Photography by Catherine Stutt
Bud and Jill
Bud and Jill. Like Cher and Madonna, just their first names are enough. “Have you seen Bud and Jill yet?” is a familiar question at the Codrington Farmers’ Market. Visitors bring antiques and artifacts to show them, get advice, or just discuss a unique find. Same question at the Tuesday morning Codrington breakfast ($3 and the hottest ticket in town).
Bud and Jill are icons on the local history scene. They go back. Married for more than 60 years, both were teachers in Trenton until Jill, a biologist, decided to stay home and raise their two children and start the fabled Breakaway Antiques. Before starting his teaching career, and after graduating with a degree in forestry, Bud was the first naturalist at Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Lately, vintage photos of him have begun appearing on the park’s Facebook page, to the delight of those who know him now. “Did you see Bud’s photo,” asked Jenny of Empire Cider? “He’s so sweet.” A few swipes of her phone and there’s Bud in uniform, standing in front of his park residence in 1957. He’s also ageless.
Bud and Jill are more than stewards of history – they are part of it. At a recent Trenton High School reunion, they were thrilled to see so many of the young men and women they had taught. Jill recalls a biology class where she was discussing mudpuppies. She asked if anyone had seen them. The next day, students brought in six to show her. “It was a different time,” she sighs.
Bud and Jill continue to share their memories, their love of local history, with detailed and accurate backstories. Their postcard collection, of which Lindi Pierce writes in this issue, is stunning. There are more than 300 individual postcards of Brighton alone (coming soon to the Brighton Digital Archives website vitacollections.ca/brightonarchives), and Bud notes with his wry smile the Trenton collection is much bigger. “Want to start on that?” Jill asks.
This is not a sequestered collection. Bud and Jill are happy to exhibit their life’s work. At the History Open House last year, their postcard display was a favourite spot, and their booth was always busy with people stopping by to chat, to learn, to admire.
More than a collection, Bud and Jill see their postcards as a window to an innocent time. Many, if not most, date to before the First World War. “The people who wrote those cards, they had no idea what was coming,” notes Jill.
Their collection and more importantly their perspective, keep their antiques relevant. There is a story to each item, a lot of history, inevitably a bit of humour, and their personal connection with the artifact. Jill recalls being at a local dump one day when a family brought in a truckload of gorgeous furniture. She managed to save a few pieces before the driver took off. “It was a bit odd,” she recalls. “They’d rather throw it out than give it away.”
They once came across an entire family postcard album with all the names scratched out. “Privacy was obviously an issue to the owners,” surmised Bud.
Fortunately, Bud and Jill are happy to share their private collection, and we’re thankful we can help with that.
Next time you send a postcard, remember, you could be making history.
Thanks for turning the page.