These pictures highlight the love that James Kane had for horses and everything western. (Courtesy Helen Kane Ross)
This week’s Blast from the Past is an interesting one. On Tuesday afternoon, Helen Kane Ross contacted The Eastern Door about a photo plaque that she found hidden in the ceiling of her basement.
“I was in the basement with an electrician when he suddenly said ‘look at what I found in the ceiling,’” said Ross.
Initially, Ross and the electrician did not know what it was because it was wrapped in paper. Once unwrapped, she realized that the photo plaque must have belonged to her late brother James Kane.
The plaque contains two laminated pictures depicting actors from the 1938 American movie “The Lone Ranger.” The first picture is of actor Lee Powell, dressed in character, who played the titular role.
Standing next to him is a white horse that is billed as Silver King, the horse in the film’s IMBD page. The second picture shows a group of actors from the movie. The two photos appear to have been taken on set.
“He never showed me, the bugger,” she Ross.
According to his sister, Kane loved horses, and he had a great appreciation for all things western.
“At one time he had three horses,” she said.
The picture of Kane on the brown horse was taken approximately 20 years ago (1999) but Ross does not remember for sure.
Ross, 87, lived most of her life in New York but moved to Kahnawake after her retirement. Her brother, who was a year older than her, soon followed suit and moved in with her. They lived together for 15 years before Kane passed away in 2007. He was 76. They were roommates and best friends.
“I miss him. That is why I have all of his stuff hanging (on the wall),” she said.
At the time the picture of Kane was taken, he owned two horses, a white one and the brown from the photo.
“I had to take him to the city of Mercier every single morning and pick him up every night.”
Ross said that Kane kept the horses on a farm in Mercier.
“He kept the horses on the farm and went to feed them every day. I remember he would buy the hay and put it up in the barn,” she said.
Ross does not remember the horses’ names.
“He truly loved spending time with them.”
Before his retirement Kane was an ironworker, working in all the tall buildings in New York. Kane enjoyed the tranquillity that horses brought him.
“He would go to the cemetery and Native shelters to help out, volunteer. He would even cook cornbread on Sundays,” she said.
Unfortunately, as the years passed, it became increasingly hard for Kane to continue taking care of both horses. Eventually, one of the horses got sick and died. Then Kane sold the other one.
Ross misses her big brother very much. When asked what she would do with the new-found photo plaque, she said, “I’m going to hang it on the wall.