PORT HILFORD – Churches, cemeteries and memorials – they all serve a purpose in the grieving process when a loved one is lost. So, too, does a wind phone and this spring, a second wind phone location has been added to the Nova Scotia map, located in Port Hilford, Guysborough County.
The idea of the wind phone began in Japan, when a man named Itaru Sasaki bought an old-fashioned phone booth and rotary phone to set up in his garden to help him connect with the cousin he had recently lost to cancer. He gave the installation the name Kaze No Denwa, telephone of the wind. The idea spread, reaching Europe, Australia, the United States and now Nova Scotia.
The first wind phone in Nova Scotia is located on the Van Tassel Lake trail system near Digby. And it was media coverage of this installation that brought the idea forward to Victoria Lambourne and Neal Partington at Forgotten Shore Farm in Port Hilford.
Partington told The Journal, “I stewed on it for a while. I think I rejected it out of hand at first but, as time went on and situations changed, we said, ‘Who knows, if it helps somebody, great. And other people may just walk by it and that’s fine too.’”
Lambourne explained, “We both lost our fathers just recently, Neil and I, and Dwayne our business partner also lost his, so we thought what a beautiful way to honour our three dads…to build the wind phone.”
Following the farm’s trail system down through a meadow towards a wood and over a small bridge, an intricately painted sign indicates to visitors the presence of the wind phone on a majestic maple, mounted on the forest-facing side of the tree to allow for privacy.
The first time Lambourne used the phone, she called her dad and “I had a long conversation, and I couldn’t stop crying. I went to hang up and I said, ‘Ok dad, I’ll talk to you again soon.’ And my cell phone in my pocket started ringing and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, he’s calling me back.’”
The couple installed the phone on May 10, using a phone from Carl Manthorne’s [their partner’s father’s] shop and a phone box created by their friend and local carpenter Gerry Allison. They expect news of the phone to spread mainly by word of mouth, but it is also featured on the mywindphone.com website. It’s a new feature on the farm, but visitors are already making use of the opportunity to connect with their lost loved ones.
“We had a young family here today that stopped in. The little girl wanted to speak to her grandfather. It’s for all ages,” said Partington.
“We’ve been grieving the loss of my dad and Neil’s dad and, if it helps somebody, and it helps me—I know that; I’ve used it. If it can help just one person, why not? And if it doesn’t, if it just helps us, then that’s ok, too,” said Lambourne.
“It’s not for everybody but it doesn’t need to be,” added Partington, “The ones who appreciate it, it means a lot to them… this will be something that you’re going to stumble upon during the tour [of the farm] and some people it’s going to impact them. It will be powerful. And others will say ‘Oh, that’s neat,’ and keep going. It’s only meant for the ones that want it.”
Lambourne said the phone helps keep the connection with your loved ones, “Because, as silly as it sounds, when I’m talking to Dad on there, I’m talking to him and he’s listening.”