I don’t remember Grandma talking about the 1918 flu, but if I had I’m sure I never would have thought that wearing masks would have been relevant to my life! What I wouldn’t give to have a nice cool sod covered roof with dandelions on it today to seek shelter in. It’s HOT!!
Our mother had taken a tailoring course when she was a girl and she used to make nearly all our clothes. I remember one Christmas she made us each a beautiful navy blue velvet dress. The neck and sleeves piped with pale blue satin. I also remember white lace stockings I loved, and a white fur muff and cap.
When the 1918 flu epidemic was raging I had to wear a mask when out playing with other kids. My mother fumigated our house every morning by putting sulphur on the stove. We had to get out for an hour or so and it was a very cold winter, but we didn’t catch the flu.
There was a big high board fence around our barn. That corral would hold a couple hundred head of horses I think and often it was full. I liked to sit on the fence and watch them halter-break colts around the _____-foot in the centre.
Burnhams lived down near the race track, where the Burnham-Quigly brickyard once was, and I chummed with Anne and Villa Burnham. They had a lovely cool milk house with a sod roof covered with lush green grass and yellow dandelions. We used to go in there on a hot day and drink buttermilk or fresh milk. Mr Burnham and my dad hayed land opposite Mitford. We loved going out in the hayfield with them.
We milked a cow. I remember her well, she was mostly black with a bit of white and we called her “Sloppire”. Brought her from Bobbie Butler. My mother churned and I used to take a pail of fresh buttermilk over to Minnie Bailey (now she’s Allan). She loved it, and I loved to visit her and her mother “Granny Bailey”, the dearest Scottish lady anyone could ever wish to know. Jean Russel, Grannie’s granddaughter used to spend much of her time with them and she and I have been the closest friends ever since we were five years old. Jack Bailey was the baker in Cochrane and he had a confectionary store and ice cream parlour. Jean and I spent many, many happy hours down in the store with Uncle Jack.
When we moved out of Cochrane (sold our home to Bob Armstead) I at last got a pony of my own. But what a horse! You just couldn’t make him move off a slow walk. We bought him from Mrs Riply(?) who lived up Big Hill Creek. I had to ride him to school but always felt I’d be just as well off walking. Finally my dad got me a lovely little welsh pony called “Polly” and I began to enjoy the ride to and back from school in Cochrane. It was a lovely path I followed down a ravine where once there was stone quarry. Then along the Big Hill Creek. I still think it is one of the most beautiful spots in the country. Jean Russel spent all school holidays with me at our place and sometimes at her home in Didsbury. When at our place we rode over every foot of that Big Hill Creek country. We would pack a frying pan, a tin of beans and some bread and sausage and would build a campfire and cook our lunch up at the Big HIll Springs. How natural and beautiful it was then, with the petrified rock ridge at the head of it. That is all gone now.