Chris Risk

From Ragnarokr
Jump to: navigation, search

In November 1968 Myra Kaplan was living at 224 McCaul Street with fourteen people in a four-bedroom house. The consensus was that the house was overcrowded and the decision was made to rent another house. Myra and Dave Woodward joined three couples from Kansas City to lease the house at 418 Dundas Street. Myra lived there for a short time before finding her own place. She found work as a teacher. In 1971 she met Chris Risk, a Canadian who was born and raised around Durham, Ontario. She and Chris moved to Killaloe in Renfrew County for three or four months before becoming disillusioned and returning to Toronto.

After George Mullins left for California in the fall of 1971, Philip invited Chris Risk and Myra Kaplan to build a home at the Frostpocket. They accepted the offer but Myra and Chris soon split up and in the spring Chris moved to the property by himself. Chris chose a house site near the clearing by the old logging road that ran along the western edge of the property. In April he, George and Skip O’Dell were all busy working on their respective houses. In October, when their homes were finished, he and Skip O’Dell purchased Madelyn Averette’s share of the property.

Chris built an A-frame structure using timbers taken from the surrounding fir and spruce forest. He lived in the house he had built for the next six years. He occasionally worked at the leather shop in Toronto but he did not participate in the regular rotation of those managing the shop. He mostly operated on his own under the moniker Crow Goods. He earned his living by making and selling leather goods to Ragnarokr and similar retail shops and by working at odd jobs when he could find them. As the only native-born Canadian in the Frostpocket settlement he was often the point of contact with local residents.

In 1972 Steve Spring’s sister, Caroline, came to visit Toronto. She and Chris met and were attracted to each other. After Caroline returned to Florida she and Chris corresponded frequently. In February 1973 Chris, George and Colleen Mullins and baby Seth left the Frostpocket for a month-long trip to Florida and Louisiana. George and Colleen went to visit his parents in Louisiana and Chris went to Gulf Breeze, Florida to see Caroline and to meet her mother. Chris returned for a second visit in April and Caroline accompanied him when he came back to Canada.

Chris had contracted with the Government to open a craft shop in Gananoque, Ontario. Gananoque is a resort town located near the Thousand Islands where Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River. He invited Caroline to help him run the store. He and Caroline left for Gananoque just a few weeks after Philip and Mary left for the Heron Bay reserve on Lake Superior.

Philip and Mary returned from Heron Bay in August 1973 and Philip and Randy Rauton began work on a small house for Randy just a few hundred feet down the road from Chris’ A-frame house. The summer season at Gananoque ended in September and Chris and Caroline closed their booth and returned to the Frostpocket. After Chris and Caroline returned all four families living on the property (George, Colleen and Seth; Philip and Mary; Chris and Caroline: Skip and Judy and their new baby) got together for a picnic on Labor Day to welcome everyone back to the settlement. Madelyn Averitte and Ish Thalheimer and his dog also attended the picnic. Ish Tahlheimer was an American exile who moved from Baldwin Street to the hippy enclave around Doyle’s Mountain in Renfrew County. Renfrew County was on the eastern or leeward side of the Algonquin Dome and about 100 miles from Machar Township. Although many of the hippies in Renfrew County were friends of the Ragnarokr leather shop only rarely did the two groups of settlers exchange visits.

On Christmas Day Chris and Caroline were invited to a potluck dinner at George and Colleen’s house. The next day everyone reconvened for the annual Christmas meeting. At the meeting Chris agreed to sell most of his leather supplies to Ragnarokr and merge his wholesale accounts with Fourth World, the wholesale marketing arm of the leather shop. He and Caroline entered their names on the rotation to manage the leather shop in Toronto and became members of the Ragnarokr co-operative. Chris agreed to help build a workshop and a pole line to bring electricity to the property.

During 1974 Ragnarokr consists of Chris Risk and Caroline Spring, George Mullins and Colleen Anderson, Mary Rauton and Philip Mullins, Steve and Simone Spring, Frank Tettemer and Linda Sorensen, Tom Bonanno and Bie Engelen. Jeff and Debbie Mullins arrive in July from Florida and joined the co-operative. Chris and Caroline lived and worked at the Frostpocket most of the year. In April Chris, Caroline and Randy Rauton were assigned to manage the leather shop. Before Philip left Toronto he constructed a large pen in the basement of 33 Baldwin for a white rabbit named “Mrs. Mullins”. Chris purchased the rabbit at the South River auction the year before and gave it as a gift to Mary. Since then the rabbit had lived with Philip and Mary, commuting back and forth between the community house at the Frostpocket and 33 Baldwin Street. While Chris was in Toronto Mrs. Mullins gave birth to a litter of bunnies in the pen in the basement.

That summer the O’Dell’s left for British Columbia and Bie Engelen and Greg Sperry moved into the log cabin Skip had built. Bie was pregnant and Caroline, Bie and Colleen spent time together weeding the community garden, getting to know each other and playing with Seth. In October Bie’s child was born. Caroline returned to Florida sometime that winter. Chris continued to live at the Frostpocket and consign leather goods to the leather shop in Toronto. He lived at 33 Baldwin Street in the spring of 1975 but spent more and more of his time at the Frostpocket. After 1975 he gradually withdrew from communal activities at the settlement. In 1977 an effort was made to divide the Frostpocket into smaller lots and give each person individual ownership of the land around their home. However the Ontario Government would not permit isolated properties to be subdivided so, as an alternative, the deed to Lot 19, Concession 2 in Machar Township was changed to add Randy Rauton and Chris Risk as joint tenants along with George and Philip Mullins. (insert a link to “Land Documents”, file 6.6)

Beginning about 1976 Philip, Mary and Chris began attending Friday and Saturday church services at a Seven-Day Adventist mission on Bunker Hill. The mission was called Woodland Park and was organized much like the settlement at the Frostpocket. The residents at Woodland Park managed several communal enterprises including a sugar bush, a market garden, a pair of greenhouses and a health food store in North Bay. Their first business was a bakery. They sold bread from a mobile unit that roamed the township retailing bread out of the truck.

There was much intercourse between the settlements at the Frostpocket and Woodland Park. The two properties were close enough to walk from one to the other. The Adventists frequently hiked to the Frostpocket to visit on Saturdays and Mary and Philip walked to Woodland Park to attend Friday night services. In October 1977 Philip accompanied a group of the men from Woodland Park on a work trip to a rundown lake resort near New York City. This was soon after US President Jimmy Carter had issued a pardon to the draft-dodgers and Philip was told at the US border that he was listed as having renounced his US citizenship. Nelson Frappier, the group’s leader, had to sign a bond before Philip could enter the US.

The next fall Mary Rauton’s son, Bill, boarded at Woodland Park while attending school in South River. In November 1978 Olabanji Famewo, a native of Nigeria and a itinerant book salesman for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, moved into 33 Baldwin Street from Woodland Park. He worked at Silverstein’s bakery on McCaul Street using Philip’s identification. Several Mexicans had already worked at Silverstein’s under Philip’s name and the manager there recognized the name but not the man. Olabanji’s objective was to move to the US. After four or five unsuccessful attempts to cross the border at Detroit, he finally managed to cross at Niagara Falls. Olabanji traveled to Chicago where he married an American woman. He found a job in a print shop and raised a large family in Chicago.

By 1979 Chris was working at the bakery at Woodland Park. He married June Parrish the daughter of a Seventh-Day Adventist Elder who lived across from the McLaren farm on Bunker Hill. That summer Chris and his wife were preparing to do missionary work in western Canada and Chris wanted to sell his share of the Frostpocket. Chris offered the house to Greg Sperry but Greg was not willing to pay more than five hundred dollars for the property. In July 1979 Philip Mullins, Randy Rauton and Chris Risk signed a contract to act in concert in matters relating to the sale of their shares in the Frostpocket and Philip offered to buy Chris out when he had the money to do so.

In October 1980 Chris Risk, his wife and their two children returned to Woodland Park after fourteen months in Alberta. Chris rejoined the staff of the bakery that supplied bread to the health food store the Adventists run in North Bay. While Chris was in Alberta Philip had moved to the United States. In July 1981 Philip began making monthly payments to Chris to purchase his house of the Frostpocket. He paid Chris $3,000 for the house and Chris’ share of the 100-acre lot.

In 2005 Chris was living near Durham, Ontario where he had purchased a home.

Personal tools