Our New Ten Dollar Bill Celebrates a Historical Event

An amazing piece of history is about to be available very soon when the new ten dollar bill gracing the portrait of Viola Desmond goes into circulation.  This, 72 years after she was forcibly removed  from the white section of a movie theatre in New Glasgo, Nova Scotia. Not only was Viola dragged out of the theatre when she refused to move, but she was also jailed and fined for her actions. Viola,  was a pioneer in  civil rights as this incident took place almost a decade before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in a bus to a white man. This bill is historic as it about inclusion and  the struggles for some that still continue today to have equal rights. And not only for people of colour, but also  the Indigenous Peoples in Canada, represented on the bill by a feather. It is unique in other ways having the image of the person honoured placed vertically on the bill. Continuing the theme of inclusion, The Canadian Museum of Human Rights and Freeedoms is also pictured on the bill.  Viola was also honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame at the Halifax Ferry Terminal. Aferry was also named after her. Unfortunately, Viola is not alive to receive these honours, but those of us who believe in equality for all are very proud of her determination,tenacity and bravery standing up for her rights, and in so doing has encouraged others to do the same.

For more information about Viola’s career life etc.  check out my blog on Black History Month in my blog archives Jan /2017




Our Weekend at Loretto Maryholme

Last weekend writers from our writing circle met at Loretto Maryholme for a weekend of inspiration and sharing at our annual winter retreat.

Loretto is a grand old estate overlooking  Lake Simcoe.  One can watch ice fishing from the wrap-around, closed-in porch, or speak to fishermen by walking down to the lake itself , or if lucky, simply watch from your room. Although some might think Loretto old fashioned in it’s decour, it has a charm of it’s own, which leaves you wanting to return.

We are a small group of eight. Each person has her own room, some with a bath other use a shared bath depending on the size of room you are in. Each year the rooms are rotated so one might get a small room one time and a large the next. We prepare our own meals, sharing the preparation time so hopefully no one has to spend too much time in the kitchen.

There is no set schedule, other than meeting for lunch and  dinner. Evenings we gather around the fireplace in the common room and share some of our writing or whatever we may have accomplished during the day.

Generally, writers are left to use the time as they please. Most write, while some also paint, knit, work on PHD material, or read. One of the authors is even into book binding. (We have a very talented, diverse group). Most often take a walk to clear the cobwebs mid afternoon while others enjoy a nap.

Although we may have different interests and life philosophies, we each respect the other, and have become good friends and a closely knit group.

As I return home, I feel renewed and encouraged to carry on with my writing and am already looking forward to the retreat next year.




An Up-Coming Event

I will be attending the Ontario Christian Home Educators’ Connection Conference (OCHEC) Friday, May 5th, and Saturday May 6th. It will be held at Redeemer College located near Ancaster.

I was at the KWCHEA  Conference April 1st, so I hope to see some familiar faces at this up-coming show.

I will be selling my novel Grounded  (appropriate for grades 3-5), along with the detailed activity book which  accompanies it. Also available will be my children’s picture book, Different But The Same, which is appropriate for JK-grade 2 and is available in both English and French.  For more information about these titles, please go to www.authorsmhartung.com

Note: My books will be specially priced for this event.

Looking forward to meeting you there.

Shirley Hartung

A Recent Event

A Recent Event:

Yesterday afternoon I visited Laurention Christian School in Kitchener, Ontario,  and did a reading from my novel Grounded. It was fun to be back in the classroom since it has been some time since I retired. The students were engaging and made some interesting comments. One of these came up when we were talking about the Rosa Parks story and a student brought up the incident of the doctor being dragged off the United Airlines plane against his wishes.

We talked about what being grounded means to them and how it is has a slightly different meaning in the story because the kids in the story didn’t do anything wrong to deserve being grounded.

We also discussed other possible meanings the word ‘grounded’ can have. For example, a plane being grounded due to inclement weather, and being rooted or grounded in your faith.

After establishing that Billy is a bit of a troublemaker, I left the children wondering at the end of Chapter 3 what Marie’s comment about ‘just the beginning of BIG trouble’ might mean. If you are wondering, you might want to find out too. If so, go to my website to find out how to buy my book Grounded.

A Long Ago Memory

Recently on CBC, there was a program aired, the topic of which was post-polio. Individuals suffering from this phenomenon were asked about their illness. Although Polio has been described as a ‘forgotten disease’, this is certainly not the case for those suffering from post-polio – the cruel trick of polio returning years later in a form often more severe than the original event.

I remember little about my paralysis as I was a small child, still there lingers shadows of memory – Dr. Smith coming to the house and me realizing that “something must be terribly wrong.”

The following is a snippet of my story as recorded in my children’s novel Grounded.

The doctor opens his little black bag and takes out his stethoscope. He listens to my heartbeat. Then he takes my temperature. He taps my right knee cap with a little hammer, but my knee doesn’t jump.

“Lift your left leg,” the doctor says.

I try, but nothing happens. My leg just lies there.

“Try to wiggle your toes.”

They won’t move, either.

The doctor warns me that he is going to tickle my feet. Doesn’t he know they’re ticklish? I clench my eyes tight and grip my sheet, pulling it under my chin. I am defenseless. The tickles come, but I can’t do anything but endure them.

When the doctor leaves, my legs still don’t move. I fall asleep but am afraid that when I wake up in the morning and look under the covers, they’ll be gone. It feels as if they aren’t there now. What if they never come back to life?

Note: Although one has paralysis, one still has feeling in the limb(s) affected.

Upcoming Events

March 18, 2017, I will be doing a signing in the children’s department at Waterloo Chapters starting at 11 o’clock.

Also, I will also be selling my books at the Homeschool Conference at Rockway High School in Kitchener, April 1, 2017. I will have my children’s picture book, Different But The Same, available in French as well as English at that time.

This weekend, Feb 17-20, I am attending our annual writing retreat in Keswick, Ontario, and we ladies are enjoying the summer-like weather as we create and inspire one another.

My French version of Different But The Same will be going to press this week.

Viola Desmond

With Black History Month approaching, I think it appropriate that we recognize a former Black Activist, Viola Desmond, especially since her image has been chosen to be on the new $10.00 bill.

Although often referred to as Canada’s Rosa Parks, I believe it should be the other way around since Viola’s quiet act of defiance actually happened nine years before that of Rosa Park’s. Also, Claudette Colvin, a Black teen refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery the same year Rosa did but nine months before. Unfortunately, her name is often forgotten. Regardless, all three women displayed great courage standing up for their rights.

As for Viola, she became a beautician and businesswoman but not without roadblocks being placed in her way. For starters, she could not go to hairdressing school in Halifax as Black women were not admitted. So she went to Montreal and later New York and New Jersey, eventually receiving her diploma from a renown Beauty School in Atlantic City. Later, she also manufactured and marketed her own, Vi’s Beauty Products.

In 1946, while on a business trip, her car broke down in New Glasgow. While waiting for it to be repaired, she decided to go to a movie. Since she was not aware that Blacks were restricted to sitting in the balcony, she asked for a ticket on the main floor but was given a balcony ticket instead. When the usher told her she had to sit in the balcony, she thought a mistake had been made so returned to have her ticket changed. When she learned that she was denied a main floor seat because of race and was told, “it’s not permitted for people like you,” she defiantly went back and found a seat on the main floor. For this she was jailed after being dragged from the theatre by police, fined $20.00, as well as a $6.00 court fine and was sentenced to 30 days.

She was encouraged to get legal help and became the first known Black woman in Canada to challenge racial segregation. Although she didn’t win, there was so much publicity Nova Scotia had to throw out its segregation laws in 1954.

Unfortunately, the incident negatively affected Viola. She went through a divorce, shut down her business and moved to Montreal and then New York to start fresh and look for new opportunities. Sadly she died in 1965, but her sister, Wanda Robinson, took up the cause to clear her sister’s name and Viola finally posthumously received a pardon 63 years later which was granted by Mayann Frances, Nova Scotia’s first black Lieutenant Governor.

The ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth will be renamed The Viola Desmond Ferry in her honour.

Signings at Chapters

I am looking forward to being a guest author at Waterloo Chapters this coming Saturday Nov. 12 from approximately 12-4. I will be signing my latest book , Different But The Same, a picture book (appropriate for JK-grade 2) as well as my previous work, Grounded which consists of a short novel and detailed matching activity book.

I had a wonderful time signing and meeting people last Saturday at the Kitchener location and look forward to meeting more families and awesome kids again this weekend.

Upcoming Events

I will be doing a signing of my new picture book, Different But The Same, as well as for my children’s novel Grounded (and activity book) at the Kitchener Chapters, Gateway Park location,Saturday, November 5 from 11 am -3pm.

I will also be signing at the Waterloo Chapters Saturday, November 12, from 12 noon to 4 pm.

Different But The Same makes a great Christmas gift for little ones JK-Grade 2.

Grounded is appropriate for grades 3-5.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Review by Leslie Bamford

Shirley Hartung’s book entitled Grounded is not just for children. My husband and I sat down and we both read it cover to cover with interest and attention – it is a real page-turner! Touching, compelling, educational, and well written. I grew up in the fifties under the fear of polio. Childhood activities were curtailed by parents who were afraid for their children. Many people growing up later do not know what we all went through, but Shirley has brought this topic to the forefront again. The workbook is an excellent addition to the story book. Bravo, Shirley, for bringing this subject to our attention once again.

Leslie Bamford, Waterloo, Ontario
Published author in various genres, and teacher of writing for over ten years