Situated to your right as you enter Lang House, Bruce’s carving studio has its own fascinating history. Undoubtedly the elaborate tin ceilings must have been installed with the originator, river boat Captain Harvey Weston when he had this wharf-side home built in 1880.
This is the same ceiling that women had to accompany them as they gave birth in this room when Jean Rubidge owned the building and operated a birth house and surgery. One hundred and eighty three babies were born here and Marian Alice McNally Langhus, was number 43. The beads in the photo below represent the births attributed to Dr. Jenkins and Nurse Jean Rubidge in this very room! A register is kept in the lobby of Lang House and the grave of Dr. Jenkins is found at the Anglican Parish of Gagetown nearby.
The pearl-like beads in pink and blue represent the girls and boys born there. The number of boys and girls is essentially equal. The green pearl in the upper left hand side of the photo represents me, Marian Alice McNally. In the summer of 2017, a guest came and stayed at Lang House who was a very special quest indeed, Marian’s babysitter when she was just a few months old. In the time spent together they went through the register of babies born there and interestingly enough, the names were mostly from towns farther away from Gagetown. Two other birth houses must have taken in the local women from the village. During open houses in the Village, people scan the register to see their names and the names of their siblings and friends. Some people tell of being brought over the ice to be delivered by Dr. Jenkins. Sometimes he went to where they were.
Not all of the “doctoring” was related to birthing. People tell us how they had their appendix out or their broken arm set. Tonsilectomies were also performed here with some being removed when the child sat in a chair by the bay window at the foot of the stairs. One of the women from our church told us that she did indeed sit by there by the foot of the stairs with a boy from her class at school teasing her from the outside, sticking his tough out and laughing at her.
Always on Halloween, my birthday, I come and sit in this room and marvel at my good fortune to own this piece of local history. When I was interviewed about the potential flooding in 2017, Nick Moore from CTV news picked up on the uniqueness of my situation. At the time, New Brunswick was talking about having midwives licensed and he made a story of midwifery, the daughter of Jean Rubidge, Joan, and me. The interview is charming.
The room has had many functions since it served as a birthing place. Jean Rubidge sold the house to the Harquails who turned it into Step-Aside Bed and Breakfast. They used it as a sitting and TV room where they greeted guests. When we, the Langhuses, bought the BnB and renamed it Lang House BnB, we used the room as an office space and then a “Queen Room”.
During the addition of a two-piece ensuite in a corner under the stairs we made many discoveries the first of which it was the space was used during the early years as a latrine and dry sink. The wall paper was revealed by putting an iPhone up a space by the heat register. The white wall had written on it in pencil, “Bruce Weston, 1905”. We took this as a great omen as Bruce Langhus is my husband! In the building of the new bathroom, a beam was found that had newsprint pictures of the day pasted onto it.
With the flood of 2018, the lovely carpeted floors were inundated and every layer had to be sent to landfill. As the original floor emerged, we saw that they were variable-width spruce boards. After much scraping, it was obvious that the floors could be painted and no covering would be needed. The potential for the room made itself known as a carving studio for Bruce and he has made several pieces of a First Nations and Norwegian influence.
Here’s the latest Viking by Bruce Langhus. Entitled “End of Eric Rauda” Eric was a Viking leader who started the colony on Greenland and sent his son to colonize North America. Unknown what his end was — until now! Eric the Red (in Norse it’s Eric Rauda) was a murderous thug kicked out of Norway and then Iceland for murdering others. In Greenland he perhaps murdered the odd Inuit. The carving shows his death as an Inuit Shaman bursts out of his brain. . . Death by Shaman.
Bruce’s early work is shown below.