A fa­ther’s model be­hav­iour

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - COMMUNITY - Sara Jewell Sara Jewell is a free­lance writer who lives near Port Howe. Visit her web­site at www.sara­jew­ell.ca. Frank Likely is a re­tired Angli­can min­is­ter and past pres­i­dent of the Springhill and Area Cham­ber of Com­merce.

The last thing Karen Brown said to me as we wrapped up our con­ver­sa­tion out­side the Her­itage Mod­els Mu­seum in River Hebert was: “If this place closes, the mod­els go back to the fam­ily. What am I go­ing to do with them?”

She cer­tainly isn’t pre­pared to put them all on dis­play in her front yard, as her fa­ther did when she was a teenager. It’s not that Karen doesn’t ap­pre­ci­ate them or the his­tory of the place where she grew up; it’s just that her late fa­ther built 40 mod­els and they take up so much room, a spe­cial build­ing was erected for dis­play­ing them.

That build­ing is now 25 years old and Regi­nald “Bud” John­ston has been gone 10 years this month and not as many tourists stop at the Her­itage Mod­els Mu­seum to check out this unique de­pic­tion of the his­tory of River Hebert.

“It’s hard to get peo­ple off the high­way,” Karen said dur­ing a tour of the mod­els. “Lots of peo­ple go to Jog­gins but that’s a dif­fer­ent group of peo­ple go­ing to the fos­sil cliffs.”

Bud John­ston be­gan build­ing 1/12 scale mod­els of River Hebert land­marks like the orig­i­nal school, the co-op cream­ery, the Palace the­atre, and the King Sea­man Homestead after he re­tired. Fas­ci­nated by rail­roads, Bud’s first model was a train and after he set it up on in the front yard of his home, peo­ple stopped to look at it. As he added more mod­els, more peo­ple stopped. Th­ese front yard mod­els be­came so pop­u­lar, there was an open­ing every spring on the Fa­ther’s Day week­end when Bud would un­veil his lat­est cre­ation, built over the win­ter, and in­vite the fam­ily con­nected with it.

“I guess once he saw peo­ple stop­ping and look­ing at stuff on the front lawn, he thought he could make things of the area so peo­ple could see what used to be here back in the day,” Karen said. “He was al­ways in­ter­ested in the his­tory of the area.”

The ’90s were the height of the mod­els’ pop­u­lar­ity. With the sup­port of the com­mu­nity, the mu­seum was built in 1992 after the weather took its toll on the mod­els set up out­side and Bud re­al­ized he was spend­ing much of his time re­pair­ing them.

Un­for­tu­nately, that com­mu­nity sup­port has waned as those who re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal build­ings, and those who re­mem­ber the mod­els when they were new, have moved or passed away. For lo­cals, it’s hard to main­tain in­ter­est in the same mod­els over 25 years while strangers pass­ing through may not care about the his­tory of a small ham­let in Cum­ber­land County.

Fac­ing fi­nan­cial un­cer­tainty due to the lack of vis­i­tors, the mu­seum is host­ing an an­tique car show and shine, on Sun­day, Aug. 13, as a fundraiser.

“It’s the same for all or­ga­ni­za­tions, like the church groups and the curl­ing club,” ad­mit­ted Karen about the mu­seum’s strug­gle to stay open. “We’re all go­ing after the same fundrais­ing dol­lars.”

But Karen holds out hope River Hebert and its his­tory still mat­ters enough to others that her fa­ther’s legacy will out­live her as well.

Kelly was brought into the ad­min­is­tra­tion to em­pha­size how se­ri­ous Trump was about his all-out war on “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism.” The for­mer Ma­rine gen­eral was go­ing to bring that leath­er­neck gung-ho spirit to the build­ing of the south­ern wall and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the travel ban to en­sure the safety of the home­land. But this week, he took over the po­si­tion of chief of staff at the White House. Surely, the pres­i­dent would not have moved him un­less the world was in­deed a safer place?

And look at who the ap­par­ent front-run­ner to re­place him at DHS is! The “weak, be­lea­guered” At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions! Those are the pres­i­dent’s words about his own ap­pointee. Surely, he would never put a weak­ling into such a de­mand­ing po­si­tion un­less he was con­fi­dent the world was in­deed safer than ever be­fore.

I’ve heard the sug­ges­tions that the fir­ing of Chief of Staff Priebus and his re­place­ment by Gen­eral Kelly was done in or­der to give the pres­i­dent a way to get Ses­sions out of the jus­tice depart­ment, where he is fail­ing in the one task the pres­i­dent re­ally ex­pected him to com­plete: the foil­ing of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Rus­sian con­nec­tions.

All that sounds too Machi­avel­lian for this pres­i­dent to have de­vised. I don’t think he can strate­gize that far ahead.

And he surely wouldn’t be mak­ing such im­por­tant de­ci­sions just on a whim! Would he?

“The ’90s were the height of the mod­els’ pop­u­lar­ity. With the sup­port of the com­mu­nity, the mu­seum was built in 1992 after the weather took its toll on the mod­els set up out­side and Bud re­al­ized he was spend­ing much of his time re­pair­ing them.”

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