a new coffee table book by David Weale & Loretta Campbell.
In many ways, Evelyn Christopher was the last of her kind; the last of that species of self-sufficient, agrarian peasantry, with roots stretching back to Western Europe, that subsisted on small farms across this entire Island until the mid-Twentieth Century, but had disappeared almost entirely by the time I met her in 2010.
Evelyn was very conscious of being just that, and on many occasions she spoke, sometimes with pride, but more often with sadness, of being the last one left. But most often she spoke of the changes she had observed with indignation and defiance. Everything familiar had been stripped away from around her, replaced by something strange, and in her mind unworthy, and she refused to adapt meekly. She scorned ‘progress’ as others might scorn a plague, and as the brave new world encroached she protested mightily every step of the way.
On one occasion, I recall her ending a tirade against modernity by saying, “You tell me this, if the wagon is headed for the ditch, why would any thinking person want to jump aboard? They call it progress but them are just words. Don’t mean nothing. They can all go to hell if they want to, but I’m not going with them.”
I like to think of it as her epitaph. DW
Loretta Campbell is a professional photographer living in Souris West who is a regular contributor to RED magazine.
David Weale is an Island writer, social historian and storyteller, and the editor and publisher of RED magazine.