Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The passing of a tradition bearer - Honora (Nora) Skanes, Colliers

In the early stages of the first mummers festival, festival coordinator Ryan Davis and I went out and conducted several folklore interviews in Conception Bay. Dennis Flynn was our local guide, and he introduced us to people who were keeping the old St. Stephen's Day tradition of The Wren alive.

The definite highlight of the day was the interview we did with Honora (Nora) Skanes at her old family home in Colliers. Nora shared her memories with us, and made us all feel like family.

I got an email today from her niece, Trina, telling me that Nora had passed away on Sunday, and asking for a copy of the interview we had done with her aunt.  I was saddened to hear of her passing, because my memories of Nora are of a woman infused with a joy of life. The last time I saw her was at a book launch of Dennis's in Cupids last year, and she was as much fun then as she was the afternoon we spent in her home.

I'm very pleased that we have her interview online as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory - an excellent example of how important it is that we record the voices of our tradition bearers while we can. Because of the inventory work we did in 2009, you can listen to the full interview with Honora (the last 30 seconds are my favourite part!) or enjoy her recitation of The Wren Song.

Dennis tells me Nora will be waked tonight in Conception Harbour. I'm sure many stories will be told!

ABOVE: Honora Skanes, (centre) with Ryan Davis, Dennis Flynn, and Dale Jarvis (l-r). Photo by Dennis Flynn. Read Dennis's article on Nora, An Outport Aunt.

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