happiness

Snow, rain, hail, and sunshine (FGK-84)

This letter from Aunt Ruth has no year on it, and was sitting without an envelope so I am not sure when she sent it. Apparently my grandparents were headed off on a trip of some sort. It’s clearly fall time, but not so dry that they can’t have a big bonfire (gosh it’s dry here now).

Sat Morning

Dear Margie

Well I guess your Mom and Dad will be on their way by this time. I do hope they are having better weather there than us. We had snow, rain and hail and sunshine yesterday – talk about variety. We sure get it, no fooling. It all ended up being a lovely evening and the scouts went up to the very top of the big hill and had a bonfire and wiener roast, it sure looked pretty from down here. I bet you could have seen it too from your windows Margie if they had been facing this way.

Gord is in the scouts now and went proudly off with all with Marshall’s scout suit on, it just fits him perfectly, he is very lucky to get it as they are quite expensive to buy new.

Your Aunt Lottie, Olive and Aileen and myself, Lloyd and Pat of course all went up to Banff to Johnson’s Canyon on Tuesday of this week. The trees are lovely up there now all in their autumn colours but it was rather a chilly day. I seem to be putting so many “sures” in the note this morning, have a one track mind I guess.

How is Janet getting along? Fine I hope, remember me to her Margie.

The school bus does not come in from the north now as well the kids go that school out there, but the Kerfoots and the Curtins still come in from Grand Valley. We have six teachers here, so there are still plenty of teachers and pupils for the size of the school. There was talk of bringing in a class or two of the Indians but it didn’t come to pass so far.

Tomorrow we start Sunday School again, last Sunday was rally day. Mr Thompson spoke very nicely, we do enjoy his sermons so much. Have you got your Sunday school papers from Central Church Margie? It will be nice for you to have them to read every week. We are going to miss Marilyn as she played the piano in Sunday School all the time. Maybe Donna Desjardins will play for us now.

We were in the drug store last night and I picked up these little toys as I thought you might have a little fun fooling the folks with the kitty’s meow, they would not know where it comes from. And the other thing reminded me of someone getting their exercises, it wouldn’t be you would it?

So bye for now Margie and when you get time and feel like it drop me a line. I do enjoy hearing from you but feel you have so many to write to that I don’t mind if you miss me.

Love Aunt Ruth

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Gee I’m mad! I’m boiling! (FGK 82)

Auntie Sheila’s letters are some of my favourite – she is so open and honest in them. I really appreciate how vulnerable and real she is when she writes. Because of that I’ve chosen not to post some of them, they are clearly private conversations happening between sisters but it has given me a lot of insight into who she was and what a really loving and remarkable lady she was.

Based on this letter I’m also understanding how it is that she received that award that Grandma spoke of in her autobiography. You can tell she takes her schooling seriously, it seems all she does is study – well and perhaps buy shoes. I can relate to the shoe purchases much more than the studying although I’ve spent the last couple of years studying more than I ever have before.

Nurse’s Residence

CGH Calgary

21 Aug 1956

Dear Marg

Well I bet you thought I’d forgotten you, hey! I’ve been meaning to get up every night this week but never quite made it.

Gee I’m mad!! I’m boiling!! We have to stay in here and study all day from 8am to 3:30pm! On a beautiful day like this! We’re supposed to be supervised but nobody is supervising us and everybody’s talking like mad. It’s just a waste of time.

Oh by the way I hear you went on a big date last night or rather you were supposed to go. Was the show – good?

Marg and I went to see the “High and Mighty” last night, sure was good. There was a big banquet and dance at Penley’s thurs night that all the kids went to except me. Maurice “had to study” so-o-o Kathy said I could go with a friend of one of her boyfriends but I didn’t like her boyfriend so-o-o. I stayed home and studied. Guess it was pretty good. I phoned home Wednesday. Well they didn’t have any news so I stayed in and studied some more, about a quarter to ten Maurice phoned and we went out until ten thirty. He was up to the library at tech all night.

Went over to the Macmillan’s for supper on Tuesday night. Uncle Frank and Aunt Georgie picked me up half way there- I was walking. Apparently ______ and Ken are staying in town for a few days. Marilyn and I drove all over town looking for _____ for canning. She’s buying them second hand. I guess she’s getting married at the end of October this time. Honestly that girl. She’s got more ______(I really wish I could make out this word lol).

Went to a baseball game between the Holy and us on Monday. We lost 18-11 but later we won two games so now we’ve got the cup.

Well I must start studying. I think I’ll get a pair of shoes before I go home. Am going on the bus.

See ya next week maybe

Love

Sheila

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Nosy Old Women (FGK 81)

This letter was written by my great aunt, who was the mother of twins. A while ago I mentioned a story in our family history book where the mom would lasso one of the twins to a fence so the other would play close by- this was that mom. Imaging trying to do that now? Back then it was probably the safest way she could watch her kids and also get her work done. The life of a mom, always trying to find balance between chores/work and kids. I guess according to this I also am a bad scholar, exams send my anxiety through the roof (and I honestly don’t think they should be the only way that students prove what they have learned).

(Postmarked December 12, 1952)

RR2

Calgary

Wednesday

Dear Margie

Here I am at last. I have sure been slipping up and down- say it anyway you like it feels anyway.

I hear you are getting along quite nicely which I am very glad to hear.

I saw your mother at Uncle Clarence’s Monday night, there was a Stockman’s meeting and you know we nosy old women – we had to trot along too.

Harvey had a hockey practice Tuesday nite and he is going to another this Friday nite and then he will know if he is on the team for the winter. He says his name is – it should be Wills, Callen or Longeway and then it would be easy sliding for him. I don’t think that I would like any of those names, the one I got sounds better, how about you?

Clarence is busy on his exams this week. He says that they haven’t changed since he last wrote and that he doesn’t like them any better so I’m afraid he will make a poor scholar.

Harvey is busy hauling grain to town, he makes two trips a day, so he is kind of tired at nite and likes to lay down and sleep.

Harry was here today, he was going to work on the garage and put in another door for us, so I also got him to put up boards for my drapes, believe it or not I have my drapes now. I sure have to get that room painted – the curtains sure show it up. But not till spring I guess. Everyone is too busy now and after Christmas it will be too cold, so I’ll wait.

Well Margie, keep the good work up and I’ll try to write a little quicker next time.

Love

Auntie Marg

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That brother of yours keeps growing (FGK-58)

When we were kids, my sister and I used to measure long distances by height of family members. For example, we estimated that Scott Lake would be 10 Uncle Harveys deep. Or a large tree would be 4 Uncle Marshalls tall. Although I would be considered “regular” height in most places, and actually was “tall” when we lived in Virginia, I am short short short here.

I’d like to take a moment to honour Father’s Day. For some this is a day to celebrate, for others it can be a day of quiet reflection. Today I’d like to honour my cousins who lost their dad yesterday, and my aunt who lost her beloved spouse. Uncle Jim was a wonderful man and a fantastic uncle with the best sense of humour and he will be deeply missed by us all. Some of my happiest memories are of times when I would get to fly out to Ontario and spend time at their farm. I am sending you guys all my love and my deepest condolences.

I was happy to pull out one of Mrs. Barkley’s letters today. It’s been a while since I’ve found one, and her letters always make me feel like I’m having a cup of tea (with a proper cup and saucer) and a cookie – or even better a scone and jam!

RR2

Calgary, Alta

Dear Margie

We were so pleased to hear of you being on your feet Margie and I’m sure it gave you a good deal of satisfaction.

Sheila was in fine spirits Friday nite. I told her she really brought good news that night. That brother of yours sure keeps growing.

Had quite a lazy day here today. This hay crew worked until nine thirty last night so everyone was glad of a Sunday. They even had me out last week for a few hours for a few days. we had an odd specimen of boyhood here for a few days so he quit, but seem to have a good one now that Gerald got for us down near the city.

Did you listen to Mr Link from New York this morning? We listened to most of his broadcast last year when he was here. Sometimes felt last hear as tho maybe his wife’s writing influenced him some or maybe she put his ideas down on paper.

Mr. Barkley has retired so I guess I better too-

Good luck and best wishes

The Barkleys

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Time Waits For No Man (FGK-42)

My memories of Aunt Agnes and Uncle Harry are all good ones. Of course, Uncle Harry built the grandfather clock that sits in our living room, and there are several other ones in the community he built as well. Aunt Agnes painted the fences surrounding their yard in beautiful landscapes, and always seemed to have a bright warm smile whenever I saw her.

I only remember going to their place one time, Grandma brought me and I think I drove Grandma about crazy by the time she was ready to leave because I was so fascinated with their place and couldn’t keep my hands in my pockets. Not only did I have to spend much longer than was necessary looking at all the paintings on the fence, but when we got inside there were so many interesting little things in the house, including clock pieces and art supplies, that I could barely control myself. I just remember sitting in a chair, under the stern gaze of Grandma, itching to jump up and touch everything.

I had no idea Aunt Agnes was a writer as well as an artist, reading her short story here makes me wish she’d made it a longer story. I was captivated.

RR2 Calgary Alberta

Wednesday

Dear Margy

Hi, how are you doing? You didn’t get stuck in the honey jar I hope!

We were walking down the street one day. Harry was puffing and steaming and said, “By gosh, I wish it would snow.’ The sweat was just rolling off him. He had expected it to turn winter and had just put on his red flannels that morning.

No fooling, the weather is grand. I am taking full advantage of it too. Doing a lot of gadding about so that when winter comes I’ll be satisfied to stay at home.

I am sending you a short story. I have a longer one to send you when I get it whipped into shape. I had to re-write it, but I think eventually it will be pretty good. This one I am sending hasn’t been criticized yet.

I am very busy painting and writing. I don’t want to give up either. Although I know I should. I suppose I will settle for one of the other eventually. But right now I can’t choose between them.

I finally broke down and got myself a typewriter. David, Lawrence, and Mary are thrilled to death with it. They hang over my shoulder and ask questions and bother the life out of me! Lawrence especially, is simply dying to get his fingers on it. But I don’t know if I can let the kids play with it or not. Of course I’d feel like a stinker not letting Lawrence try it out once in a while.

My little grandson is a cute little feller. I’d like to take him home with me. Just a little doll. I think he’s going to have brown eyes.

I painted Harry’s portrait on Sunday. I don’t think he was too flattered!

Well the children are coming home from school so I must get at the cinnamon toast. Never saw such creatures for cinnamon toast. I could make a stack four feet tall and it would last no more than two minutes.

Luff and best wishes

Agnes

Time Waits For No Man

The last few days had brought a different feeling to the weather. The crows were holding meetings in great flocks and an occasional vee of geese honked southward.

Daniel looked anxiously at his ten acre field of barley, standing tall and golden. Waiting for the whirl of the combine. Tomorrow they would finish his father’s field. The day after was Sunday and Daniel knew his father would not work on the Sabbath. A deep resentment welled up in him.

That evening he said to his mother, “If I lose that field of barley, that registered seed barley, I will leave home. It has been ready for five days but as always the old man has to get all his crop safe in the bin first.”

His mother sighed. There was always strife between the father and this youngest son. Both were headstrong and wanting their own way. The boy always having to give into his father’s superior wisdom.

At the evening meal on the following day Daniel broke the silence. “We should work tomorrow,” he said. “The weather will break any day now. I do not want to lose my crop.”

His father laid down his knife and fork. “Six days shalt thou labour,” he said. “And the seventh rest.”

“We can rest after the field is cut.” Daniel argued. “We can sit on our backsides all winter.”

“Honour the Sabbath and keep it Holy,’ the old man quoted self-righteously.

Daniel insisted, “I see nothing Holy in waiting for the frost to kill my barely. I see nothing wrong with saving my crop on the Sabbath.”

“Let us hear no more about desecrating the Lord’s day,” exclaimed the old man defiantly. “the youth of today are indeed an ungodly lot.”

Daniel pushed back his chair, leaving his meal unfinished. “If the snow falls on my crop, or if the frost kills it, you have seen the last of me.” At the door he turned. “Time waits for no man.” He said.

The old man scowled and looked across at his wife. “This unruliness among the young folk comes from the softness of today’s living. The unholy picture houses you allow him to fritter away money on, against my wishes. The colleges where they apparently spend more time and thought on Atheism than the Word of God.”

Looking over at his eldest son he went on, “Thomas here, never went to college, nor does he to my knowledge squander any money on the pleasure dens of the town.”

Thomas kept his eyes on his plate. He burned inwardly at his father’s words. No, he thought to himself, his heart in his shoes, I am too big a coward to go against them. All my life I have bowed to his wishes. Now I seem to have no will left of my own. It will seve the old man right if Daniel leaves.

On Sunday morning it turned cold. The crows screamed it was time to go. The geese passed over in greater numbers and its increased urgency.

Daniel sat morose through the morning meal. Having finished, he rose abruptly and without waiting for family prayers he left the house. His mother watched him go. A mixture of pain and sympathy in her heart. She knew so well how he felt, being very close to this youngest son. She brooded relentlessly throughout the day until she heard him come in and go up to bed after the others.

On Monday morning a thick blanket of snow covered the fields. At the breakfast table no one spoke. From time to time the Mother glanced anxiously at Daniel who though silent, ate his meal as usual.

When he had finished he went up to his room. They could hear him moving about. So, his mother thought, he is going. Well, I cannot blame him. He set such great store on the barely, to have money of his own for college this winter.

She went up to his room. He was dressed in his best trousers and windbreaker. His bag was on the bed, packed.

She went to him and he put his arms around her, holding her close. She rested her forehead on his shoulder and struggled against tears. He voice choking she said, “You will write?” And he answered, choking a little also. “Yes mother, as soon as I am settled I will write.”

He smoothed her hair a moment, then losing her, picked up his bag and was gone from the house.

She stood at the window watching as he went down the road. When he was gone from her sight, she turned and walked heavily down the stairs thinking as she went, He is right, Time waits for no man.

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Cochrane News on a Rainy Day (FGK-36)

It seems like it’s always raining when people are writing mom, and I suppose given that most of her family ranched there would likely have been more downtime on rainy days to write letters. This letter must have been written in the spring if there are talk of crocuses. I had to do a double take at Aunt Ruth mentioning there were “only” 30 little kids to look after in Sunday School – it seems like plenty to me!!

(1953)

Dear Margie:

I’m sorry I have been so long getting a letter off to you. I really don’t know where the time goes to. It’s pouring outside today, Gordie was going to pick you some crocuses but they are all under water I guess. I was sure glad to get your nice card Margie and to know you are doing so well now.

Mrs. Boothby was over the other day and told me the Sunday School was going to send your papers into you so I won’t bother anymore, not that it was any bother but there is no sense in sending two lots in to you. We have quite a time in Sunday school. I go in and help with the little ones – only about 30 of them and quite a handful but they sure are cute, some of them anyway.

We just got the scoop today so I stuck it in this letter. There doesn’t seem to be much news in Cochrane these days. The curling rink is to be torn down, in fact is torn down now and I believe they plan on building a new one on that lot next to the United Church between it and Rabiys (?).

Everyone is burning their yards now I sure like the smell of it. In the spring they had quite a fire up near your Uncle Claude’s but it will look a lot better later on I suppose.

Mrs. Curly Rowan had a fire out at their place a while back and she sure was scared. It nearly took their buildings but the wind was in the other direction and that’s all that saved it.

Well Margie, I just go now and get some supper for the hungry men.

Lots of love

Aunt Ruth

__

(this is a single page, looks to be part of a different letter from Aunt Ruth, it hasn’t been folded so it wasn’t mailed like the others, no idea the date)

Monday afternoon

Hello Margie

How are you today? Fine I hope. I have just finished ironing so thought I”d parcel up the Star for you. Oh oh, here’s Jordon home form school he has just got a bunch of stamps from the States so he and Ronnie are busy picking out the ones they want and are sending the rest back. Quite the business. He went to a bingo for the skating rink the other night and came home with these prizes. A feltwork set, salt and peppers, and a lazy daisy tray. Was he ever excited.

There was a dance and supper at the Nag Way on the road to Calgary and the Light Horse Association were all there. Here are a couple of pictures that were in the herald (unfortunately they weren’t with this letter but perhaps they’ll show up). It was a send off for Marion Boothby and Edith Edge. Maybe you can pick out some of the people in it!

Well Margie dear, I must go now and get some supper started so bye for now.

Love Aunt Ruth

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How to Kill a Skunk and Other Animal Stories (FGK 32)

There are many things I love about this letter. Mom was in a wheelchair and able to be out of bed!! She’d been in hospital almost 2 years by this time. I bet she loved the freedom of being able to move herself around! The young boy they had staying with them would have been the same age as mom, and I don’t know where he was from or who he was, but how kind of Aunt Annie to stop whatever she was doing and play with him in order to make him feel more comfortable. Small acts of kindness go a long ways.

When I was a kid, mom used to read Old Mother West Wind to my sister and I, as I did with my own kids when they were little. Aunt Annie gives a more graphic “from the farmer’s view” version of stories much similar to those. I can imagine Mr. Skunk had quite a time gorging on eggs before he finally met his demise. Out here there’s a man who can’t smell the stink of a skunk and he’s been called by various community members to help deal with a skunk who has made himself at home where he shouldn’t. Unfortunately, this man’s wife CAN smell skunk, so I’d imagine he’s not too popular when he returns home!!

RR No 1, De Winston, Alta,

4th July, 1953

My dear Margie,

I thought I would just sit down tonight and drop you a few lines. I was so pleased to get your nice card and to know that you enjoyed the box of what nots that I sent in.

Your mother had told me about you manipulating the wheelchair around. good for you. I bet you will have lots of fun getting about in that. Can you go visiting the other patients? I guess you would have lots of places to go in that beautiful big building.

We have been having a terrible year of it. We didn’t get very much of our crop in and what we have in is just being hailed.

July 5 – I had a little interruption while writing your letter. We have a young boy, thirteen years old, staying with us now. He seemed rather lost so I suggested a game of rummy. so we had a game and he beat me too.

As I was saying earlier in my letter, we got considerable hail last night. It smashed my poor flowers down most pitifully. However, I am still hoping I’ll be able to take you some Dahlias later on. It’s been so wet and cold that everything down here looks as if it’s a whole month behind schedule. I don’t suppose the snow when it comes will be “behind schedule”.

Our poor old duck has laid all spring and sat twice. Each time she sat the old skunk came along and helped himself to the eggs. I don’t know whether she’ll try again as it’s getting rather late. She had fifteen eggs in the first nest. I didn’t find the second nest but the skunk did as she is up and about again. However this morning Uncle Ed had Mr. Skunk in a trap. We had a lot of fun over him. Uncle Ed said he could kill him without him leaving any smell. I didn’t believe it possible. He said he would put a wire on a long pole and slip it over his head and choke him. Well everything went fine until the wire broke. However he finished off the sunk by drowning him and he didn’t smell very much either so I guess we had to admit that he knew the best way to kill off a skunk. Tippy took good care not to get too close as he had tangled one time earlier in the year. He surely did look disgusted. He came and sat by me and left Uncle Ed to hunt the skunks by himself. I didn’t appreciate him sitting by me very much either.

We have two pea-hens sitting this year. I was surely glad the skunk didn’t find their nests. They come every day to the door to be fed bread. They make quite a clatter too just to make sure i know they are all there. I have three that we raised last year and they surely are all in the dog house. They went to the garden one day and ate up the cabbage and cauliflower. It’s the first time they ever did anything like that. I think they found time on their hands and just decided to get into mischief and they did. I was really muttering to myself and out loud too when I saw what they had done.

Clarence has been sick again last week but he is better today. He is running around all over the place now. He followed his Dad down the road the other day. I saw him disappearing around the corner and had to chase after him. Tippy was with him but he wasn’t trying to bring him home at all, but just going away with him.

Well Margie, my dear, I guess I had better stop my chatter and close for this time. You’ll be hearing from me again soon.

Love from us all

Aunt Annie

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A Day in the Life at the JR Red Cross Hospital (FGK-31)

This letter was written by four of mom’s friends in Ward 13 at the Jr. Red Cross Hospital. Mom must have been home for a visit – by this time she’d have been in the hospital for a little over a year. This letter makes me both happy and sad. I’m happy that these kids seemed to have a genuine friendship with each other which must have helped immensely, I’m sad because there were so many children in that hospital isolated from their friends and family.

I appreciate this letter immensely because I feel like it provides me with better insight as to what mom’s daily life was like in those years. As I’ve been studying for my Masters in Counselling Psychology the last year and a half or so, I have a much better understanding of the effects of trauma and it must have been incredibly difficult for these children, as well as their families. The constant outpouring of love Mom received from her family and community surely must have helped balance out some of the trauma, but with no psychological help available it was a lot to overcome.

My mom’s inner strength and will to live continues to amaze and impress me. The same goes for these other children.

Jr. RC Hospital

Nov 18,/52

Dear Margie

We promised we’d write to you so here goes. There hasn’t been anything very exciting happening around here to tell you the truth.

I got my packs discontinued at night a week ago (about time eh!) at eleven and from tonight on I get them off at nine. I have also been walking at the tank of course. Miss Mason says I’m still to weak to walk all the time. Boy it sure felt good to have your feet on the floor once again.

How are you getting along? Fine I sure hope, we sure miss you here but I’ll bet you’re having a good time at home. We sure get into trouble, the other day we just couldn’t wake up in the morning and Mrs. Hope came in and said if we couldn’t wake up for our breakfast we couldn’t have a nurse in the wards, baths, or anything so we all stayed wake this morning.

The boys have sure been bad lately, they were throwing hard boiled eggs around last night. Alfred broke the Polio power jar, by throwing it at the wall. They are sure good to us, they send us candy quite often etc.

Clifford got his packs discontinued, it shouldn’t be too long before he can go home.

Laurie also got her shoulder pack off.

Gwen has a new Physio now, Miss Olson. Mis Evoy is finished. Gwen said to tell you she sure likes it by the window.

Rose goes to the schoolroom in the wheelchair now, she’s sure proud of herself. She and Dale fight over the wheelchair.

Mrs. Smith the night nurse is sick with Polio. Poor old Mrs Boyce was on along for three nights. (Boo!hoo!)

Remember Miss Fairly, we had her bring us milkshakes on Sunday, were they ever good.

They showed us a picture last night about the Post Office, concerning the guides, Scouts etc.

Miss Durand just came in to say “good-bye” – she’s leaving to get married on Sat.

Gerald Nickle went home since you left.

Dorthy Fawkes is getting along real well, she’s out of the respiration for good. Gwen thinks she may be coming over here, she’s not sure.

We are all looking forward to Christmas, seeing we are going to spend it in here. Do you think you will be home for Christmas?

We sure have a lot of fun but Mrs. Baker is sure getting strict.

We have a promise for this ward, ‘Be Prepared For Anything” How true, eh?

Gwen said to say that Mrs Boyce is still as noisy as ever.

Mrs Baker, Mrs Haworth, Mrs Moulton, and Miss Steiner are all on 3-1/right now.

Right now Rose is in the boys room as usual, talking to Willard and Alfred.

The blind fell down again, only this time it fell on me, my leg is sure sore today.

Well, I guess we’d better close for now as it is about time to go to bed, and we want to send this with Mrs Moulton.

Love and Best Wishes

Marguerite Robinson

Rose Lamothe

Gwen Fawkes

Laurie Snyder

PS (with an arrow drawn upon to Rose being in the boy’s ward) Don’t believe her Marg. Rose

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Coronation, creek crossings, and branding (FGK-30)

Mrs. Barkley is quickly becoming one of my favourite writers. I really wish I’d known her, and not just because of her wonderful handwriting (she and Lawrence have among the prettiest and easiest to read). She tells stories so well, and just sounds like she’d be a really nice person to be around.

I have questions about this letter, and a few thoughts. First off, I never really considered the fact that mom was in there without TV. I mean, it makes sense, and it explains why she knew the number of dots on the tiles of her ceiling. How did my uncle get out of exams? This is a trick I would have liked to have known. Why did she take off (and from where) and leave Grandma and Winnie behind? And I want to hear more about the creek crossing episodes. I hope for her family she wrote some of her history- like I said, I love reading her stories.

30 days of letters and I’m not even 1/4 of the way through the letters. I am loving every minute of this, the best part of my day is reaching my hand in the bin and seeing what letter I’ll pull out for the day. I’m so thankful these letters found their way to me.

June 22, 1953

Dear Margie,

Now, I’m not really so optimistic as I was the first of the month. Quite resigned to the fact, it can rain anytime! Not happy about it and the cold air isn’t a bit funny.

Did you listen to all of the Coronation on the radio? Certainly a number of solemn oaths for one individual to make, don’t you think? I wonder if she maybe felt a little depressed? It must have been an unforgettable sight to see. It will be wonderful when you can have television in there. I really think one would be wise to wait now until they sell the coloured sets.

We hope to go to Percy Copithorne’s tomorrow to brand. I suppose that makes you feel like birking the blankets from here to there. Bernard was telling us when they were riding the wagon across the creek today the riders were up close and of course the horses were splashing water on them so Louis picked up a pail off the wagon, reached down and filled it with water and threw it back on the riders.

She writes birking, and that’s not a word – it’s running at the edges of my brain, but won’t let me access it. Probably what happened to her too lol. Anyway, the meaning is clear. Mom would have wanted to be home branding instead of in the hospital.

Up at Bragg Creek, Bruce’s (?) horse fell in the creek so he got properly soaked, Clarence C’s horse fell but Clarence missed getting wet.

The bridge from Midnapore is to be moved this winter to the Elbow up south of Barnes or thereabouts so if this Monsoon season is not on again next year we’ll be having a picnic. We done that one other year and it happened to be a lovely day. Irene and Kay were along that time. I suppose your Mother told you I just drove off without her and Winnie last Thursday.

Are you doing school work yet? Do you find your school work any easier since you have done so much reading?

Wasn’t Marshall a smart one to get home without writing exams?

I hear my men coming in so guess they have the tractor all bedded down for the nite.

Best Wishes

the Barkleys

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Christmas Party Drama (FGK-29)

I recall hearing stories from community members of Mom’s generation about what a big deal their Christmas Concert was. If I remember correctly, there was a lot of excitement a couple of weeks before they were set to put it on as they all got to go to the Hall to practice instead of having to do school work. As a child, I loved having to go and “preform for my present” at the Hall Christmas party (especially the year I played Mary and just had to sit there rocking the baby Jesus while my cousins had to sing and do all the work), and it’s been revived in recent years by the Hall board (which I am fortunate enough to be on, but take no responsibility for being the brain child of) as a potluck and Christmas Carol party with Santa as the Grande Finale.

Box 58

Cochrane, Alberta

Nov 14, 1953

Dear Margie,

Well, I suppose it’s about time I returned your letter! Gosh I just don’t get around to writing letters!

I have quite a bit of news that won’t make you overjoyed. The usual Jumping Pound Christmas Show will be a thing of the past. A little school party will take its place. Darn! That’s where we really miss you, Margie. The main reason is that there aren’t enough large pupils to carry on a real show. A thing we have always done in yesteryear. However I believe that one big reason is that Mr. O’Brien is tired of putting on such a big show. He claims that he will do all in his power for a concert if people want it, but I notice he has tried with success to kill the spirit. I guess it’s best though because if we put on a poor job this year from lack of talent it would sure wreck our reputation.

How is your school work? I’m finding that I’ve really got my hands full. I have finished my first unit in Science and am finishing up my Social unit now but I am badly behind in Math and I am on about page 110. I’m behind in that too!

We have some baby kittens at our place. They arrived a few weeks ago. Dave and Mary say that they are big enough to purr. However I have not heard them.

Gee! It’s about winter isn’t it? There isn’t any snow or ice around here yet. I guess it won’t be long before there is though and it will be time for toboggans and skates.

I’m running a little low on news. Reckon I’ll have to go.

Wishin’ you health and wealth

Lawrence

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