her words. Adelaide conveys a passion for the outdoors, enjoying the beauty of the land around her, and the magic of the nearby lake. She loved all animals, horses and cats in particular. Walks on the beach and boat rides as well filled much of her leisure time. Adelaide brings to life, in a way only first hand documentation can, a past. Her story is all the more interesting because the oeuvre through which her tale emerges is shaped against generational memory, passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. In the end the book illustrates how memory becomes reality and reality becomes memory.