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Calamities and Cuddles cover

Target Audience:
  • Young Children (7-11 yrs old)

Farm life, Farm animals, Childhood memories, Rural Ontario, 1940s Ontario, Biographical stories, Engaging illustrations

Calamities and Cuddles
by Beverley Smyth

My story is about a little girl - an only child - that grew up in the 1940’s as part of a loving family on her parents’ farm located in rural, eastern Ontario. This little girl used her creativity and imagination to make a world of wonderment for herself.

I was that little girl. I was five years old when this story begins, and my biggest wish in the whole, wide world was to attend school in the one-room, country schoolhouse located in Glen Buell on busy Highway 29, the main highway between Brockville and Smiths Falls.

I had to wait another whole year until I was six years old to begin schoolHow would I cope with the loneliness of having no other children to play with as there were no houses and no “next door” children for miles around ... or so it seemed?

Our little farm was tucked away at the end of a very long, bumpy, gravel laneway. In the summer, the farm was surrounded by fields of green grass, and in the winter surrounded by snow - lots and lots of cold, wet snow. The farm was

my playground and the farm animals my playmates. My four-footed friends included who were workhorses, Ring who was my faithful border collie, Oink, the little pig and the lambs called Lamby.

I think back to my silly antics when I decided to cut my blond ringlets or the Sunday afternoon when Ring and I danced in a road puddle while I was wearing my Sunday best clothes! I know my Mother was often both angry and disappointed with my behaviour. Perhaps the word “exasperated” best described my Mother’s feelings and she said that she never knew “what possessed me” to behave the way I did.

Calamities and Cuddles is a collection of nostalgic stories - precious vignettes - from my own rich memories and oft- repeated stories from my loving Mother and Father. Their nurturing love and stability enriched my upbringing and the experiences they provided helped to shape my whole life and made me realize that I was indeed a lucky little girl.

Beverley Smyth photo

About the Author:

Beverley grew up on a farm in the 1940s in the small hamlet of Glen Buell, near Brockville, Ontario. Being an only child on her parents’ dairy farm presented her with wonderful opportunities to have many pet farm animals and to use her mischievous creativity to make an imaginary world of play.

After attending Ottawa Teachers’ College, her teaching experiences that spanned thirty years began in a one-room rural schoolhouse, which was followed by teaching Cree children on Moose Factory Island in James Bay. Eventually, teaching led her to the Ottawa Board of Education where she taught elementary grades and specialized in teaching English as a Second Language and Special Education Resource.

Beverley and her husband are proud parents of two sons. Beverley wrote Calamities and Cuddles with the encouragement of her family and in collaboration with Cheryl Coville, who created whimsical and delightful illustrations. Beverley currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

About the Illustrator:

Cheryl Coville is a self-taught artist and illustrator. She holds a BA from the University of Ottawa but has no formal art training. She just likes to draw. The illustrations in Calamities and Cuddles are rendered in HB pencil, but these days, she most often works with textiles in vibrant colours, using surface embroidery and appliqué. She is happily married and lives near Lyndhurst, Ontario. To learn more about her, you can find her on Facebook at Grandma Coco’s Designs.


Beverley Smyth
Cheryl Coville

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