Going to School in Bed (FGK-54)

Before Covid, I would have thought that it would be a kid’s dream to be able to go to school in bed. And, although I think the girl has come to like the fact that she only has to get out of bed 2 minutes before class starts to go sit in her pjs at the computer, I would have to say that no- I was wrong, these online classes are pretty challenging. Of course, it’s a different situation than the one mom was in, and it’s even a different situation from my own online classes which are set up really well with lots of support. Instead it’s become pretty isolating and really difficult to get help from the teachers. I’m guessing mom hated going to school in bed. The only childhood stories about school I ever heard were the ones where she rode her horse with her brother and sister to the Jumping Pound School. However, pre-covid we used to joke that living life in bed like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory would kind of be like a dream come true. Not anymore!

Pearce, Alberta

Feb 19, 1954

Dear Margaret

It was so nice to receive a letter from you because I thought you would be getting so many letters that you wouldn’t find time to write to everyone, but you did anyway and I hope you will continue to write. I received your letter February 12.

Do you enjoy going to school in bed? Are there many children taking the same grade as you are?

Yesterday we went to Lethbridge to the dentist, all but my oldest brother. I had two teeth x-rayed to see if the roots were ok so that they could be filled later if they were.

The wind was sure blowing today. One of our granaries blew part way off its foundation. It hadn’t done that before even when it was empty. There was a tiny bit of wheat in it.

The subject that I like best at school is Science and Home Economics. We sure got a good science teacher. I dislike Social Studies the most because of the teacher Miss Hyssop, who hardly anyone likes. She likes to see how much homework she can give us. We had a test in Social Studies today.

I have got a pen pal down in Burbank California whose grandparents on her mother’s side live in Calgary.

A few days ago my kitten and my sister’s kitten followed us up to the bus. They raced around, laid on the ground and rolled about kicking their feet in the air trying to get some attention. They started to fight once then raced up a light pole. When the bus came they raced towards the yard, their tails awfully big. They were sure scared of what we sometimes call the “Yellow Bug”.

Are you at all lonesome for the farm after being in the hospital? Did you have any pets at the farm you lived on?

That is all for now, hoping to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Ann de Koning


Fur Coats and Casts (FGK-49)

I had a little giggle at the thought of Grandma writing this letter while at the hairdresser’s. Getting her hair done was one of Grandma’s sacred activities and it was always important to her that her hair was done nicely and she was presentable. In fact right after she died, my aunt in a beautiful act of love and kindness sat down and did her hair properly before the funeral home took her away. I sat with my aunt while she did that, and it has always remained with me as one of the greatest acts of love that I have witnessed. It also was the only time I ever saw Grandma’s hair down.

I remember as a teenager Grandma deciding she needed a new fur coat. I was lucky enough to only be pulled into that process for one day, but trust me- it was not a 10 minute process. It was not even a 10 hour process. It perhaps was a 10 day process, but it felt more like a 10 week process. Aside from my personal ethical issues with fur coats, that experience guaranteed I would never own one! She sure loved it though, and it was certainly the style at the time.

Finally, there have been several mentions in these letters about packs and casts. I did a little bit of research about why these were used And you can read the atricle here. But here is an excerpt from the article “Early treatments for paralyzed muscles advocated the use of splints to prevent muscle tightening and rest for the affected muscles. Many paralyzed polio patients lay in plaster body casts for months at a time. But long periods in a cast often resulted in atrophy of both affected and healthy muscles. Treatment of polio was revolutionised in the 1930s by Elizabeth Kenny, a self-trained nurse from Queensland, Australia. Kenny developed a form of physical therapy that used hot, moist packs and massage and exercise and early activity to maximize the strength of unaffected muscles and stimulate the remaining nerve cells that had not been killed by the virus.” I remember mom talking briefly about how painful the treatment sessions were and this kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Poor mom.

Tues 4:30 pm

Dear Margie

I’m writing this while under the dryer at the hair-dresser’s. We came to town – Dad and I – to buy me a fur coat. Think of that! Aren’t I lucky? Dad said we could easily do it in 10 minutes so I didn’t dare shop around for one but got a very nice one at the Hudson Bay. A Persian Lamb.

Uncle Harry is coming up to visit you with me tomorrow so be prepared for fun and have a few jokes to tell him too if you can – he has wanted to see you for a long time now. I may not wear my new coat in, the car is so hard on it – I’ll keep it till Sunday to wear eh?

Kay Whittle and I are on the refreshment committee for the Eastern Star tonight so I made 2 angel food cakes and a loaf of chicken sandwiches and left them at Aunt Ruth’s. So Dad and I are going to a show now and then go up to Cochrane and not go home till after the Star meeting. Pretty soft life eh? But we’re retired now you know – haha.

It’s sure nice being without a hired man though and Ken likes it too I think. Most of the cattle are over in Grand Valley and down at Springbank so others have the work.

I have been hoping and praying that you will soon have that old cast off, let’s hope soon anyway eh? Maybe tomorrow.

This blouse and skirt are not very expensive but are good enough tor lying in bed don’t you think? Everything is half-price now except the better wool skirts and they cost $20.00 so I just got those. They see you for a long time now. They are rather pretty I think.

We are supposed to go square dancing Wednesday night. Dad has Lodge meeting Thursday night and there is a dance in the Hall Friday night and Winnie and I have to make the sandwiches so I won’t have any dinner parties this week – we’ll be staggering tired by Saturday.

Well I must close now and will see you tomorrow. Sure hope you are well and happy.

Loads and loads of love dear

Mother xxxxx


Closed because of Polio (FGK-48)

I don’t remember being told about places being closed regularly due to polio outbreaks, but it does seem as though this was happening during these years. This letter, and a few of the others written from mom’s hospital friends make me think that she was one of the last ones left on the ward from their original group. It must have been so hard on both sides, leaving your friends knowing they were still ill, and watching your healthy friends be able to go home. Especially because it seems as though no mental health assistance was available at the time. I think it was because these years were so incredibly traumatic that this entire experience was a taboo subject in our home. The more I learn about it, the more I understand that. Having spent a great deal of time learning about the lasting effects of trauma, it impresses me how well mom was able to function.

Also, imagine being able to buy a swimsuit or blouse for a dollar!!!

1814-31 Ave SW

Calgary, Alberta

August 22, 1953

Dear Margie

Yes, I’m finally getting straightened around enough so that I can write a letter.

I have been intending to write you for quite a while now but have been terribly busy.

I was at the farm for three weeks and sure enjoyed myself. We did quite a lot of canning, washing, ironing, chasing the kids, and visiting and going to drive-ins. I was really kept busy.

Last Friday (a week ago yesterday) was my birthday. I got several gifts. Mom and Dad gave me a flash camera and films and bulbs for it. They also gave me a blue nylon cardigan. I received other gifts ranging from nylon ankle socks to a wallet.

I have not seen any of the kids lately but have talked to Rose, Isabel, and Laurie on the phone.

Did Lillian leave my ?Accitec? with you? Isabel said they left “Not my will” there with so I will be up to get it in the near future (this doesn’t make sense, but it’s what it says).

I phoned Dr Richardson yesterday and asked him if I could apply for a job for Saturdays. He said to apply and let him know what I got he would then tell me if I could have it or not.

I went downtown this morning to look at some bathing suits which were on sale for a dollar. I didn’t like them so I bought a blouse for a dollar. It was regularly priced at $4.95 so I got quite a bargain.

How are you getting along? I sure hope you are making a fairly rapid recovery and will soon be out of there. When you get out we’ll have to hold a reunion of all the kids.

I guess I won’t be up for a while. The radio just said out patient was closed because of polio so I doubt if I will be allowed in. Will you please ask Miss Ried or Miss Baxter and let me know.

Well I’d better go

Bye for now, Margie and please write soon




Everyone Has Television (FGK-47)

Last summer my girl decided she wanted to paint her bedroom. It is the “blue room” at Grandma’s – one of the original bedrooms in the house. I tried to explain to her what a nightmare it had been 25 years ago when my sister and I painted the living room, dining room, and hallway. A nightmare because walls had shifted and the amount of repair work was unbelievable, but also kind of fun because it was like uncovering a time capsule. There were several layers of wall paper, then different portions of the wall were painted. We could even see where one time Grandma had painted around the furniture resting against the wall in a panic because she was having people over. It was an experience, but one I’d be just as happy not to do again.

The girl uncovered at least 5 layers of wallpaper in her bedroom, a mystery door frame, as well as a window on the wall joining her room to my room (Grandma’s room), which made sense as it had once been the end of the house. After several months of work and buckets of frustration tears, she decided to wallpaper over the walls. There was no way we were ever going to get the walls in good enough shape to paint them with our level of expertise. But now the room looks fantastic. There really is something to be said for how fresh walls change a room.

This letter was a little over 3 years after mom got polio.

Cochrane, Alberta

Oct 24/1954

Dear Margie

We’ve sure had a busy week. The paper hanger was out and hung paper in six rooms. Some of it I like and some I’m rather disappointed in, but anyway they look nice and clean. Somehow papers don’t always look the same on the wall as they do in a small demonstration piece.

The school children had their field day on Friday. Brushy Ridge came and competed too to add a note of interest. They did very well too but when the final totals were taken our school was a few points ahead.

Our new refrigerator came on Friday. It holds a lot more food than our old one did, especially in the freezing compartment.

This week the men almost filled the barn loft with hay. Then the children came home and they had a wonderful time playing in it. They built tunnels and houses and played hide and seek for hours. Boy were they dirty and dusty when they came in. They sure needed a good bath and clean clothes.

The boys were getting to be good shots with their shot guns. They bring in ducks or chickens every week and today they had to break the ice in the lake ahead of the boat so they could get the ducks that were shot down over the water. I guess winter can’t be too far of as the ice is forming thicker all the time.

Hector McDowell, who built our barn, was back last week and built a nice sun porch on the front of the bunkhouse. It is 22’x8’. Someday I may use this place as a cook house so I won’t have quite so much work every summer.

We weaned our calves this week and there sure was a racket for 3 days with their eternal bawling. This is about the last of the fall work so we are just about caught up. I’m so glad so I feel like getting out and visiting folks once again.

Everyone around here seems to be getting television sets. We can’t and now we don’t have 110 volt power. I’ll bet you’ll enjoy seeing the one at your home when you get back. George says it sure is a nice one.

Well so long for now. Hope you are already improving

Lovingly yours

Aunt Gertie

PS Last night George and I went to see “Seven Wives for Seven Brothers”. It was quite comical and we really enjoyed it. I want to see “Brigadoon” when it comes too.


Substitute Teachers (FGK-44)

I can relate to the issues with the substitute teacher both as a student and as a former sub. I think one of the more challenging jobs I ever had was as a substitute teacher, but honestly as a student it’s fantastic to have a sub and to see how many of their buttons you can push.

I’m not sure who this is writing the letter. She mentions the Buckleys and my aunt, so it must be someone who knows the family. I figure it also must be someone who knew what kind of care mom would require in order for her to come stay at their place.

This letter was originally mailed to mom at the Junior Red Cross Hospital, but was forwarded to her at home. I’m assuming this was after she had been permanently discharged from the hospital, but was in for some operation . The cost of sending a letter had gone up to 3 cents by 1956.

701-21 Ave NW


January 19th, 1956

Dear Margie

Right now it is ten minutes to three and I am in music class. We are supposed to be having a study because our regular teacher is away. The sub we have is a woman of about 60 to 65 years old and is she ever crabby. The girl next to me didn’t have anything to do so she was just sitting there and the teacher took a book off her desk and handed it to her, the title is Stars of the Great Operas. I burst out laughing and she got real mad and told me that was enough, so I was quiet then. I was just looking over to see how this girl was getting along and the teacher made her move. Well I burst out laughing again, she told me to shut up and the next time she would get Mr. Cartwright (Herbie) (The principal).

You will have to excuse the paper as this is all I have. How are you getting along up there? I wish they had more visiting hours and I would come and visit you. What are you in for, an operation?

I haven’t been doing anything exciting, sitting at home with a book or going to the neighbours to watch TV but I have enjoyed myself.

Margaret has been having a good time at the Buckley’s lately, we hardly see her anymore. Sheila hasn’t been up to our house for simply ages.

Right now I am in bookkeeping and we are supposed to be posting our journal accounts to the ledger (Dutch eh). It is for me too.

When you get of the hospital do you think you mother would let you come and stay with me for a while? We haven’t got TV but we could find something else to do. I really think it would be fun.

The teacher is coming down my row now so I had better get to work

Goodbye for now

Will write soon

Sincerely yours,



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


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


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.


Skipping Assembly, New Shoes, School Stress (FGK 33)

I was quite a ways into this letter before I realized who it was from. Before I throw my aunt too far under the bus, I’d like to say that compared to some of the teenage naughty school behaviour, hers is really pretty innocent. For example, the year my parents made me go to boarding school on Vancouver Island they had a Terry Fox Run and I think we had to go at least 10k. We were to run up the Malahat (seems super safe right?) turn around, and come back. I was with a group of kids who thought it was total BS and had no desire to run. We made it to the turn around spot and spent the entire time back to the school trying to hitch a ride. Fortunately no one actually stopped to pick us up or goodness knows where we’d be now! I never told my parents that story, so if there are sudden rumbles of thunder and lightening tearing across the sky today, it’s just them reading my blog in heaven!!

I miss my aunt a lot, reading these letters reminds me of how when I was younger and went away to both the boarding school and University of Lethbridge she consistently sent me letters to remind me I was loved. The letters I received were not nearly as hilarious as the ones she sent mom, but I suppose then she was an adult, I would send much different letters to my niece than to my sister. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for her because of that, and reading these letters to mom is like reading a letter she would have sent to a good friend of hers. It makes my heart smile. This is also the closest I have ever heard her use “bad” language. It’s nothing like my “bad” language, but that’s like comparing apples to pineapples.

Assembly period Tues

Dear Marg

I have just gotten into trouble I think. Five of us girls, Sheila Stephen, Evelyn Heinrich, Rita Holms, Pat Mrstik(?), and myself were sneaking up the stairs with the intentions of skipping assembly, and guess who was talking on the phone at the top of the stairs, that’s right Mrs Stevie. We kept right on going. Wonder what’s going to happen.

Yesterday Barbara and I went into the library to study during assembly and guess who walked in but mr Schula. He never said anything.


Well Mrs Stevie hasn’t said anything yet. I was just in her room buying stamps and it wasn’t mentioned.

I bought a pair of shoes today, black suede shoes. They haven’t got the toe out so I hope Marsh is satisfied.

Two of the girls from the college ran for the Teen Queen for Calgary. There as one from every high school. Anyways, one of the girls that lives in the dorm (Irene Stowell) won and the other girl from MRC got second, so we feel pretty happy. Irene got a real Hudson Bay coat and then tomorrow she’s going to Edmonton to compete against Queens from all over the Province.

I saw Aunt Irene, Heather Scott, Gina (?) McDougall, Mrs armstand, and Mrs Charlie Robinson. Aunt Irene is getting another baby! Honestly!

Must get ready for supper

Love Sheila C


Dear Marg

Went to assembly this morning for a change. Bored silly.

I have to read a take the minutes at the Council meeting today. Marilyn’s Modeling at a fashion show.

Love Sheila


Mum came in after 4 and went into speak to Mr. Collette. Wonder what they talked about. Then she took Marsh and Wayne downtown and they had supper out. Doggone that meeting anyways!!

Talked Marsh into going to the dance at Glendale so I’ll be able to wear my new shoes.

I sent in a request on Hospital Hour for you so you’d better listen. Don’t know whether you’d like it or not. You’ll have to hear it to appreciate it.

Must get to work.

Saw Anne Monday. She might come out during the latter part of the Easter Holidays.

Thurs 12:20

Dear Marg

Boy am I ever mad!!! I was under the impression that all the biographies for the yearbook were in and even written out, now I just found out that only half of them were in and some lost them. Gad. What a mess!!

Sure have a lot of studying to do. Exams next week you know!! Where does time ever go!

Marilyn and Peggy are eating ice cream. Slurp Slurp


Dear Marg.

I have just disgraced myself. In French this afternoon I was reading a part out loud and I couldn’t say ‘monsieur’ finally I got the giggles and I couldn’t say anything. I felt like crawling through the nearest window. Another girl had to finish. The teacher just laughed and thought it was a great joke thank goodness. Still haven’t got those GD Biographies.

Must get to work


Sheila C


A Hospital Friend and a Family Friend (FGK-27)

I have never, ever heard my mom referred to as either Mag or Maggie. Only rarely did I hear people call her Margaret, and it was usually people who didn’t know her well. This first letter seems to be from a friend mom made while she was in the hospital. The second must be a family friend- I’m not sure who (anyone?) there was no last name on the card.

Theres was a very brief time in my childhood when Dad decided it would be a good thing for me to take Cod Liver Oil. All I remember is hiding at under the kitchen table as far away from him as I could get and crying because I didn’t want to take it. I can still taste the disgusting memory of it in the back of my throat.

Markerville, Alberta

Sept 16/54

Gug a dud

Dear Mag

Well here I am at last. I thought it as time to drop you old bags a line. Gosh do I ever miss you. Honestly. I wished I could have shown you the lovely cushion Miss Reid gave me. I’ll draw a picture of it.

Her drawing
So many of mom’s letters have been sealed with a kiss so to speak. This one has the kisses on the back of the letter, but lots of envelopes are covered in big red kiss marks.

Here is all the colours of the rainbow on the ribbon, there’s three rows of white ribbon.

She called me into her office and gave it to me.

Do you know something? I have to take cod liver oil.

Well here it is another nite, Sept. 17. I’m listening to the fight. I’ve got $2.00 bet that Rocky will win.

It has looked like it was going to snow all day. Sure hope it doesn’t.

Bay Calgary sure did well on Monday nite. I guess Miss Olsen will be back on Monday. I sent for a grey wool dress. Kind of cute.

How’s school? I find many things different form the hospital. I keep thinking about what you guys are doing. How is fish eyes?

We are going to have roasted duck tomorrow nite. I wish you could be here.

Well Maggie, I guess I will sign off for now. Say hi to everyone for me. Tell Olsen I’ll be written to her.

Good Night sweetheart, it’s time to go

Love Helen

Ps How’s ______’s back?

Say hi to your family from me.

974 Alfred Ave


April 8/54

Dear Margie

Well here I am again, I am driving days now so am able to sit down tonight and drop you a line.

I received a letter from your mom and dad, sure pleased to hear from them. Our weather is sure staying cold, it’s been below zero the last few days. there was quite a blizzard last night.

I saw Len yesterday, he pulled up beside me while we were driving down the street, and said he was on the way home, he had been to Kenora Ontario.

How is your leg, the one you had fractured? Sure hope it’s ok again, and that you are able to finish with your Physio. do you still have water therapy? I guess it keeps you busy with school work, and all your exercises and Physio.

Ken is in Calgary now, he would like to come in and visit you, but I was telling him that he would not be able to get in. He will try and see Marshall while he is there. He plans to come home at Easter, he gets 5 days leave them. He has a car which he intends to take back to Calgary with him.

Say hello to all for me.

Bye for now

As ever, Stan


Worms, Parties, Well Wishes (FGK-25)

Mom always talked about how much she loved Aunt Annie who lived in the old house (so basically next door) until she got married. Auntie Gertie was another bright light in the world, I remember her as a kind woman who always had a smile on her face.

I’m not sure in Aunt Annie’s letter if mom had some sort of relapse, and if she was in the hospital or not. Her card didn’t have an envelope, but it’s a really cute card, as is Auntie Gertie’s.

Oct 3rd 1953

RR No1, De Winston

Dear Margie,

At last I have found my pen so here is a wee letter with your birthday card.

I was so glad to hear from you and to know that you are well and happy and just getting along fine. I know you’ll lick that thing and that you’ll not be too long about it now that you are over the hump.

Clarence is growing and changing a lot. You aren’t going to know your little cousin when you see him again. He is seeing all sorts of strange things himself. He was shouting and calling the other day so I went out to see what all the excitement was about. He was down and his hands and knees with his little face right down on the ground, and pointing to something. I had to get down too, to see what it was. I surely laughed I discovered it was a big __ worm. So if you hear about anybody looking under a worm’s tummy you’ll know it can be done.

We are going up to the Birthday Party for the Buckley boys, we will all miss you Margie, but we’ll really throw a party when you are able to be up and about again and can join in the fun. I hope you’ll be able to read this as I am rushing so that I wouldn’t be surprised if you had some difficulty. Clarence is asleep and I have my dinner dishes yet to do.

So I’ll close for this time and you’ll be hearing from me again.

With heaps of love and kisses

Aunt Annie xxxooo

This is a small card from Auntie Gertie – there was no date on it so I’m not sure exactly when it was sent. It’s a beautiful card, makes me feel like I’m home (which of course I am).

Dear Margie,

I’m still thinking of you. It’s wonderful to hear you’re improving. Keep up the good work. I’ll try to send you a letter next week.

Love from Aunt Gertie


Dances, Gum Chewing, and School Stress (FGK-24)

I love this letter. I had so many questions I wanted to ask my aunt and I never did. I always felt a certain kind of kinship with her that I hope she felt too. Her daughter (my cousin) said that my aunt didn’t just know God, she had a relationship with God – and that has stuck with me ever since. I always admired the faith that she lived her life by.

But on top of that, she was quite funny. She would come out with some one liners that made me laugh so hard I’d almost snort (the sign of a really good laugh). And when she writes here about the gum chewing incident and the hair incident, I was like “me too Auntie Sheila, me too”.

Her letter reminds me of the time when everyone living in Jumping Pound knew everyone else’s business. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it meant that there was an entire community of folk looking out for each other, even if sometimes it could be a bit stifling. I didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to have a tribe of people close by who love and care for you until I moved away. It really is a unique kind of community we have here.

This letter was mailed by my aunt from Mount Royal College (now University) to mom at the Junior Red Cross Hospital, but then the hospital address was crossed out and the ranch one written in its place. This letter was written 2 weeks (and on my future birthday) after the letter Grandma received from Iowa regarding mom’s loneliness in the hospital (You can read that here). I wonder if she was able to come home for a visit or something.

Auntie Sheila would have been almost 17 when she wrote this. She, my uncle, and many of the other kids in the community attended (and lived at) Mount Royal College for their high school years. What a change from riding horses to school every day in their younger years.


Mon. Morn. Jan 26, ‘52

It was postmarked 1953, so I’m assuming perhaps she did the typical January mistake and missed a year.

Dear Marg,

I put in a perfectly useless weekend. I just got up at 12 o’clock Saturday morning! Wasn’t that awful?

The dance was really crowded. They made $175 ____ cleared. They just “sit” lights over the doors Friday afternoon so we’re really high-toned now.

We got there about 10:30. Mom and Dad came too. It’s the first time they’ve been to a dance for a dogs age. the dance was well under way when we got there. A square dance was in the making with Laurie Johnson calling. Peggy R tells me that Donna Butters (Johnson) had a son last November, news to me! She also told me that S__ R___ is engaged to D___ _____ but she was at the dance with H__ P___. God what a mishap!!! I had supper with Harvey B we sat with Bruce B and his girl, Aubrey Moore. She’s awfully nice. I don’t know what happened to Sonny (?) but none of that crowd were there except Anita ____. Shirley Wearmouth was there too.

I deleted some names here, I’m sure it was all in good fun, but I don’t want to be the one bringing up ghosts from 70 years ago lol. The other blanks I just couldn’t make out.

I had a dance with one of the oil drillers. I was sure a fool to get up with him. he had a great big wad of gum and was putting his whole heart into the noisy recreation of chewing it in my ear. He offered me a chew but I declined quite graciously. Between Scotch and Spearmint we made out alright. Jackie Arnell was there with earrings that must have weighed a ton. I had a dance with Bill Scott, Jan McPherson, Laurie Johnson, Bernie Barkley, Wayne Sibbald, Uncle Clarance’s friend mom didn’t know his name, Frank Edge, Marilyn MacMillan, and Don Edge made me so proud. I had quite a few dances with Jim but anyway they would dance beside us and keep telling us it was chilly and that we should dance closer to keep warm and kept going on like this!I was simply furious and I think Jim was getting hot under the collar. He was really embarrassed but it didn’t bother me. If they wouldn’t have kept it up it wouldn’t have been so bad.

I have a social studies exam tomorrow, an English one Wednesday, and Chemistry on Monday. Work! Work! I had to turn in a book review today. I read “A man Called Peter” in the book section of the Reader’s Digest. I don’t care. It might have been cheating but I just didn’t have time to read the kind of books they expect you to.

Good to see that the education system has become so much more sensitive to how overwhelmed students are now (insert sarcastic smirk here). I remember pulling “Cole’s Notes” off the bookshelf in a panic to hand in a book report, and I’ve now I’ve helped my kids google information they’ve needed for the same. The method may have changed, but the feeling of being overwhelmed and the impending doom of consequences of missing an assignment is exactly the same all these years later.

Well, I guess I’d better get ready for school,



PS Peggy and I might go across to bridge to get me a pair of stockings after school. All together I have 8 pairs of stockings. Such is life

PS I danced with Hank too

PS Had hair in my soup for dinner so I couldn’t eat it.