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Poem: Benares
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Title: Poem: Benares
Identifier: 2005.1.134
Donor: Geoffrey and Kathleen Sayers
Item Date: 1910
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A handwritten poem in 18 five-line verses, describing memories of Benares, the Harris family, the horses, dogs, furnishings and so on. The pages are bound together with a paper board corner and a brass fastener at the top proper right corner. The poem is signed on the last page: "M.W. Hime The poet lauriet" (Maurice W. Hime).

Maurice W. Hime was one of Naomi Harris's suitors. Naomi was born in 1883, to Arthur and Mary Harris (nťe Magrath), of Benares. Naomi and her older sister Annie were raised in an atmosphere of upper middle class comfort. They were educated at home by governesses, and then were sent to Miss Dupont's School for Ladies in Toronto, where they stayed with their aunts throughout the week. As Annie and Naomi grew up, Benares was a frequent area for lawn tennis matches, weekend parties, and croquet games on the lawn.

Naomi never married and lived at Benares her whole life. She helped to take care of her mother, and continued to live alone in the house for 14 years after Maryís death in 1954. Naomi was the mark of affection for many suitors. It was thought that Naomi was engaged, sometime between 1908 and 1912, to the familyís physician, Dr. Arthur Sutton. He was the first doctor to open an office in Port Credit. Naomi broke off the engagement, but the parting must have been amicable because Sutton continued on as the familyís doctor, and later renewed a friendship with her after his wifeís death. Naomi was a life long member of St Peterís Anglican Church in Erindale, where she was an integral part of the churchís many activities. Archdeacon Banks, the former rector of St. Peterís, spoke of "Miss Harrisís deep attachment to St. Peterís, her love of people, her unfailing interest in the children of the Sunday School and her work with the womenís auxiliary" during her funeral service in May, 1968.

Naomi willed Benares to her two nieces and nephew who donated the estate and most of its contents to The Ontario Heritage Foundation. Ownership was later transferred to the City of Mississauga which has operated Benares as a museum since 1995.
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