I am so sad – this is the end of Grandma’s Story. But I’ve still got a few things to post, and a basement full of unexplored treasure. I love Auntie Sheila’s essay so much. I remember being told that if I ever opened the doors into the Hotel I would essentially be opening the doors straight into hell. So I didn’t until I was in my early 20s. Very disappointing – nothing hell like at all about the place. Back then it was just an old bar with vinyl chairs. Now it’s all fancied up and looks really quite amazing.
I can’t help but think I neglected my family in the years from 1952 to 1958 as I devoted so much time and energy to Margi. Sheila and Marshall were wonderfully loyal to my cause, and of course Percy was the powerhouse behind it all. Without him we certainly would be a sorry lot.
Training for your RN is definitely not the easiest career to choose and with all the tension there was in our home at that home I often wonder how Sheila ever made it. But she is made of good stuff and they tell me she’s a good nurse. The Student’s Association of the Calgary General Hospital presented ten gold pins to student nurses in recognition of outstanding student activities, such as sick and visiting committees and in the Effective Speaking Club. Out of her class of 76 students, Sheila received this gold pin as well as nine classmates. We were very proud of her when she graduated with her RN in October 1956. She then nursed in the Vulcan Hospital, being a country girl at heart. She met and later married Ted Burger of Arrowwood in 1957 and has lived on a grain farm in that district ever since. One fall I had to be in Florida with Margi just at threshing time and Sheila took time out from her nurses training and came out and cooked for all that gang. Her friend Lois Toone came and helped on her days free from nursing school. They did a splendid job of cooking and had fun doing it. Sheila’s letter to me describing it provided many a laugh. Here is an essay Sheila wrote when in our little JP School, it describes our hay crew so well.
An Essay by Sheila Copithorne when a student in our little one-room school in Jumping Pound
A Saturday Night in Cochrane
At six o’clock every Saturday night in the summer, the hay crew comes in raring to go for the big night. Some take their every Saturday night bath and some take their every-other Saturday night bath in the creek. After supper is gulped down and each one gets his week’s wages, then spruces up to his own taste – which may or may not be considered well-dressed, his into a ….. a (ahem) – car and heads to Cochrane (twenty two miles west of Calgary in case one is so ignorant as not to know).
After a hair-raising ride, all arrive safely on the Main Street of Cochrane and by some fancy maneuvering, finally got parked fairly close to the Hotel. Scrambling out of the car they make a mad dash to the …… barbershop. Leaving seventy-five cents and a week or two week’s growth of hair there, they rush to the …… drugstore. Leaving two or three bucks there, they walk up and down the street looking for some pals. Failing to find them, they start out for Klassen’s hardware store. At least that’s where they say they’re going.
By this time the town is filling up with hay crews and drillers and city slickers from Calgary. Big people with big hats, small people with small hats, small people with big hats,and big people with small hats. Indians and whites alike are in for their week’s supply of food, clothing, etc. Some are standing on the corners or leaning against cars or buildings talking about the weather, crops, cars, horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, recipes, etc. Everybody appears to be happy and talking to beat sixty. The stores are buzzing with activity, not another car could inch in on both sides of the street and down the middle a steady stream of traffic is moving both ways.
But what happened to our hay crew? Oh! They are stepping upon the curb of the Hotel. They were going to the hardware store weren’t they? Hey! Wait!! They’re going in the wrong door. They went to the west door on the south side of the Hotel. There’s a sign “licensed” over the door. It seems as if they have met somebody they know- and it looks as if they’ll be there until ten o’clock too.
Much as Marshall hated every aspect of school, he always managed to pass his grade quite well every year. He graduated from Mount Royal with a diploma and had six water pistols proving it wasn’t all hard work. Then we persuaded him to attend the Olds School of Agriculture. I wanted him to go to University but I was out-voted, both Percy and Marshall wouldn’t have it. He insisted on the two in one year course and gained a lot from this training and made many life-long friends. I still use a very nice cupboard of nightstand he made while there.
We, the unwilling,
Led by the unknowing
Are doing the impossible
For the ungrateful.
We have done so much
For so long
With so little
That we are now qualified
To do anything with nothing.