summer after summer…

murray church0002
The Murray Church, around 1985

…we walked through the little graveyard surround the Murray Church in the townsite of Upper Nicola, on highway 5A, the old road between Merritt and Kamloops. In that graveyard, I found names that spoke to me, though they weren’t my dead. They spoke to me and agitated and I wrote my first lyric essay, “Morning Glory” (in my book Red Laredo Boots). The church, built in 1876, and its surroundings, its beautiful plain dignity, the graveyard of old iris and cacti — well, they eventually helped me to write my first novel, Sisters of Grass.

morning glory

I have to write this now. I have to write this while I can. I just heard on the noon news that the church burned to the ground yesterday. Arson is suspected. I will go through old photo albums (this was all before computers and digital files) and probably I’ll cry.




9 thoughts on “summer after summer…”

  1. So sorry to hear that, Theresa. So hard to lose these landmarks from the past, particularly ones as beautiful as that.

  2. What a plain yet stately church I thought before I read this. I’m so sorry it’s no longer there in the landscape, but it will live on in your essay and in how it helped you write your first novel–and in all the memories of people who appreciated it as a house of worship.

    1. Thanks, Alice. The whole townsite of Upper Niola, once a thriving place, with a mill, a school, a courthouse (now a place one can rent and we have, with friends, for grand summer house parties; it has 5 bedrooms, screened sleeping porches, a wonderful dining room, etc.), and a collection of gorgeous old wooden houses, circa 1880-1910, anyway, the townsite was a place we visited several times a year, sometimes passing through and sometimes camping nearby or staying at the courthouse. The church was sort of central to all of this, in its little corral of graves.

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