Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bella Bella - Waglisla

Tuesday July 3 Bella Bella

Stayed up late last night, reminiscing with Mike. He told some great stories and it was great to remember some of our adventures together, and also to see how his son was eager to hear about his Dad's past  exploits.
I had spent the day wandering about the village, taking pictures of familiar landscapes, buildings, and scenes.  I am being flooded with a host of memories, real, imagined, and perhaps, dreamed.

A younger version from 35 years ago..

I had forgotten the eagles of Bella Bella.  They are everywhere, and to me represent all that is wonderful and magic about this place.  I took another walk and listened to them talking to each other. I hoped to find some feathers for my son's upcoming wedding.  

The general store was still where I had remembered it, although it clearly has gone through a modernization process.  There was a recent  totem erected on the outside, done by Stanley George.

 The Community Hall still stands where it was.  All of the villages' events were held in the big hall. The  kids used to play basketball incessantly, and we used it for PE classes as well.
 Bella Bella Community School sits atop the ridge.  The northern corner houses the Art room and on the backside is the IE shop.  I have seen some of the paddles and paddle-boards being produced by the kids, and the product is of a very high quality.
 A view from the Art room corner of the school, looking towards George Darby memorial church, and the strait.

 There were pots and ceramics in the Art Room window, and I could see the kiln in the room. It was good to know that a tradition of ceramics and pottery started over 35 years ago was still be practiced by other Art teachers.
 There is a whole new addition to the building, and I am told from the air that the whole school is designed to look like an eagle in flight.

 The George Darby shiloette remains the same, and I think that the roof has been upgraded, as I don't recall the yellow roof, but the distinctive spire remains the same.

 Stan George was a working artist when I lived here, and he inspired many with his designs.

Another of Stanley's totems stands at the main school addition.

 We lived in teacherages facing a muddy field, and of course the eastern sun.  The teacherages are long gone, replaced with modern quadraplexes, and the field is nicely grassed.
 Another view of the school, showing the prominent eagles' beak.
 The George Darby church.
 From my classroom, I could look down this street, right to the dock.

 Someone has build a dugout canoe

 Did I mention the eagles which live here?

When I came across this guy, I thought that I had fallen into a wormhole and landed in 1978.  I was riding around the village, and saw this huge fellow.  I stopped my bike and said hello.  He gave me a big smile and ambled over.  I was flooded again with memories of my old dog Nootka, who had come with me to this village.  He and I had travelled in an old Rambler from Vancouver as I headed for my first teaching job.  Nootka, who was a malmute crossed with a St. Bernard, had the exact same colouring and behaviour as this fellow, who I learned is named "Guy".   Nootka had been my constant companion and friend.  I had rescued him from execution, and he in turn became my protector and King of the Dogs.  He would take off every Spring and run with the wolves who lived behind the village.   Guy was the spitting image of my old dog....I have not seen another malmute with the same colouring and manners in 35 years.  I truly was caught in a wormhole.

There are only a few people on this planet who will appreciate this encounter, one of them being my son Ian, who is wondering about my choice of hats in the photo below, taken  almost 30 years ago.  Our dog "Nootka" who was born  up North, ended up on Death Row in Burnaby, spent three years in Bella Bella as the "King of the Dogs"

A ferry from Prince Rupert passing by the village..

 An eagle on my helmet, to keep my head up and eyes clear..

Mike has a great boat, moored down at the north end of town.  

 An eagle decal for my windshield...always in front of me
Looking down the main road, towards the dock, open water and east towards Bella Coola.

Another eagle by an unkknown artist

 George Darby Memorial church sits across from the school
 Bella Bella Community school has a large addition, including a gym.  The Eagle, with extended wings oversees the community...

 The Band owns this modern seiner, and it is crewed by local Band members

 The original communitiy Hall
 Inside the new Elders' building..

 Someday I will find the pics from 35 yeas ago.  Both of us are a bit greyer, and perhaps somewhat smarter...
 Mike and his boy, Jordan.
 Some of Pacific Coastals' fleet.  Lots of air traffic and fish slayers moving about....

All loaded up and ready for the next leg of the journey...

Goodbye for now, Bella Bella.  

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