This is a notebook of photos and words. Some poetry, some fiction, some real life.

The Romanian Violin

This violin that dates back to the 1700s was owned by Pat Sturn, the former portrait photographer who came from Romania to Canada in the 1930s. When she left that country, she was in her early 20s. She had studied photography there and sailed the Atlantic in hopes of finding a career as a photographer in Canada. Within a year or so of arriving, she found a job at a studio on Ouellette Avenue working for Will Brown. He quickly learned that she knew more than he did. She ran that studio herself till the 1980s, sold everything and lived in a stone cottage in Walkerville where she continued to meet artist friends and writers. The violin, now on display at the Windsor Community Museum, was the one thing she could not take on that journey to Canada on the Cunard Line. The violin had been given her by her father. He acquired it from the gypsies.

Many years later, after the instrument had gone missing through the war and the post war period, Pat Sturn tracked it down and had it shipped to Windsor. It sat there for months on the dining room table, unopened in its original case. Pat Sturn feared it would be broken and worn. She explained: “Look at me: I was a beautiful woman; now I am old … like the violin. I remember when it was young and lively.” She refused to open the case.

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