happiness

Next month I’m going to do everything I didn’t do this month (FGK 233)

March 24

Dear Margie

Do hope you are all over those measly-measles. Your Mother said Sunday nite she hoped to see you today. Glad to hear you had enjoyed the baskets. They are supposed to have Maple Syrup over the Ice Cream.

Do you get tired of winter in there? We do – guess we’ll have to move South.

Nothing new or exciting here. Next month I’m going to do everything I didn’t do this month – I hope!

Glad to hear you are doing so well with your school work!

Best Wishes

The Barkleys

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Free stamps (FGK 231)

Pincher Creek, Alberta

March 16, 1954

Dear Margie,

Well, how are the measles? Sure hope they’re better. I’m writing this to send to you from out-patients on Friday. I think Verna has one for Maryanne too. I might get generous and try to find time to write her one too. It must be pretty bad for her to be having to face another operation after all she’s gone through. I just was talking to Mrs Burns on the phone and heard all the latest RCH news.

I came home last night with Charlotte’s family. They were all down to the dentist so I came back to get ready for Friday and have a visit with the folks before I took off. I’ve worked on my studies all day. What a life!

Well, here I am trying to write in the car, and consequently, look at my writing. I was going to bring you up a parcel but I think I forgot and left it on the dining room table at home. If I don’t find it in my suitcase, I’ll mail it up promptly! Enough of this, I’m getting a headache. Miss you, hope you can decipher this scrawl

Bye for now,

All my love, Janet

Enclosed

I thought you might like to collect a few more stamps and this one’s not a bad offer considering it’s free. With the free stamps they’ll send you some other ones that you might want to buy. Try it anyway. My tamp collecting cousins sent away for it and seemed to think they were alright, although nothing special.

Bye for now,

Love Janet

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I sure find it hard to keep up with the work and to gab too (FGK 230)

I find it hilarious to read Grandma’s description of her experience at the Glen Miller concert considering one of my favourite stories to tell is how I was constantly (or so it seemed) forced to sit with Grandma and watch the Lawrence Welk show as a child. What the blaring horns were to her the accordions were to me haha. Fortunately I have only made my children listen to 80s music so I’ve prevented them from the same sort of emotional scarring.

RR2 Calgary, Alberta

March 20th 1954

Dear Margie

I hoe I don’t leave any cold-germs in this letter, I’ve had a horrid cold these last few days. Bet you enjoyed Mrs Barkley’s gift and the flowers Clarence sent. I’ll try and thank them soon. Dad has been curling every night and going to town every day and I’ve been trying to keep up with him. Guess I should’ve but the house is so empty and lonely now I hate to stay home. We all miss you so terribly, Sheila and Marshall feel as Dad and I do, you can see it when they come home. It will be a happy day when you are all home together again.

I am going in for Sheila now, she gets tonight and tomorrow off. Uncle Frank called in for tea this morning, he wanted to see Dad’s Bulls. I didn’t get the floor done until just now, I sure find it hard to keep up with the work and to gab too. Mrs Dunne surely is lonely. She was so kind the other day, wish we could do something for her.

I hope they let us see you tomorrow, I’ll ask today. Get one of the nurses to phone if you want anything. I bought a white midday that was on sale at the Bay and I’ll send in this old red skirt of Sheila’s if you think you’d like it. I’ll buy some Dixie cups today and some milkshakes tomorrow if we get in in decent time. I went to see Glen MIller’s show yesterday and only stayed a few minutes, it was awful – such a relief to get outside and away from all the blaring horns and toothie idiots acting. Guess I’m just queer eh?

Well I must hurry and get ready for town. Dad has gone to Grand Valley and I don’t know where Marshall is but I wish he was cleaning the chick’s house.

My it will be good to see you again, it’s terrible when you can’t even write to us. Hope those measles are run out by now. Why does the 2nd floor always be the one to be quarantined so much?

We got your report card last night and it was very, very good. Congratulations. I am going to keep it and let Sheila see it before I take it back. I think Dad and I swill be going in on Tuesday to try and get a man.

Hope you are well and happy dear and improving every day in your exercises.

Lots and lots of love

Mom

xxxxxxx

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Floundering Around on Six Pages of “Glow Worm” (FGK 229)

This has to be a letter from one of mom’s friends from the hospital. Mom rarely spoke of her time there and so I don’t really know much about the other kids who were there. The only time I did get a really good account of her time in the hospital was years ago when I interviewed her for a paper I wrote for a Women’s Studies class. Unfortunately during the years when I wasn’t living here my room was cleaned out of all of the treasures I’d stored there for safe keeping and this essay was among them. So instead of being able to go through my own childhood treasures I have been gifted the opportunity to go through mom’s and I’m grateful for that.

Box 196

Pincher Creek

Alberta

Dear Margaret

Well, I just received your darling letter, and decided that you’d probably be worn out after writing 12 pages of news.

Thought I’d better use some decent note paper after your gentle hint. Gosh I’ve been busy! Haven’t had a chance to write any letters at all hardly, and I’m afraid I’ve neglected you shamefully.

Mom washed and ironed your bed bag and mended the rip and I took it to town Saturday to be mailed. I forgot (same old story). It is in at Grandma Hammond’s and although I asked Marjory to mail it, I’m afraid it’s probably still there.

I found your “coral” among my belongings (also some other things) so will send them along with the bag. Sure sorry I didn’t get it up there sooner. Hope you didn’t need it too badly. Afraid I’m an awful, neglectful person.

I was in to see my doctor in Pincher on Friday aft., and asked him if and when I could start school. I started going for half days last Monday, and it’s much more satisfactory than trying to do correspondence at home. Just received five lessons back, and got 4Hs and one A. Hope I can keep that up without Mrs. Aitken’s help. Mrs Reilly helps, but is so busy with teaching 19 other brats over there that us neglected little grade nines don’t get the attention we need. You may tell Miss Horner I love her and that I”m a model patient, have two hours rest every afternoon, stretched it to four yesterday. Of course she knew I was a model patient anyway haha.

Charlotte, Bruce, and Alvin (you don’t know him) came over at 2:30 this afternoon to practice the play we’re putting on at the Christmas concert. My part is only 18 pages long! It’s quite funny and i think it’s going to be fun putting it on. The name is “The ______ of hearts”. I’m Lady Violetta. Address me with respect in your voice after this as I’m your queen elect. Crazy eh?

My Uncle Bill from Vancouver is out here now and mOm is giving a big dinner party tomorrow night. I think there are going to be quite a few here. Charlotte’s coming up, so I’ll have a little bit of moral support (I’m shy you know!!!). Anne’s favourite phrase lately. Don’t need to worry about me staying up too late, because mom sees to it that I’m in bed by nine or nine thirty every night.

I went to see “Shane” on Saturday. Incidentally, Charlotte and I went to get her and thought it was pretty good. Howard and Bruce went too, and as we were going into the theatre Bruce said to Howard that he’d better take Charlotte to see the show. Unfortunately Charlotte heard him and turned around saying “nuts you will!!” I guess it put old Howard in his place because we lost sight of both of them for the rest of the evening.

I haven’t started taking music again as yet, but I want to after Christmas if not before. I sure spend a lot of time at the piano lately. Not as much as Marjory though. She is learning one of the most difficult selections Brahms ever wrote. You can imagine how hard it is i guess. It’s really beautiful though. Me floundering around on the six pages of “Glow Worm” doesn’t sound like much in comparison.

If you see Marg F. Give her my love eh? Say hello to Lillian and Helen. Tell Mrs. Howard her coasters are finished if she still wants them, but I couldn’t figure out how to finish them off so she’ll have to do that I guess. Say hello to Mrs Atkin for me too. Tell her I’ll write her “sometime”.

My photos turned out pretty well. If they weren’t so big I’d give you one, but I don’t think you’ll have any place to put this without it getting wrecked. I may bring it up to show to you on the 18th anyway, and maybe try to get a smaller one made, that is if you want one.

Mom and Dad send their regards and Anne hung over my shoulder all the time I was reading your letter to see how you were and if you were getting home for Christmas etc etc etc. have you heard any more about that? Say that was quite a story about Doctors ______ I was hoping you’d find out more than you did though. Don’t worry about those crazy physios saying you have a scoliosis. They were just fooling or they wouldn’t have talked about a spinal fusion in such an offhand manner. I think they are all a bit crazy personally (except Miss Olsen of course I wouldn’t want to get in your bad books you know)

Well as I have some homework to do and Mrs. Reilly has offered to help me with it I better go. incidentally, we had the most delicious stakes for supper. We’re they ever good. Yum. Do I make your mouth water?

Must go now Marg

Loads of love

Janet

Ps please get rid of this immediately. Burn it! (Ha ha)

I lob o eve yum o you. Dud o yum o you hel mum e shush out squared. I hash or shush

If you can’t read this, don’t worry. It’s just a bunch of “puppy talk”

Love Janet

Please Marg, don’t let anyone see this I beg of you. It may have fateful consequences (neat eh?)

What happened to our screws? Did they get lost in the move?

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Be a good little girl (FGK 228)

This letter is dated July 11 so I’m assuming she’s talking about the Calgary Stampede at the beginning of the letter. I do love her letters.

Sunday July 11, 1954

Dear Margie:-

Did you have many visitors last week such as Sonja Hune? They really were fortunate for weather again. Mr. Barkley and I didn’t attend at all. Maybe next year.

We were down to High River Wednesday to see a girl get married who worked here a few summers ago. The reception was indeed very nice. The W.J (?) put on the supper. Everything homemade and plenty of it. Cabbage and potato salad and Angel Foods and Cookies. Hall was nicely decorated as were the tables. A dance afterward with string music really cowboy. The bride had a nice blue suit and white hat and wore a corsage. She said her Grandmother wanted her to have a long white dress but she didn’t care to. She doesn’t care much for fussy clothes. Her husband is a farmer from Vermillion. At the reception I sat next to a boy who attended olds when Harvey did.

Our lilacs have been quite nice this year. Suppose you had plenty – they really were nicer this year than they have been for a while. We still have some blooming.

Be a good “little” girl now ‘cause I’m hearing nice reports of you.

Best wishes

The Barkleys

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I saw a show every day (FGK 227)

RR2 Calgary, Alberta

April 23, 1954

Dear marg

I was in Calgary for four days and I saw one show every day. I will name some of the four shows. Peter Pan, The Bear Country, the Long Long Trailer, and Ma and Pa Kettle at Home. They were really good. I got a new dress, Easter bonnet, and a new pair of shoes.

Tommy got some new clothes too but his coat is a little too big. How are you getting along in school Marg? Have you got crutches yet?

Love,

Joan Copithorne

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Haven’t grown as much as Marshall (FGK 225)

I’m so happy to find another letter from Mrs. Barkley, I really like her letters- I wish I’d known her!

May 27, 1954

Dear Margie:-

Received your nice letter sometime ago. Haven’t heard a report of your progress for sometime now. Last report when Sheila was in for a few minutes was good, she did tell us too that you haven’t grown as much as Marshall.

We haven’t any garden in yet. Carmen has some up. have a few peonies at the house here growing nicely but the rest aren’t even through the ground.

Glad you enjoyed “the baskets”. Have really been lazy and not made any since. Seems we’ve been going through so much mud lately and then have to rest for next session of it. Had to go through barn to get the turkeys for about three weeks.

Best wishes,

The Barkleys.

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So busy with school and housework and gardening (FGK 224)

I’ve decided to post more of the hospital letters. it’s been a long 6 months for me as I’ve been addressing some way overdue health issues which has slowed my whole world down substantially. It’s created space for healing and reflection – as have these letters.

I don’t read any of these letters until I post them here. I thought at first maybe this was Aunt Annie, but it seems like it was a friend and probably someone who also had been in the hospital with mom. mom would have been 13 when this letter was sent.

Vauxhall, Alta

May 30, 1954

Box 341

Dear Margaret

Now I guess I will have to apologize for not writing to you but really I am so busy now with school, housework, and gardening.

You mean to say dear old Maryanne is still there? Well say hi to her for me. Tell her I still haven’t forgotten about her but I haven’t got any time to write anymore letters than I am now. Also to ______ and Verna when you see them. When you write or talk to Janet ask her for me whose turn it is to write. I think it’s mime but I don’t want to write when it is unnecessary.

It’s sure good to hear that you are getting along so well. You have sure been in the hospital a long time already . I hope you will be able to get out in the near future

Did you ever see Lillian anymore? If you do also say hi to her for me. Does she still come to Girl Guides? how aboutBetty Brown? Does she still come up? If so give her my greetings. I hope you will remember all these but if not it’s ok, I’ll excuse you this time.

Tell your mom thanks so much for all those good things she did for me while I was in the hospital. i will never forget them. She sure cheered us up often.

Last time I was at out-patients was April 9 and I couldn’t come up to see you because we were in a terrible hurry and I didn’t know you were still there. Honestly, we started out right away after we were through at the hospital. We went to Brooks, back around Bow City and the road was terrible. It had rained very hard. When you were between Enchant (?) and home we got stuck so terrible where we sat for I’m sure over an hour. Unit and transport came and pulled us out.

We expected to get home at four or five and we got home at twenty-after-eight. Boy were we tired.

I guess you are tired too of reading by now. So I will close

Bye for now

Write soon

Annie

Love

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George Copithorne death notice (FGK-223)

George Willian Copithorne, prominent district rancher and horseman, died in Holy Cross Hospital Friday following a lengthy illness. He was 56.

A native of Jumping Pound, Mr. Copithorne spent his entire life in the district except for six years in the forestry branch. As assistant ranger and packer, he helped establish lookouts at Moose Mountain and Black Rock.

During the 1930s, he started a Hereford ranch west of Calgary. He was a successful Calgary Stampede competitor for several years, a member of the Cochrane Light Horse Association, and a member of the Alberta Stock Growers’ Association.

He recently entered partnership with Sam Blood of Cochrane to establish Scott Lake Services, 25 miles west of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Mr. Copithorne is survived by his wife, Gertrude; two sons, Lawrence and David; two daughters, Mary and Patricia and three brothers Percy, Frank, Clarence, all of Jumping Pound; and two sisters, Mrs. Jack Buckley of Springbank and Mrs Idwal Jones of De Winston.

Funeral services will be held at 1:30 pm today in Foster’s Garden Chapel. Rev. E.W. Julian and Rev. Dr. J.H. Garden will officiate.

Burial will follow at Mountview Memorial Gardens.

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Protected by mom’s love

Mom’s birthday was a couple of days ago so she’s been on my mind more than usual. Last night a memory came up that I shared with the girl and I thought it was such a powerful memory of mom’s love that I would share it here.

When I was a little kid- I don’t know how old but probably in the 6-8 year old range – some of the horses here got into some gopher poison. The carrier for the poison was oats so when the horses discovered a big bucket of oats they devoured it. I remember lots of yelling and then mom, dad, and I (and I think Grandma and maybe some others – I’m a bit sketchy on these details) were standing just outside of the yard in the square field watching Grandma’s horse Captain and another horse named Stick run flat out up and down the field. I remember the adults all freaking out and the horses both snorting loudly and having kind of wild looks in their eyes. At the time I had no idea what was going on but I knew something bad was happening.

Suddenly mom turned to me and yelled at me to run back to the house and grab her purse.

Now I was a little kid, and a curious and kind of defiant little kid so I stood my ground and stared at her demanding to know why she was sending me off when clearly shit was getting real. I don’t know how she said it but something in her voice let me know that I really needed to run back to the house and get that purse. I was grumbling my way up the driveway when I heard more shouts and cries and things were kind of chaotic. My stomach sunk because I knew something bad had happened and I recall having a moment of gratitude for my mom who had sent me away.

The horses didn’t survive the incident and it was pretty devastating, I remember how much my Grandma loved Captain.

Mostly what I remember though is how mom’s immediate thought was to protect me from what was undoubtably an extremely traumatic scene. Because mom couldn’t just pick me up or grab my hand and kind of force me to leave she had to choose words that would convince me to run. There’s a fierceness in a mother’s love that I don’t think you really find anywhere else and I’m so grateful that mom pulled me out of a really tragic situation.

Mom protected me in many other ways throughout the years, especially near the end when she was my strongest supporter throughout my divorce. We had so many bumps in our relationship but there are these moments when her love shines through so clear and bright.

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