I remember Grandma being paranoid about the creek. My earliest childhood memories include lectures about staying away from the creek and how children would die, DIE, if they went down there alone. Of course this meant that I spent countless hours down at the creek by myself as a kid poking through things and throwing rocks into the water. In fact, we came back to visit the summer my daughter was nine and I’d left her with my mom while I was off doing something else. Both mom and I had thoroughly lectured her about the dangers of the creek (and it was in flood when we were there), but genetics can be something powerful. Mom hadn’t even noticed the girl was missing before the neighbour (the same one who used to pull me out of the creek when I was down there doing stupid things) arrived with my girl and said “I found her staring at the creek. This HAS to be Melissa’s girl”. And the obsession with the creek has continued.
As I said before, money was scarce and there was no hope of making our tiny kitchen larger. I loved my little kitchen when there were only the three of us, but that winter trying to crowd four and sometimes six more people around our little table and then squeeze between it and the stove was just impossible. I must admit we were a jolly crew and had many hearty laughs and jokes about it all. That winter was a long one. Marshall was born in March and about that time, Percy brought his cows home from Olds. He bought some of their hay they had for sale and when he got it home the cattle wouldn’t eat it. It was slough hay they had cut on top of the ice and it didn’t even make good bedding. When driving them home from the stockyards in Cochrane, one old cow just played out about four miles south of Cochrane, so he had to leave her there as it was getting late. Next morning she was standing at the gate at the home corral.
Fortunately Marshall was a healthy, happy baby because I was too busy to fuss much. I remember very foolishly ironing diapers for Sheila and everything had to be just so, but not so with Marshall. We baked eight or 10 loaves of bread every other day – set it to rise overnight. I used those hard Royal yeast cakes. I even made my own soap for a while. There was so much fat after butchering and I had a good soap recipe. Poor Sheila must have been a bit neglected then too because once when she was only two years old she was playing around the yard while I was churning in the basement. She tried to look through the window and both she and the window crashed to the cement floor. It was a long fall. Fortunately, she was not cut by glass but did bite her tongue and lip badly.
Shortly after that, Mr. Coppock Sr persuaded Percy to take trainloads of cattle with him to Minneapolis thinking prices were better there. I was washing clothes and Sheila was out in the yard pulling a little toy in the snow. Marshall was sleeping in his buggy. When I went to check on Sheila she was gone. I searched frantically everywhere, even went down to the creek and looked for her tracks around the water holes in the ice. Finally I roused the neighbours and four or five men went out on horseback looking for her. Jack Copithorne found her. There was a heavy bush in the filed northeast of the hall at that time and he found the little pull toy on the road by the hall. Then he heard the little spaniel dog barking to answer his call and the dog stayed with Sheila leading him to the centre of the bush were she was. I nearly collapsed.