Della Blanche Peckham

J.C. Time for a chat about times past in the city and surrounding area of Prince George. Today, our pleasure to have with us Mrs. Della Blanche Peckham. Mrs. Peckham, first of all, the question, how long have you been in the city?

M.P. Thirty-two years.

J.C. Thirty-two years, Mrs. Peckham, and thirty-two years of happiness?

M.P. Yes, mostly.

J.C. And, now there's a very good answer. When you say that I think there couldn't be a better answer than that because that should be everybody's answer, mostly. Mrs. Peckham you came to Prince George from where?

M.P. Reston, Manitoba.

J.C. Reston, Manitoba and you came with a family at that time?

M.P. I did. My husband and my two boys.

J.C. The boys’ names?

M.P. Leonard was nine and Wilfred was seven when we came out here.

J.C. And they are doing now?

M.P. Well Wilfred is still here in the Citizen Office and Leonard is in the Air Force stationed in Ontario. They were only seven and nine and they weren't very strong when we came out here and the B.C. climate was exactly what they needed, they just went ahead beautiful.

J.C. Now when you came out here what did you find first of all in Prince George? What didn't you like, what did you like? Where did you live?

M.P. We, well my mother and father were here so of course I liked it from the start and we lived with them a few months and then we got a house on Sixth Avenue, which we stayed in for two years and then we moved to South Fort George. And we were there for seventeen years and then we moved into Prince George proper.

J.C. What were the inconveniences you found at that time Mrs. Peckham?

M.P. Well of course there were no inside plumbing and that sort of thing, but we hadn't had that in the prairies so it didn't mean a thing. We were pioneers; that's about it.

J.C. What were the wages in those particular years and when did things improve and what were you eating in those years and what were you buying your food for?

M.P. Well of course, we came here in thirty, and the hungry thirties were on when we left Manitoba and it started. And living, I remember one winter, one year that my husband only earned three hundred dollars in the whole year. But my children claimed they didn't know we were short of money, but we had a big garden and our neighbors often got a moose and give us moose meat, we got along splendidly. The boys sold Citizen's and made all their own spending money and were allowed to go to the show once a week.

J.C. What, where was the show located and what was it at that time, the Strand?

M.P. The Strand theatre was the only one at that time. The Princess was used as a ballroom at that time.

J.C. What hotels were here when you came Mrs. Peckham? Do you remember that?

M.P. Well I guess the Prince George and the McDonald and Europe and the Canada, and I don't know.

J.C. The Connaught, possibly?

M.P. I don't know, I guess so. I'm being prompted, Patty Moran.

J.C. Well that's good. Now Mrs. Peckham over those years that you have lived here in the City of Prince George, what do you feel were some of the highlights of your life? What did you do, for of course we realize that you could always find your own entertainment with, you'd put a piano up in front of you, I mean whether the keys were up the back or at the wrong side you'd be always playing. But what were the big and the highlights of your life?

M.P. Well I've always enjoyed playing for the skit the children's school concerts and that, which I always did in the South every year and we had some wonderful talent over there, and I think I've taken more pleasure out of playing the piano for different organizations than anything else.

J.C. What do you feel, Mrs. Peckham, that you have missed in the City of Prince George, anything? That's a hard question, I realize that, probably have to think about it for a while.

M.P. No, I don't think there's anything. The only, I lived in Winnipeg for a while before, during the First World War and the only thing I've ever felt we missed out here was the legitimate stage with the permanent players. To me that was my greatest thrill of entertainment.

J.C. You have always been interested in the things along that nature haven't you?

M.P. Yeah, I have.

J.C. And did you find, did you wish in your lifetime, Mrs. Peckham, that you could have gone further with the talent that you had?

M.P. No, I never even thought of it. I was contented with what I had.

J.C. Um, this is a question that you do not have to answer but as far as religion is concerned, has that played any part in your life, Mrs. Peckham, at all?

M.P. Oh, I've worked for the Anglican Church. I worked for years for it in Manitoba and then for a while out here but I haven't been very active in it of late years. But, if they’re stuck I'll go and play the piano for them any time for that Sunday School, which I have done a few times.

J.C. I was just thinking that maybe it would a good idea sometimes to get you down there for a Sunday night service at the organ there. It would be very (unintelligible).

M.P. I couldn't play well enough for that. Although I learned to play on an organ, before the piano.

J.C. Yes, that is true. Now, Mrs. Peckham what is the biggest thing you remember throughout your lifetime? Let me say your married lifetime. Is there any big, real big moment in your life at all that stands out, or do you just feel that everything went along as it should of.

M.P. Well the big thing of course was our boys were overseas for over three years and they both came back.

J.C. And I think that is a very wonderful note to leave this interview on. We have been talking, for the last little while, ladies and gentlemen, to Mrs. Della Blanche Peckham who has been a resident of the City of Prince George for some thirty-two years and we wish you all the very, very best for the years that you are going to be with us.

M.P. Thank you Jack.

J.C. Thank you.