Sunday, June 26, 2011



It was Sunday morning, the sun was shining & the temperatures were acceptable.  That could only mean one thing.  It was time for my Sunday morning motorcycle ride & this time I had a destination.  Several emails from a friend of my Uncle Harry's said she felt his health had slipped a bit this week.  A few calls to the Nursing Home facility confirmed Harry was having some difficulties.  So, with that thought in mind I jumped on the bike & headed 40 minutes east to see my Uncle.  Harry was asleep when I got there but we were able to talk for a bit before he was asleep again.  Kelly & will return this week again to see how he is doing.

Now, back to the story & conclusion of 'Dayton's Lamp.'   First, in regards to Saturday night’s 'lamp post' let me explain that I did not intentionally end the story where I did with any preconceived idea of hanging people up. Plainly speaking, I was just too tired to continue. It was late when I got to the computer & I still had no photos for the post. Slipped out into the yard before the sun was down & cracked off a few flower pics. At 10 p.m. last night I still had not retrieved those photos from the camera so I still had some editing to do plus the placement of the pics in the post. In fact when I first sat down at the computer earlier I had no subject for the blog in my head. I was idly watching some birds in the front yard when the automatic light timer turned Dayton’s lamp on beside me & that triggered….’the lamp story.’  Thanks Dayton:))
Now, to get on with the rest of the story. This is a tricky part for me to write about because I walk a thin line here. People & personalities were involved. Family members were involved. Some from the present & one from the shady past. For obvious reasons I cannot give you all the details but I will begin with the deterioration of my Mother’s physical & mental health & it was in the early stages of this that the lamp disappeared from my Mother’s house. And, she would not tell us what had happened.
Several years before all this took place a phone call from Toronto had been made to my Mother from a long lost alleged Nephew. Turns out the Nephew was legitimate alright but as the following years unfolded it became clear to everyone, except my Mother, what this Nephews intentions were. It was a well known fact my Mother had done exceptionally well with her financial investments over the years & that fact had obviously reached the ears of the long lost Nephew. I won’t go into all the details of how this fellow worked his way into my Mother’s life & systematically drove a wedge between an already strained relationship between my Mother & I but let it just be said that Kelly & I were barely on speaking terms with my Mother when one day we dropped in to see her & noticed Dayton’s lamp missing. My Mother, in her declining mental state would not tell us about the lamp or for that matter, anything else!!  She became secretive about her finances & we suspected she was being manipulated from Toronto….and as it turned out, we were right. 

I think it was in 2003 that things became so bad that my Mother, living alone in her large house finally had a complete break down. She was found by a neighbor wandering around the yard in her nightgown incoherent & delusional. That led to hospitalization for a brief period before she was able to return home again. But, it didn’t last & she was once again taken by ambulance to the Stratford General Hospital. It was at this time Kelly & I got a call from the hospital & rushed down to Stratford.
We had been suggesting for a long time that my Mother was in need of Psychiatric help & it was finally a young Doctor at the hospital who listened to our pleas that day & committed my Mother to the hospital overnight for observation. And, with that Doctor’s decision in 2003 my Mother remained in that hospital for months before finally being sent to a nursing care facility until she died in the summer of 2006.

It was this period of time when my Mother was in the hospital that we were finally able to track down some clues as to what might have happened to the lamp. And, we were only able to do that after some very significant events happened in my Mother’s hospital room.
Kelly & I did not have Power Of Attorney over my Mothers affairs & we feared the Nephew in Toronto was going to make a move to obtain POA. We also assumed he had already made a trip to Tavistock & talked my Mother out of that lamp & had probably already sold it in Toronto.  One of those assumptions later turned out to be correct.
My Mother’s mental state shortly after admission to the hospital was chaotic & bitter. The Nephew & another fellow had already drove from Toronto & had already coerced my Mother into writing two checks totaling over $70,000 convincing her the money would be safer if left with them.   We were able to determine that they were on their way back sometime in the following few days with Power of Attorney papers for my Mother to sign.
DSC_0008-1Well, that did it & that was the catalyst that sprang Kelly into action like a Tiger out of a cave. She made a lightning trip (I was working) to the C.I.B.C. Bank in Tavistock & after conferring with a helpful assistant bank manager confirmed that indeed over $70,000 had indeed just been withdrawn from one of my Mother’s bank accounts. Next, Kelly quickly secured, brought home & filled out Power of Attorney papers which we both signed that night.  I had to work in the morning but Kelly, armed with those POA papers headed poste haste directly for the Stratford Hospital to head off the Toronto gang!!
What went on in my Mother’s hospital room that morning is what soap operas are made of.  And, let me just add something here.....Kelly is one of those people who has the ability & tenacity to get things done when it is imperative to get things done!! Let me just say that Kelly was able to not only get my Mother to sign those POA papers but was able to enlist the help of another lady in the room.  The other lady just happened to be there visiting her Mother who was in the bed next to my Mother.  Kelly was able to get this lady to act as a witness to the signing of the POA papers.  And, herein lies another whole story. Turns out that other lady was an old friend of mine who I had hung around with a bit back in the summer of 64 & yes, I do have a somewhat humorous story about her too.
Now, let me try to shorten this story up by saying that my Mother’s mental state improved over the coming months in the hospital through the help & guidance of the hospital's Senior Psychiatric counseling service. In fact, Kelly & I were present at a round table meeting between ourselves, my Mother & about half dozen hospital staff members & administrators one morning that resulted in a very heated confrontation to say the least but it was another turning point. 

Slowly. my Mother began to regain her senses & accept the fact of how her Nephew had been conning her over the years. It was also at this point thanks to one of the Psychiatric counselors & the Stratford General Hospital that the money taken out of my Mother’s bank account by the Nephew was returned. The Nephew was informed by the Hospital lawyers that if the money was not returned to my Mother's account the hospital was going to pursue legal action charging him with Senior abuse because, as we understand it, the money had been removed from a mentally unstable patient under the Hospitals care. Now, we’re not exactly sure if that is exactly what happened but that is how we understand it. The money was returned & the long lost Nephew was never heard from again!!
As my Mother slowly regained her mental capacities we were slowly able to begin talking with her again & of course one of the things I wanted to know was what had ever happened to Dayton’s lamp. She was able to confirm the Nephew did not take it. She was also able to confirm that in fact know one had taken it.  Dayton’s lamp was still in Tavistock & just down the street from my Mother's house in the east end of town at a trusted friends house. This fellow had been a good friend of Dayton’s & my Mother knew he could be counted on for the safe keeping of the lamp. It had been a wise decision on my Mother's part during her time of instability & stress.
About a year before my Mother died she wrote out a note for us to take to this fellow’s house & retrieve the lamp. I was working at the time so with note in hand Kelly drove to Tavistock right away & retrieved the lamp. When I got home later that evening there was Dayton’s lamp sitting quietly on a table casting it's warm glow all about our living room. Once again, it had been years since I had last saw the lamp & once again I had that same feeling of communication with the lamp that I first had those oh so many years ago in the upper hallway of Dayton’s old house.


To me it will always be Dayton’s lamp & sometimes on a Saturday night when I have my Big Band music playing here in the sunroom I can look over & sense the presence of Dayton. I can feel his gentle nature, his laughter & his understanding ways. A man who was a friend to all & to all, a friend. And sometimes I can hear a piano duet & see my Mother & Dayton together at the keyboard sitting on the piano bench. And sometimes, just sometimes, I can see them swirl by to the tunes of Benny Goodman, Glen Miller & Patti Page singing, Tennessee Waltz.  To this very day, I cannot remember how much money my Mother paid for that lamp at Dayton’s auction that cold November night oh so many years ago in the little hamlet of Shakespeare Ontario, Canada. 

And, so ends my story of Dayton's lamp………
But, not quite. A reader has enquired about the lamp itself. I can tell you that it is fairly heavy with the base being made out of brass. It contains two electrical sockets under the shade with both having their own pull chains. We were told the shade is a double glass with the South Pacific theme painted by hand on the underside of the glass. Looks like single glass to me & yes it is definitely painted on the underside. The upper surface of the glass does not have a smooth glass feel to it but is more like the texture of a very fine sand paper. Dayton had a couple other beautiful antique lamps in his house but none of them spoke to me like this one did….and still does:))


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Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

------------------------------------------EMAIL THE BAYFIELD BUNCH:))
The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right
now...... AL.


  1. Great story. Thank you so much for sharing it. You might want to make a copy of the story to stay with the lamp after you and Kelly are gone. I have many family treasures and would love to know the history of each piece. Thanks again!

  2. What a story, your mother must have known, even through her difficulties, that the Lamp was meant to be yours.
    I hope your Uncle Harry is feeling better when you and Kelly go to see him this week.

  3. What an amazing story. And how marvelous your mother was able to get the lamp to a trusted neighbor. People who take advantage of Seniors are about the lowest scum there is.

  4. That was a neat story Al and the lamp is beautiful. If it could only talk.....I'm sure it could tell a few interesting stories too!

  5. Beautiful lamp! Can see why it spoke to you. Good thing you caught that bad nephew red handed. No wonder your mom was having a bad time at that point. Family can be one's undoing if you don't watch them carefully.


  6. That is a great story. Sadly the part about distant relatives or others taking advantage of elderly folks is all to common and shameful.

    I can only wonder at the sad state of theirs lives that they feel the need to do this.

  7. the Dayton Lamp is a beauty and a definite keeper..if only it could talk!....your Mom would be proud of you that you have kept this treasure..and now we all know the story behind the 'lamp'!

  8. What a great story. I enjoyed it very much and appreciate you taking the time to share. That is a beautiful lamp and I can understand why you treasure it so.

    Hope Uncle Harry feels better soon.

  9. That was a wonderful account Al, extremely interesting with many of the things that make for a good story. However I have to admit that where people are involved I am rarely surprised at what they are capable of (thinking about the wicked nephew here).

    Regarding the lamp itself, I find it to be a work of art and extremely beautiful. I appreciate the craftsmanship displayed and the fact that the underside is hand painted too. Amazing.

    One other thing, I believe Nan is spot on, someday down the road someone else may want to know some of the history of Dayton’s Lamp. Keeping a copy/record of “your story” with the lamp is a worthwhile suggestion.


  10. A wonderful story with a great happy ending, You always seem to be able to put together such good memories of your youth, That is a blessing and you are lucky to be a good storyteller. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  11. First I wish Uncle Harry to feel better soon.

    NOBDY can tell a story like you Al...This was fabulous and very interesting to say the least. I am so happy it turned out well in the end and you did indeed end up with the lamp! Thanks for telling this personal story to us!

    Have fun & Travel safe

    ps..Come on by and check out my new RV Park Review Blog. It is still under construction and I will be adding Campgrounds as often as I can. We have visited a lot of them in our 7 years of fulltiming. Good thing I kept notes!

  12. Truth can be stranger than fiction. A great story, Al, told by a great story teller. :)

  13. Really enjoyed your story and the pics of Dayton's lamp. It was a real gem!!!

  14. What a wild story, filled with intrigue, mystery...and a happy ending. That lamp is fabulous...What a piece of Artwork and family history you have in that lamp..
    Have you ever thought of becoming a "storyteller" for a children's library?? With your unique rugged look and your attention to and gift of detail, you would be a natural...just sayin'..

  15. That's heavy. I'm happy you were able to get your affairs in order before the con game got any further along. Money and death do horrible things to family, and as much as I hate to admit it, there is often someone in the family who will screw you the first chance they get.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  16. Al, sometimes when I see a post with lots of text, I tent to skim over it, however, yours I read word for word. What a great story from a master storyteller.
    The lamp is spectacular and I love how you have it placed. Very calming. Kathy

  17. Fascinating story, and such a beautiful lamp. Did your Mother remember you telling her about the feeling it gave you, or were her intentions to buy it for herself? Stay safe.

  18. Great story about your mom and the lamp. I'm glad she was thinking ahead and left the lamp with a trusted friend. If that lamp could talk, it would have a lot of stories to tell.
    Memories are a wonderful thing to have and think back on...keeps us calm and refreshed.
    Thanks for the "rest of the story".