happiness

More good people in the world than many of us realize (FGK 91)

I had to google the Trend House, I’d never heard of it. You can see it Here if you’re interested. This is the link for photos of the one in Calgary. Who knew?! This lady always seems to be able to put a positive spin on things, as I’ve said before I find her letters quite comforting to read and I wish I’d known her.

Monday, July 19 (1954?)

Dearest Margie

This time I’m answering right smart but I sure won’t promise to be so prompt the next time. Seems as though you are still a little short on mail.

We sure enjoyed your letter. Nice to hear of those people coming to entertain you. More good in the world than many of us realize.

Glad to hear your throat is better. Your mother said last night you had missed your drive again yesterday. That was too bad when it was such a nice day, but it looks as though we are going to have a few of those now.

Your Aunt Marjorie and I went to see the Trend House on Thursday. We weren’t too impressed with it. It had too many windows and steps for we older Janes.

Imagine a North door in your bedroom! Really quite an elaborate affair in some ways.

Bernard and the German boy we have just got moved (mowed? I don’t know – usually I can read her handwriting really easily – but I don’t know what either of these words would mean they’re doing for the next few weeks) on Saturday so you know what will be going on here for the next few weeks.

Hope you are well enough to be out next Saturday Margie.

Best Wishes

The Barkleys!

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Faith in Divine Healing (FGK 90)

I’m back!!! I decided to take a week long social media break, which turned into two weeks, and then over three weeks. It was kind of nice to cut the noise for a little bit, but I’m finding that since we aren’t socializing much (at all really) that I miss hearing what is going on with the people I care about.

I found today’s letter to be quite timely as I’ve been really seeking my connection to God in these last few months. God and I have had kind of a bumpy road (well, I have – I am pretty sure God’s road stays the same but I keep looking at other paths) and I’ve felt the need to deepen and better understand that relationship. I had the most wonderful Pastor in Virginia who really helped me see God differently. Not that she used different words, but she had this amazing relationship with God that made me curious. And once I started praying there, things started changing and happening in ways that I could not explain – so I’ve decided they must be God’s miracles showing up in my life.

As I’m reading these letters I’m understanding better the deep faith that my grandparents and my parents had with God and in their lives.

Friday Morning – Jenkins Breakfast on Radio

Dear Margie

The breakfast dishes are not done yet so I must hustle- it really keeps me hopping. This deep snow is sure causing Dad lots of grief. 4 little calves came last night, had to take the Jeep up to the field to bring them down, had frozen ears etc.

Last Monday Mary and George quit Nichols and came over so we had to dash around and tear down Marshall’s bed and get things ready for them. I gave them your dresser to take up to the valley. Marsh has Sheila’s bed now. Don’t know when we’ll get around to getting your bedroom suite. I put the little green table in your room where the dresser was and put all your clothes etc from the dresser in Sheila’s big trunk.

When Frank and Georgie were down Sunday night, Georgie said that when her mother was so sick a few years ago Charlie Coolie wrote to her like he did to us and Aunt Georgie really believes in Divine healing. She said her brother-in-law Mr. Costello had cancer and just made up his mind he wasn’t going to have it. He is Catholic, he used to get up early, early in the morning and go down to the church and pray for hours and he just cured himself that way, then he prayed for success in business and he sure is a wealthy man now – owns so much property and takes two long trips each year. I sure get a lot of inspiration from the Unity papers etc. Hope you read them regularly, they guide me so much and are food for the soul.

It must be hard to not ever have any privacy in there, but it is also nice to have company.

I wrote to Annie and Girlie last night and to Casino Carnival and put your name on it, so if you win $600 don’t be surprised. And I wrote to the radio programme so don’t forget to listen Sunday.

Smokey hasn’t been out hardly at all since it snowed and boy is he ever wild – just like a silly little kitten all the time!.

Well I must get to work now, will see you on Sunday eh? Hope to see you sitting up one of these days soon – think it’s possible?

I’m going to town this afternoon, have a hair appointment at the Bay.

Millie there always asks how you are.

Lots and lots of love

Mom xxxxxxx

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happiness

Family Sing-song (FGK 88)

At the bottom of the box of letters were two audio reels. I had no idea what would be on them, or even how to play them. Fortunately a friend of mine directed me to a place in Inglewood where I could get them moved to digital format and could listen to them. One reel was empty, but the other is a real treasure. Talk about “From Grandma’s Kitchen” – we get to hear everyone all here in Grandma’s kitchen (and later the living room where they sing). Grandpa is on here, and he plays his violin while someone else plays piano and the family sings. I LOVE that someone used the word “twitterpated”.

As someone who has had to participate in the awkward family phone calls when either I was away, or when someone else is – I appreciate how difficult it is to think of something to say and make yourself sound interesting. I also know how it feels to be the one away from family, to know they are gathered together, and how loved it made me feel when I would get the big awkward phone call. So, although people don’t maybe sound like they don’t know what to say, the love behind the effort made speaks volumes.

Instead of transcribing this one, I thought it should be played so everyone can hear it. I love it – hopefully it works!

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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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All the best in 1956 (FGK-62)

Grandma had her new kitchen by now! In all of the old photos I’ve seen of this house, I’ve never seen the lean to kitchen that was there before this big, beautiful kitchen was built. The story I was told was that there was a step down from the main house into the kitchen, and one time mom was walking on her crutches and fell down the stair into the kitchen. That was it, and Grandma insisted there be a proper kitchen built without any steps for mom. And what a kitchen she built! It still is my favourite room in the whole world (and where I sit while I write this).

Here’s an old photo I found in some archives of a house in Manitoba with a lean to kitchen. I’m assuming the old one here was something like this, but again I’m not sure as I’ve never seen photos. And every time I ever asked either Grandma or Mom about the old kitchen my questions were never answered, instead they told me how wonderful the new one is (and it really, really is). Even in this kitchen the amount of cooking Grandma had to do is staggering, I don’t know how she managed in a smaller and more rustic space.

RR3 Innisfail, Alta

February 9, 1956

Dear Margie

I was so glad to get your letter and to know that your operation did some good and that you are able to be up and around. You will be anxious to get home again.

We heard you over the radio at Xmas and were so glad to hear you. We did enjoy the programme.

Had a nice long letter from your Mum a while ago and did enjoy it. Would love to drop in on her sometime. She seems to be enjoying the new kitchen. I’m sure it will be lovely.

We are really enjoying our lovely mild weather. Surely hope it doesn’t turn to cold again. It is nice to be looking forward to spring.

Take care of yourself and all the best in 1956

Love

Aunt Jean

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It’s a really rough road (FGK 61)

I had to search back to see if the new shoes referenced here were my aunt’s open toed shoes she wrote about, but that letter wasn’t sent until July 4, 1953 so it must be that she had ANOTHER new pair. Shoes are important, I get it.

I wonder how rough that road must have been, From the stories I’ve heard driving out this wasn’t much of a luxury before the highway came through.

(Envelope is dated April 10, 1953)

Thurs, 9

Hi Margie

Golly, I wont’t have much news this time, but I said I’d write you.

Isn’t this weather terrible! I don’t know how I am going home this weekend. We haven’t got good road like you guys have. We have 5 miles of really tough road, and I really mean tough. Guess I’d better phone home tonight.

We were told today that we were getting tests tomorrow and all next week. I think Sheila starts next Wed. So I guess I had better buckle down but good.

I’m going down to see Mrs. Stevie tonight to ask her if I can live out of the college for the next week – the horse show. I have a note from Mom, but maybe it won’t work. I’m going to ask for a late study too. If you hear a big explosion tonight, you’ll know what happened!

Sheila probably told you about her new shoes. Golly they sure are nice and look very nice on her feet.

Well I must go for now

Love

Peggy

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Summer holidays and magpie feet (FGK-60)

I love these letters from the kids at Jumping Pound school. Different ages and different perspectives certainly give quite the snapshot of life for these kids.

RR2

Calgary, Alberta

June 23, 1953

Dear Marg

We started a crow and magpie campaign on the first of April. Lawrence has really been collecting magpie feet, he has 146 magpie feet. I have 45 feet. John has 14 feet.

Anne and Shirley came to visit us. We had a game of ball in the afternoon. Rose left yesterday.

I hope you will be walking soon.

Yours truly

Jim

RR2

Calgary

June 24, 1953

A man brought some more wood. We had just finished piling when he came, but he only brought half a load, so we got it all piled up except a little bit. Now we got 2 piles of wood.

The teacher lost his ring, but found it again.

John, Jim, and Elaine got new baseball gloves. The gloves have three fingers and one thumb. The colour is tan.

My family branded on Saturday.

I hope you are feeling well.

Do you want to go home?

Do you want to stay in the hospital?

Yours truly, David

RR2 Calgary

June 22 1953

Dear Marg

Lawrence, Rode, Elaine and Jim, John and Dave have planted flowers in the window boxes. we painted the window boxes. They planted sweet peas and California poppies. Both of them are growing very well.

Mary

RR2 Calgary Alberta

June 24, 1953

Dear Marg

The teacher got two new flags. One is called Union Jack and the other is called Canadian Ensign. They are very nice. Jim, John, and Law put them up. Then they put the Queen’s picture on it. We have got 56 pictures up all together.

Law has 7 pictures. Elaine has 13 pictures. Rose has 16 pictures etc. I have 3 calves.

Your pal,

Lynn.

RR NO2

Calgary, Alberta

June 23, 1953

Dear Margie

The weather is horrible in Alberta this year. It has rained so much that water is laying all over. It is so wet that when you try to plow you bog down.

The grass is not growing very well this year. It has been so wet that it is drowning out.

We are going to brand on Wednesday. We are going to brand about two hundred and seventy-five calves.

Are you coming home for the holidays? How do you like the hospital?

Yours truly

John

Cochrane, Alta. Box 58

June 22, 1953

Dear Margie

Well holiday time is just around the corner isn’t it? My family is going up to Windermere on Friday. I suppose you heard that Marshall is coming with us? Oh boy! I can hardly wait! By next Saturday I will be basking in Radium swimming pool.

I guess you will be coming home for your holidays. I bet you will be happy.

We branded last Saturday. The Sibbalds, uncle Frank’s clan, had Jim Bateman etc were up to help. We will drive our cows and calves up to 14 on Thursday.

We had our school picnic last Friday. Instead of having a usual picnic we had a party at Batemans. Rose and Elaine made speeches. Everyone had a great time.

Well I will write you more letters during the holidays.

Your pal,

Lawrence

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Cascades of Time Gardens (FGK-59)

I wasn’t familiar with the name “Cascades of Time” so I had to google it, and discovered it is the place in Banff that my parents called the Devonian Gardens.

Soooooo, one time when my cousin (who shall remain nameless, but her name starts with the same letter as mine and is 4 months older than I) and I were about 4, my parents took us to these gardens. Well, we instantly fell in love with the place and decided we wanted to live there forever and ever. So we took off and hid in some bushes figuring we’d wait until mom and dad got tired of looking for us and then we’d live our best lives in those gardens eating berries and things. We hid there, listening to mom and dad frantically screaming our names, giggling like miniature mad men, and looking around at the beautiful place we’d decided to call home, planning out how we’d live in trees and things like that. I don’t know what finally made us decide to turn ourselves in, perhaps we got hungry or had to go to the bathroom. I’m not really sure. But what I do remember is that my parents were SO MAD they swore they’d never take us there again. And they didn’t until the summer of 2014 when they took me and my kids in for a little walk around. Of course being me, as soon as we sat down on the grass I told my kids the story and looked at my parents and said “hahaha and you DID bring me back!!!” Apparently 40 years later was still too soon to be laughing about it because they did NOT find it funny at all.

How about a trip through history to a time when asbestos was something to be excited about?!

Cochrane, Alta

Aug 4.

Dear Margie

Well how are you now Margie? We have the barn almost finished. It looks pretty when it’s got red shingles and grey asbestos siding. On the top of the roof there are lightning rods. 1 on each and 1 in the middle.

In the inside of the barn there are stairs and stalls for the horses. Gee i sure wish you could be at the barn dance with the others and us. How are you? Can you walk fairly well yet?

We have two little kittens. One is grey and the other is yellow. They play in the house a lot.

Well I guess I better say good bye for now.

PS We went to Banff to see the Indians. We had dinner and went through the Cascades of Time and saw the pretty flowers. After that Dad took us up to the chair lift. Mom, Lawrence and Dave went on it. We had a happy time. In the evening we saw the Indians dance in pretty costumes and sang Indian songs.

What are you doing these days? Well goodbye. Write to me soon

With love,

Mary

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