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R.E.A.L. from the Edge of the Rock
by Rita Mary Stamp

R.E.A.L. from the Edge of the Rock by Rita Mary Stamp

Format:Trade Paperback
Published:May 8, 2009
Dimensions:304 Pages, 6 x 9 x 0.73 in
ISBN - 10:1895814316
ISBN - 13:9781895814316
Price: CDN$19.95

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Book Description
Ghastly sounds made by dishes being smashed, pots and pans propelled across the kitchen after the midnight hour were all too familiar events in the life of young Rita Mary Stamp. However, when morning arrived nothing was ever out of place. Unusual sightings, the presence of ghosts in the family home, myths, belief in fairies and superstitions were all a part of growing up poor and Irish in the small outport village of St. Vincentís. Rita also grew up in fear: angst related to her fatherís harsh discipline, as well as threat-based schooling deeply rooted in rote learning and religious rites.

Her fatherís unyielding and virtually unattainable expectations, as well as those of the Roman Catholic Church, combined with the unrelenting hardship and cyclical poverty of mid-century rural Newfoundland, provides the context and the content for this remarkable tale.

Dominated by a priest who reigned with a steel will and an iron hand, invoking the fear of God and the Leather Strap, Rita left Newfoundland in 1969, one of many tens of thousands to begin a new life in Toronto. For generations it was the lot of many Newfoundlanders to depart - to head down the road - for economic reasons, but Ritaís motivation for leaving ran much deeper. Forty years later she sees that choice - and her Newfoundland home - in a very different light.

About the Author
Rita Stamp, a great-grandchild of poor Irish immigrants, was born in St. Vincentís - well, at least on the road between St. Johnís and that community - shortly after the close of the Second World War. She was raised in the outport village of St. Vincentís in a strictly disciplined and often impoverished family, and educated in much the same way, completing high school there before attending business school at the College of Trades & Technology in St. Johnís.

Perhaps it was the rocky ride en route to her birth that gave her rebellious nature and wanderlust dreams. Or was it the combination of the rigid rituals and rites of a dogmatic Roman Catholic upbringing, combined with Irish superstition and belief in spirits that sparked her vivid imagination and memory. Likely it was a combination of those influences, but what is important is that it remained with her for nearly forty years before she embarked on a seven year venture to create and write this amazing memoir that chronicles life from the 1940s through the sixties in a remote outport village on the Irish Loop, followed by her journey through adulthood in the metropolis of Toronto.

Rita, as with so many Newfoundlanders before and after her, left her home for both economic and personal reasons, initially to escape the harshness of her upbringing, but eventually discovering herself. However, one never really leaves oneís roots. Since learning who the real Rita was and is, she often returns to Newfoundland with a greater sense of the beauty and wonder of this ancient land, and its remarkable and durable people. She has raised two children, Deanna and Sean, and lives today with husband Otto (Al) Smith in East York, near the Danforth, with its village-like atmosphere. Some things never change, while others do!


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