Interview of Mrs Ann Fanshaw

Interviewer:        Ramona Rose
Note: Inserts in brackets [ ] were provided by the interviewee December 20, 2004.
This transcript has been  edited – comments in { } provided by interviewer.

Could I get your full name, Anne?

Anne Elizabeth Fanshaw.

Okay. And your maiden name was.....

Anne Elizabeth Dobson.

Dobson, okay. DOBSON (spells the name)


And when and where were you born?

I was born in Chauvin, Alberta. CHAUVIN (spells the name of the town), on August 31st, 1916.

Anne, can you tell me a little bit about your early life that you remember?

Well, I went to school anyway. Hated it though. It was much nicer to ride across the prairie on my little mustang. That was lots of fun. Oh yes, and I worked on the farm, of course. We couldn’t afford to have hired help and really didn’t need them anyway, I guess. Like haying and all that stuff, putting in the crop, ploughing, discing, harrowing and seeding, and the binder too, which used to...[break off]. The chain, drive chain, used to fall off once in awhile and I’d have to fix that because my parents were at the other [end] about a half a mile away, so other than that, I.......

Right. Well, that’s fine. So your father had a... was it a wheat farm?

No, it was rye.


On the side, mostly on. Oh, we had a couple of cows, three or four I guess, and there was just...[me]. I was the only child, there was just three in the family. That’s a good way to have it, you don’t have any arguments that way.

Any other memories about that time?

Oh, yeah. Like, when it comes to entertainment in wintertime. Now - everybody travels in cars of course, and has to have a lot of maybe unnecessary things. Anyway, we used to drive in the wintertime. Somebody would have a sleigh and, of course, there’d be a whole crowd of people in there, in the sleigh, and we’d get to have...[a party] at somebody’s house. And somebody would have a violin or a mouth organ or something, but there was always some adults, you know, in the other room. But we used to have fun, in the winter anyway, you know. It was, really fun, especially if there was bells on the horses’ harness. ‘Course you didn’t come home until daylight either. Almost, not quite, daylight in the winter time, but it was getting there. But we did have fun! That was more fun than what you have now, I think. A lot of kids are missing a lot of good times. There wasn’t hardly....there was no money to speak of. There just wasn’t. But everybody was in the same boat - and you didn’t have nylons and all that stuff. You had a fifteen cent pair of cotton stockings - and - you thought you were lovely. You were [dressed], I guess, the best you could do. And it only cost three cents to send a letter to England. Three cents! And you would take it - I’ve done it many times - take a dozen eggs to the store, get three cents for the eggs, and take it in to the post office and buy a stamp. Quite a difference in the price now, eh? […] I don’t send letters anymore. I’m trying to break the post office! I can’t seem to be.[...]
 What else? […]

Where did you go to school?

Ribstone, yeah, Ribstone. Forgot about that. We lived at Ribstone, actually. It’s just, you know[...] - there was old Ribstone and new Ribstone. Well I was, of course, at new Ribstone, and there were thirty-two children in that school, eight grades, nine, there was two grade niners, and only one teacher.

So it would have been in the twenties?


So could you tell me a little bit about your schooling then?

Well, there was, like I said.....there was eight grades...nine grades because two girls went to grade nine. And only one went through [school] out of the whole bunch there was only one school teacher, and that was one of the grade niners. But - I don’t know - I still think that the schools were more interesting then, and you did learn more. And you had to use your head, your own brain if you had one. And you did! There was no fooling around and, of course you had a different teacher nearly every grade, but that was all right. But we did have fun that way and it was great doing the homework, especially when it came to spelling. You’d have to look up the word in the dictionary, supposedly. Well - who wants to look up fifteen words at night when you have other homework to do? I found all you did was write the meaning down, the teacher didn’t know the difference. She couldn’t be bothered looking, I guess...when you’ve got eight kids in one grade to look after!

Right. So they had problems keeping teachers?

No. No, there was always teachers. No problems.

But a problem keeping the same teacher?

No, it’s just that they - well, they’d come for that one term –year - and then they’d be gone to somewhere else, I guess, which was all okay. And we used to have spelling bees too. I had - the one teacher, she came back the second time. She was - her name, of course, - was Smithson to start with and it was Burton when she came back the next time. Her husband used to teach at Crest Hill, which was the next district south.

And we had this spelling bee. They came up to our school this time, and that was two pupils from each grade. So she’s calling out the words but some teachers have a pet - you know. Well this one did - and I wasn’t one of them. But I was a good speller. Never got 100 - I got 99 but never got 100. I don’t know why.

 But anyway, this day - I’ll not forget - because this teacher’s red-headed and she blushed very easily. So we’re lined up against the blackboard, and we’re at grade 7 now - where I am- and she calls out the word “neighbour”. Now the other girl was ahead of me. You get one choice chance, rather. And so I said to Alberta, well neighbour, she misspelled it, she got the “e” and the “i” wrong. So she was going to give her a second chance - the pet - you see, ‘till her husband [?] on the other side said, “Marj, you can’t do that”. ‘Course I had it right. She spelled it wrong, I had to have it right, didn’t I? So, oh, did she ever turn red! Oh, I’ll never forget it as long as I live. But you couldn’t get…[away] but they’d like to get away with [it].

 Then in grade 5, which was when we had her the first time, we used to get stars for competition, you know, and they worked fine. So I’m working my heart out there ‘cause I wanted to get a prize ‘cause I was in grade 5. So when June comes and she gives out these - not lots but it’s a little token - they get their prizes so to speak, but grade 5 is never mentioned. Well, I said, “I had the most gold stars in grade 5 - what did I get Miss Smithson?” (her name was then) “Oh”, she said, “there was no prizes for grade 5.” See why teachers can be hated? So I didn’t get one. As you see, I wasn’t her pet. And that was after trying so hard. I never tried so hard after that, I didn’t give a shoot. I hated school anyways as far as that goes. ‘Course I said that before.

Did you finish school up to high school?

No, I quit in grade 8. No, there was only two that ever went to high school. ‘Course they usually got a boyfriend and the story was they got married. You know, two could live cheaper than one. (I think one lived off the scraps!) But no they.....just the one, as I say, Gladys Mills actually, she was the only one that went through Normal [School] and everything else and was a school teacher. Gladys........ Mills was her name but she’ll be long gone now, I’m sure. Everybody else is, down there. So...

So that would have been in late twenties? The 1920’s then? Am I right that you would  have been finishing school?

Well, I finished school....I quit school.....well can’t even remember when I started....six I guess...when did they start in that day? and they don’t [now]… I can’t remember that, isn’t that funny? But grade 8...I could find out […].

If you were six, then it would have been about 1922.

Oh the nine....oh, in 20...oh, we went to England in the meantime.

Oh, you did?

When I was two. Do you want me to throw that in?

Yes, sure.

Well I was two when we went to England, and that would be in… I was born in ‘16, but that was after the war was over, first Great War, and I was five when we came back. So when we came back - cause my parents came from England in the first place - you can tell by the name.....anyway...

Where did they come from?

Blackburn, Lancashire.


Blackburn in Lancashire. Anyway, they....what can I say? So when we came back - which was fall - and my dad’s parents had got rid of everything before they went - so when we came back there was nothing and no money either. So he did - by watching the paper I gather - he got a job at Hillbank, that’s just near Duncan, on a dairy farm. So we went there for the winter. Dad went first and my mom and I went next, and we were held up five hours in the Canyon because there was a rock in front of the train - not on us, thank goodness. And that winter... I did have pictures... I can’t put in there what happened to them.

Oh dear.

Anyway, it began to snow one time there, one night, and it snowed six feet and I have the pictures where dad worked. It was up on the hill, was the house. The barn was down there. This train was down below again. And there’s soon snow, up like yea, to get to the barn to milk. ‘Course you had milking machines, you know. But anyway, so much for that. That’s where we were that winter.

 Well, in 1980, I guess it was, we went to the Island. We had a motor home and went to the Island, and I said as we were going to Victoria. I saw the sign, Hillbank, and I said, “Gee whiz, let’s go in there on the way back”. So we did. ‘Cause I knew, I just remembered. I said, “It’s only about half a mile in there, or a mile.” So we went in there and would you believe the same old name was on the mailbox! This is in 1980, from, well, 1922, “Ed. Forest”, on the mailbox. “And there’s the house “, I said, “right there. And there’s the orchard. And there’s the livery..there’s the barn. And there’s the house.” “But”, I said, “they’ve sure cut an awful pile of those old firs out”. You could see through them. I think they’re just beautiful.

 But there was a lady in the garden at the time, so I went over and told her who I was and, you know, the story of how I’d been there. So I asked what happened to Ed and she said, “Well, that’s young Ed, the son”. He was cutting hay around the fruit trees and I said, “What happened to Ed?” She said, “Well they both died”. I said, “Well, I was never in the main house”. She says, “I wasn’t either.” But it seemed so funny - all those years later and I remember that like it was just yesterday. (No, no that’s not right because I don’t know what happened yesterday. I can’t remember what happened this morning!)

Good memory though!

I guess being the only one, I was interested, and I had to be. Dad..well somebody showed dad how to catch pheasants too, with this trap, and I still remember how to do that too. You set it out, then you have a string from this little trap thing that you pull so that it falls down over them and you’ve got them. You have the string right to the house. You just, well see some pheasants going that way, you watch them and when they go in you pull the string, you’ve got ‘em! That’s how he did it. So pheasant was wonderful to eat and the feathers are beautiful too. I know my mother had a ....they’d skinned them, feathers and all, I remember years later my mother had a hat. I don’t know what happened to it, but eventually somebody made her a hat out of the feathers, the wings and what-have-you. It was nice. I don’t know what happened to that. A lot of things disappear that I wish I had...

So what else happened?

So what else happened? That’s what was taping?…How much more do you want? (I’m slipping! I changed my story, didn’t I? If I could just stay on subject we’d be better off!)

We were just talking about school days and how you finished in about grade eight and...

So did everybody else. Well then the war came, of course, not too long after. Well, what am I talking about, is ‘39, yeah. So of course I was up here – I had been married six years then. Right. So maybe we can talk about Isle Pierre then and when you moved here. {Mrs. Fanshaw talks next about how she met her husband Colin Fanshaw..} Okay, so we came here, to Isle Pierre then… We married on the 26th of October [1933]. Well, oh yeah … Let me see... Well, on the ferry, the Battle River as you’ve probably heard of, that was north of Ribstone [Alberta], and there used to be picnics held up there. So I went up there with somebody, I don’t know who now, some girlfriends. Anyway, I went to the picnic and this other girl and I, Myrtle Arneson, her name was...and we went in swimming. You know, we didn’t swim, we went in walking in the water more or less and of course you had a bathing suit naturally, but you didn’t have any bath houses or anything like that, and there’s a whole bunch of willows, that’s fine.

I’m going to tell this... Anyway, so we go in the water and when we come out here’s this guy that I ended up marrying. I’ve forgotten who the other guy was. And they threatened to take our clothes. Well, we got outta there, I’ll tell you! We got the clothes and we took off, to get far enough away so we could get dressed. The trouble was poor Myrtle lost something and had to spend the rest of the day without. (I don’t know if I should put that in. I didn’t say anything [bad]!). And I’ve often thought of Myrtle. She’s probably dead by now, like the rest of my friends but I often think of all these silly things.

And then, one night when I was uptown - I say uptown but it was just a little village - and Colin was walking down the street and I was going over to another house and I stopped. I said “Hi” to him. This is after the Battle River bit, and he said “Hi”. So anyway, we talked for a minute. ‘Course he was away up there, you know. Then he said, “Would you like to go for an ice cream cone?” Five cents. So we went. There was a hotel there. An elderly lady ran this hotel, if you want to call it that. And that was where everybody used to meet there anyway. So that’s where we bought....he had five cents and bought me an ice cream cone. That’s where the trouble started!

How old would you have been then?

Then I was about seven?…six?...fifteen. That’s what I said, real smart!

And his name was......



Yeah, we had that in there somewhere.


I don’t want to keep saying my husband’s [name]… I can’t [repeat?] all this.


He was, ‘cause I can prove that to you. Actually I have the stuff [licence] here. (Not supposed to be here but it is. I forgot that was on this then). So anyway we were going together for a couple of years before we got married.

You got married in Alberta?

Yep. At the house. [Parent’s house.] You know, I had pictures of the minister, but I haven’t got them anymore either. Anyway, they had a chivaree, as they called it, in the house that night and we left the next day on the train and came up here [Isle Pierre] because there were no more jobs down there. And anyway he had just gone down there to work on the...thrashing you see, and him and a friend, they rode the rods [CN] down a couple of years earlier and anyway, coming back we came back on the [passenger] train. Not the other guy, but Colin and I, and we got off the train here, as I say, the 31st, Halloween night....morning, off the train at Isle Pierre and it was a year like this without the rain. Beautiful, just beautiful! The leaves were still on the trees, great big orangy, these two big trees at the ferry, cottonwoods, and it was just....they’re gone now. And that river was something else. It was a river then, scarey. It was a big one.

This is at Isle Pierre ferry?

Yeah. So, anyway, we got off there. It was just a beautiful country to me, but - Oh my God- was I ever afraid of these great big trees! They felt like they were going to fall on me. I’ve seen big trees on the prairie but I think the biggest might have been six inches through about ten feet high if it was that, and it took them a hundred years to get that big too, I think. Anyway, we were there and then I said, we stayed at his mother’s and dad’s for a month until he fixed up this and then we moved up there.

So they had a house at Isle Pierre?

They did. They lived at Isle Pierre. My father-in-law ran the ferry at that time. No, he did not. He had run it before I got there. He was ferryman before I got there. Hans Anderson was the ferryman when I arrived, and there was another two after that.

Hans Sandersen?

Hans Anderson. They’re gone now too, and his wife came from the same place I did on the prairie, along with a lot of other Cliffords’ up here.

And what was Colin’s father’s name?


And his mother?

Alice. Both of our mothers were Alice, my mother and her.

So your mother’s name was Alice and your father’s name was..

Arthur. That was it, no middle names. So anyway we.....what was I saying....?

Talking about that they had a house at Isle Pierre.

Yeah, they lived about half a mile down from the ferry on the other side of the Nechako and so we moved up there with what we had - which wasn’t much of anything - as I told you awhile back.

Yes. If you can just tell me that again so I can....

Oh, okay. Well we moved up there. We get this old stove, it’d been sitting, it was all rusty. That’s a range, that stove, it can burn wood in it. But the oven door had to be propped up with a block of wood if you wanted to bake anything and I did bake bread, sort of. It was kind of leaden at first but it was a toss-up. When you mixed bread then, you see, you didn’t have this quick stuff. You set your Royal yeast, a square cake or a round one, and you started your bread and all this, and you let it rise overnight.


‘Course you had to keep it warm. The trouble was there really wasn’t enough blankets for the bed and the bread! So, sometimes the bread would rise all night but I never really got… Mine came up a quarter of an inch because it was too cold. But I learned eventually …

Oh yeah, the bedding was out of this world! That was out of flour sacks. You took five flour sacks and you had a sheet, hundred pound bags that is, or ninety-eight they call them. And then the ladies had a quilting bee and I ended up...we had a wool quilt. Well that made out of flour sacks, not just sheets. Good Lord, towels, pillow cases and then the kids got their share of clothes out of them too, eventually. What else happened?

Oh, I told you...oh, the heater. That was an old airtight which was in the middle of the floor, which as I said, had two of its own legs and one jam tin and two bricks under the others, and the ashes fell off the bricks, but it warmed the place up and we burned wood, of course. And the well. We had to go get the water out. But the first winter we had to melt the snow, for goodness sakes. And then Colin got a [railway] tie contract from the storekeeper, you know, for his customers. So the storekeeper - for groceries - the storekeeper carried you over, which was Joe Boyd, J.R. Boyd Store. There was also - the other store was Dore {spells it}, was the other storekeeper.

Doore {spells it differently}? So there were two general stores?

There were two stores, little stores, yeah. Anyway, so we get my husband made ties, that’s fine. Well, I learned how to peel ties too.

You did?

Oh, sure. It was a little heavy turning them over but that’s all right. And, anyway, while he was away in the light of day, we finished at three o’clock and we were eating supper sometime after, but anyway I used to {make ties}......he’d made a sleigh out of a birch, a bank birch, perfect for runners. He cut it in half. He made a little sleigh and I used to take that out, and a saw and an axe, and go down across the hay field in to...not go too far - but, oh maybe further than twice across the street, whatever that is, oh, I don’t know. Anyway, I get there, cut the wood down and that’s my winter afternoons, having the wood there for the night and up to the next afternoon and then I’d go and get another supply.

You didn’t mind doing that kind of work?

Oh, no. Well it’s that or freeze! You either do something or freeze. You don’t sit back waiting for somebody to come and push a button and turn the heat up! And I’d rather have it than turn the heat up too! I would! That was much better. And, let’s see, what else did we do?

I made the water. We had to melt snow. Oh - wash day. I didn’t have a washing machine either. I never had a washing machine until Sandra arrived, that would be in ‘46. I had two tubs and a washboard, and eventually I got a wringer. I really had ‘er made! I didn’t get the wringer......I can’t remember when. Anyway, the water was so hard you almost had to chop it with an axe. So, anyway, you’d get the two tubs. You’d put the water in one and put lye in it, then you could pour it off, hopefully, the next day. All the hard stuff out of the water, would be at the bottom and you could throw that out. But you still ended up with hard water. Anyway, what else happened? Well, I don’t know, all this…yeah…all kinds of things.

Oh yeah, the one winter he made ties south, west, rather, of Nichol, towards Bednesti up in the bush, woods, there. We had to get out of there in February ‘cause we had a fall, that was another cool year, of course. There’s a road up there now. But you came down there and...we - wasn’t just he and I in this making ties, his friend moved in there too. He was just a little short guy. But, anyway, they built this shack with a lean-to roof, that’s all. And its got a bit of building paper up the wall too to cover up the logs, around the bed anyway and around part of it. So fine. Rocky, his name was. He built a little section on the end for his bedroom, no windows in that and only two in the other part, and being that he was only short, why he didn’t need to build a very big place to sleep. But then another fellow moved in.
What was Rocky’s last name? Clifford. And then Wellington Morrison moved in, but he was short too. So that’s two[boarders] there, that’s two now, but there’s one on each side of the doorway, you see. But then they have to make room across the bottom for another bed because Lloyd Clifford’s going to move in too. They’re going to make ties. So there they are, no windows, mind you. Anyway, so that’s the way that was, and they made ties, but as I say we had to get out of there early. Some of those ties of Lloyd Clifford’s are still up there somewhere in the bush, they never did get them out.

So who was he making ties for then?

Well, the storekeeper, who did a tie contract and he would allot the ties out, so many to a customer.

I see.

The last bunch were only three hundred. They were all hand done too, of course, you know.

How much would you get for a tie?

That varied. Not too much. There was culls, of course, and some were thirty-two cents....not very much. I can’t remember....I remember something was thirty-two cents, I forget what. Whether it was the culls or not, I don’t know, I can’t remember that. It wasn’t much, oh heavens, no. But it kept you from starving to death. We never did starve, never went hungry, and we never went barefoot. Close to it! My footwear for the winter, at that time, was a pair of felts , for going out, that is. If I went down to the mill or anything which was about half a mile, or it might have been a bit was a bit more - after you crossed the river about a mile. Anyway, you crossed the ferry too to get there. But anyway, my footwear was a pair of felts, bedroom slippers with a low rubber over, you know, just to cover. Not just little low ones like that, but ones that covered the slipper and they were held on with a sealer ring, a red sealer ring. You’ve probably seen the sealers that we canned fruit in? If you haven’t, well see some.

No I haven’t.

Well, ask in Northern Hardware if they have any sealers sometime, when it’s canning time and you’ll say, “Oh, I haven’t got one either. [If] This would have happened down in Vancouver street I could have showed you.


Anyway, that was it, and {I had} my stockings, of course, so that I wouldn’t freeze to death, I’d have a pair of Colin’s socks on too. Now the socks, you made them go twice as far as you would {now}. Once you had the sock and you had the leg, ‘course the foot wears out so you....under that back to some half-good stuff and then you buy yarn and you re-foot them. Well I did lots of that. ‘Course I was a dressmaker anyway, so I did lots of sewing. But I did sewing before I became a dressmaker.

You did? Who taught you how to sew?


Who taught you how to sew?

Nobody! Me. Nobody taught anybody in those days! You had a brain and you used it, they don’t have any brains any more. I mean, to use their own {brain}...there’s always somebody, seems to me, now saying, “Well, let me show you”. Well I don’t agree with it! And that’s from the day the kid’s sitting on the floor. “Let me show you what to do with the paint”. Leave the kid alone and let him paint, can you? Find out what to do with it. All you have to do is clean it up. Right?

That’s true.

So, there’s too much of that stuff going on, that’s why I think people don’t get to that, to invent anything. How’re they going to? Anyway...

So you were a seamstress?

Yep. My diploma’s here somewhere. It’s no good to me now, is it?

A diploma from where?

That was by correspondence. I’ve forgotten the name of that one too. I had a whole bunch of books that are all gone. I did lots of that. I did lots when I came to town gowns and evening gowns for Barb Neuman and Dora Allen. That was the best… That was a good one. We had lots of fun. So wait a minute! - We were at Isle Pierre. I got carried away from…

So, how you decide to get involved with tie making? Was it that your husband...

Well that’s the only thing there was to do. You had to. That was it. That was your money and there wasn’t any money until you had the ties at the landing. You couldn’t get five cents. It was nearly all gone on the store bill anyway. But the only money you could be sure of having was about seven dollars was when they took the ferry out at Isle Pierre for the winter and that was the cash you had for the winter.

And why was that?

Well, where are you going to get any more from? There’s nowhere to get any money from. Nowhere, just nowhere. Nobody knows anything nowadays, you know, as far as that they don’t.


Oh, I was going to say, if you had a garden - and you have to have a garden - and there was always moose or deer or both, and that was your meat for the year. We used to buy butter and stuff from Colin’s mother. She - they had a cow and some chickens and whatnot... so we were really okay.

Did you do any hunting yourself?

Yeah, I used to go along with Colin, not because I wanted to. But there was a time once (we had a police dog) and he was making ties, but he was down - this was just across the river from the store - and he was away down up in the bush that way making ties....and I used to take his lunch up in a jam tin...a hot lunch..something to do you know, I had nothing else to do. But I used to take a little tiny .22 with me because, as I said, we had this police dog.. course he’s hungry too, so I shot rabbits, believe it or not. The first one I shot - I still to this day don’t know why the rabbit died - and Colin said it’s because the poor thing saw me and died of fright! So... but I did. Oh I did better than that too. {Proceeds to tell the story about how she brought the family on to Prince Rupert to meet up with her husband.} One time, he was working on the section by this time. Yes. A fellow by the name of Charlie Adcock, who’s gone now – (he was the section foreman at Isle Pierre) and he got. (do you want the name down there)?

Section foreman for Isle Pierre....?

That stretch of track.

Oh, track. Oh, okay.

They were somewhere in there. So we moved to New Hazelton on the 4th of January. We get to Hazelton, well, anyway, the train froze up at Smithers so we’re held up there while they thought some of the...whatever was frozen and we get to New Hazelton and the lady there, Mrs. Parent, she’s the station agent’s wife, an elderly couple, and she had some mattresses heating around the big barrel stove, you know, to warm because we’re going to be over in a little shack that has two rooms and they’re not very big. They’re not bigger than {demonstrating}........But she made tea for Hilda, Ted and Dave and myself while the men were setting up the stove. Anyway, that all worked out fine. That is when he {Colin} decided to move to Prince Rupert.

 So he goes to Prince Rupert and he’s working in dry dock. But, oh yes, I’m going to be able to go but I can’t seem to find out when. There was no letters coming, nothing’s happening.

So I kind of got fed up and I....the trains used to pass, the passengers used to meet I decided I’m going to Prince Rupert! I had three kids though by then. I don’t know why I’m going, but I’m going to Prince Rupert. So I decided that I’d get the station agent, and I said, “You know”, I said, “Mr. Parent I’m going to go to Prince Rupert, but”, I said, “I’m going to send Colin a letter on Thursday and tell him I’ll be there, and he can’t do a thing about it, but I’ll be there on Saturday night.” “The letter might come back, but I’ll be on the other train.” So I get on the train, get everything picked out and he creates {storage} for me, but the funny thing - there was a fir crate that we had to nail together to put the {stove in}’s a big stove. And, his son was supposed to be nailing it together. …

I said, “Here, let me nail that.” So I did, and the old man said.....`Louie, I never thought I’d have to see a lady showing you how to drive a nail.’ So, anyway, I said, “Well all right”. We get this all done, and I said, “But will you put all this stuff on the weigh freight on Monday?” I still don’t know where I’m going, you know. Haven’t a clue! (I wouldn’t do it now for the world).

Okay, so {its}Tuesday... {and} Saturday..., I’m on the train. And it’s loaded to the hilt with soldiers, and they’re going to Prince Rupert, actually, but I knew quite a few of them, they’re from my home town. But anyway, I’m sitting there on the train and across the way and a little farther down I see a face that I remembered from the prairie and I said to the conductor, “You know, will you tell that young fellow over there”, I said, “I’m pretty sure that I know who he is and he’s from where I came from.” So he did. So he came over, and yeah, he remembered {me} and we were talking to him. And they were all eating chocolates and what-have-you, but anyway we finally get to Prince Rupert. My kids get all the chocolates that they have left. Fine - That’s okay. But everybody’s getting off this train. In fact, everybody IS off. Now what do I do?

Now I’m getting to be a bit nervous. So I’m standing there and I happened to turn and I looked down the courts. Oh my goodness. Thank goodness, there’s an old fellow walking up there. He’s the janitor for the trains. Old Don Gunn. (He used to be at Isle Pierre too.....but relation to…). I said to him, “Oh, am I glad to see you”, I said. “I thought somebody would be here to meet me, either Gladys or Frank (that was friends of ours from Saxon Lake...Sylvan Glade) “Well”, he said, “turn ‘round”. Well, I turned ‘round the other way and here’s a girl I went to school with, her two kids, and Gladys and Frank. I said, “Well, where’s Colin?” I figured he should be there. Well he was on the afternoon shift. “Is that right?” Well, what’s that? I didn’t know anything about these three shifts. There was only......eight to five was the only shift I knew. So, anyway, Gladys says, “Oh, nothing to worry about, Colin will be home, he’s off work at midnight.” Okay. So we go up to her place. ‘Course everything’s blacked out too. They didn’t know that either. So...

This was during the war?

Yeah. Oh, yeah, everything was blacked out up there, which means that your had curtains but you had to put tar-paper down the side of the blind to pull the blind down so there was no light showing. And the street lights were darkened, just for a little bit shining down.

Anyway, so we go up to Gladys’. Well, my goodness - Colin comes there after. I knew I would have some place to stay. I wasn’t too worried about that when I knew somebody I knew was there. So he comes off work, and I’m telling you - if looks could kill - I’d be dead a long time ago! “What did you come for? {he said} The house isn’t ready yet.” “Well, I can’t help that. I’m here now. What’re you going to do about it? You might as well be pleasant.” So, I said, “Well I know where I’m staying tonight, I’m staying here at Gladys’, there’s always room for one more.” (In fact, there was four. ) But there was an old fellow had a shack down below her house somehow, below us anyway. He was from Reid Lake. (I’ve forgotten his name right now.) But he said “You folks”, he said, “until your house is ready, you can stay down there, I got a place to go”. So, we had a double bed and a single, a single cot. And we had three kids, and there’s five of us? I don’t know...we made it all right anyway. So we go up on the see the house, if it was finished yet. The war time houses. That was way up on the hill, on Piggott Avenue, overlook, towards Seal Cove. We get there and the house...they haven’t finished anything too much. The water…the plumbing’s not finished but anyway it’s going to be ready by Tuesday. So fine, we’re there by Tuesday. Everything’s in a suitcase and a box, and a stove. What else? Oh, and a Winnipeg couch which they can take apart because part of it was used in the living room and part of it was used for the {kids} kid was a bed-wetter, so.....

What was it called?

A Winnipeg couch.

Winnipeg couch?

Winnipeg. There’s some that you need to pull the sides up ...but there were some that you could just pull them right apart and you’d have two. Anyway, well that wasn’t ours, we had our own containers, or we built one anyway. Anyway......where am I at? What have we done? Oh, we moved into the house. Oh, that’s fine. Okay. So on the Tuesday...we were there Tuesday, and on Thursday, of course Colin’s at work. we’re in there with whatever we have, which isn’t much of anything, shipped a sewing machine - I had that - and the stove, and the trunk.

You took your sewing machine with you?

Yeah. So, but anyway, the lady moved in two doors over. She came over and wanted to know if we had a saw. (She had a choice name for the saw, but I won’t put that in there!) I was quite surprised ‘cause she’d never seen me in her life before.

She was Georgie Byrd. Oh, but they were fun! Her husband was...her father-in-law was some big-wig in the Navy in Esquimalt. He had several braids. Anyway, and their name was Byrd, but anyway, they....oh, they were fun. She wanted this saw to saw...well, all I had was a swede saw which is about five feet long. Well she took that in order to saw some wood. She wanted some shelves made to put her fruit on or something. I didn’t have any fruit. But anyway, so we’re there now. But all right.

So, one night Colin was working in the ship yards, you see. This sounds pretty stupid. This is war time, eh, and the Japs have their hideout, so they are well implanted in the Aleutians. But at Prince Rupert they have the gas and oil storage tanks up on the hill above the dry dock. There’s a railroad here, and there’s the dry dock and there’s boats and they’re being built, the ships being built and various stores. But this night I’m lying there reading. I had the light on, and the kids were...{in bed.} We hadn’t anybody with… but there’s three kids sleeping in this bedroom, one bedroom, and anyway all of a sudden the air raid alarm goes. Well if that isn’t something that makes your hair curl, I don’t know what is!

So, I’m laying.....out comes the light, on comes the light first. I go in the bedroom and I’m leaning looking out the window and I see...across the way was a house they were using for employees to sleep in at that time ‘cause their commissary or whatever it was wasn’t built yet, there’s one next to us too.... Anyway, there’s a guy walking down there and I said, “What’s going on here?” I didn’t know what you could see. I said, “What’s going on here?” “Oh”, he said, “I don’t know”. “Oh, Bert” , I said, “Well, where’s Georgie?” He said, “She’s having a bath and she said she’s not getting out for anybody ‘till she’s had it”. That’s her! Okay. So… I don’t know who these planes are, that’s going over. So I start in the dark sorting out the kids’ clothes, and I had to feel them (which is the way I am now, just about), and I had them all lined up, in case they had to go. Then I, I think I went over to Georgie’s for awhile, then I came back and - Oh God! Kind of nerve wracking. It’s a horrible sound, I’ll tell it! (Well the fire siren down here {in the apartment} I don’t know what they’ve got it like a siren for. Guess if there was an air raid here it’d be the same thing). However.

So this was to go to an air raid shelter if?...

No, there was no shelter up there. No, no, no. It’s just get your lights out and that… But it’s funny, and that story we got told the next day was that it was some American planes going over and they didn’t identify themselves. But then later we had a school teacher at Isle Pierre, an elderly lady, and I got a book from somebody to read and she knew the author. And she told me to get it, or she got it for me maybe, and she said he was up there at this time and she said, “When you read that book you’ll find out that those weren’t American planes that went over, they were Japanese.” I’ve heard that since too. Of course, there again it’s supposed to be fact, but I can’t prove it. But it sounds good enough and somebody went over anyway, but I’m telling......

So what year would that have been?


What year would that have been?

That would be ‘40. It had to be ‘40, wouldn’t be ‘41 ‘cause we came back in ‘43.

You came back to Isle Pierre in ‘43?

Yeah, we had....oh, yeah, Prince Rupert...well, we had to take him there...we had to...(but this is all about Prince Rupert now....I mean)… take in a couple of renters so we could afford to get out of there. And the utilities for the place was two dollars and thirty-five cents. Anyway, they also had a party for us. I wonder if I should put this in? - Yeah, might as well. Tell a good one. It’s fact, it’s not fiction.

Anyway, they had farewell party for us where I was from the friends that we had at Prince Rupert that used to be at Isle Pierre and all that, and it was kind of funny. This couple that was staying with us, they were good but liquor was rationed, of course, so Colin used to get his....he had a permit and he’d buy his {ration}. I can’t even remember him drinking the stuff, but he did.

And, anyway, so all okay, but he’s used his permit so we can’t get any more. Well, that’s not very good when know people are coming {to the farewell party}. So, he said, “Well, go see if you can find one. Go take - So I did take Lady Frida…Frida, yeah. I said, “Well, what’re you going to do?” I said, will you go down and see if you can get a permit?” She said, “Well, yeah, sure.” But I says, “That’s not very much”, I said, “I gotta have one too” and she’s going to get one. “But”, she says, “I know somebody at the bottom....down at the bottom of the” {hill}....we had one hundred and twenty-two steps to climb up, to walk up, or go through the mud in the back yard, the muskeg. Anyway, so she says, “...we’ll see if she’ll {Agnes} go with us.” She was quite a religious lady, but she did. She lived at Pouce Coupe, (well if they are still alive , we saw them up there). (So we - now I see why these politicians have a drink … Good God knows what they’ve got in it! I bet it isn’t straight water). Anyway, so, well, Agnes would you do that? {go with them to get the liquor permit}. “Sure I’ll do that”, she said. Oh, great.

So down we go to the liquor store. It’s a beautiful summer. We go right after lunch and it’s a beautiful summery day, it’s Third Avenue, by the way, too. So we get down to the liquor store and walk in and all is quiet around there. So, could we get a liquor permit Mr. (?) “I’m sorry”, the guy there he said, “I’m sorry, but the last one went at eleven o’clock this morning.” Well, so much for that. “Well”, I said, you know to the girls I said, “You know, I betcha....let’s go down to George Gunns’ bicycle shop. Let’s go down there.” I said, “I’ll betcha Grace got it.” George, George.....what was his name? So we go down there. He said, “Yup, Grace got it this morning, so she’s got something” much for that. But as we were walking out of the liquor store, a soldier walked in. When we got outside...there’s the three of us, you know...I said....he walked out too then, and he passed us....I said, “I’ve a notion to ask that guy if he wants to sell that.” They dared me. I thought, “Well, it’s a nice day, there’s lots of people around the street, it must be okay. So I hurried down a little bit and I was walking behind him and I said, “You don’t want to sell that, do you?” “No”. “Okay. Bye. That’s okay”. So we go across the street to get on the bus to come home and the soldier comes right by me and he said, “You wouldn’t like to buy that, would you?” And I said, “No.” So much for that transaction!

So, we get on...I didn’t take it we get on the bus to come home and sit at the back and finally Agnes says, “That guy there that just got on, he uses his....he gets a permit every night”, she says, and she says, “he doesn’t drink either.” Okay. So, she says, “When we get to McBride [Street] and get off the bus” she said, “now you two, you two stay back” she says, “and I’ll....(and he gets off), ‘course he lived across the street from her....”I’ll see if he’s got anything”. So she comes back and she said who we were and come on into the house. “Yes”, she says, he’s got a bottle of Hudson’s Bay rum.” So I go in, we all go in...but I’m sitting in line with the bathroom, and he goes into the bedroom. He comes out of the bedroom, he goes into the bathroom, he comes back and he sells me this bottle. The seal’s already been broken, so I guess he watered it down a bit, but it was bad enough anyway. So that cost me eight bucks! Okay. So, we’re all set .... That’s a lot of money. It was then, I’ll tell you. But it’s a lot more than that now.’s an occasion I guess, eh?

So, anyway, I go home. I’m happy now. I’ve got something, but it was costly at that time. So we’re all set for the party and I think there was a bit of everything there that night. And I was not a drinker. I had my first drink of beer at Prince Rupert...and I’m still not.....I won’t even touch.....scared of it now after being at death’s door... Anyway, so......’course, well you know when you start getting a bunch of drinks and they’re all different...well I didn’t need very much, but I think I had about three and they were all different and I was sick. I never lost a damn thing, I kept the whole thing, coffee, cake, everything. But, oh, I didn’t feel good. It ruined my evening. Oh, I guess I had fun anyway.

But the funny part was, this [Guy] - God, he had just got a new suit. And the back doorstep was....there was a walkway right around the house and I’m sure this shows up.....and poor old G. he’s had too many drinks and he’s leaning over the railing and, I guess....he lost his teeth in the muskeg. So he goes down and around and about to get into the...down there with his new suit rocks and muskeg, you’d never believe it but it is.........and there he is, scratching matches on his brand new trousers, trying to have a light so he can find these blessed teeth! But, he is down there with the coal man’s wife and his own wife isn’t too happy about that....she lives in Victoria right now. And so, anyway, guess they have a few words, but anyway it all blows over. But he doesn’t find his teeth. So this party finally disperses and there’s bottles of beer here, there, and everywhere...supposed to be for me but I don’t drink the stuff...but that was okay.

 Anyway, the next morning, Colin goes out and looks out, and he finds his teeth. So he says, “Well I’ll take these down to G. to the shop.” So he goes down that way and shortly G. comes back this other way. And he’s like this, with his mouth covered up, you know. “Oh”, he says, “I’ve come to see if I can find my teeth.” I says, “Colin just took them down, he’ll be down at the shop now, he took them down to you.” Oh, was he ever so glad that he got his teeth but {his wife} she was sure mad at him ruining that suit! It wasn’t so much, what’s her name, the other lady.....don’t remember her name now too. It wasn’t...that wasn’t the problem at all...[…] Anyway, but it was fun. That was that. Then we get on the train eventually and come home.

So why did you come back to Isle Pierre? How come you didn’t stay in Prince George?

(Prince Rupert?) Oh, that was the end of that anyway. That’s only a part-time job, you know, building boats. That’s only when there’s a war on.


So there’s no jobs or anything like that. It wasn’t we come back and he’s on the section again until the end of the year but .... When we came back, I came back on the train with the kids. It wasn’t loaded with soldiers this time but there was a lot of sailors on. Oh, there was a lady and two gents away at the back, and I won’t go any farther on that one! Funny what you see on trains! Oh, dear!

Anyway, ...I was so sleepy and tired, but I went to sleep. When I wakened up, this young sailor lad was amusing my kids. It was just wonderful, and ....I was tired out, that’s all there was to it. But anyway, we get home on a Tuesday night, and I’ll be blowed the next day if Hilda didn’t have measles. She’d been innoculated for measles....that was useless. She’s getting over the measles and Ted gets the measles, and she gets mumps! So she’s just getting over those and Ted’s just getting over his measles, when he gets mumps and Dave gets measles! I had six straight weeks or more of mumps and measles. Very interesting. Terrible time. Eh? I lived through that too. Oh, what can I tell...all kinds of things. That was a was a much more interesting life then than now.

Now you go to the store and buy […]

But what else happened? So we come back to Nichol, which is the next {town}......that was my....I had that place finally when my mom and dad were dead, but dad died in ‘44.


Nichol it’s called - of what’s left. It was Bednesti and Nichol and Isle Pierre. It’s on the section there.

Nicol? (spells it)

Nichol (spells the name) I think that’s how they spell it. There’s nothing, there’s no station or agent anymore. There’s not at Isle Pierre either. They’re gone.

Did you build a house there?

No, no you just lived in what, there’s no money didn’t build made it out....long as you did without, I guess. There was usually an old one {house} there you could....once you got the rats out and the mice out, you’re fine. I mean the bush rats. Smelly things. Anyway, what else did we do then? Oh, we lived at Penny there, before that.

Oh you did?

Yeah, we did. Wait. I can’t remember when. Oh, Dave was about eighteen months old. So that would be...(he was born in ’39)...that would be in ‘40. ‘40! Well that’s it, ...

That must have been before you went to Prince Rupert?

It was.

That you were in Penny. Okay.

Yeah, long before. […]In fact, well did we have Dave there. […] He would be about two. But if he was born in ‘39....something doesn’t ring a bell. […] Anyway, we were at Penny, and then we moved to Giscome. We lived in the bunk-house there. We lived in a place in Penny that had been ...somebody raised mink in it, and every time you washed the floor it smelled to high heaven! so much weasel, but once it dried it was okay.

So what did your husband do when you lived at Penny and Giscome?

{worked} On the {railway} section.

On the section as well.


So he just moved as the work moved?

Yeah. But anyway, from when he was going to Giscome, I didn’t stay there. I moved and came home, and got to Wilfred’s [Aizlewood’s]. ...{with} er, old Joe Boyd’s horse, and took my box of belongings that I had and the kids’ stuff, and went to live at the coulee, at the top coulee house again. ‘Course we have a radio now and, so the radio - ...I called the Anderson girls (Doris, she’s Doris Gervais now)...she came up and stayed that night with me and I wanted to have the radio. So, it was an aerial a mile long. So I connected it to the...what do you call it [clothesline pole] so, the aerial that is, and I wound it...there was miles of it and I wound it around the end of the clothesline and I said, “Boy, we’re going to get some mixed-up music on this one.” And she believed me. …And, what else happened?

So you were staying at this...called the coulee house?

We called it the coulee house ‘cause it was at the top. Well, we sold that place up there for two hundred and fifty dollars. It was a quarter section. I can’t remember who we sold it to. But anyway, there was a fellow by the name of Duggan and had it and there was nothing left on it, and he sold it for seventy thousand.

He did okay.

But the house at Nichol that we had lived in (at Mile 29), that finally burned down thanks to the sectionman leaving a fire going. The wind got up and went across the field, took the barn, the house and everything. But that was too bad because - you don’t happen to know Irene Rigler do you?


You don’t happen to know Irene Rigler?


Well, she...was, a school teacher. Dean Rigler’s the chiropracter, his Mom. Well her sister bought the house at {Mile} 29. And...anyway, that’s when it burned down, one time when he was out. First, his wife was killed at Alf’s Corner Store Crossing. One winter he didn’t defrost the truck windows and the train came. I won’t go into that... But, oh there was lots of incidents. …What else happened that was interesting? …

Oh, yeah. There was the train wreck at {Mile} 29 too. Somebody blew the beaver dam up away up the road by Abery’s Lake, out there, where the Isle Pierre turn-off, in there, and of course the water went a-flying down the creek and took out the railroad track and one of the big engines was in there and a car rolled {and} vegetables was squandered through the bush. That was....we could see the whole thing right from our house where we lived then, and that’s where the kids walked three or four miles to school...three miles to school then.

So anybody hurt in the train wreck?

Not that I know of...just..I don’t think so. There couldn’t have been or I’d have remembered. But those....and then, events...oh, when my dad died and that was another bad day. This is hard...this is what people can do when you have to. {Proceeds to tell about when her father died.}

But that day, on the Friday night, I took... {on} Friday...I took my kids down to my mother’s at 29, from Isle Pierre that’s three miles, to look after leave the kids there ‘cause I’m going to somehow get to Chief Lake, you see, to a dance. My husband’s working at the Hoff’s mill right at Chief Lake. So I take the kids down there, but I leave and my dad wasn’t looking good at all. He said to me – (I’ll never forget) - he said to me - (he was on the chesterfield, his eyes were jet black - angina, of course, he’d had it for awhile) - and {said} he was thinking about not going yet - but I was going, eh. So I went up and I stopped in at the neighbours, Sylva (?) Hamiltons, for a few minutes then I went on home and I listened to the oldtimers program, (you know, Charlie Chamberlain and Marj, whatever her name was – {on Friday night).

And somewhere in the middle of that, I quit - now - I was too happy. There’s something wrong. However, I went to bed and the next morning went over and got the mail and I just got home and I milked the cow. Now I’m going to go get ready and I’m going to start heading to find a way to Chief Lake somehow or other, by walking to start with, somebody’s bound to be going up there. And George Anderson, that was Hans Anderson’s son and Gordon Kalstead came along and I could see the car just up the road from the house a bit. Now I thought something’s wrong. I knew, too, you know, I guess… Well George said, “Mrs. Fanshaw, your Dad’s had a heart attack. We’ll take you down there.” So, way we go and of course my mother’s there with the kids, and oh, Lord, she’s in a stew, and understandable… It’s funny she didn’t have one too, but there’s my Dad, he’d gone across the track and up on the hillside and was sawing a log. Ted was with him. And he was sawing some wood or something and he just dropped. He just...but as he was going, he said to Ted, “I won’t see you for awhile.” That was it. So, I’m there. But it’s eighty above that day. September 9th. Eighty! So there he is. We told the sectionmen when they came by, would they phone Dr. MacArthur and Harold Assman {funeral director in Prince George} when they got to town. Would he phone them and tell them what had happened.


..I tell the sectionman would he phone in for MacArthur and Assman and state what has happened, you see. And I said, “Somebody get hold of Colin at Chief Lake.” Okay. So, I figure well somebody will show up sooner or later, but nothing happens. So I go out there and I build a fly, as they call it, to keep the sun off my Dad ‘cause he’s cooking. It’s not pleasant. I do that and time goes on. Well finally it’s 3:30 in the afternoon...around 3:00 or 3:30. I heard the passenger whistle up west and I thought, well I’ve got to stop this train! So I get down there when he comes around the bend and I’m flagging the train down. They stop. (They don’t do that now).

George Raymond was the conductor (you can put that in if you like) and so I went down to the track and he said, “Now what’s the problem Mrs. Fanshaw?” And I said, “Well my dad is on the hillside there and he died this morning.” I told him what had happened, what was supposed to have happened, and the accident and said, “When you get to town will you check with Dr. MacArthur and Harold Assman?” So he said he sure would, which he did. But they didn’t get out there until 7:00 o’clock. They’d had another funeral or something…They came when they could anyway. So, so much for that…. Then people wonder why I’m tough as nails. You get that way. And I’ve had to do it, I’ve had to do these things.

You would be pretty strong.

They’re not hard to do anymore. Somebody’s got to..actually, they called me a nurse....they called me Dr. Fanshaw But then I lost a son too, the same way, on my birthday. That was, what, twenty-three years ago, 1974 .....and that little one too ..{granddaughter also killed in the car accident} ...born in ‘37 and he was killed in ’74 by a wonderful drunk driver from Quesnel […]So, as I say, you get tough…. …But we had fun at Isle Pierre too… There was hallo......

Oh, the Halloweens! Now this being Halloween, tomorrow night....I only went out once on Halloween night, and that was when Dave was just a baby. He was in the crib. So this particular night, it’s a beautiful, clear, moonlight night, not a cloud anywhere, oh it’s lovely. And Colin’s at the back of the house in the woodshed, sawing wood. And I get an idea… I put Dave down, I feed him and put him down in his crib ‘cause he goes to bed sucking his toy. So, okay...and the kids, the Adcocks’ kids, had been down to the house and I had some candles so they had their pumpkins with the real live candles in their {lantern?}

 So there was Phyllis and Peggy and Vera and Ted and Hilda, five of them. So they got these candles and they go back up to the station house you see,‘cause that’s where they lived, and this is when I got the idea. Oh, I thought, that moonlight. Gee, I thought, I wonder… Dave’s all right,… Colin’s busy … Yeah, so the only white thing I had was a bedspread that I’d embroidered at one time, but it was white anyway. So I put the thing on over me and I go up to the track. Now the moon is up there behind me, sort of, and the station house is to my left further. The moon is behind me, on my right, and I’m on the track going west. I stand there for awhile and then I see the kids coming out the door. So when they got just across from me on the road, I made some weird sound. Well, you should have seen the lanterns flying! They flew, the kids ran like blazes, and Vera said, “There’s a GD ghost”, she said. So they go bursting into the door and Winnie, their mother, “What’s the matter with you?” ...she said more than that see, “What is the matter with you?” “There’s a,” Vera again, “there’s a ghost down there”. “Where?” says Charlie. “Right there on the track! See!” Charlie says, “Well give me the gun and the flash”, he wanted the gas was moonlight. But anyway, I thought, “Gun? Gun! I better get outta here!” So I got off that track and across the road and into the bushes and home, and I’m sitting there rocking, innocent, and knitting by this time, and the kids come in and I said, “Oh, where’s your lanterns?” Said Vera “Again, the same old kind of ghosts. Same one! Was up there on the track.” I said, “Oh don’t be silly”, I said, “there’s no such thing.” “There is so!” Yeah, there was a ghost all right. Charlie, their dad, had come down and he’s out talking to Colin in the woodshed. I told Colin what I was going to do. He didn’t know anything about it . He did. Who gets the blame? Wilfred! Good God! Poor old Wilfred! Charlie said, “I know who did that, that was Wilfred. That’s just like him to do that.” So that went on for years until we went to visit them one time when they lived in Surrey. (This would be in....twenty-nine years ago...more than what year would that be? Say the late ‘60’s. ) And we went over to see them in Surrey, anyway, and that’s when I finally told Charlie that it wasn’t Wilfred at all, it was me!

This is Wilfred Aizelwood?

Yes. That’s Wilfred. Oh dear, so that was the only time in my life that I was ever out {on Hallowe’en} but it was worth it!

That’s great.

It was, but it’s funny I should be telling you this and tomorrow night’s...


Yeah, that time of the year! Gosh, that was about ‘69, when I told Wilfred that, or Charlie rather, that it wasn’t Wilfred. ‘69 from.....’37. ‘69 from 37...two...thirty-two years ago. Well it’s more than that! …Yeah, that’s right.

So maybe you call tell us a little bit about Wilfred. He was your neighbour at Isle Pierre?

Yeah, what can I say about Wilfred? Yeah, I got a story about Wilfred! Now this is a new one by these kids of ours, and guns. I can tell you a story about kids and guns. Our kids had guns. We didn’t have to lock the ruddy guns up, and I don’t agree with that either. They’re needed, they’re needed. (Those people in the city, they’ve got all kinds of guns and crap now anyway and they better start wrapping up their bread knives and their baseball bats,and I don’t know what they’re going to do about frying pans. Well I think a frying pan by the door would work pretty good. That is, a cast iron one.) Anyway, what were we going to talk about?

About Wilfred.



Yeah, they had a cat. Wilfred and Polly, they had a cat. Well our kids like to do a little trapping, either squirrels or something, or the odd weasel. But this blessed cat used to set the traps off - he got it beat. So they decided something’s gotta be done about this cat. (We didn’t know this for quite a while either.) But, Wilfred’s cat disappeared. Nobody knew anything about it, you know, for a long time after and then they remembered. So Wilfred told this story so many times. He never did know what happened to that cat. You know, it was strange. It was such a pet and all this… Finally one time on Vancouver Street, Ted said, “Well we looked after your cat, Wilfred. He told him right?” Okay.

Then there was another time, we had the school teacher there, at Isle Pierre, ‘course we had lots, but this was Graham Corson. That weekend...’course he used to come to town on Friday night, he had to walk eight miles, of course, to the highway, but he did. And I had to wash his shirt for him, but all I had to iron was the cuffs and the front here {on} white shirts. Okay. But that weekend, that particular weekend, he said, “Now that I’m going to town, Ted....Dave, wants to know if he could borrow my .22” Well I said, “You ask Colin.” “Oh sure”. So they both had a 22 now. That’s fine. So they’re going to go grouse hunting now. Okay. So, at that partic[...]...they’d gone. They’d gone. And from the cabin....the house, rather, at Isle Pierre there, you went made went up another coulee ...and it made a curve at the top end, you know the top of it, but then there’s a big hill between us and the other end of that coulee. And there was a rock on it, of course, and over on the other side was where the grouse were. So, anyway, poor old Graham....and my mother was at the door at the time too...and Graham’s just standing outside the door. He’s talking about something or other and all of a sudden, WHIZZ BANG, and something hit the fence. Well, he jumped in the house. And then there was another one. “Oh my!”, I said. So I hollered to beat heck and so then I ran up to the house where we kept the bran and stuff for the cows. So I got to there and then I hollered again and I didn’t hear anything so I made a dive for the chicken house and then I hollered some more. Here’s two kids coming out..”What are you hollering for?” They could hear me, you see. My voice carried up but theirs didn’t come down. I said, “Well why didn’t you answer me?” “Well, we did, but what were you yelling for?” “Because”, I said, “you nearly shot the teacher!” Well they nearly died. They hadn’t been doing that and what was happening, you see, they were all put out because they were getting some grouse. What had happened, I guess, it didn’t hit the grouse, it hit a rock and it ricocheted right over top and hit the picket fence down below. It went a long way, I’ll tell you. But nobody got killed, not even the grouse! Just rock smashing, that’s all.

Can you tell me a little bit about the school at Isle Pierre?

Oh, okay. So, yes, the school’s gone now of course, but yes, we had different teachers and Ted started school there. (Ted is the one that was killed in the car accident.) We had a Mrs. Harkus there at that time. We had another one too, Mrs. Somers. Ted started with Mrs. Harkus and we were living at the river house again now, then, and...

This would have been in the ‘40’s?

No, this was before that., no, they were...Ted was ready …so he just started school so that would have been......


Something wrong there, isn’t there? My, there isn’t ‘cause we moved into Prince George in ‘51. Yeah, so Ted was born in ‘37 and I say he was six....that would be ‘43. […] After we come back from Prince Rupert.....

Come back from Prince Rupert, okay.


So was it just a one-room school house?

Yeah. Oh yeah, Mrs. Harkus was there. Well, every Monday Ted was sick. He was, I guess. But I didn’t believe it, I made him go to school, regardless. You go. ‘Course kids have funny stories, you know. You never know whether to believe them or not, whether they’re sick or they aren’t, they are in a way. But, anyway, Mrs. Harkus...she was over for supper one night and I told her. She said, “Well you know something, the next time Ted says he doesn’t feel well on Monday morning you leave him alone.” She said, “He IS sick, it’s nerves you see”, and she said “and you’ll see, maybe in a couple of weeks” she said “it’ll all be over with.” “If you’ll shut up” she said, “and quit nagging at him.” She was right. So, you see, there are some things, you don’t have to go running to the doctor just because your kid’s nervous. Okay, so that’s Ted in school, and then there was..... What else happened? I got the job of boarders there too. We had a school teacher there who ...taught Sunday school. I could put this differently. She taught Sunday school when we had...boarders - the tie loaders when they came in the Spring or whenever they used to load the ties and they stayed in the section house but I fed them up at our house. So, consequently, …Bill Laveck was the tie inspector, he’s not here any more but he....we can mention his name if you like as building inspector, or tie inspector....


Yeah. I don’t know how to spell it but I guess it’s Laveck (spells the name) , I think. (There’s somebody in town, his daughter I believe is probably still around in town, an older lady by this time.) Anyway, he says, “Well if you’ll take (more boarders?) I says, “Well I can’t take (more boarders?) You can’t get any meat.” “Well”, he said, “you give me the order”, he said, “on Saturday (or whenever) and I’ll get your meat for you and I’ll bring it out Sunday night”, on the speeder when he came out. Oh, okay. So I was stuck with boarders everywhere at Prince Rupert too. Next door had {them too?} They wouldn’t know what I feed them at noontime. Oh dear. I haven’t killed anybody yet! Anyway, so.....what was I saying? Okay. So I had to do everything on Sunday...washing {too}...everything was out of the way, everything, so that I could just do these three meals a day bit. But I was washing clothes and hanging them out on the line, I sure didn’t have a washing machine at that time, not yet. I didn’t have a washing machine ‘till ‘46. (I’ll put this in here.) But anyway, this particular School Teacher was going by when I was hanging out the clothes and she said I shouldn’t be washing on Sunday. I told her that the better the day, the better the deed, and anyway not only that, cleanliness was next to godliness, so I’ve been told. I hope she got the hint because she smelled to high heaven! … Anyway, so this is little incidents that’s happened. Oh, there’s another teacher I had a few words with too. I’m always having words with somebody! …. Anyway, what else happened?

If I can just ask a question, how many people lived in Isle Pierre at that point?

Yeah, not too many. Enough people so that old Boothroyd the old fellow there paving his road to politics at the moment, can be. There was enough....two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve....oh, I don’t know, maybe...{lists the families} Fanshaws, Andersons, Downings, Wilsons, Fanshaws, Wilfreds, Boyds. Those are twos, every one of them, so that’s sixteen? Is that right? Maybe about...I’ll say about twenty families, I don’t....’cause I’d go a bit farther then. But it was just so that this old fellow, Boothroyd he’d been there for a long time and when they had an election he would go off to the store and Wilfred would tell us all about it and he said he’d have to get after somebody ‘cause they didn’t vote Liberal. I mean, he knew. He had it all memorized. …I wasn’t interested in politics at that time. I had too many other things to do. And I’ll tell you …when Ted was born, we were at the top of the coulee when he arrived, at home. But when he didn’t learn...he didn’t want to be bothered walking, he slid around on his backside with one leg bent under his other one, on spruce flooring. He got quite a few slivers. Actually I used to turn him over my knee at night and pull the slivers out from where he should have.....not big ones....I did too. But, oh yeah....

That’s incredible.

Yeah. No linoleum. No, well I fixed up curtains. I don’t know what I got them out of but my aunt from Calgary sent a parcel one time. There was one monsterous big lace curtain and I cut it in four which meant I could have lace curtains at the two windows in the living room. And then I bought two and a half yards of critonne, it was called. It was shiney material, nice, beautiful blue flowers on or whatever, and I cut that down the middle, I had to have four, two, three...I think it was fifteen cents a yard. I managed to get that, and that meant I had side curtains. Really looked nice, you know.


Oh, then we had a new...oh, the first chesterfield. Now that’s something else again. (I should have had all this down, wood stove and etc., shouldn’t I? I didn’t think of it.) The first chesterfield was a...Colin got a beautiful black shag...shot it of course and we ate the meat...beautiful shiney, black moose. Beautiful hide. So he dried it and salted it and whatever you do to a moose hide. The next year he made a frame from trees out of the bush, you know, and he puts this on the frame, and we have a chesterfield!


Lovely is right, and it’s covered. I had something I could throw over the hair of course, but then I need some pillows, some cushions now. Well I had ‘em. Everything that had feathers got plucked. If it was only a chickadee, I wanted the feathers! And the cushion covers were made out of scrap, you know patch crazy-quilt pattern.


If you will. So there we were with the moosehide couch and this deerhide mat beside the bed in which the hair all fell off. It had been hit and killed at the wrong time of the year. So you sweep the floor. Oh, the mattress, by the way. Oh there, that first bed. We bought it from an old bachelor up there. It was an iron bedstead, you know the old white style, you’ve seen them I guess, I hope?


And, we bought that for three dollars. We sold it for eleven. (Making money now.) Anyway, but there’s no mattress. So, you take the gunney sacks and you open them up and you sew them together ‘till you have the mattress size, and then you stuff it with timothy.

Timothy, what’s that?

Oh, hay anyway, but ours turned out to be timothy and all that stuff. Kind of prickley.

When you were a seamstress, what..did you take orders in for people as well?

Well, they asked me. I did it here too.

In Prince George as well?

Just at home, yes. I made Rose Jenning her wedding dress for ... what the heck was that girl’s name? That was when peau do soie was all the go.


The peau de soie was all the go. That material, you know. It’s shiney and....but it’s not satin, but it’s beautiful stuff. And that was all the go and she had to have a peau de soie dress with a lace jacket over it, full length. And then Barb Neuman, she ...had a white Lodge gown. Dora Allen, she had a peau de soie dress for what’s-her-name. You know Dora Allen…they had a bakery, Allens. They had the bakery where Kelly’s is now.


Well Dora was a very good friend of mine, I’ll tell you. And I didn’t tell you she was going to go awhile back, but you can’t stop that anyway. The funny thing about Dora, we found out she was born about seventy-five miles northwest of me in Alberta - we discovered that. Anyway, so I made her the dress and I’ll never forget this afternoon ‘cause they had to try it on, you had to fit her and you had to try it on because patterns don’t fit everybody. (Don’t fit anybody actually, very seldom anyway.) So I, when I got so much together said, “Well you better come by and try this on.” Well this day she come there’s a bit of a flared skirt here too. Well, ....they have a habit of not want to stay, you want to get them nice and level, even, but it doesn’t’s not easy. So I said, “Come on Dora”, she had the giggles, I know why too. So I say, “You’ll have to stand up here.” She stands up there and she starts to laugh. Well the bottom of the skirt was going like this. I said, “Dora, you’ve got to quit” but […] I said, “If you don’t stop this here shaking, you’re going to be just wearing a collar.” Well she tried. We did get it sort of straight but it was getting shorter all the time. Well she had to have a lace jacket, full length, over that too. Who else did? Mabel Marcette, they used to the Commodore on First Avenue. Did you know them?

No, no.

Well, they’re gone too, I gather. Well I know they are. But anyway, Mabel phones me up one day. She said, “I want you to make me a Lodge gown.” No pattern. “I want you to make me a Lodge gown and I want the neck on the front of the dress just like that one you made for your mother.” Oh. I’d put pleats in here, I did it on my own. But anyway, she brings up this beautiful white brocade, yards of it, and I’m supposed to make the dress for her without a pattern? I got it with another dress or something. So I get it on the living room floor, ‘cause that’s the only place to cut it, you don’t do that on the table, you can’t. There, I’ve got it laying there and I’m looking at it and I get up and I say, “Mabel, I can’t do this. If I cut this and I ruin it I’ll…” She said, “Get in there and get that dress made” she said, “if you ruin it, we’ll get some more brocade.” Of course, that’s all right, you can afford it, I couldn’t. So if she’s going to buy it, ....So I made her a dress, that dress, and then I had to make her another one another time a few years later.

She must have liked it.

I liked her and I liked sewing, even at the time I was a kid I used to sew. Like the one time on the prairie, I guess I had no money down there. When it come to clothes, I had about $1.98 for material to make a dress for a Christmas concert and I had the same dress the next year, and I just altered the neckline a bit. That’s how I learned. It was a good way to make a bit of extra money. Well, you know, you’d get fifty cents for altering something. I did here, but.....I don’t charge enough...another friend of mine at Kelowna, she’s still around...I had to make her an evening gown and she couldn’t get one anywhere else because she was as swaybacked as they come, you know, so there was always this ruddy pucker across the back, like that, her pucker. She...had to make her that one because she said “You’re the only one that makes anything to fit.” And she said, “You’d better charge a bit more than you do.” Don’t charge very much anyway. But I liked sewing. But right now, what bothers me […] {eyesight poor} I can hardly see you at all. And I should put these {glasses} on again, just for awhile […]. Can’t read. I can’t read now. Everything that comes here, somebody’s got to read it for me. …And that’s why I got the piano. [Proceeds to explain that she has decided to look into renting a piano to play music as her eyesight is too poor for reading or watching TV]. Well, I think what I’m going to do, I’m going to see if I can rent a piano. […]

Did you teach yourself how to play?

No, no. I took lessons once upon a time, but...

When was that?

On the prairie.

On the prairie.

Fifty cents a lesson for an hour’s teaching.

Oh, my.

You don’t get that now.


And you don’t learn anything in the first hour.


Absolutely nothing! You know where Middle C is and an octave, and that’s about it.

Right. So this would have been a teacher in her home?


This would have been a teacher in her home?

Yeah, I used to go.....Yeah, she used to teach on the prairie. Yeah. But I can also play by ear, so I didn’t take very many lessons. For the simple reason...they seemed to think, down there then, that you must know all the scales in music before you can do anything. Well that was a killer! ‘Cause I wasn’t interested in scales, not even on a fish! I never saw one of them down there anyway. I didn’t. Not ‘till I come up here. But Sandra, she took lessons …and he didn’t drive play scales. He wrote out the music for her. Right. He sat on the chesterfield and wrote it out while she played her tunes over. Tunes, little tunes. Like ‘Twelfth Street Rag’ she got up to, then she lost interest too.


Of course there’s a reason for that. Somebody says “you can’t play now, I want to sleep”, and then if you you wait and you can’t do it then either. If you don’t play...if you don’t practice you’ll never learn.

Tell me a little bit about when you moved to Prince George. You said you came here in 1951?

Yeah, 21st of July, 1951. Paid for it the following 21st of July. Poor old Fred Shearer {notary public} we got it through him. His face dropped a foot. There was only $18.00 coming off the principal and when we said we had the rest to pay it off, his face just fell. He’s dead too, so that don’t matter. Yeah, when we bought that house there was nothing but a crawl space underneath. So we had a truck, a ‘49 truck at the time, so Colin built a little dump from the wall and got away into it and then they built a...conveyor, and they dumped the soil in on the rocks mostly from under the house into that and they’d go up into the truck - and if you think that’s when Ted and Dave learned to drive the truck ‘cause everybody around about there wanted fill. ‘Course they were only kids then. Nobody said you can’ have to have a licence at that time, so they learned to drive then. But anyway, finally, that’s the house on the corner of 9th and Vancouver.

On 3rd and....

Ninth and Vancouver. It’s got a full-sized basement and there was nothing there but a crawl space.

Okay. What was the house number?


875. Okay. So when you moved to Prince George, where did your husband work?

He transferred...he worked in the Yard, CN Yards at that time, but he quit that and went to work at the Prince George Planers. From there, went with Jerry Leslie (Gerry Lesley?)... when they built the new jail....


Jerry Leslie was the steam engineer. He was the first Chief up there at that time, when they opened it, and that’s when Colin went up there, three days later, and he was the second in command, you might say. When Jerry wasn’t there, he was Chief. That’s why {I used to say Colin} he was in jail for thirteen years! {laughs}.


But in between there, we did go to Dawson Creek for two years.

Oh you did?

Yeah, he had to take vocational school there. From there, then we had to come back again and he had to work in the office on First Avenue for awhile because Ernie Abbott was a very sick man. Cancer, for God’s sake. And then Colin finally ended up at the jail again and hated every day of it.

Do you have any memories of Prince George at that time?

Where we lived down there? Well I left there in ‘91. Yes, as I said, the kids learned to drive and they used to do donuts with the truck at the intersection there at 9th and Vancouver.


And then Ted used to drive too for Royal Produce.....with Peterson (sp?)....on Third Avenue with Swede Peterson - I see him and Amelia once in awhile. The one time they had delivered the groceries and I guess Swede and Ted were having a bit of a race or something or other and the cops caught them. But Swede, he ducked in...what did he do...he ducked into somebody’s yard or some bloody thing, but Ted got nailed.

Oh dear!

Was this part of the post war housing, that area?

Let me think. No, the house we had on Vancouver, that was a wartime house. Well yeah, and the hospital.... When we came here....The hospital, yeah. There was a real old hospital where the present day, whatever they call it now. They call it a hospital, I think.....I thought that hole they were digging there, I thought that was for a mass grave actually...(you can leave that there too). …Anyway...

So it was an old hospital?

This was the very first hospital and then it was finally turned into...Pine Manor and somebody rented rooms or something because they then took over the army hospital.


And then the next thing was they built this new hospital which they’re now remodelling but can’t fill with nurses or anything...I don’t know, it amazes me. It seems a little backwards to me. […] what was the next thing, that was the hospital. Oh yeah, like I was saying...oh, Dave was born in the hospital here. Ted and Sandra were born out at Isle Pierre. Sandra, well that’s another story, I forgot about that one. So anyway, but it wasn’t bad. It was a good one really.

.....the hospital at Isle Pierre?...

There was no hospital.

There was no hospital?

No, no I had to come here, but I never made it.

Oh, this one here, the regional hospital.

Ted and Sandra were born out at Isle Pierre.


Ted actually in the river house..coulee house, and Sandra right in Isle Pierre. The reason she was born there is because I was going to come into town on the Saturday with the school teacher, but there was a Christmas concert Friday night and I thought it would be nice to go to the Christmas concert. Kids wanted me {to go}...Ted wanted to go but he also didn’t want me to come to town. He was crying because I was coming to town. However I didn’t. I went to the Christmas concert. Told Santa Clause I would like another bag of candy. He wouldn’t believe me, but I caused quite a commotion and I had Sandra by morning. But I got a brand new mattress on, after that, on a crib, a crib that served the crib you might call it. The Andersons used it for three kids and then I borrowed it. Hans said....he asked if I wanted this crib and I told him. He said, “Well if you do you can have a brand new mattress with it.” So 21st of December come, it was out there at the door.


And then they borrowed it back for their last youngster. Oh it got around. It was a steel one too.

There’s a lot of that I guess.

Oh yeah, I guess so. Lucky...well Sandra slept in a banana box for a long time. But anyway, the cheer hospital...they had the other hospital, now they’ve got this one, okay. But this lady wrote in this magazine said there was nothing in Prince George in 1935. Well if she’s still alive, I would hope she’ll realize that I’ve got to beg to differ with her because Dr. MacArthur was here in 1935 and he had his office in the old building that’s up near where the Odeon is. It’s long gone. It was a government building and, anyway, Dr. MacArthur was there and the hospital was there. The old hospital was there but I didn’t get to that for Sandra, of course. And what else was on....oh my George Street. There was the Prince George Hotel, and further down was the Ritz Kiefer Building which burned down in, I think, ‘52, and there was the Candy Allens on Third, and that’s where the Strand used to be...or next door, yeah, next door to it. Candy Allens, which was eventually run by Marian -- and he used to be the train conductor, what was his name? Forget about that because I can’t remember the name. And there was Morrison’s Mens’ Wear and the butcher shop, Billy Munroe, which is.... Mrs. Munroe died here last week, she was a hundred years old.

I saw that.

Is that...the butcher’s...was he the...It can’t be David I was talking about the other day. He thought it was. I says, “I don’t think so”, ‘cause he used to come out and butcher our beef. Anyway, and there was the Northern Hardware....I could go on forever.

There was a lot here at that time, ‘35.

Of course there was. All kinds of things. And the Prince George Hotel, because that was the only place after when you come into town and you wanted to go to the washroom, you had to go up all the stairs.

But the boom town time didn’t really start ‘till the ‘50’s.

I would say so, yeah. I would say so. But everybody....that’s when things started to change, slowly but then....but now they speeded up beyond...well, they’re too fast. I don’t know what to think now. There’s a lot of things I’d like to say but I don’t want to put it on there. But what else was there? Oh, there was Becksons on Third Avenue. Bill Bexons. Colin’s mother used to get groceries there, for goodness sake, in the fall, to last the winter. And this lady [in the newspaper article] says.....she’s all mixed up. I asked Gertie Scofield, that’s Harold Assman’s sister, the lady she lived next door to us on Vancouver Street – {and she said} of course they were there first. And Gertie,she’s a wonderful person, the whole family was. And I said to her, “Oh gosh, why didn’t you write in there {to the newspaper to correct the reporter}?” Well, she says, “I couldn’t.” Well I said...She should have. […]but these newcomers, this is what I’m afraid of when they come out with some of this stuff, you know. You’ve gotta find somebody that’s ancient and can remember, […] There’s no argument there.

Right. That’s why we need to get those memories on tape.

Yeah. I... if there was ever a book that I ...... don’t suppose I’ll be around that long...well can’t read it anyway! but......I wish I could. I was wishing I could have read Pierre Berton’s last book too, but that’s out too.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about or do you think that about wraps it up?

I think that’s about enough, don’t you?

That’s about enough?

Well, I don’t know. Do you?

Okay. That sounds...

.... Well, ....Oh, I could go on forever really. There’s lots of other things, you know, but you don’t think of them all at once. I told you about what - the footwear - and the wearables. Oh I could say a bit more about Christmas time.


Well, as I ...... used to be.....well, there was no phones, no sleighs (?) and all that, but we used to, in Christmas time there was always a dance or Christmas concert at Reid Lake, Sylvan Glade and Ness Lake or somewhere. But this particular time there was also the guys that made ties. They would haul them down to the ferry, you see, all those Times…Oh, God....Anyway, but this particular time, around Christmas time, Gail Estes had gone down with his load of ties. So we’re going to go to the Christmas concert at Reid Lake. And, so we get ready in the afternoon. You know just about what the time that tie guy’s going to be back, so we start walking and eventually you get a ride part way. So this is what we do. So we go to Reid Lake to the Christmas concert first. So that goes on to the wee hours of the morning and then, of course, there’s a Christmas concert at Ness Lake the next night. So we stayed the few hours that was left at old Charley Cook’s. There’s two families of Cooks, no relation. This was at old Charley Cooks and I remember she made hotcakes for breakfast, oh they were delicious. Anyway, so...I mean you get a ride over....I can’t remember the name of the people whose next house we stopped at... We got a ride from Cook’s just around the corner at Reid Lake, more or less, to the bottom of the hill and, - isn’t that funny I can’t remember the name – (I know the lady and her sister’s still alive in Armstrong).

Maybe it’ll come to you later.

I don’t think it will. I’ve been trying to for a long time, I always have forgotten it. But anyway, so they were going to walk from there, off through the bush to Elva and Clyde Scotts’ and go to the Ness Lake Christmas concert from there. Well there’s a storm brewing too and it’s coming over and we’re going through the snow cross country, and the snow’s about yea deep.

Is this by car?

This is through the bush on foot.

On foot.

Oh no, there’s no cars! There’s no cars. You don’t realize it. There aren’t - there just aren’t any cars! Well there’s odd ones. But this is just a trail through the bush.


And, oh got to start up another one? {story} Anyway....and of course I have a long dress on. You never thought of slacks at that time, never entered anybody’s head. So I had this long dress and it’s one of those $2.98 dresses that you buy at Eatons, and that material - once it got wet it just more or less shrunk up to about so big. Well it was wet up about a foot, you see. You held it up, you’re fighting the snow and everything else. So we get to Elva’s and we’re going to have supper there, you see, which we did. But she finds a dress for me to put on and she irons my dress and kind of stretches this foot down a bit longer again. So we go to that concert at Ness Lake and when that’s over, fine. There’s...Ted Radcliff is there with the sleigh and the Campbells have a sleigh and this is Dean…you know…the chiropracter Dean Rigler, the chiropracter?

You mentioned him before.

Yeah. I knew his grandparents and his mother and his dad and his aunts...both sides. Anyway, so Molly, that’s his grandma, she said, “Well look, if you get home she said, “you get there first (this is at Sylvan Glade now) you light the fires and we’ll be along.” So that’s what we do. We get there first so we light the fires and apparently we have a few hours, a couple of hours, sleep I guess. I don’t remember where that’s gone. But they arrive anyway and we sit up a bit and have a cup of tea or something and then we go to bed. Wherever we where, and then, of course, now we’re going to get up. We had breakfast before we start off for home. We now have about six miles to go, walk, we’re heading for home now. It didn’t seem like six miles to me but I guess it is.

To Isle Pierre?

No, this is just to the top of the coulee.

Oh, okay.

We’re living at the coulee house. But, we also have to go down to his mother’s to get two kids, so we have to go right by our place to go all the way down to the coulee, another mile to get the …kids and go all the way home again. We’re kind of tired I guess. But that was a Christmas concert at that time. There was another Christmas concert.... Oh yeah. We went to a basket social one time at Sylvan Glade. This is to raise funds, I think, for Christmas for the kids or something. I’m not sure about that. But anyway, a shadow social is what they had, not a basket social. A shadow social.

What’s that?

..they hang up a sheet and the, the light, would be on behind the person and they go....I guess how that’s how it goes, I’ve forgot. But you go up and you sit on your shadow. Nobody knows who it is because you can’t tell from your shadow who it is anyway. But anyway, we go there to this and I had a soft... And people have to guess who the shadow is.

Yeah. Is that what it is? Then you bet on it or something?

Yeah. They bet....kind of bet on it, or something like that. To raise the money. I’ve forgotten how that goes. …But anyway, I had a very soft purse and in that purse was a flashlight and various other stuff. But anyway, so I’m up shadow’s going to be auctioned off and....but they guessed who it was like I, they didn’t have to guess who it was, they had to give out who they thought it was as bet....that would raise some on it.


But there was one guy, he’d had quite a bit of home brew and he was kind of getting pesky, you know, and he kept coming up behind and I didn’t like that for some reason. I don’t know why. And for some ungodly reason I show him my purse, like this. Never thought about the flashlight! He still had blood left in his veins. I hit him on the forehead. He sobered up in a hurry. He had some choice names for me I’ll tell you...murderous woman and all that stuff. But I apologized. I did. I forgot all about it...but I was just throwing it like this, you see, to get him out of there. So much for that. But anyway, we had a good time that night.... Oh, then another time, this wasn’t that night, this is another time we’d gone to Sylvan Glade, and we had my dad’s team this time. As yet we hadn’t taken them across...brought them to the river for the new winter ‘cause we couldn’t. But we were getting up to something up there anyway there was Charlie Adcock and Mrs., but the men....Hans Anderson and Charlie walked, and Colin - we had the wagon, it was near the sleigh - and Colin, like I said, and going to - this was coming home, in the wagon our team - but Dave was a baby then. I was holding him, you know. There was Olive Anderson and Ethel and Doris and George (and that’s her family), and then there was Winnie and Phyllis and Peggy and Vera and I think she had Calvin then too, there was three kids in a row there, three of us in a row. There was Winnie and Larry Windsor, which is Murry Krause’s uncle. Now you know Murry Krause.

Yes, I do.

Well I know his...oh that’s another story. I’ll go on to that in a minute. So anyway, there’s hay in the wagon box, of course. So we’re coming home but there’s a can’t go that way any more...lakes have run the road out. But there was a hill come down like that. There was a big spruce tree hung over. Well it had snowed and thawed and of course that hill was glare ice. So coming back up the hill there was only one thing to do and that was to unhook the horses from where they were hitched and hook them onto the end of the tongue, giving the horses some gravel they could walk on.


So it’s going up the hill very nice then the bloody wagon slipped and tipped over! Well I’ve got David as a baby! - you know - and I’m gone - pitched out, and they were too! But Colin’s holding the wagon up so the box doesn’t fall over on everybody. But I guess I was out cold for a minute. I hit my head on something...I don’t know...but I heard him say, “Where’s the... (never did swear but he did then, had to get results) flashlight?!!” so he could see what was going on. Well then I came to but I don’t know where David is!

Oh dear.

But he’s in the bush. So anyway, we get back into all this and we get home after we get up this hill. But these are the things can happen.


And they’re really quite interesting. Now if this had been a car in the ditch, it would have rolled over two or three times.

That’s right.

But Colin’s holding this ruddy thing {wagon} up! [..] But anyway, we got home. But the funny part is, you see, the men had started off and gone ahead walking, so Colin had no help at all. But we got things back together and we got home and nobody got hurt… And I can’t talk to these people any more and say, “Oh you remember, so and so.” They’re all gone... Gone... But I was thinking about Murry Krause the other day.

So you were saying you know Murry Krause’s mother.

Sure, I know his mother. And I said I know his uncle, Larry. In fact I said Larry and there’s just a little bit of a difference...there’s Dave, my Dave, and Larry Windsor and his mother and his grandmother was expecting Harry when I was expecting Dave and Winnie Adcock was expecting Calvin. There were three months - three different months. Well I thought good gosh. I know Murry’s mother, I know his grandmother, Minnie Windsor. Good Lord I thought, I know his great-grandmother too. They came from the prairie where I came from.


And...those women, those Clifford women, his great-grandma, they were excellent cooks. …So there was what they had down there was baskets socials. And they were raffled off to raise a few dollars and everybody used to want to buy the Clifford girls, there was Myrtle Clayland, Lizzie Estice, and Minnie her mother, Mrs. Billie - we always called her Mrs. Billie, and Mrs. Bob. That was another relative, the brother to Bill (…?) at Saxon Lake. I thought, “Holy cow. My dad and all these other guys used to forget their wives’ baskets and bid on the....well they bid one another up actually, you know. Say whoever ..make somebody fork out some money which they didn’t, but I thought, “My, what a small world.”

Small world. So they raised the money for.......

I guess it was just for kids at Christmas, or it was for some minor thing ‘cause there never was very much money raised anyway.


…we were at Chief Lake too for a winter. That was in ‘44, the winter of ‘44, and Colin was working at Hoff’s mill. What happened there? That was Christmastime too. I decided to have pneumonia the week before Christmas. On the Sunday, and I never had such a headache in my life. Finally on Wednesday they took me to the real old hospital, their first one. It was still there in ‘44. And Dr. MacArthur.... well the nurse took care of me first. And I was so cold, it was one big ward as I remember, and she took the blankets, the square blanket off every bed to put on me and I was still cold. And I had a headache like I’ve never had anything like it, and Lord knows I’ve had some. Anyway, then she get’s the thermometer. She decided that he was no good, she gets another one. It’s no good either but it’s not her, it’s me. I don’t have a temperature! So she’s happy with that. But anyway, so MacArthur comes in and I.....that was Wednesday. Wednesday, Thursday....time I got there Wednesday around noonish I think, and Thursday and Friday and I think a couple of Saturday morning, I had sixteen Sulfa tablets. But then Saturday was Christmas eve - I can see MacArthur yet. He said, “Well, when you go home you better eat lots of oranges. When you walk out of here” he says, “you’re going to think you’re on a big drunk.” I’ve never been on a drunk, didn’t know what it was. He and somebody else were talking in the hallway and I walked up and I was just a weaving from the sulfa.


But I went home that night and I stuffed a turkey that night for morning, a good sized one ( I don’t do them now). But, now this is funny - Colin.....or Keith H. they’re still around, too. (I think they live over there on First Avenue. I was always going to phone them......) Anyway, he come in and he’d been into the hootch too. But they decided that they’re going to go across the lake that night and go over to Claytons, which they did much to my dismay.....I’ll tell you I didn’t like it. And I’m just out of the hospital. Anyway, so they go over there, and finally old Charlie Morrow, he comes stomping home early to see how I’m doing and he said.....”But they’re okay” he tells me. So, well Colin will be home pretty soon. So, finally they come home and the reason he’s been so long getting home was they....Bruce H. who’s long gone....he bumped his head on something and split it open a little bit. So the doctor came up. And then he put him on the toboggan to drag him across the lake. But when they got to old Fergie’s Store, to go up the little hill here, that’s when they realized that there was nothing on the toboggan! They’d lost Bruce H. in the middle of the lake somewhere. What a Christmas! Anyway, it was a nice one afterwards. That was kind of funny I thought.

They found him?


They found him?

Yeah, can you picture that? So, yeah, when he just realized that we didn’t have Bruce anymore, and here they’re both pulling on that toboggan and there’s nothing on it. Oh well, I guess it’s funny. It wasn’t funny at the time, it’s funny now. …

Lots of memories. Okay, that’s fine. That’s great.

Those were the highlights, like my dad was a highlight to me. Kids and mumps. A whole summer of that was another highlight. Here they’d run to the see I never go to the doctor....

 (and here the tape ends abruptly)