Tape One – Side A

This is Elaine Hauck of the Oral History Group of Prince George. The interviews are with Gus Lund, a pioneer, who arrived in Prince George in 1916 (1919). The interviews were taped between May 26, 1998 and September 22, 1998. We’ll start with your biological history, Gus –your family, where and when you were born...

Gus: I was born in Millbury, Massachusetts with a twin brother and born into a family of four sisters. My oldest sister was born in 1894 and my youngest sister was born in 1900. I don’t know much about Millbury, but Dad had a little farm there and Mother did some - did sewing to provide for the family. Anyway Dad decided he would move to Lake Washington, Crabapple Lake rather, in Washington. There he bought a farm in 19—Oh! It would be in the spring of 1907, and this farm was a lot of big fir stumps and cedar, and he farmed in amongst the stumps

Anyway my mother and my youngest sister were across the lake fishing, and Dad was up in the field working. My twin brother and I we were playing around the lakeshore and it had rained. I got up on the wharf and it was sloping into the lake and I slipped off and went into the lake. Well, my brother couldn’t do anything for me there so he had to run way up in the field to get Dad to come down. While in the lake I was crawling on the bottom of gravel (gravel bottom of the lake)…, out of course not towards shore, and all at once I began to lift up and I got on top of white clouds. You might have been in a plane sometime with white clouds floating. I was just floating away and wonderful music came to my ears as I was floating up higher and higher and then all at once it was cut right off black! From then on I didn’t know nothing until they got me around some, I guess, and I heard someone say to Dad to get some honey and that’s all I heard then for a long, long time. I don’t know how long I was under. This honey was to cut the phlegm in your throat because you can’t breath hardly. How long it took me to recover I don’t know.

Elaine: How old were you, Gus?

Gus: I would be about a year and a half old about that time (two and a half years old). Something like that. Anyway, the place, Dad found out that it was a second mortgage against it, so he decided he wasn’t going to pay the second mortgage too, so he decided to move to Edmonton or seventy miles north of Edmonton, where he had picked up a homestead there.

Elaine: Does he pay for this one? The homestead...

Gus: Dad left Crabapple Lake first and went back and built the house on this homestead that he had found seventy miles north of Edmonton. And he built a house there and then he sent word to mother to sell everything down at Crabapple Lake and for us all to come along. How they made connections I don’t know, but anyway Dad met her with a team of horses in Edmonton. I can remember the long seventy-mile ride out to this homestead. (Chuckle)

Elaine: Hmm…What would you have.. Like.a… What kind of a vehicle?

Gus: Wagon.

Elaine: Just a wagon, and….

Gus: He had bought a lot of provisions and everything too, you know so; and anyway I can remember we got to a slough and the road, the slough was probably a half mile wide, and dad drives right into the slough. We thought my God, we thought it was a lake actually and he drives right into the slough and it was only about two feet deep. As we got up on the other side there was a little backwash there and here was an elk standing. I can still remember that.

Elaine: Oh that’s nice. That’s good.

Gus: Anyway we got to the place and we got kind of settled. The house had to be winterized for the winter and everything and a well dug, and a barn put up for the cows, there was only about two or three cows, I think he had then, and a team of horses, chickens. Then year after year he cleared land there until he had quite a lot of land cleared and everything.

Elaine: He had animals.

Gus: The clearing of land it was mostly all swampy and what not; and I remember Dad, there was a kind of small ditch going through one meadow. He had to ditch it and then he made a kind of a wooden culvert to put through the middle of this field for probably two three hundred yards, and then he covered it over dirt so he could field right over it.

Elaine: Oh, so that was very inventive.

Gus: That was done with wood. I can remember him cutting rails and then laying hay on top and then the dirt on top of that. I was wondering if it was still in the ground now.

Elaine: Now isn’t that interesting - like he layered the wood and the straw?

Gus: No he made ...

Elaine: A culvert?

Gus: Well I don’t know what you’d call them anyway, so it was posts...

Elaine: Oh right

Gus: …and then the bar across and then the rails on top of that so it would leave a culvert probably about a foot in diameter or not in diameter it would be square. The water all run through there.

Elaine: Wasn’t that inventive. That was good.

Gus: Anyway, Dad raised wheat and oats and hay. Threshing time would come around and we had no binder and the wheat would have to be cut down with a scythe and a cradle. You make two swipes and you tip it, and so on. Then you come behind and take some of the grain and straw and tie it and make a sheaf.

Elaine: Oh okay

Gus: Then it would have to be stooked and dried and then you’d pick it up and you’d have to make round stacks.

Elaine: Oh Okay first you stooked it and then you stacked it.

Gus: Stacked it because when the threshing machine would come why he’d drive in between two stacks and it would be one fellow on each stack feeding the separator.

Elaine: Oh, okay they’d pick these grain stooks or whatever and put them into the....

Gus: Each sheaf would be thrown in.(the separator)

Elaine: Oh I see well that’s interesting. Yeah.

Gus: Anyway, and then after the threshing would be done Dad would have a pile of wood and they had a buzz saw - you know a circular saw - and it would cut your winters wood then. How much it cost I don’t know, but anyway it was pretty nice otherwise us kids would have to be out there.

Elaine: Helping, yeah.

Gus: I can remember my older sister coming out to the farm and she was bound to ride a horse. Dad told her not to ride the horse because it was never rode.(sic) Anyway she was bound she was going to ride it, no saddle, bare back, she got on it and she couldn’t control it, it got out on the potato field and all we saw was my sister going up in the air and coming straight down. We thought she would be killed but ....

Elaine: Yeah.

Gus: she lived through it. Anyway I think it lived with her all her life.

Elaine: ..because she ...

Gus: ..because she wasn’t well from that time on so.

Elaine: Which sister was that Gus?

Gus: Davida, she married Frank Moffatt he was a returned soldier from the Boer War.

Elaine: Hmm

Gus: This potato patch that Mother and Dad had was quite a big patch. Us kids as small as we were e had to pick weeds and whatnot. We worked pretty hard, anyway there was no school there so I didn’t get to school until there was one built there which I was ten years old then. I didn’t get much schooling there either, because we had to walk through bush, swamps and across logs, waterholes and everything.

While there, why we couldn’t buy any fruit because we never got it. There was plenty of strawberries and saskatoons and cranberries that’s about the only fruit that was in that part of the woods. There was lots of picking I used to get very tired picking berries day after day. (Chuckle)

Elaine: What did your mom do? Did she can?

Gus: Canned them, yes.

Elaine: Make jam?

Gus: No, she didn’t make jam no, sugar was hard to get.

Elaine: That’s true.

Gus: Anyway it was preserved.

Elaine: Did you have a root cellar?

Gus: Dad built a root cellar, yes and all the vegetables went down in there for the winter. I can remember one summer, why there was a twister in the sky and Dad got us all into the root cellar because he thought it was going to hit our place, but it went over and hit way north of us. I know we were all scared anyway.

Elaine: I bet the sky gets so dark.

Gus: Going to school there why, there was muskrat houses in the sloughs so Dad gave us a couple of traps to trap muskrats back and forth from school. I can remember this morning I went to my trap on the way and it was set into a muskrat house and of course I couldn’t see the trap so I put my hand in there to and here was a muskrat in the trap and he got my finger. The teeth are just as sharp as a razor and it was this finger, here (indicated which finger he cut) so I never did that again.

Elaine: Right, now did you sell the muskrats?

Gus: Yeah, I think they were about sixty cents a pelt or something like that.

Elaine: Oh, right.

Gus: There was also weasels and there were coyotes, but of course I didn’t go after coyotes - weasels and muskrats.

Elaine: What would you get for a coyote, was that considered a pest?

Gus: Oh, I don’t know, Dad never got one either, so I don’t know what the price would be. They probably wouldn’t be worth very much then. The prices came in higher after the war I think it was.

Elaine: Right, Right -- What about anything else...did you trap anything else except those three things?

Gus: Nothing else no just weasels and muskrats. I know when the sloughs froze over first before any snow came if you were walking on the ice you could see muskrat furrows in the mud up to their nests. We got wise and if we had an axe with us we would hit right over the muskrat as he was swimming there and we would get him that way, if the ice wasn’t to thick you know. You would just hit right over his head there and he would just turn belly up.

Elaine: And you would have him, oh that’s interesting. Did you only trap in the winter then?

Gus: Just in wintertime, yes the fur was good in the wintertime. Otherwise the skin would turn black in the summertime. It would be a summer coat on it you see.

Elaine: Did you do the tanning as well?

Gus: No, no. Oh another thing it was hard to get shoes and there was a Finlander next to us there and he was a shoemaker. They would tan hides, I don’t know if they were horsehides or cow hides I couldn’t say now. But he would make moccasins for us and they were dandy, well-oiled up and everything. All us kids got new moccasins. (Chuckle)

Elaine: Oh isn’t that neat.

Gus: And even Dad got moccasins too.

Elaine: Right, did you trade something for them or….?

Gus: Oh, I don’t know what….

Elaine: You know like they made some deal probably like barter?

Gus: Maybe wheat or something like that because they didn’t farm very much.

Elaine: So that was a barter type issue probably.

Gus: Everything was traded more or less. Anyway my sister she got friendly with the storekeeper at Thorhild (Alberta) and (they) went together. I can remember going over there once with her and he had just got a box of apples in and he handed each of us a green apple and we thought it was just something. (Chuckle)

Elaine: Oh that would be special, as you didn’t have fruit.

Gus: Anyway she married him and she worked in the store there and they raised four children. I can remember once getting there and that’s were the railroad was too, and us kids got playing around a box car there and we turned a wheel and the box car began to move. (Chuckling) It was the brake. (Laughing).

Elaine: Oh no

Gus: We had an awful job to get the brake back on again. (Laughing)

Elaine: Your lucky nobody got hurt.

Gus: Anyway, one-day Mother and Dad had gone to Edmonton and I was left home with my sisters and my two brothers, my one brother rather. A man, a bachelor coming up the road and my sisters wouldn’t have anything to do with him. So they locked themselves in the house and us two boys stayed outside with the dog. Anyway he went to the doors and of course they were locked then he goes around to one of the bedroom windows and he was going to pry it open. So we went around with him, I mean to see what he was going to do. Well anyway he was trying there so I said, we said to the dogs sic em, get em and the dog got after him. This Nelslander, (sic) took down the road as fast as he could go with the dog right after him hanging onto the back of his pants. He jumped over the fence and then the dog let go. That was quite an experience. We thanked the dog that we had him that time.

Elaine: And what about Christmas now?

Gus: Christmas! Why dad and mother would go to Edmonton and buy a box of apples, a box of Jap oranges (Slang for the Japanese oranges that could only be obtained at Christmas time) and peanuts. I think we didn’t get no other nuts except peanuts and some very cheap candy probably. There were no gifts at that particular time. Anyway we all enjoyed Christmas because mother would have a rooster in the oven roasting and she made pumpkin, no it wasn’t pumpkin pie either what was it? Apple pie that was it. Oh yes the apples they weren’t big apples but anyway to make them last we got a half an apple a day, around Christmas time. To make it go around. (Chuckles)

Elaine: That was special though, apples were special, and you had oranges too, you said.

Gus: Yeh, Jap oranges of course, there was only about forty-five - fifty oranges in a box so they didn’t last very long.

Elaine: They didn’t last very long but they were a treat - a special treat for you.

Gus: They were. Anyway another Christmas why they went to town to Edmonton again and we did get a gift that time it was an air rifle, each of us boys got an air rifle. I don’t know what my sisters got. But anyway we thought a lot of that air rifle and it had - why it was a plug you put in – a stick like a pencil in the front of the gun and you press and there’d be air – air would shoot it out. I remember once, why I don’t know where mother and dad was but anyway here comes one of the pet roosters up and I took aim at it and it stuck into the feathers of the rooster. Oh, I was scared. How was I going to catch the rooster to get that pulled out. But it was just in the feathers so it finally dropped out.

(Lots of laughter)

Elaine: You were lucky.

Gus: But anyway we thought a lot of those air rifles. But otherwise other gifts were almost nil.

Elaine: Hmm right.

Gus: My mother worked very hard, she milked the cows. The milk had to be put in trays for the cream to rise to the top. It would probably be overnight, and then she would skim the cream off the milk and make butter. All the bachelor neighbors around there came and bought her butter. I think she was selling it at 15 to 20 cents a pound.

Elaine: Did your mom sew too?

Gus: Mother sewed, yes, sewed all our clothes just bought.. What do you call it?

Elaine: Material.

Gus: Material and …
Elaine: Remade clothes probably.

Gus: .. and remade clothes but there wasn’t much remade because nothing was handed down in those days.

Elaine: Everything wore out.

Gus: Everything wore out. I can remember my overall was patch on top of patch.

Elaine: As long as they were serviceable.

Gus: That’s all we ever got were overalls.

Elaine: Ohh!and what about knitting did she knit?

Gus: No, she didn’t knit, no.

Elaine: No, she didn’t knit, hmm.

Gus: Why I don’t think she had time to knit any way. Any way my twin brother then in Radway, why he got rheumatism and he was in bed day after day. And I can remember him crying. Well anyway Dad was getting uneasy again and thought he had done enough work on this place there and finally put it up for sale. It was sold in no time at all. There was a lot of Finlanders buying up property around there then. Dad went off to look for a place to go and he ended up in Leduc where he rented a farm so that’s the place we were going to head for then. So the cattle were all sold and we all moved to Leduc, Alberta. Where it was a ready made farm, a lovely farm. Two story frame house, barns, horse barns and there you began to work with more modern machinery to. You got a binder, you had drills to put your seed in and I can remember after the seed was planted why dad would have me harrow over the ground to smooth it out and everything. We had a very good farm there. We milked cows there was a cream cheque every month coming … every week coming in.

Elaine: Now two sisters, at this time, were already married and there was…

Gus: Yeah, two of my sisters were already married, and the fourth one, the younger one, she got taken to a bachelor there and she finally married him. He was quite a bit older than her too, but what can you do. I can remember him coming down to ask for my sister’s hand and dad thought about it for awhile and ok he says so they got married. They lived in a very shabby house and everything for..and raised a family of seven. With hardly nothing. He wasn’t a farmer either so anyhow that sister is still living she is ninety-eight now.

Elaine: She lived in Alberta.

Gus: No she is living in Vancouver, she’s in a hospital down there.

Elaine: This is where we will close off for May 26th, I will come back next week and we will start our interview again on the 2nd of June.

June 2, 1998

Tape One – Side B

Elaine: Continue our interview with Gus Lund.

Gus: Backtracking to Radway again, I missed some dates there. My brother Herb was born in 1909, and we stayed in Radway center until 1916. And then my father moved to Leduc. I will continue on with Leduc now. Leduc was a very good place, a good farm and we made good money there. The school was very good, that’s were I got most of my schooling for three years. I can remember at one occasion, why dad had got a cutter and a horse to take to school. Of course the barn was very thin there and it was very cold and after school us three kids went out to hook up the horse to the cutter and we all got in. We had to make a very sharp turn, well the cutter turned up, dumped us on the road and the horse kept on going home. Well it was cold walking then but anyway we kept on going and finally we see dad coming back with the cutter. (Laughter)

Elaine: Maybe you could explain what a cutter is.

Gus: Well, a cutter is a very, light sled with a box on it and a seat

Elaine: Not covered?

Gus: Not covered no, just open. So when the cutter turned up, why it just tipped us out, back onto the road again the horse kept on going.

Elaine: Just dumped you out.

Gus: Dumped us out, but anyhow I learned a lesson there to hold the horse when you go around the corner. (Laughter) Anyway we had a very good place there we milked cows, fed pigs, chickens and there was a cream cheque coming in every week.

But after three years, why, dad got itchy feet to look for other places, so he himself went to Prince George to look for a place. Then he came back and said that’s where we’re moving, so we called sale and sold the place and everything and we moved that was in ..This was the year of 1919 and we all moved to Prince George and they met us at the station with a wagon. The ground was frozen already and it (the wagon) rattled up to the Alexander Hotel. Well we got one of the very top rooms and when Mother walked in, why she opened the dresser drawer there and she said, "Bed bugs".

Well we stayed there for the night anyway and the next day Dad had found a house up in Moffat Street for rent. So he rented that and we all moved up there. This was in December. The snow was getting deep and whatnot. I went to school up there for about a month and then Dad bought the house and had it moved down to Prince George, onto Ross Crescent. It was moved down with twelve horses on stiff log skids. Of course I had to leave the school up there and it was a little cottage school on I think it was Fourth Avenue and Vancouver Street, but I may be wrong. It was just a little cottage school where I went to school then. Dad bought a team of horses and he got working for the city for awhile.

In 1920 when school was let out for holidays for two months, why, Dad had picked up a homestead down at Woodpecker, where the PGE was to come through. So we went down with the BC Express.That was a riverboat. With cat, groceries for two months we stayed down there for the two months while we decided then that it would never be a farm down there. Dad gave the place up and we came back to Prince George.

By the way, we came back with the Rounder up the Fraser River, it was a little gas boat, held about fifteen – sixteen passengers. Coming up to the canyon it was just about dinnertime and the fellow who run the boat he made the dinner as well. He served beans and bread that was your dinner. I remember it was fifty cents a plate. Anyway we arrived home back to our house in Prince George.

At that time, why, Pineview was coming open, so Dad bought a quarter of a section out there. In the wintertime, why, he decided to cut a road out from the top of Six-Mile Hill through to Tabor Creek, which was about seven and a half - eight miles, I would judge, cross-country so we could get into the place. The only way we could get in was dragging a kind of go-devil.

Elaine What’s that?

Gus: Well that’s a home made sled, quite high. It would go over the stumps and everything you know.

Elaine: Well, what was it on? Rollers or..

Gus: No, no just a sled.

Elaine: It was like a sled thing…

Gus: It was like a sled, it was all wood.

Elaine: Ok, Oh.

Gus: In the spring why, when the snow went down well the stumps were probably eight, nine ten inches high. That was the only way we could get into it. This thing you could go across little sloughs or creeks and everything.

Elaine: It would go right over those stumps. Oh that’s interesting.

Gus: But I still kept on going to school that next summer. I went to this school was up in the Millar Addition. I went there about six months, I would judge, and then I was moved out to Byron Byng School. I got a little bit of schooling there, but Dad needed me to help him on getting out to this homestead. Just start to get lumber in to build a little cottage and what not, clearing a little bit of land. It was hard work in those days so I didn’t get much schooling after that. Well it was summer time again and we of course naturally had to go out to the farm then, or out to the ranch or (laughter) whatever you call it. It was all logs and stumps and everything, and built the place so we could stay for the summer, and cleared land. Then we had to clear a place for our main buildings and everything..

Elaine: There was just the – what - three boys at home?

Gus: Just myself.

Elaine: Oh, Just yourself.

Gus: Herb and my other brother why they were in town with my sister and my brother, Carl got more schooling and brother Herb got schooling. They got far more schooling than I ever got, because I had to help Dad all the time.

Elaine: Your one brother Carl was sick, he had rheumatism?

Gus: He had rheumatism he couldn’t do any work, hard work anyway, he got a job in a shoemaker’s shop a repair shop. He worked there for several years, until he got worse. Well he did get married and then they moved away. He got worse and worse and finally ended up in the General Hospital in Vancouver. He was there for several years.

Anyway we built a house on the farm out there and barns, haysheds and we had cattle and pigs and chickens. 1923 I got a trappers license and I trapped during the winter. I got fifty-five beavers the first winter and the money from the beaver gave us enough money to buy enough wire to go around a quarter section. Well the wire was put on and everything, and there was lots of moose out there at that time. The moose would run into the wire and tear it off the posts. You could hear it (the wire) sing at night, so we had to overcome that by putting a rail on top of the posts so they would jump over rather than run into the wire. Well that worked very well anytime we wanted meat why we would get (a moose) within a quarter of a mile or half a mile of our place.

Dad was out working one winter and he hadn’t been home with the team or anything. We had no way of getting to town to get fresh meat so mother asked me, I was only about fifteen at that time, "Do you think I could go out and get a moose?" Well, of course, at that age why I was tickled to death to go out. But Dad would never let me use the rifle. All he would let me use is the twenty-two. Well anyway I got fixed up for the morning to go out hunting. Mother made a lunch for me and I strapped it to my belt and went out. Now only about a half-mile south, why I spotted a moose, so anyway I crept as close as I could and shot for the neck. Well the moose went down and here was another moose standing right behind it, but anyway I didn’t want two. Dressed it put it over the logs and I ate my lunch, and the bag that mother had put the lunch in the liver went into that along with the tongue. I carried it home to show mother that I had got something. After that well I did all the hunting. I must have shot between thirty and forty moose out there for different people.

Elaine: Wow, was there any restriction then? There was no restriction then obviously.

Gus: Well anyway, shortly after I got this moose packed in, it was about three weeks later why along comes a man on horseback and he says I wonder if I can get my dinner here. Well I said I’ll go and ask mother, and mother said well all we got is that,(it was a cow moose) all we got is that moose you know. Well I said it will have to do, I said. So anyway I put his horse in the barn and we went in and had a lovely dinner. On the way back to get his horse he said that was lovely cow moose. He was the game warden. (Laughter) Tommy Van Dyke, funny but that was okay.

We cleared about sixty acres on the farm and we were doing pretty good there then and anyway about 1926 Dad decided to sell and kind of retire from the farm. Which he did and we moved back into Prince George as we still had the house in Prince. From there, why in the winter, first I tried to get into a garage as an apprentice, which I did, but when winter came there was only about five cars in Prince George at that time. Well there wasn’t enough to keep us going so I had to look for other work. I got a job as a delivery boy with a horse and sled for the winter, at Peck and Primrose. That is where the Northern Hardware is now.

Elaine: June the ninth and this is a continuation of my interview with, Gus Lund.

Gus: Well, I started with Peck and Primrose, in fact I came to town with Dad and Mother and there was no work that fall and this job came up with Peck and Primrose, delivery with a horse and sleigh. I worked for, I don’t know whether I started before Christmas or after Christmas, I can’t remember, but I worked there and I didn’t know the way he was buying groceries, a half case of this and half case of that. I didn’t know that he was hard up. Anyway it went on till July and we went out to Summit Lake to stay on a Sunday, the latter part of July as I remember. We came back in a week’s time, and he went bankrupt. Well I don’t know how Mr. Williams got a hold of the bankrupt so soon, but Mr. Williams came up and bought everything there was in the store, groceries - what little groceries there was and dry goods, there was ladies dry goods, mens, blankets and a few shoes and whatnot. Anyway Mr. Williams bought the whole works and he moved (it) down to a store where Wally West is now (Third Avenue). He asked me if I would continue delivering for him. Anyway it went on, by the way he got a man by the name of Mr.Savage from Vancouver to manage the store as Mr. Williams had a store over at South.

Elaine: South Fort George?

Gus: South Fort George, yes. Mr. Savage would, after a month or two, why he would come to me and he says the till is short twenty dollars again today, and it got more often. Twenty dollars short again today, and it kind of worked on me – as if I was dipping into the till. So anyway I got a hold of Mr. Williams outside one day and I told him about this. I says, "How about putting an extra twenty dollars in and see if he bites?’ Well, Mr. Laidlaw was his name not Savage, bit. So the next day why I was met, when I got to work, and Mr. Williams says, "You’re my new boss then." Well I said, "Mr. Williams." I said, "I’m just out from the farm the trap line." I said, "I don’t know nothing about groceries." He says, "You’ll soon learn." Well I did learn. He helped me for a month or two. The business started to grow again and we had to start with two clerks in the store. In those days you had write everybody’s orders down on a bill and then you put up the order. It was a lot of work running from one corner of the store to another, downstairs etc.

Elaine: Right, did they have charges, did people charge their food and stuff?.

Gus: Oh, yes, people charged yes.

Elaine: Oh, I see and then they were billed what, once a month or ?

Gus: Once a month, yes.

Elaine: Right ok.

Gus: Of course trappers got jaw bone we had trappers from the north up to three hundred miles north of here. They would come in the spring of the year pay their bill; whatever they owed from the year before.

Elaine: Did they pay in furs or ?

Gus: No they sold their furs. There was a fur buyer here. They would sell their furs, pay their bill and they would take the rest of the money. Of course some of that money was stolen from them when they got drunk and whatnot you know. So that went on a couple of years and then I thought I got a hold of one of the trappers when he first came in he paid his bill and he had quite a sum of money. I says to him, "How about putting that money in an envelope and I’ll put it into the safe for you." Well he said, "Why not." so anyway it was sealed up in the envelope. I told him if he runs short if he needed money why to come in and we’d get the money out and subtract it from the total that was put in.

Elaine: Hmm Right.

Gus: Well we had – I had three or four, five trappers doing that it worked really good and the trappers would pay for their groceries before they went out. No more jaw bone.

Elaine: What a good – What was it called a jaw?

Gus: Jaw bone we called it. (Laughter).

Elaine: Jaw bone oh ok , that’s interesting I haven’t heard that term. Jaw bone hmm.

Gus: Anyway I worked for Mr. Williams, he was a fine man to work for. I never heard him say anything wrong or anything like that. He would come over well, maybe once a day, to see how I was doing. We had to increase the staff because business was growing. But one day he brings a man into me and says give him credit. So I says, "Ok Mr. Williams." Well this man worked for the Department of Highways, and he had a family of five. Anyway the first month’s bill came to seventy-five dollars and he came in with a long list of groceries for the next month. And I said what about the bill, oh I’ll pay that next month, I said I don’t do business like that here. I says you pay for…

Elaine: Last months.

Gus: ….last months. So he stomped out of the store. He met Mr. Williams on the street and told him what I had done. Mr. Williams brings him back into the store, give this man credit. So, that was taken out of my hands then.

Elaine: Right.

Gus: So it went on for about three or four months, I think, and the man never paid anything. Anyway Mr. Williams came in and I said how far should we let this man go. Well he says hasn’t he paid, and I says no. I says he hasn’t paid a cent since he started. Well Mr. Williams says how much is the bill now. I says just about five hundred, I said.

Elaine: Whoa…

Gus: Well, Mr. Williams, he never brought another customer into me again.

Elaine: Did you ever collect from this fellow?

Gus: No. At first why if he had left me, why I could have garnisheed him. It wouldn’t have cost me nothing. But four hundred why you have to take a judgement against him and you get nothing.

Elaine: Well no, you were doing business the right way that’s for sure. Hmm. Can I ask you this question, Where did you order your groceries and stuff? Or did they come…

Gus: Once a month Malkins would send a traveler around everything came from Vancouver at that time, at Kelly Douglas once a month.

Elaine: Oh, right.

Gus: And we had to make sure that we had enough groceries ordered in.

Elaine: Because it was only once a month and it came on…How did it come? Were there roads at that time?

Gus: No, it came by CNR.

Elaine: Oh it came on the railroad.

Gus: It came up to Jasper and then back into Prince George here.

Elaine: And once a month only you had to order.

Gus: Once a month yes.

Elaine: So that was very clever buying.

Gus: We had to order for both stores then, you see. So Mr. Williams and I would sit down with the traveler and we’d decide how much we needed.

Elaine: What about fresh kind of food could you get any fresh?

Gus: Fresh stuff why, I forget now, oh there wasn’t much fresh stuff coming in anyway.

Elaine: Everyone had their own gardens.

Gus: Well, I think first thing in the spring we got probably lettuce. Well it was sent in by express, a lot of the bananas. When we did get them.

Elaine: Right. Right. Did you buy anything locally here? Like from the farmers?

Gus: Yes, Carl Anderson had a sort of a wholesale house. So we did buy when we run short of something we did buy from him. But it wasn’t, he didn’t have a big stock or anything.

Elaine: What other competition did you have for stores in town? Like these were groceries and dry goods.

Gus: Well it was Assman’s.

Elaine: Oh they had a store as well, oh right.

Gus: And C.C.Reed, and oh there might have been two or three little stores.

Elaine: So they had, sort of a little bit of competition then too.

Gus: Oh yeah, yeah sure. Anyway I did deliver for Mr. Williams for a short time there and he got me a Chevrolet pick-up, which was better than the horse. (Laughter) Well we worked on and on, he did raise my wages a couple of times to start with there and then he decided to go into the feed business and he built a feed shed across the lane at the back. It was up on stilts so mice couldn’t get into it.

Elaine: Oh right.

Gus: The posts were tin so mice couldn’t climb up. It was a very good and it was up just even so a truck could pull up and go right in, or bring the food right in or the feed. We also handled a carload of flour a month. Flour came in ninety-eight pound sacks, forty-nine pound sacks, and twenty-four pound sacks and I can’t remember anything smaller there.

Elaine: That’s an odd number isn’t it?

Gus: Yeah, well Mr. Williams built this flour and feed shack at the back. It was built so the mice wouldn’t get into it. It was about almost three feet up off the ground. The flour was put in this warehouse. All kinds of feeds wheat, oats, bran, shorts, cream of wheat all those sort of things. It all came in, well the feed came in burlap sacks. Flour came in cotton sacks, and these cotton sacks why the ladies were crazy about them because they could make dresses and sheets and pillow cases, anything they wanted. They could dye them any colour they wanted to, and they could buy these sacks from the bakery at ten cents a piece. Anyway some of the farmers they would drive around the back and get their feed, and sometimes one just wanted one sack why he didn’t want to drive around the back so we would go down and pack it up the stairs for him and out the front door. Which was pretty tough sometimes. Anyway one day, why they made me a bet that I couldn’t carry two - two hundred pounds (sacks) on my back. Anyway I took them on and the sacks which are quite big and I put one on my shoulder myself and then another fellow put one on top of that. I carried the two sacks up the stairs and out the front door.

Elaine: Oh why?

Gus: I guess I was crazy. (Laughter) But you know when your young why you think you can do anything.

Elaine: True.

Gus: But anyhow Mr. Williams, business was improving and he decided to go into the meat business too, so he built a store alongside between the Blue Bird (restaurant) and William’s store. And then he got two butchers in there. One of them was slaughtering, going out and slaughtering cattle bringing them in from farms and whatnot. And the butcher would, I can remember them skinning the beef down in the basement. The basement was about twelve feet high so they could hang them up well down there and cool them off. There was also a cooler built downstairs and a cooler upstairs. This proved very good because you could buy beef from farmers and they would buy groceries from us then. Anyway one day why I went out to the feedshed and our deliveryman was loading up a load of feed. And I says whose that for Mr. So and so, and I says have you got a bill and he said no he’s going up to get it made out. Well this man worked in the butcher shop. So anyway I watched to see if there was a bill made out. It never was made out. And we were buying eggs from him all winter and maybe supplying the feed too and I didn’t know a thing about it. Anyway he was fired then and we got another butcher in then.

Elaine: The interview will continue on the next tape.

Tape 2 Side A

Elaine: Continuation of the interview with Gus Lund on June 9, 1998

Gus: Anyway a new butcher was hired and we carried on.

Elaine: Who did you supply? I understand that Corless had a riverboat.

Gus: Yeah a riverboat and his freight would be delivered out to Summit Lake by Mr. Van Sommers. And it would be taken down up down Findlay River.

Elaine: Crooked River too?

Gus: Crooked River, why he had to go down the Crooked River and they always went down in high water that was about the end of May the first part of June. Because when the water got low the Crooked River was to shallow to run kickers (small boat motors) in.

Elaine: Right, right.

Gus: Sometimes they would have to pole or go over a beaver dam or something like that.

Elaine: Was it Dick Corless?

Gus: Dick Corless, yes. And Mr. Corless he had the funeral business in town. I can remember once why there was a man who was always getting drunk and they picked him up on the street and Mr. Corless said well we’ll fix him. So anyway they picked him up and took him to the morgue and put him in a coffin. They didn’t put the lid down right tight. Why of course in the morning the fellow woke up (laughter),and he quit drinking after that and he joined the Salvation Army. (Laughter)

Elaine: That’s a good story.

Gus: This is around 1929, I think it was. Our business was growing all the time. I think we had four of a staff at that time plus the delivery boy was with him at that time.

Elaine: With him?

Gus: With him yes.

Elaine: Did you, now Mr. Williams still had the store in South Fort George?

Gus: Mr. Williams looked after, with Walter Flynn they looked after the store in South. It was an old type of a store where people come in and sit up on the counter. There was one traveler that would sit on a certain place on the counter every time he came in. Mr. Williams thought we’re going to fix him. So they drilled a little hole for just big enough for a little needle and back in the back room they had a string to this needle underneath and when they pulled the string tight the needle would just pop up and inch or so. (Laughter) Oh Mr. Williams was always pulling tricks.

Elaine: Did this prevent this man from not sitting on this counter anymore? (Laughter)

Gus: I think it was Jack Brownlee, who traveled for Heinz pickles, and ketchup and all that. Why he would come in with a satchel and set it on the floor and Mr. Williams would say, well we’ll go and have a cup of coffee or something like that. Walter Flynn would get a nail and tack the satchel to the floor. (Laughter). He was one of these, who just came in and picked it up, why it wouldn’t come. (Laughter)

Elaine: He was kind of a character, Mr. Williams then.
Gus: Yeah, sure oh he was yes, another time why him and his wife were going down to the States. Mr. Williams had an Oldsmobile and it was getting kind of dilapidated and I had just got a new Chev, and I said take my Chev on your holiday then which he did.

Interview continued on June 23, 1998.

Gus: We’ll start at 1929, hard times was hitting Prince George and many people riding on the freights and the CNR policeman down there he couldn’t keep track of them all. They wouldn’t have room for them in the jails anyway, so he let a lot of them just go. Anyway they stopped off here in Prince George and of course they were hungry. And they would come up to the stores and Mr. Williams told me to give them a loaf of bread and a half-pound of bologna, and send them on their way. And this went on till 1930. Well many years later I had quit Mr. Williams’s store and I had a store called the Food Basket on Fifth Avenue. A man came in one day, well dressed and everything and he wanted to pay me for the bread and the half-pound of bologna that I had given him years before. Of course I took the money.

Elaine: Right on.

Gus: But anyhow 1930 why or 1929 I was going with a girl. We went together quite steady, 1930 we decided we would really go steady and I would have to ask her mother for her hand. So I did and then her mother hesitated for quite a long time. Well she says providing you look after her. Why, yes. So anyway it went down to 1931 then, and we decided we’d get married in August that year. Well I decided we’d have to have a house. So I had two lots on Ross Crescent here, which had a little house on it. Had it tore down and we decided we made the plans between us and we built the house. By August I had the house completed with some furniture, as money wasn’t very plentiful in those days. You just bought a piece at a time. Anyway we got a cookstove, a bed and a chesterfield. It turned out anyway.

August came along why, we were to get married in Knox United Church before the service in the morning. The minister, our own minister in our church was away on holidays so we got the minister from Giscome. Adam Crisp, and he was a young minister and I believe we were the first marriage he had performed because he was so nervous. More nervous than what I was. (Laughter). Anyway in those days they didn’t charge you made a donation. I guess I must have gave him a fair donation because he presented me with a bible shortly after, and we’ve had that bible ever since.
Anyway on our honeymoon we put a tent in there for the night. There wasn’t a car that went by during the night  the car and food and we started out for Vancouver. We got as far as Quesnel and of course they had wrote all over the car, "Just Married."  We stopped at the Caribou Hotel or restaurant rather. The Chinaman (slang for Chinese) came out and he says, "Just married, just married?" Yes, well he says I make you a chicken dinner, he says. So, that was about four o’clock in the afternoon. Anyway we waited awhile to get this chicken dinner, we had the chicken dinner no charge it was free. We started out again for Vancouver. We got as far as Lac la Hache and it, of course was getting towards evening by that time, quite well in the evening so we camped... Well we were on our way to Lac La Hache and that’s where we camped for the night. It was a lovely spot we picked out. You could camp any place in those days you didn’t have to go to a campsite or anything because everything was a campsite.We camped there for the night and the next morning we got up around eight o’clock and we started out for Vancouver. Well, anyways the roads were very, very dusty in those days so if you met a car you pretty near had to stop to wait until the dust settled so you could travel on because the road was so narrow. Anyway we traveled on that day and we got down to the canyon just before a great big tunnel. And we decided we’d camp there for the night. There wasn't a that went by in the night or anything. It was very quiet, and it was a pretty nice place to camp too. Next morning we got up and we traveled on down towards Vancouver.
We got to Vancouver and went to the, Well we drove down Kingsway and we came to this, I think the name was Caribou Motor Home (Hotel). Anyway we got in there and rented a cabin for a dollar and a half a night. It had a shower, a fairly good bed and kitchen and we stayed there while we were in Vancouver. At a dollar and a half a night which was pretty cheap. Anyway my sister, she was running the concession out at the fair. So we used to go out there every once in awhile and ride the coasters and everything. Anyway we went up on the or I asked the wife if she wanted to go up on the

Elaine: Roller Coaster?

Gus: Roller coaster, I guess that’s what they call it. Anyway it was very, very steep in those days, and no she says I don’t think I’ll go. Anyway Henry Haughtaling came along and he asked me, he would go with me. So we both went up and when we came back down the wife says oh, I think I’ll go too now. I said I’ve had enough of it. (Laughter) Anyway we had only two weeks of a holiday so we start wandering back home, and we arrived a couple of days early at home. Of course when we went to bed that night there was a real (laughter)…What do they call them?

Elaine: Shivaree. (Note: A shivaree was a mock serenade of noises made on kettles, tinhorns etc; designed to annoy and insult. It was at first directed at widows who married for a second time at an advanced age; but is now extended to unpopular persons of any age and in some rural districts to any persons newly married. Webster’s Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language New York, Publishers Guild, 1942)

Gus: Shivaree.

Elaine: Shivaree, yeah I remember those.

Gus: So we didn’t get much sleep that night.

Elaine: Oh no, all the noise.

Gus: Noise and whatnot. In building a house why I hired men to do the first construction with the foundation and the floors and roof. Then I hired another party to do the finishing work inside. The construction of the first phase why it was, I think it was ninety dollars that’s all they charged for labor at that time. Anyway when the inside came it was Sam Pooley he was a cabinetmaker. He was a very fine finisher, so he did the inside of the house. I supplied the material and he did all the work, and it was less than a hundred dollars for labor there. The same with the painting it was very cheap too. I supplied the paint and labor was about forty dollars. Then the siding on the outside of the house was put on very cheaply, too. It was cedar siding we put on and painted and everything for a very small sum of money. Labor was very, very cheap in those days, and the material was very cheap too. Lumber was probably fifteen dollars a thousand. Even in later years you could still buy lumber for fifteen dollars a thousand.

Elaine: At that time there were numerous lumber operations in town. Was there not like in the area?

Gus: No, not like it is now. There was just about three or four mills.

Elaine: Oh I thought there was a lot of small mills in operation.

Gus: No that came in later.

Elaine: Oh ok.

Gus: That came in later.

Elaine: Probably during the war years.

Gus: Yeah, just after the war then everybody went into the sawmill business.

Elaine: Oh, I see.

Gus: They built a small sawmill but they looked for old car engines for power. They were always looking for second hand engines because they didn’t last to long.

Elaine: Oh, yeah.


Gus: Well every Christmas why we gave our customers chocolates and a calendar and they always looked forward to it. The calendar anyway and maybe the box of chocolates as they all had a sweet tooth. Anyway the families they would get a pound box of chocolates and a calendar. The single men they would get a calendar and a half-pound box of chocolates.

Elaine: Single women, too. Were there single women that you…?

Gus: All the single men would get a half - pound too yes. But there wasn’t many single women around here in those days.

Elaine: No and they were snapped up and married quickly I suppose.

Gus: Yeah they were. (Laughter) Just like I picked up mine.

Elaine: Yeah, there you go.

Gus: Yeah so.

Elaine: Then you stayed working for Williams all these years?

Gus: Oh I stayed working 1933, and 1934 and 1935, ’36 my son Earl was born, and he was born with clubfeet. The doctors here did not know much about treating clubfeet so we had to take him to Vancouver and he was down there for quite along time with the wife. I missed her very much while she was down there. Anyway Earl’s feet came out pretty good and he has no troubles ever since. Anyway in 1939 my son Bob was born and his feet were worse than Bob’s (Earl’s). We had to take him down to Vancouver, too. He was in the Children’s Hospital there for about four months. The wife stayed down most of the time but she couldn’t visit him because everytime she went in, why he’d start crying. So they asked her to come home here. When his feet were pretty good we had made arrangements to have him sent home by plane. So that’s what he did.

Elaine: Oh, well that’s good.

Gus: But of course the stewardess looked after him and handed him over to us.

Elaine: When they arrived here.

Gus: When they arrived here.

Elaine: And that was when the airport was still by the… Was it up on the hill then?

Gus: Up on the hill then.

Elaine: In Pineview already.

Gus: No, it couldn’t be up in Pineview.

Elaine: Like that would be ’39, so how old was he when he was down there, Gus?

Gus: He’d be about four or five something like that.

Elaine: So, that could be in the forties, so it could be up on the hill then.

Gus: Yeah it could be.

Elaine: Yeah.

Gus: Must be.

Elaine: It was in the forties and I think… When did they build the airport? I think the airport was built in those early years of the war.

Gus: Yeah, just before.. Just in about 1941 I think.

Elaine: Oh, right so it could have been up there then.

Gus: Anyway, 1939 we brought property at the lake. 1940 we started a resort out there. It grew and grew, and I had to build a cabin or two more each year.

Elaine: This is at Cluculz Lake?

Gus: At Cluculz Lake yes.

Elaine: At Cluculz Lake and this was Parks Camp you bought?

Gus: Yes, Parks Camp.

Elaine: It was Parks Camp.

Gus: I finally ended up with nine log cabins and a little store and our own little place that we stayed in when we were out there. During 1942, why gas rations came in so we weren’t able to travel as much back and forth, probably once every two weeks or something. You’d save up gas and make the trip. (Laughter)

Anyway the army kept coming out and they would pop tents all over my place out there. So anyway one of the officers and I got pretty well acquainted. I says, "How would you like to take over the camp while you are here." He said that would be all right, so I handed him the keys to all the cabins and everything. Even our own cabin, they had a key for that too. Anytime we came out there was short supply food on the table, stuff that would keep, you know. But they weren’t allowed to take it back to the army camp.

Elaine: Oh.

Gus: They were piling it on my table out there.
Elaine: Oh that was nice.

Gus: Anyway I had a lot of boats, and I think it was Ivor Guest told me I was foolish to let them have the place because the boats would go all to pieces and everything. That wasn’t the case they looked after the boats as well as I ever would. The boats were washed every Sunday because they were all out fishing all the time. Anyway one Sunday I came out there and they were shooting a Bren Gun,(machine gun) at a target back in the woods there. Here they said you try, well the Bren Gun why you just pressed the trigger and it just Brrrrrrrrrrrt off it goes.

Elaine: It’s a machine gun.

Gus: Well the gun went up into the air.

Elaine: Oh no.

Gus: Because every time it hit why up up up (indicating an upward motion with a gun). So that was enough of that. (Laughter). Another night it was getting kind of dusk when we were out, why they were what’d call it where they flash lights from a mountain.
 Elaine: Oh, their signal signals.

Gus: Signals from Sinkut Mountain. They were receiving messages right down to the lake.

Elaine: Oh, for heaven sake.

Gus: Yeah, so it was

Elaine: Kind of interesting.

Gus: It was quite interesting. Well in 1943 or
’44 the army pulled out of Prince George here and they gave me the keys all back and thanked me very much for the use of the cabins and everything. I thanked them for looking after it so well too.

Anyway the Lakeside Resort then was back open for the public. I built an icehouse down alongside the lake, put in six or eight ton of ice. It held ice right through the whole summer. We built a little store out there had about twenty-five hundred dollar stock in that. It was nice for the visitors that came and stayed at the resort. They didn’t have to go back to town to get groceries or anything. I was still working at Williams’s so I went out every Wednesday and got what we needed in the store and sometimes I would bring ice cream for the children that were out there. Well ice cream didn’t keep very long so it went out in very short notice, but it was a good drawing card there anyway. Once (a week) I would put on a wiener roast out there free to everybody and a singsong around the campfire. It was very enjoyable. Then we built a little store, we had about twenty-five hundred dollars stock in it. It was a godsend to the tourists that would come in. Lots of times they didn’t bring much food with them they could buy it in the store. (The wife looked after the resort as I was still working in town.)


Gus: Getting out to put up the ice in the winter time, why we had to go up to Hayne’s and walk down the lake on snowshoes if the snow was deep. It would be about three - three and a half miles, anyway we had to walk in. When we had a toboggan behind us and we brought our sleeping bags and stayed overnight, and enough food to last for a day. Usually it was about three men that went out to put up the ice. We had to clear the snow off the ice and then we had an ice saw there and got a hole started. One time I remember we cut the hole and water came up six inches in the hole and flooded all over. Lucky we had rubber boots out there so we worked with rubber boots on. It was kind of dangerous with the water on the ice why you could slip into the lake. (Laughter) Anyway when a block came up why it came up halfway above and you just had to lift it a little bit and we would slide it into the bank into the boat house,(icehouse) and it was really good that way because you didn’t have to pull or jerk or anything.

Elaine: Yeah it was easier.

Gus: It was quite easy, so it would take us about a day to fill the icehouse. It was really enjoyable, it was an outing for the day and night.

Elaine: That’s right.

Gus: In 1945 and ’46 our business grew quite well out there. In 1947 our daughter Betty was born. 1948 we sold the lake property to Mr. and Mrs. Baird from California. The Lakeside Resort didn’t last very long because they raised all the prices. Anyway with the store because they said they was no money in selling groceries. So anyway this couple that bought the store or bought the business, they had been divorced for thirteen years and remarried. Their remarriage I don’t think lasted very long after that because she was left with the property at the lake and he left. The wife and I drove out there one Wednesday afternoon to see how they were doing. Well he wasn’t there but she was there sitting in the office and waiting for customers, but everyone had disappeared. They cancelled all reservations and everything, until she had nothing. The boats were all tied to the wharf out there banging together so the boats were all falling apart too, because they were all build of half inch cedar. I had built all the boats and it was a shame to see them going to pieces there. I found one on the East end of the lake, it was an eighteen footer cedar boat and it was washed up on the shore all banged up. Made me cry to see it that way. I think there is only one boat left on the lake now, it’s probably not used but someone is keeping one out there or were. I haven’t seen it the last two or three years.

Anyway in 1949 we bought a lot about two miles (down) Shallow Bay Road and it was right down at the foot of Shallow Bay Road. We built a log cabin there just for a summer cabin and whatnot. Anyway we had two fellows help put up the logs, and they were suppose to put the roof on but they didn’t get the roof on because we were leaving on holidays we were going through to Prince Rupert. But anyhow we had to stall our holidays and help them to get the roof on, because we wanted  the roof on. Anyway the logs were all green and when we came back from Prince Rupert with the cabin kind of locked up why the logs were all green inside. With the sap on the logs why it turned green and did we have a job getting that green off. The only thing we found that would take it off was wood ashes and we worked really hard to get it clean. (Laughing)

Elaine: Hmm yeah.


Gus: 1951 we bought the Food Basket on Fifth Avenue. The business improved very much. I brought quite a bit of the customers from Mr. Williams up with me. I didn’t ask them to come up but they followed me anyway. My son he was in university, that was Earl, and he came back from university one summer and he says Dad you’ll have to build on the store cause it was getting to small. So I said well I guess we’ll have to. Anyway there was a bulldozer working over the bank and I went down to ask him if he’d come up and dig the hole for the basement. No he says I’m awfully busy. Earl and I had marked it out and in the morning the hole was built. The next day we went out to Clearlake and ordered the dimension lumber that is all the planking and everything like that. They brought that in within a day or two and we had the forms up for the concrete in just no time at all. Concrete poured and we got the floor on the walls up and roof on. A tar and gravel roof which was guaranteed for twenty years and I don’t think it’s leaked to this day, a really good job in those days when they guaranteed anything. Anyway it was all boarded in for the winter then, so during the winter I would work inside putting insulation in it and gyproc on the walls

Tape Two Side B

Gus: It was time to do the flooring. It was tile that we put on the floor. I had to hire for that.of course, because I didn’t know how to put that on. Anyway when that was all on well then it was bare floor. Anyway the wall in between the old building and the new building had to be made so it could be taken out with a moments notice. It had to be cut off at the top and just braced enough just to hold it. Anyway I built all the gondolas and shelving and everything and had it all done by June the next year. Then it came time to fill the shelves, both Malkins and Kelly Douglas came up and helped me fill all the shelves. They brought the groceries and everything to put on the shelves.

We also had to have a butcher shop then too. That was in the far corner and that was all planned for an icebox and everything, and a good cooling place for the meat to hang and everything. We planned on leasing that corner out which we did. It proved very satisfactory.

Anyway the time came to take the wall out. Both Kelly Douglas and Malkins sent their workman up and they took the wall out and I think it was the next day that I had put a two page ad in the paper and our business jumped by between two and three thousand dollars a month after that. At the end we had about, well we had five steadies (employees) and four students after four o’clock every day to fill shelves and each student got a gondola and shelving to fill. They had to look after and keep it clean, dust it and everything. At the end of each of counter why if anything was running short they would put it on a card at the counter where they worked. When a salesman came in he would pick up these cards and go back in the office and start writing the order out. Lots of times I was busy and couldn’t get in with him right away.

Elaine: Hmm.

Gus: That worked out very good because the salesman they get to know just about how much you need of each thing. Of course when there were specials or something like that when you had to buy heavier they would call me in then. I know one time they had a special on Campbell’s Tomato Soup I bought eighty cases. I didn’t have room to put it so I put it in the basement of my house. (Laughter)

Elaine: Oh, hmm.

Gus: Anyway, we had two checkouts and I think my store was the first one to get grocery carts in. Lots of times when people came in why they picked up a cart and picked up their own groceries. Which was quite a saving for work and everything. My wife did the checkout on one counter and another lady was on the second checkout. Then we had to hire a man, Hugh Bayliss and he took the other checkout. The lady that did the checkout she went to do the phone work cause we got a lot of orders by phone in those days.

Elaine: Hmm.

Gus: Anyway we were doing a very big business then.

Elaine: Can I interrupt here a minute. Did you deliver the groceries as well?

Gus: We delivered up to five miles out of town.

Elaine: Whoa

Gus: Free of charge too.

Elaine: Oh my goodness, and this is winter and summer?

Gus: Yes, yes.

Elaine: And you had just a truck or?

Gus: Well I had a panel you might say and the back seat would fold right down level with the floor…

Elaine: Oh right.

Gus: …and you could put quite a load in. Anyway Clearlake out there why they were dealing with me and in the winter time the ladies wouldn’t drive the road so we decided they’d send their orders in by trucks when they came in or something. And every Wednesday we would take them out, and some days we would have a real load going out. Of course the wife and I enjoyed that trip out there on a Wednesday afternoon. Of course they gave us dinner and they got quarreling who was going to have us for dinner. (Laughter)

Elaine: Oh that’s neat.

Gus: If they quarreled to much why then we went to the cookhouse and had dinner. One night why they were working at night and the truck that drags logs in went up the mountain there and they asked me to go along. Well it was a moonlight night. Oh it was a beautiful trip. But anyway we get up on the mountain quite high, and he says why we’ll pick up this log. Well the log was about three feet in diameter at the base and about eighty feet long. He hooked onto that dragged it up to his truck and it lifted it and then pulled it along. Then he says I think we’ll take this other one too, and it was another one that was just about the same size. And I says, "Holy mackinaw, how in the world are you going to pull all that?" Anyway we went all down the hill, pulled it up to the mill and there was a saw that would saw it into fourteen or sixteen foot logs. Well that was really enjoyable.

Elaine: Hmm interesting.

Gus: The snow was deep there so you didn’t run off the road very far.

Elaine: Hmm.

Gus: Anyway we enjoyed that trip out there. Anyway ’53 and ’54, ’55 Mrs. Parks had a store downtown, her husband had died, and she decided she wanted to get out of the store. It was on Third Avenue - Third and George. But anyhow she came up to the store and she wanted to buy the business. She didn’t want to buy the store but the business. So anyway we made arrangements with her and she did buy the business. But we still had the store. Every month I would have to go up and collect my rent cheque. It was four hundred dollars at that time each month. Anyway the cheque would never be ready so lots of times we had to go in the second time and maybe the third time to get the cheque. Anyway Mr. Raeber then he wanted to buy the building. So anyway we sold the building to him then. He paid so much down and the rest on time. Well he was another one, anyway it come time that he wanted to pay it all off, and he says it’s customary that you drop the payment or drop the price by two thousand dollars. I says, "Nothing doing." So he had to pay the full amount then. I was glad to get rid of him. So we were free of all property then.

Elaine: You still had your property at the lake though didn’t you?

Gus: Yeah oh

Elaine: Nothing to do with the store though anymore?

Gus: Yeah


Gus: Well, 1960 I took up carpentry. One of the mill men after I told the story came to me and he says will you build me a house. I says to him, "Why I don’t know much about building houses." Well he says he’s been watching me build the store he says I think you know just about as much as anybody. So he kept after me and after me and I says well finally if I can get a full fledged carpenter to come in with me why we would build the house. This was on North Nechako. Anyway I did get a fellow. It was four dollars an hour we were getting then at that time which was good money to. Anyway we started, the frame of the house had been built already, so we had to do the finishing and everything like that. So anyway we got started and he worked with me for two months or two weeks rather. This Monday morning I came out there and he was not there. That was the time of the instant town of Mackenzie came along, and he got fifty cents more an hour up there than down here. Anyway I didn’t know what to do though. The fellow that we were building for came in and he said Gus you just continue right on. You know just about as much as he ever did anyway.

So anyway I finished the house for him and she wanted a glass case put in because she had, I think it was a hundred and fifty dolls. She wanted it glassed in front and she would show it in her front room. Anyway I put that up and of course there was kitchen cabinets to be put in too then. She bought ready-made ones well they came up and I worked a whole day and I couldn’t get them to fit anyplace. I phoned her up and I said come over I can’t get these cupboards to fit. Because she had given them no measurements or anything and I says phone them up and see if they’ll take them back. She did and they would come and take them back. She says now what am I going to do. Anyway I finished the house.

Elaine: The cupboards.

Gus: Anyway I said now I know what kind of cupboards you want I says I’ll try to make them. She wanted, mahogany, which is the worse, kind of wood to work with, because you put a saw into it and the saw binds, because it starts burning. But anyhow I put a proper saw on the bench saw and overcome that anyway. Anyway she was going to Vancouver for three weeks and in that three weeks why when she came back I had the cupboards all in. The stove was built into the cupboard too, a flat stove like, and the oven was set up on top in the cupboard. Anyway she came back from Vancouver and she went out to the place and she phoned me up and she says, "Gus, I could just hug and kiss you they’re just what I want."(Laughter) So anyway that was finished then. Well then her daughter had a horse and of course a barn had to be built. So, would I build the barn? Well she came in with plans and everything it had to all be build to specifications floor and stalls and everything. Anyway I had to build it for two horses. So anyway I got that done. And then he had guns and a deep freeze and everything. He wanted a separate building for that. So I built that so it was way into the winter before I ever got through there.

Elaine: Well that was a good job.

Gus: Yeah anyway after that why there was another, this fellow was a refrigeration man, and he had a business and a flat roof. Well he wanted his dwellings built on top, so I undertook to do that all by myself. I did a good job on that too, but I didn’t build the cupboards in that place. They had another fellow build the cupboards, because he didn’t know that I could build them. After that well Morrison’s Men’s Wear wanted their store remodeled inside. So I had to tear down old fixtures and everything and start anew. Anyway that went over very good too and anyway in one of the walls I was tearing down that wasn’t needed there. There was an electric wire in there with just the ends and I happened to touch them and they were both live. Well that gave me an awful jolt, too. (Laughing) I had to find out where that wire came from and everything and dismantle it at the source. (Laughter)

Elaine: Hmm.

Gus: Just imagine leaving live wires in a wall.

Elaine: Danger for fire.

Gus: Danger for fire, I say. Anyway I had quite a job there anyway I worked there for oh yes while I was working at Morrison’s Men’s Wear every fifteen days he would pay me. I would take the cheque into Tom Martell to buy myself a new boat and motor. The boat and a fifty horse Mercury motor. Of course that was about ten hundred or twelve hundred dollars in those days and the boat was, I think around a thousand dollars too. But anyhow by spring I had a new motor and boat just by paying my wages in there.

Elaine: Oh, good.

Gus: I still have or I gave the boat and motor to my son and he took me out (cuckoo clock chimes) two weeks ago to the lake and the motor and everything run just like a top yet yeah so.

Elaine: Isn’t that neat.

Gus: It was beautiful to get out there you know.

Elaine: Yeah and that was in nineteen when did you buy the boat?

Gus: 1965.

Elaine: And it’s still working good and everything.

Gus: Its still working just as good as the day I got it. He’s had it tuned up a couple of times.

Elaine: You had to take good care of it too.

Gus: I guess he has. I was kind of surprised because he isn’t one to take care of things very good,

Elaine: Oh that’s very good.

Gus: But I was glad that he is taking care of it anyway.


Gus: In 1965 we left town and moved to the lake. I built a workshop out there and I got business all the way up to Manson Creek and down to Punchaw Lake. I got kitchen cabinets all over up there and even in Vanderhoof I have several cupboards in there. The church well I built their cupboards and everything. They supplied the lumber and I did it free gratis there so.

Elaine: Hmm, Where was the church?

Gus: Oh, right in Vanderhoof.

Elaine: Oh, one in Vanderhoof. What church was it?

Gus: Presbyterian or United Church.

Elaine: United Church?

Gus: Fort St. James I built there Communion Table up there and lectern.

Elaine: Oh, right.

Gus: So I donated that to them.

Elaine: Oh that was good.

Gus: Anyway this workshop it was very good for me. I didn’t charge big prices or anything but it kept me busy all the time. In fact I got to much business sometimes. In 1970 my daughter was living in our house until they got their house built down on fifteen-mile road. So in 1971 we sold the house on Ross Crescent, which I built before we were married. The house was moved out on highway sixteen about four or five miles out, and one day the wife and I were driving in from the lake and oh there’s our house.

Elaine: Oh for heaven’s sake.

Gus: It’s on the left-hand side going out, just you know where that church is, well it’s just beyond that.

Elaine: The Westwood Fellowship Church, or something, I think it is.

Gus: Yeah, something like that, just beyond that. We were kind of tickled to see it moved out there.

Elaine: You were living in your cabin on Cluculz Lake and that was the one on Shallow Bay Road?

Gus: Shallow Bay Road well that’s as far as we’re going.

Interview continued a week later

Gus: We went back to the lake and planned on staying there the rest of our lives, I guess. Anyway we had it all winterized well and it was very cozy out there. In 1973, we had winterized the cabin so we were quite comfortable in it. In 1974 we took a trip to Whitehorse, by bus and that’s as far as we went. We stayed at Whitehorse overnight and then we were going to return to Prince George. Well it had rained and rained and we got to Watson Lake and we could go no further as there were bridges washed out and we stayed at Watson Lake that night. (The accommodation) that had been made over from a camp. It was flat on the ground, and when we got out of bed in the morning why we stepped in an inch of water on the floor. That was kind of a shock to us. It was pretty hard to dress with the floor wet and everything. We had to stand on a chair and try to dress ourselves. We finally got out of there anyway.

Anyway the bus driver he got permission to take us over the Stuart-Cassiar Road which was just built. There had never been a bus over it before but he got permission to take us that way. Anyway there was no preparation for lodging along the way. So anyway we got going and we got down to a camp, well it was a day when the workmen weren’t there so we got their sleeping quarters. The restaurant they had to prepare for forty, yes all at once. Our lady guide why she gets into the kitchen and she was going to help them, and busied herself around there and finally they had to tell her to get out because she was just a nuisance. (Laughter)

Anyway we all got a fairly good (meal), bacon and eggs and mashed potatoes it was all warmed up of course, but anyway it was very good. The wife and I got into one of the trailers for the night, which was quite comfortable. We were all alone in one big trailer.

Elaine: Oh that was nice.

Gus: Anyway then the next day we took off and the guide was trying to follow a map they had given her for this road. We got to the forks of the road and she says we take the left road. Well the driver he wasn’t really satisfied, but anyway he had to take her word for it. Well it was a logging road that she took us on. We came out at Kitwangau, and there is a ferry there but the ferry was to small for our bus. Anyway we were directed to Terrace and were to stay there for the night. Anyway she took the wrong turn and we got to Kitwangau and then we had to go up to Hazelton from there, which was a very narrow, logging road too. We got to Hazelton, well then the driver didn’t want to drive back to Terrace and he carried on to Smithers. There he had to find lodging for us and all because we were supposed to stay in Terrace you see.

Elaine: Yeah.

Gus: So anyway we were all just distributed in different hotels and motels. Anyway we were on the way home then. He had picked us up at our place, when he picked us up because the bus had started at Hazelton, so he was dropping passengers out all the way. When he came close to our place he had only sixteen or seventeen passengers left on the bus.

So I says to the driver, "Would you like to drive down to our place and see if we could get a cup of tea there."

Well he said, "How far is it?"

I said, "Just over the hill." I said, "When you get to the top of the hill you can see the house down below."

Well he thought for awhile, "Yes," he says, "We got time to do it."

So we went down there well and we had a couple staying at the lake so I said get the kettles on and make tea. The wife of course she had plenty of cookies in the freezers and everything. Anyway there was a couple from England on the bus too, and they thought that was….

Elaine: Pretty nice!

Gus: …pretty nice, so anyway we had our tea and parted with the bus then afterwards.

Elaine: Hmm, delivered you right to your door.

Gus: Yup. Pause

Gus: We also had in 1974 a trip to Spokane as well. Expo, oh seventy-five I think it was. I may be wrong there but, anyway my daughter and her husband drove my car and it was a lovely trip down there. 1976 a trip to Prince Edward Island, my wife belonged to the Women’s Institute, and…..

Elaine: They had a convention or?

Gus: …the convention was there, and we flew there, and while there the planes all went on strike and we didn’t know how we were going to get home for a long time. Anyway the caretaker at the University there said I have a son who would drive Margaret and I over to Moncton, New Brunswick. That was going to be fifty dollars, well that was fine. Anyway when the boy showed up in the morning the boy had long hair, anyway we got into the car and he started off. The first thing on a straight stretch he was going ninety miles and hour, so I had to tell him to slow down a little bit. Anyway we got to the ferry got on that and it was a lovely day.

We got up on the deck and there was a young couple there we got talking to. They said they were from Montreal and after talking for awhile they said why don’t you come with us and we’ll drive you through to Montreal. Well, the wife and I decided that would probably be all right, but they only had a small car and they had one child, and we were kind of cramped in the car, but anyhow it went very good. I paid for their meals and lodging because we had to stop for two nights getting to Montreal.

Anyway we get to Montreal and he took us up to the bus depot, there we got a bus for Toronto. There the wife had relatives so when we got into Toronto it was about ten o’clock at night; she rang them up and he came down and picked us up. We stayed there for two days, well then the planes had come back to work again so we booked on in Toronto then with our ticket, and we finally flew home.

Elaine: That was quite an adventure?
Gus: In 1978 there wasn’t much to talk about then. We were still out at the lake. 1979 we came into town and we were out at our son’s place and we had lunch out there and it was quite cool. After lunch why I went out with my son he was working on his truck outside, and I was out there for awhile and then I got an awful pain. Down through my right side, oh it was terrible. Anyway I went into the house and they thought what if I laid down why it would probably go over, but I couldn’t lay down it was worse lying down than standing up.That was the only way it would relieve any of the pain. Anyway it was about seven o’clock why my son said well we’re going to take you to the emergency. So went into the emergency and they put me in a cot there and they come into put the monitor on me and then I was sent up to ICU and there was several monitors put on me and a doctor with me at all times. Anyway they found out that it wasn’t my heart as they found the monitors working real good there. So they moved me down to the second floor and they
wheeled me into a room where they had ultra sound. There they worked over my body and they finally came over to my right side and they found there were
stones in my gall bladder. I didn’t know there was a doctor back in the room and he says that’s all I wanted to see. Anyway I went back to the room then and my family doctor came in. I said, "Well if I have to have an operation I want Dr. Ewert." It was no time when Dr. Ewert came in and they began to get me ready for an operation the next day.

Elaine: Dr. Ewert’s father was the one that delivered your children.

Gus: Yes, Dr. Ewert’s father he delivered all our children, which was three.

Elaine: Hmm.

Gus: Anyway the operation went well and when I woke up why here was almost a teacup full of stones and some of them were the size of hazelnuts. The doctor said, "well that wasn’t all of them there were a lot of small ones, too." So I must have had enough of them. But anyhow I must have been in the hospital about fifteen days that time. Everything healed up and I was doing well, and the doctor says you can eat anything you want from now on, because I found lettuce was the thing that I couldn’t eat.

Tape Three Side A.

Gus: (1980) nothing to report there, we were still out at the lake.

1981 there is nothing to special to report there.

1982 we took off for Alaska, by bus, for two weeks. It was a very nice trip going up everything was found for us and every hotel was the very best, meals were very good, up to Alaska. We were coming back to Whitehorse and about five miles out of Whitehorse a tire blew on the bus. There were two ladies sitting over the back wheel and I think the bus must have jumped about two feet when the tire blew. It must have blown just right, that it lifted the bus. Anyway the bus driver stopped and there was a house on the side so he went in to see if they had a phone, they did. He tried to get the garage to come out and change the tire. Well they wouldn’t because it was Saturday and they weren’t working on Saturday. So we limped all the way into Whitehorse with the tire blown and it was hitting the fender all the way around-bump, bump bump. He was only going about three or four miles an hour.

Anyway we got into Whitehorse late and that was the time when the guide was treating us all to dinner, of course we were late. Mr. and Mrs. Dunn were with us too, and anyway we sat down to the table and right after we almost finished eating why Bill went to get up and he fell on the floor. Cause he has diabetes and he was starved to long, didn’t have food. Anyway he revived pretty quick.

When we came back to Whitehorse then we went down to Skagway and we got onto a ferry there, bus and all and headed for Prince Rupert. That was two nights and a day trip. I wish it had been more daytime than nighttime as the scenery is pretty along the passage there. Anyhow we arrived in Prince Rupert about five o’clock in the morning. Of course we got unloaded and everything, then we started out for Terrace. We were going to go to Terrace for breakfast. Well it took a while to get there. Anyway from Terrace we went on to Smithers, we had dinner then and on home.

1983 there is nothing much to report, 1984 there was nothing other than we were very happy at the lake.

Anyway 1985 we sold the lake property and moved to Prince George as we were getting older and we figured that we better get closer to doctors.

Elaine: Is that when you moved into this complex here?

Gus: Anyway, we inquired about this complex here but we they told us it would be years before we could get in. So the wife and I decided we would buy a new trailer and Sintich Auto Court, he said had a wonderful lot for us too. So we were just about ready to buy the trailer when we got a phone call that we could have a place here. So we came back to look at the place and we decided we’d take this place here. That was like a three-room cottage. So we had to get rid of some furniture, anyway we were quite comfortable there. So we got well settled and well acquainted in the society here.

1986 and ’87, ’89 there wasn’t much, 1990, why my wife was failing in health.


Gus: 1990 my wife is not feeling well, it was more just colds. So she got all over that. 1991 we drove to Westlock, to where her sister was.

Elaine: Is that Westlock in Alberta?

Gus: Westlock in Alberta yes. We were there for about a week. We went into Westlock to do some shopping, her sister as well. When we got home, why we unpacked the groceries and put them in the cupboards and what not, and then the sister turned around to me and she says, "Will you cook supper." I says, "Yes I will." So anyway I was getting the supper all ready and I had everything on the stove cooking and I sat down in a chair, my wife’s sister why she was looking out the kitchen window. She’d been there all the time I was peeling potatoes and everything and saying nothing. After I sat down why she picked up the little bucket that I had put the peelings in and everything, and she picked it up to take it out to the pigpen. Which was only twenty-five feet out the back of the house. She didn’t come back so I said to the wife, where did your sister go. So I looked out the front door and her divorced husband was out in the yard talking to her son. They got into a pick-up there so they just drove away. I went out to go around the house to see where Bea was and I got to the corner of the house and here she was lying on the ground. Flat on her back, her mouth wide open. I felt for a pulse, but there was none. I went into the house because she had an alert system in there. I had asked her the day before what button would you press if you wanted the alert system, she didn’t tell me. Anyway I went in and there were three buttons on the alert system anyway I picked the right one. I just pressed it and they said we’ll be out there in twenty minutes. They were coming out so fast that they went by the driveway. So I thought, my gosh where are they going. Anyway they knew they had gone by the road shortly and they were back in five minutes. Anyway they checked her and yeah, she was gone. Anyway then they had to phone the coroner, and he had to phone the police to come out too. It took three hours before they could move her. So the ambulance sat there all that time.

Elaine: When somebody dies at home I think they have to investigate.

Gus: Yeah, investigate, and then after they released the body, well the police came in and we had to give a statement. So anyway we stayed for the funeral then and then they were going to read the will, they had to go into the lawyer. They wanted us to come in too, but we didn’t go, I said we were going home. We went home anyway.

Anyway we got home and 1993 the wife had a bad cold again so she went to the doctor and the doctor gave her pills or whatever it was. The wife went back a week later and it was pretty well all cleared up she thought. The Doctor checked her over and she says yes that the lungs are all clear and everything. Anyway the Doctor says on the way home stop and get and x-ray on your chest. So she did, well the next day she was on the way to the General Hospital in Vancouver. She went down alone as she thought it was just for a check-up because it didn’t say it was cancer or anything. She went down there and they checked her over well they slated her for an operation immediately. I booked the plane for five o’clock that night and it was snowing and it was snowing in Vancouver. Five o’clock they couldn’t take off because the snow was so deep in Vancouver on the runway and they were busy trying to get it off, so they said it would be seven o’clock before we go. Well, seven o’clock came and then they said eleven o’clock. So anyway we got away at eleven so I got down to Vancouver, I was to stay in the nurse’s home down there which is right across from the general hospital. Anyway the desk clerk, she was sleeping at the desk so I had to wake her up to find what room I was to have. Anyway I got a room right over Broadway and I couldn’t sleep.

Anyway the next morning why, I guess it was about nine or ten o’clock I went over to the hospital and there they were getting her prepared for the operation. The operation wasn’t to be that day it was the next day then. But she had tubes down the side of her neck and everything.

Elaine: Hmm that was hard.

Gus: She was well sedated


Gus: Anyway the surgery was postponed until the next day at two o’clock. They were getting all prepared for going down to the operating room. The operating room is down in the basement of the hospital there.

Anyway they didn’t say I could follow her down to the operating room so I stayed up. Then the Doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to see her until nine o’clock the next morning. But, anyhow the Doctor said that he would phone to tell me how the operation went. The Doctor said he had to take the whole lung out as it was almost completely filled with cancer. I can’t remember just how many days she stayed in the hospital; it wasn’t really to long. A Doctor came in one day I had never seen him before. I think he was one of the orderlies or something. He says I’m taking you for a walk today. He took the wife by the arm and they started out walking, then he let her walk without holding on to anything. He says now we’re going down the stairs so she had to walk down the stairs, and I don’t know where they went but anyway they had to climb back up the stairs. When they came back the doctor says you’re doing just fine. I think it was the next day they checked her out then.

Anyway it was a very rainy day so I engaged a taxi to pick us up at the entrance of the hospital there and we had our suitcases and I had mine. We stood out in the lobby waiting for the taxi to come. Anyway a taxi pulled up and he never got out of the taxi as it was raining. So I stepped over to the front door and opened it and the wife had to get in so I shut that door. I thought the taxi driver would open up the trunk to put our suitcases in. So I opened the door again and I says how about our suitcases, where shall I put them. So he grabbed it and he got out and opened the trunk then and I put the suitcases in. He was a …well I shouldn’t say.

Elaine: He was rude.

Gus: He was quite rude anyway and he didn’t get a tip when he let us off at the airport. It was twelve dollars from the hospital to the airport and he took the shortest way thank goodness for that, because lots of them will take the longer way. Anyway to the airport, got on the plane and a stewardess helped Margaret on to where she was to sit and everything. We had to sit in the very front seat because you’re the first person in and the last person out. Or you could be the first person out and let all the others wait. Most times they let the others go and you just sit there until they’re all out. Anyway we got here and I had phoned to have a wheelchair to wheel Margaret in to the station. Well the steps out here they are very, very steep and the stewardess walked backward in front of Margaret all the way down in case she slipped or something and I had to wheel her into the station. Of course my son was there to meet us and he says shall we are you going right home or come to my place. I said well, I think we better go right home. Anyway she recovered from her operation real quick. And then in 1993, I guess I’m probably wrong there, I don’t know. Pause

1993, we were out at the lake there for pancake breakfast. My wife didn’t eat very much and after breakfast, well the Grits said come over to our place. It was a very nice day and we were sitting out the back and (John) Grits was sitting kind of in front of Margaret and I and we were talking and all at once Mr Grits said I think your wife has passed out. Sure enough she had passed out so we laid her down on the ground there then and she was really out and Mrs Grits she phoned for the ambulance from Vanderhoof. They came out probably a little less than a half an hour. Just before they got there well Margaret was coming too. But as quick as they got there they gave her oxygen and she revived pretty quick then. They were around there for awhile and thought they would take her into the Vanderhoof hospital. Margaret said, " No I feel fine now". Well, I said we’d better get up and walk around and see if you are feeling fine. So anyway I took her by the arm and we walked around the lawn two or three times and she said I’m feeling fine I don’t want to go to the Vanderhoof hospital. Anyway I had to sign a release then and we got into Prince George, this was a Sunday and on the Monday I said you’re going to the Doctor this morning.

So we went to the Doctor and I went right into where he was to check her over. Well he tapped her a bit on the back and whatnot, "Oh he says I think you must have ate something that didn’t agree with you. Well you couldn’t say anything. Anyway it was only a week or two later why, we were getting eyes tested and we drove down to the parking lot and we had plenty of time to get to the optometrist. So I said we’ll just walk across the street. We came out of the Bay at that time and we met someone from Cluculz Lake and we stopped and talked to him for awhile. Then we started across the street towards the Bank of Commerce and as we were approaching the sidewalk there why she fell full length on the street. I could hear bones crack. She was knocked right out; anyway I sat down and got her head up on my lap.

A lady came out from the Bank of Commerce and she said, "Do you want the ambulance?"

I said, "By all means and quick."

She came out shortly and said it would be there in five minutes. Well the Search and Rescue truck came; we could hear it coming. All they could do was give her oxygen but it still didn’t revive her. We waited for the ambulance to come and we got word that it wouldn’t be there for a half-hour. We waited the half-hour and then we got word it would be a little longer, and finally three policemen came up with a car and they just walked over and picked her up and she says, "It hurts, it hurts."

They got her into the back seat of the car and there was a third policeman in the car.

I said, "Well I’ll drive my car up to the hospital."

He says, "No you’re not driving, I’ll drive your car up to the hospital."

Anyway we got up there and there wasn’t a nurse out or anything and they were trying to get her out of the car. It just made me sick to see them pulling on her and everything. Anyway they finally got her onto the stretcher there and wheeled her into the hospital. Well, then the nurses took over. They got her undressed and put into bed in the emergency. I had to go to the bathroom and when I came back from the bathroom why she wasn’t there. So I asked the nurse where has Margaret gone, why they took her out for x-rays. Anyway I sat there and waited for them to bring her back and she looked fairly good, but she still didn’t talk. They fixed her all up in bed and then the nurse left her. Well I was sitting there holding her hand and I watched her face and it seemed to get a strain on her face, so I found the nurse. I couldn’t get her right away, but I got a nurse anyway and she came over and she rang a bell. Then there was two or three Doctors came along and nurses too. She had left us, they went to pull the curtain around the bed.

The Doctor said, "Will you sit out on the bench." The doctor then said, "I think you better call your children." So I got on the phone and called them all. They were all there very quickly. When I came back from the phone why she wasn’t in her bed anymore. They had taken her up to ICU, so any way we got up there and they said it would be about twenty minutes before we could see her. They were putting on life support. Life support you don’t talk or anything, anyway it went on for two days, no improvements or anything. The third day I was sitting at her bed and they had taken x-rays of her and the two doctors were reading the x-rays, and they finally stepped over to me and asked would I be in favor of taking the life support away. I said I’d have to see my family.


Gus: Anyway we went out into a private room and I asked each one of my family what they thought and they all agreed. We went back to Margaret again and the nurse came with us and she said I’ll give her a little shot of morphine in case there should be some pain or something. Anyway they pulled the main lifeline out and I watched the monitor and her and the heartbeat was not to bad at first and then it kept getting slower and slower until it was down to the last two beats. Just the last beat why she opened the one eye and looked straight at me. It was a pleasant eye (meaning), everything is going good.

Elaine: She said it’s ok, it’s ok.

Gus: Anyway she was gone then. When she died the doctor asked me to take her to have an autopsy, they wanted to find out what she died of, whether it was the cancer or something else. I said will it help you and he said it could. So I let them do it well they did it four weeks (days) later and then they released her body so we could make arrangements for the funeral. My wife always said she wanted to be cremated so that’s what we decided on. Anyway the funeral was set and it went over very well. About the ministers, our minister wasn’t here so I asked Lance Morgan and he said he would. Lance Morgan and Allan Dawe were very good friends anyway Lance Morgan finally phoned me up and said why don’t you get Allan Dawe up from Vernon. I said yes because Allan Dawe and us were very, very thick anytime we wanted to take a holiday they would go out to the lake and stay at the cabin and it was kind of a holiday for them too.

Elaine: That was kind of nice.

Gus: That went over very well. Anyway the morning of the funeral our own minister came along and he raps at my door about seven o’clock in the morning and he says, "How about the service." "Well," I said, "it’s all been planned and it is out of my hands now. Lance Morgan and Allan Dawe have agreed to do it together and I can’t say anything else." I said, "You can go and talk to Lance Morgan if you want." Anyway he went to talk to Lance Morgan, why Lance Morgan backed out, although his name was on the card and everything. Anyway Allan Dawe and our minister were taking the service then. Well Allan Dawe he knew so much about Margaret he had quite a service. It went over very well.

Elaine: Was the service at Knox United.

Gus: At Knox United Church and it was plumb full right to even in the side it was plumb full, because Margaret belonged to the ladies organizations there and everything so. Pause

Gus: Anyway with that over why in 1994, I did very little driving as I was failing a little bit in driving. In 1995, I gave up driving completely although I have a license for yet another two years.1996, I flew to Victoria for Christmas with my son and great-grandson down there, and grandsons and granddaughters. So we all were together for Christmas there. I enjoyed that very down there. 1996, I flew to Victoria for Christmas with my son and great-grandson down there, and grandsons and granddaughters. So we all were together for Christmas there. much down there. 1997, I didn’t go anywhere nor in 1998. This is about the end of my story. Anyway I’m living in a very pleasant place here, there are fifteen ladies in this place and five men, no three men now. I plan on staying here for the rest of my life. I don’t know how much longer that will be because I’m in not to bad a health. So far I can still walk eight or ten blocks a day. I imagine they’ll carry me out in a box one of these days. I love everybody in the place; and I hope some day (that) I will meet my maker

Interview With Gus Lund    By June Chamberland

June : So your name is Gus Lund?

Gus : Gus Lund, yes.

June : You’re 94?

Gus : 94 years.

June : And you’ve been here since ......

Gus : 1919.

Lenore : Where did your family live? Your mom and dad?

Gus : Before they moved here you mean? Well we lived down on Ross Crescent .

Lenore : Yeah I know.

Gus : Dad moved out to Pineview.

June : Pineview,hey?

Gus : It was just opened up then so we had to cut the road out to it.

June : Whereabouts in Pineview did you live?

Gus : On Lund Road.

June : On Lund road,well that makes sense. They named it after you.

Gus : After my dad ,yes. Boy it was hard sledding there for awhile but there was plenty of moose in the country so we lived off a moose most of the time.

June : Moose

Lenore : I just told her all that....................garden and a lot of berries.

June : So your dad had a quarter section there?

Gus : A quarter section, yes. We cleared sixty acres of that and of course dad was getting ready to retire so he sold the place. He thought I would stay on it but I had different ideas.

June : So did your dad and mother move out to......

Gus : Vancouver.

June : Oh to Vancouver but where did they come from originally?

Gus : Originally?

June : Yes

Gus : Mother came from Stockholm , Sweden , moved to the U.S. and they were there for awhile. I was born in Massachusetts and Dad came from Crabapple Lake in Washington and from there he moved up here, up to Alberta , northern Alberta , 70 miles north of Edmonton and then he come here in 1919. He moved from the place he had there in northern Alberta , Leduc and he had a wonderful farm there. He cameout to Prince George and he says “That’s where we’re moving” so that’s where we are today.

June : So was there...did you.....was there a big family......did your mother and dad....

Gus : There was seven in the family.

June : Seven, hey?

Gus : I had a twin brother.

June : So what was your mother and father’s name?

Gus : Carl Gustav Lund. See my name is Gustav you see .

June : And your mother ?

Gus : Hannah

June : Anna ?

Gus : Hannah.

June : And what were all you kids named?

Gus : My brother was Carl and I had a brother Herb and four sisters - Gertie, Lily, Davita and Doris.

June : Haah, that’s really funny because I got aunts on my grandmother’s side . They were Gertie,Lily and Doris and there was a couple more yet but no Devita.

Gus : Was your dad by any chance born in Norway?

June : In Norway,yeah. My dad and my mother were both born in Norway. My mother was five.I’m a Scandinavian yeah

Gus : Nothing to be ashamed of.

June : No. When I was a kid I wasn’t too proud of . I went to school with all Ukrainian kids . I would’ve  rather be a Ukrainian I think.

Gus : It’s lucky that you got school. I only got four years school.

June : Four years hey6

Gus : That was all and that was spotty too.

Lenora : He worked in the grocery store from the time, how old Gus?

Gus : Seventeen.

Lenora : That was William’s Grocery in town.

Gus : I worked there, maybe six months, and I was made manager.

June : So the schooling there, lack of schooling, didn’t hurt.

Gus : No, it really didn’t. I managed the store for twenty-three years.

June : Yeah, that’s good. So how old were you when you came here?

Gus : Three years old.

June : Three years old hey?

Gus : That was in northern Alberta. I was about fourteen when I came to Prince George.

June : Oh you were fourteen when you came to Prince George. So your dad mostly made a living on farming then.

Gus : Yeah, there was work in the woods too.

June : Lund Road, so I don’t imagine there’s any buildings left there from your time hey?

Gus : The house burnt down that we built but there is a house on the corner of it now but the old barn that we built, part of it is still standing with home-made shakes on the roof yet.

June : I’m going to have to look that one up. Did you know Len Thony at all or John Thony?

Gus : Thony?

June : He lives on Johnson Road , Johnson and Pooley.

Gus : It seems to me I should remember him, yes.

June : Gus Lund - your dad must of knew Albert Huble hey? That’s where I heard that..... Do you know young Al Huble, young Al Huble, he’s 80. Something like that.

Gus : Yes I knew Huble.

June : You probably went out to the Huble farm when you were a young man.

Gus : No, not when I was young, no. I’ve been out there in the last ten years.

June : Because one of the guys that used to go there that was mentioned in his diary was Gus Lund. That’s where I heard that name before. I don’t know. I can look it up because one of the girls from the University made us an index so we can find the names there so ...but that’s so Lund Road hey?

Gus : You know where the Experimental Farm is out there?

June : Yeah.

Gus : We had to put a road straight across that to get to our farm because there was no roads when we went in. So Dad and I, we’d go out from town every day , cut so much, but in the winter time the snow was quite deep too. I can still remember the day we come over the bank and it was our place.

June : You’d cut your road through?

Gus : But in the spring the stumps were cut too high so we had to go all over them again but finally the Government hired Dad to cut the main highway and he cut the highways and then it came time to blow the stumps because there was a lot of stumps on it so Dad taught me how to blow stumps and I blew stumps all summer.

June : That was black powder hey?

Gus : No, no

June : Dynamite?

Gus : Dynamite yes,anyway towards fall the government came out, white-collared fellow. He asked Dad how old I was and Dad said “ Well he’s nineteen” so the man walked right up to me and said “No more blowing stumps “ because you had to be twenty years old to blow stumps.

June : Kind of crazy after blowing them all summer.

Gus : Yes, after blowing them all summer but it come useful learning how to blow stumps.

Lenora : I have a story that I want to tell you about Gus. He was the manager of Williams Store, the clerk, and of course it was one of the biggest stores in Prince George, so we come... we lived out in the country, Chief Lake road. So we came to town and my dad put i n a big order, took out the cash to pay for it and Gus said “No, I don’t want your money”. He said “I’ve got no time to be bothered with it “. He said “You’ll have to charge it like everybody else”.

Gus : I don’t remember that.

Lenora :

Gus : There was an awful lot put on the books. Williams,

June :How long did that Williams store run for?

Gus :1945,46, 46 I guess. I wasn’t there because when the war was over one of the Williams boys decided to come into the store and I told him right away “ We got to be careful how we buy now on account of the war over. Prices will start going down. I said “You can’t make money that way “ but he went over my head so I quit.

June : Oh yeah,going to go to pieces.

Gus : It only lasted about three months after I left.

June : And it went down? He should have listened to you.

Gus : He should have listened. He was put out when I told him I was quitting. He then wouldn’t even talk to me and I was working late one night and he came in again and I said “Mr Williams, I meant what I said” so he walked away from me again. When it came time for me to hand the keys in , there was nobody there.

June : Yeah, he didn’t want you to leave at all?

Gus : No

June : So what did you do after that, after you got out of the store?

Gus : The wife and I took a month’s holiday. Then we came back to see what we were going to do and we walked up Third Avenue and here was a little corner store for sale. My wife and I said to ourselves we could just run that by ourselves, I said. So we bought the stock and the business like but we didn’t buy the buildingthen but shortly after,why the building was up for sale too so I had to borrow the money.

June : But you bought it?

Gus : I bought it and we were in that store ten years and I retired.

June : What store was that?

Gus : The Food Basket over here.

June : On Third?

Gus : Well it’s on 5th and Carney. Watrous

June : Oh is that the one that’s right across from the Kentucky Fried Chicken?

Gus : Yeah, yeah

June : We used to shop there when we lived just on Melville there. We’d go in and pick up the odd thing but I don’t think it’s a store now.

Lenora : It’ s a bike shop.

Gus : There is a grocery store in there.

June : There is hey?

Gus : In the corner of i. We had a big business.

June : Yeah

Gus : Prince George has been very good to me anyway. That’s the m............... When I retired I was only 55. I went into carpentering then. I built houses. Then I started building kitchen cabinets and the city got after me for a license and I said “Nothing doing” so the wife and I left Prince George and I had a cottage out at Cluculz Lake and we went up there and I built a shop out there and I still built kitchen cabinets. Before that I had Lakeside Resort and I ......

June : Oh is that right?

Gus : But that was done in spare time except in summertime . The wife would go out there and stay. I built nine cabins out there.

Lenora : Didn’t you have Lund Road out at Cluculz Lake?

Gus : There is yeah. That road from the main highway in. I built that road. I had to pay for it and everything. The Government got after me. You’ve got to have a road, you’ve got a resort.

June : My daughter lives at Cluculz Lake . That’s where I’m going this afternoon.

Gus : Where does she live?

June : on Guest Road.

Gus : On Guest Road.

June : That’s close to Lund road.

Gus : I used to know everybody out there but I don’t know now.

June : She hasn’t been very long out there.


Visit with Gus Lund and Stories.

Gus told me about the partridges or grouse up in the trees in the morning and in the evening they would fly straight into the soft snow,just dived in , then wiggled around until the only their eyes were showing.

He told me about the time that he and his mother were going with the horses and wagon down the Road and close to the Pooley big barn. They saw a coyote on the road. He had a 22 he was bringing in to his brother but no shells, his brother had the shells. He rummaged around in his pockets and found one twenty-two short shell so he got his mother to hold the reins while he put it in his gun and shot and got the coyote. He didn’t want to take it to town so he threw it in Pooley’s big barn. On the way back they stopped to get it and here it was crawling the walls. It was alive. So now he had no gun so he got a club and managed to club it across the back of the head and killed it. He said that coyote brought him thirteen bucks.

Then he told about a big mound on the land across from their place.It had clay on top and the deers used to lick it, salty I guess. Under the clay was gravel and the Lunds had no gravel at their place so his mother told him “Take a sack and bring home as much gravel as you can carry” So he did and in the fall when the mother killed some chickens andopened up their gizzards there was nuggets in them and I said “Gravel?” and he said “No, gold . It was shiny nuggets” He meant to go back and pan it out but the Highways Dept. Took that gravel and put it on the road so like he said “ That road is made of gold”.

Onetime he was hunting and a deer came along and he shot at it and it took off, went in a circle and came back towards him and fell down dead. He met an Englishman once, a green hunter, who was following deer tracks, Gus was following the same deer and then they met, the Englishman was following the hoofs the wrong way.

Another favorite story is one in which he said his dad asked him ifhe would mow the hay across the creek. This was about 10 acres of hay. So Gus said he would , took the team and mower and started cutting hay, went round and round, he made about four-five rounds when he decided he would stop for a rest. He didn’tknow it but he stopped the horses right on top of a bee’s nest. All of a sudden the horses took off . The tongue got broke on the mower and so Gus was hanging on for dear life. I guess he fell off the mower and was being dragged and the horses headed for the gulley. So Gus let go because he knew he’d get badly hurt. Then he remembered he had put a sort of wire ( or wasit a gate across the bridge he made?) fence across the creek to stop the cows from running away. The horses came to this, and over they jumped with the mower behind them, right through the creek ( did the mower stay in the creek). They just flew over the fence. They got home and there was a tree and one went on each side of the tree and the neck yoke stopped them, broke but stopped them and the horses sort of kissed . Their heads hit each other. After that episode they were very skittery. Gus and his dad were picking up hay and his dad said “ You goup in the hay rack and I’ll heave the hay up to you” but Gus said ‘ No I’ll stay on the ground, you get up in the rack and I’ll throw the hay up to you” so they did that and all of a sudden the horses decided to run and the dad had a hard time stopping them. They had to finally get another horse . They were never any good after the bee nest episode.

He saidhis father was sort of to blame for the horses being wild as he used to whip them to get them across the bridge when the train was coming. One time Gus and his mother were coming to the bridge and here was a train coming. He pulled them up and was scared they would shy but they were okay. They stopped.After that he said he looked after the horses.

When his dad got the land they homesteaded he tramped through the bush from 6-mile hill. Tramped for miles. They were 11 miles from town. Gus said when he had the store, Six-Mile Mary used to come there every day.

Gus was hauling ties from , was it Six Mile, two trips a day 27 miles a day. They had a “rough lock” on the sleighs to hold the sleighs back when going down the big hill. 1921 - shakes ? Gus went? Gus kept bees on Ross Crescent. He got 350 pounds of honey from one hive and won first prize at the Prince George Fair, That was in 1947. He also won second prize in Vernon for his honey. He kept the bees over winter. He had Kootenay frames. The boxes had 4 inch walls and a 4 inch floor and these were filled with shavings - a 4 inch space on all sides except the top over which Margaret had these pillows, and these would be exchanged as bees have lots of moisture and they would get damp. The cushions were on top of a lid. When a new one was put on, you could put your ear to the box and hear them hum with comfort.

During the war Gus was a volunteer in Civil Defence Canada. He was issued a gun,a Lee Enfield, a helmet, shells, and a compass. He had others working under him. It was his job to turn off the street lights should the air raid siren come on. There were not many street lights but each one had a switch on the pole so these would have to be turned off. He had a certificate from 1945.