AMHERST - Since coming to Canada a half century ago, Morris Haugg has been a shining example of the significant contribution immigrants have made to their new communities.
From an 18-year-old new Canadian, Haugg has gone on to be a successful lawyer with the Amherst law firm of Hicks-LeMoine while being a community activist, Rotarian, politician, philosopher, adjudicator and columnist.
Haugg, 68, has compiled his memoirs into a book he first made for family and friends but is now making available to the Cumberland County Museum and Archives to sell as a fundraiser.
"When I was at the beginning of this project I was reluctant to call it a book because I didn't know what was going to come out of this exercise, but it turned into quite a few pages," Haugg said talking about his book "Memorable: Memories plus... "In fact, I had to stop because I didn't think I would be able to fit it all into one book. I was also afraid that if I kept writing I wouldn't get the first part done."
Haugg will publicly launch his book and do a reading on Friday from 2-5 p.m. at the Cumberland County Museum and Archives on Church Street in Amherst. Copies of the book will be on sale at the event and there is no admission fee to attend.
Haugg was born in Bachhof, Bavaria, Germany in January 1942 and emigrated to Canada in May 1960. Upon his arrival, Haugg worked hard to gain a place in the new country he called home. It wasn't an easy journey and there were many interesting paths along the way.
"At first glance, people could look at this book and say to themselves that this guy likes to brag, but when you come from nothing and accomplish something it's a lot harder to be humble as opposed to being the distinguished son of a distinguished family in a well known society," he said.
For Haugg, the book came to life about 10 years ago when he first started thinking of putting his life experiences on paper. One of the reasons he did it was to pass his roots onto future generations of his family, but also to answer questions people have always had about how he made it in Canada.
"I started thinking about doing this thing because of comments by family and friends when I tell stories. They would tell me I should write things down," he said. "I've been asked why I came to Canada, how did I come to Canada or how old was I when I came to Canada?"
At first he planned a collection of memories, but it continued to grow. It was while recovering from surgery several years ago that he began organizing in his mind how he would proceed. From there, he started writing everything down and ended with the book.
The book talks about Haugg's first memories growing up Bavaria at the height of the Second World War as well as his early schooling and upbringing before leaving as a teen for a new life in a new country.
Haugg talks about his arrival in Canada, his work on a farm as well as his education and appointment to the bar while also talking extensively about his family name, Bavaria and the family that "adopted" him when he first arrived.
He also talks about his beliefs and philosophy of life.
"Our life is defined in our later years, as we sit in our rocking chairs and share our memories and stories with others. After all, if we don't have memories, we haven't lived," said Haugg.
While the book was written exclusively for those close to him, Haugg was surprised with the positive feedback from those outside his family that read it. When he was first approached by the museum about doing a second printing, he refused. However, when he thought more about it he reconsidered.
Considering the success of the book, the prospect of publishing it for a wider audience has crossed his mind. He's also committed to doing a second book on his life in Amherst and his work in the legal community that among other things earned him a Queen's Counsel appointment.