March 7, 1956 (FGK 266)

Most of these letters are a lot of fun for me to share, as I’ve said some of them make me a bit more emotional than others, but in general this has been such a great experience for me as I’ve been learning more about who mom was – and as a fortunate and unexpected byproduct more about my grandparents, extended family and community (not to mention more about myself). The last newspaper clipping here though was really hard for me to post. As I’ve said, I typically just reach my hand in and grab a letter and share it, reading it for the first time as I type it out. That clipping, however, which is mixed in with the letters and a ton of other clippings, keeps placing itself in my hand. It hurts my heart to look at it and so I’ve continued to shove it down to the bottom of the box because I don’t want to look at it. Today I decided that’s exactly why I do need to acknowledge it. That’s how my mom lived in the hospital. In wards like that. Rows and rows of children who were sick and fighting for their health and in some cases their lives. It’s humbling.

These non-hospital related articles were just left around the two that had relevance, but I found them kind of interesting – it’s cool to see what was important in 1956. Turkeys apparently.

If you don’t know who Eric Harvie is he’s worth learning about. I learned about how he was part of the group of business men in Alberta in the early 1900s who put money into beautifying the faces of small towns in Alberta. His legacy lives on in the Glenbow Ranch – the provincial park that is just east of Cochrane. I remember his son Neil (who was older than my parents) coming to see my dad for legal advice- never would you imagine his net worth as he was such a humble and down to earth person every time I met him.

Eric Harvie Gives Cash to the City

Mayor D.H. Mackay said today the city is trying to place building sites to the west of River Park on sale as soon as possible. This followed the signing of an agreement Thursday between the city and Glenbow Investments Ltd handling the donation of 2 1/2 acres of land and $100,000 from Eric L. Harvie QC.

Mayor Surprised

The mayor was surprised when the large cheque was handed to him Tuesday. He had expected only to sign the agreement.

The signing and handing over of the cheque marks the end of a four year controversy over Mr. Harvie’s contributions.

Because, seriously, who doesn’t want to read an article about a turkey thief?? I’d so much rather read about this than the headlines of today.

Turkey Thief Goes to Jail

A 29 year old Calgary man, Douglas Shaben, Tuesday in Supreme Court was sentenced to 12 months at hard labour in Lethbridge jail after being found guilty of obtaining 17 turkeys form a local food wholesaler last Christmas by false pretences.

The stay of proceedings was granted by Chief Justice C.C. McLaurin on a second similar charge.

The sentence was handed down after evidence disclosed Shaben had posed as a buyer for Shell Oil Co and in return sold the turkeys for $241.89 to the Calgary Electric Light Department.

Character Witness:

A character witness, Robert Leslie Howell, a minister of the Christian Church testified Shaben was “a sincere fellow willing to help people at all times.” The minister also stated Shaben had been generous in his donation to the community fund.

Shaben was represented by J.S. Palmer. Earnest S. Watkins was crown prosecutor.

You know me, any opportunity to drive home the importance of wearing a helmet. My life was saved in my “rushed unplanned dismount” a few years ago because I had my helmet on.

Safety Helmet Saves Worker

And employee of Mannix Construction Ltd was saved from serious injury by his safety helmet about 9:30 am today when a piece of pipe fell on him at 9th ave and 1st St. W.

Bill McLean was taken to General Hospital by Starr’s Ambulance. He suffered head cuts but his condition was considered satisfactory.

Witnesses said the man’s safety helmet was flattened when the piece of pipe tumbled down on him.

Plaster Casts, Wheel Chairs and crutches have not dampened the spirits of the girl guides shown above. They are members of a company in the Red Cross Crippled Children’s Hospital, and are pictured during a lesson in know tying at their meeting Tuesday night. Smiling happily form left to right are: Muriel, Brenda, Emily, Patsy, who is yet a Brownie, and Lillian.

This is the photo – it sure brings a lot of feelings for me. Also though, how cool that Gene Autry came to visit. I remember when I was teaching in Airdrie years ago the kids talked about how Paul Brant would go to the Children’s Hospital and visit them – and this was when his songs like “My Heart Has a History” were topping the charts. It meant so much to them and I’ve had a lot of respect for him since then.

Cowboy Star Visits Hospital

Young patients at the Red Cross Crippled Children’s Hospital Thursday morning got a real thrill when cowboy movie star Gene Autry paid them a visit. Autry is shown above talking to a ward full of bed-ridden youngsters. He was in Calgary for a show at the Corral Thursday night.


Big Grey Cup Game Tomorrow(FGK 252)

I don’t know who Kay is, but she seems to be somehow connected to Jumping Pound – at least enough to want to go to a dance. Although, the dances here used to be legendary so who knows. Anyone know these people?

Nov 25th, 1955

116 Poplar Road

Calgary, Alberta

Dear Marg,

Well, was I ever surprised when I heard you were in the hospital. I bet you couldn’t remember where you were at first. It would sure seem funny after being away so long. Are there still a lot of kids you know in there?

Well, school is still dragging on. Gee, is French ever hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it. Don’t take it next year unless you know you’re going to have a real good teacher. That’s one reason I find it so hard. I think, because Donna and Elaine find it fairly easy, they have a good teacher.

Let’s get off such a boring subject. There’s a big dance at Jumping Pound tonight. Wish I could have gone but Dad wouldn’t let me go because it was too cold. I was going to go out with Delores and Maureen Bowlen. All the kids were going to go.

Big Grey Cup game tomorrow eh? I’ll bet you’ll really enjoy it. You’d better be careful how you bet or you’ll lose all your bobby-pins. Have you got a bet on with Claudine for it yet? How did you and Claudia turn out in all your bets on the season’s games. Last time I heard you were handing a dollar over.

Well, I guess this is all for now. It’s time I went to bed. Will write more tomorrow.

Wake up!!! (It’s after ten). Mum and Dad have gone over to Safeway’s now and when they come home they are going downtown. I’m going to begin looking around for Christmas presents. What a job!!

Elaine, Rose and I went to the show “Lucy Gallant”. Was it ever good!! It was a story of a girl who loved clothes, and she came to a small little town and opened up a big fashion store, and then she fell in love with a rancher there and had to pick between him and her store. Of course in the end she picked him!!

We’e got our phone now. Our number is 494949. If you’re ever up and near a phone in there (this if if they let you use the phone) phone Elaine and I.

I don’t know if I should start this page or not. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Are you listening to the Grey Cup Parade? (I think it is) I sure hope Edmonton wins again this year. If Calgary can’t do it, it will have to be Edmonton, just to keep it in Albert eh?

Here it is Saturday night and the Edmonton Eskimos did it. Even if I don’t understand football I am glad when someone wins!!

Well this seems to be all for now. Write when you’ve some news (soon).

Love, Kay

PS. I’ve sent in Moments to Remember for you, tell me in a letter if you have any favourite songs.


Dollars to Doughnuts (FGK 251)

This was a friend from the hospital.

Postmarked 1955

Dearest Coppie (mom)

“Hi ya kiddo!!!” I decided to write you instead of wasting money by phoning (Scotch you know!!)

I haven’t even been home for the last week! I’ve finally ditched Bowness for a while to come and stay with my grandmother on the North Hill, a block from our old house at that.

I’ve just been debating on whether to go see Bill Haley on the 22nd or to go to a show. I’m dying to see him! We should get together and to Marg!??!!

I haven’t’ been doing much during the day except to study!!! Big deal eh?? What you been doing lately besides study “Coppie”??? Will you be going to a high school next year or what? Man!! I’d sure love to go to one for “ten” but I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut, I’ll end up doing it by correspondence. Bah!!

Any parties or dances lately?? I never get to do anything at dear old Bowness. We probably won’t get to Calgary ‘til August!!

Gosh! Im dying to hear your records “Coppie”!! I’m tired of having “jazz sessions” so my self. Any new (I can’t make this word out – it looks like Bastics but according to urban dictionary – the only definition I could find- that means someone who is both a bastard and a spastic. Will be tucking that away in my memory but I’m pretty sure that’s not what she meant).?? Guess you would’ve told me when I saw you last.

Do you ever hear from Janet or any of the old gang?? Marg fried, Valerie, Zoe, Donna, etc?? I don’t.

Any “dolls” you can introduce me to Marg? Desperate galoot (?) aren’t I?

Guess I’ll end her here since I’ll be talking to you on Tuesday. I hope to be hearing from you kiddo!

Bye now

Oodles of love



Babies and appendectomies (FGK 249)

This letter makes me grateful I never became a nurse – having to do parent duty for sick kids was enough for me. How great that she mentions how much she likes this town, especially since she also mentions a certain man who is joining them on an outing – and he became my uncle which I consider a huge blessing – and then she spent the rest of her life in the area. Gosh Auntie Sheila had a lot of character. Also, when I was young and living in Lethbridge for school Auntie Sheila was the only person who regularly wrote me letters. I don’t even think I responded (I should have a talk with teenage me), but I appreciated them so much and they made me feel less lonely. I do think she also wrote to others of us who went away when we were young. Seeing her ask for letters (twice now) makes me realize that she deeply understood the importance of loved ones reaching out and letting you know that you are important to them.

Vulcan Municipal Hospital

19 Nov/56


Just bot back from the store and a couple of little boys about 8 or 9 years old whistled at me – I whistled back and you never saw such a stunned pair. I guess girls don’t do that here.

I’ll be like Margie and start off by answering your questions

Mrs Oldfield appreciated your invitation very much but she feels she should keep pretty close to her DR. She goes to see him quite frequently.

Seven nurses work here and one girl that is a combination of lab tech and X-ray technician – also a nursing aid.

I hope Barry is ok

I don’t want to take piano lessons I just haven’t got it in me.

She’s (Miss Simmons) making next week’s times out tonight so I don’t know when I get off.

No I didn’t go to the Armistice Dance. Anne said it wouldn’t be any good.

Hope Auntie Lottie hasn’t got TB

Yes we have TV but I haven’t’ been in to watch it so I didn’t see Elvis Presley.

Our meals are quite good.

I didn’t have a baby Wednesday nite.

The people down here sure raise big families. They’re all young girls about 24-25 with five or six kids. It seems that the only thing people have wrong with themselves down here are babies and appendectomies.

You know that Aunt of Annes that’s in the hospital, well I gave her an enema today and right in the middle of it she started vomiting all over the place. I tried to soothe her but she said “oh that’s all right nurse I feel much better.” She was saying this between gushes. Cheerful person.

Anyway, when I was re-sterilizing the tables I let it air dry – completely forgot about it – and the table was just a heap of red goo. Guess I”m spoilt. Been used to having things sterilized for me. Anyway rubber sure stinks.

Every time any of the visitors go past the desk someone always leaves us some candy so we’re well stocked up. Nice town this.

Anne and I nearly always go to that restaurant where we were, for a milkshake every nite. Went to a dance at the school at Red Cross (that’s the name of a place eight miles west of here). There was nobody there but old people and their kids so we came back early.

Anne, Bob, Ted Burger, Mrs Oldfield and I are going to the show tonight (Pete Kelly Blues).

Guess I’ll sleep tomorrow although I’m certainly not tired, guess it’s the altitude.

What’s the matter with the rest of the family – can’t they write? Guess I’ll have to send a (I can’t make this word out – listor? butor? Ugh – I feel like I fell flat on her threat lol) up there.

Love Sheila


Oh what fun we had! (FGK 240)

July 25, 1957

Dear Margaret

Just a note to say “hi”. I was glad to get your letter and hear that you had such a nice trip home with the kids meeting you.

What have you been doing this summer? Have you learned to drive yet, or has that mean old mounty been in the way?

Dana and I went to the auditorium Monday night and saw John Ireland in “Picnic”. He played a young vagabond. It was a good show, we both enjoyed it.

Last week we saw Jerry Lewis’s “Delicate Delinquent”. We never laughed so much. Was he ever silly.

We haven’t seen any of the kids lately except Olga and Joan a few times. I heard Olga’s aunt got sick and they went up to be with her.

When you got home did they think you had changed much? We had all gotten so mischievous and silly. But Oh What Fun we had.

I have a chance to help in a florist shop this fall. Next month I am helping with the flowers for two weddings. So I am starting in Welsh School this Friday to study floristry. I will only get to go from four to six weeks and only three days a week. Maybe I will learn enough in that time to help a little.

There is a lot of good songs on the top thirty list. Am enclosing a list for you “Searchin’” has been number one for several weeks.

We are going to the Rock (?) tonight Dana will be coming before long so will close for now.

Hope to hear from you soon

Love ya



Stick a red ribbon in an envelope (FGK 239)

Mom would never speak with me about her time in the hospital (barring one time that I interviewed her for a Women’s Studies paper and unfortunately that paper got thrown away while I was gone). I wish I had known Janet, she sounds like a wonderful friend, and tons of fun. I’m glad they were friends. And for the record, although she constantly apologizes for her handwriting, it’s beautiful and easy to read. Our standards have fallen since then – my scrawl isn’t nearly as nice as it used to be when I was a teenager, thank goodness I can type most of my thoughts now, although as you can tell I rely on autocorrect too often and sometimes it flat out changes words!

I googled her – and thank goodness for old time small towns because they used to report on everything that happened. As far as I can tell she went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, she played piano at someone’s wedding (perhaps one of the many she talks about), and played some sports in Lethbridge. I really hope her life has been filled with love and happiness.

Pincher Creek, Alta

Aug 26/57

Dearest Margie;

As I don’t expect you received my last letter I really don’t know why I’m writing another one but here I am anyhow!

Say, will you please congratulate that sister of yours on her marriage for me! I groped around on the first for sometime after Auntie Ava sent me the clipping from the paper. It really surprised me – and it shouldn’t have really except that I’m getting old and don’t realize hoe time flies.

How are m’dear? And your Mom and Dad and Marshall? Where is Sheila living now? Oh dear this will soon add up to Twenty Questions. Please excuse the scrawl – it’s just my handwriting that’s all – too bad!

Just got back from another shower! Honestly, I’ve never seen so many weddings in a summer – it seems to be the style lately – and has kept me broke all the time.

Tonite it was for a girl I went to school with in my grade – on Saturday another girl from my grade was married – it was a truly beautiful wedding but they were both so young. Guess Im pre-destined to be an old maid Margie! How about you?

I’m hoping to go to Calgary sometime in September before I go to Edmonton so will phone your home an find out “whither thou hast flown”.

Well, I expect I shouldn’t waste too much time on this as it will probably never reach you. I lost your Florida address so that’s why the big delay – I hesitated to send it to Cochrane ‘cause I thought maybe your folks were down “South” with you! See how far behind I am? You might as well count me out as a tiny spat in the dust!

Shall see you I’m hoping before another three or four years are gone. If you get this please stick a red ribbon in an envelope or something? And send it so I’ll at least know I’m on the right track!

Love to everyone and loads, tons, bushels, and “lots” of love to yourself!!

All my love, Janet

PS please tell me anything you’ve heard about Maryanne or any of the others. I’m afraid I’ve almost completely lost touch with RCH. Is Miss Hines married yet? Luff, Jan


Resume all normal activities (FGK 238)

Pincher Creek, Alta

May 13th,/56

NOTE – Box 216.!! OBSERVE!

Dearest Margie:

Received your wonderful, stupendous, tremendous, witty, cheerful, “etc” letter and was mostest pleased! i really didn’t expect you to write as I know how difficult it is to keep joy those busy correspondence lessons and do anything else! You are to be commended dear, and I mean that! I never could manage it.

Well, I was up to RCH on May 1st and Dr Townsend said I could “resume all normal activities!” Which means that I can do anything my l’il ol’ heart desires! Isn’t that tremendous!!? I fear the “doc” would have a genuine canary if he realized that I have been carrying almost normal activities – with the exception of strenuous sports ONLY! Oh well, – no harm done as my back is “beautiful” (in my estimation) (BRAG BRAG). I have n desire to take part in any other activities at the moment anyhow! Can’t even get enuff sleep now!!

Mom is feeling much better since her “op”. She’s doing all the work at home alone, which is no small job with a hired man and a family that size! It’s supposed to take approximately a year to get over a gall-bladder operation completely, so Mom is doing really remarkably after a few short weeks. However she gets tired quickly and I fear overdoes somewhat – but what can you do!!

Say Marg, I sure wish I had been up there when you and Sheila were keeping house! It just so happens that I’m a spaghetti and meat all fan too so we could have had a real ball! Too bad! (Har, har!) When you come down this summer, we’ll have to go on a camping trip (in the back yard) armed with loads and loads of the stuff! That would be a “sure cure”.

Today they held an “Empire Youth Sunday” observance at Brocket – there were about 800 there for an open air service and parade! It was really lovely. Also this weekend our AYSA (?) has entertained st. Stephenson YP from Calgary. Six of us girls stayed out at our place last night! The place was fairly bulging, but we had a picnic! You see, we had supper at the hall Sat nite and then all went to the dance up at “Turtle Mountain Playgrounds” for the evening. Had a hilarious time, but by the time we staggered in to bed it was about 3:00. That’s not bad if you can sleep in, but I couldn’t sleep as it was (Anne kicks!!) and we had to get up at 7:00 to make it to town for communion at 9:00! No wonder I can’t make any sense tonight- guess I”d better get to bed (I should be doing homework!)

Well, Margie, I suppose you’ll be utterly disgusted wth me for even mentioning it, but I (at the moment) have a gigantic problem and it concerns ———- boys (MEN???). You see, my philosophy of life is “DON’T GO STEADY”. However, I’m finding that might be the solution to a lot of things at the present moment. I’m constantly making one of ‘three’ mad at me for going out with someone else! Of course (as I’ve painted out!) they’ve no right to be mad as we’re not going steady but it would almost appear that Im fickle (which I am). O dud e a rur! I wish all the Tom, Dicks, and Harrys would “take off” (temporarily) and let me nurse an “Old Maid” complex for a while. However, a different date every week – sure is fun!!! (Famous last words). Remember what happens before the fall of all great men? (I don’t)

Suppose by now you can see that the effects of the weekend are really beginning to show! Next weekend we’re planning a holiday at Waterton – so more fun and less sleep again! Oh well, I’m studying along with it and pretty soon there won’t be anything else to do – so guess I’ll enjoy life while the “opportunity is knocking” (ya can’t come EEN!!)

See ya later alligator!

much love, Janet

PS Write me after a while crocodile! (Gee you’re cute). (Dig those blearily bloodshot eyes!!) xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


Purple People Eater (FGK 237)

Monday night

July 21, 1958

Dear Margaret

How are you? How is work? What is new up your way? Everything is just about the same down here. I am still working one to ten. I thought I would write you once more and mail it before the mail goes up. The weather has been very hot down here.

“No Time for Sgt” is very good. It was funny.

Margaret, I went downtown last week and went into the dress shop. I now have two new dresses. One is a dark print, it is thin and will be nice when it gets cooler. The other is a party dress. It is navy blue and white stripped. It is sleeveless and goes up fairly high in the front an down low in the back. It has a full skirt. Around the bottom is about 6 inches of white organdy (I had to google this: a fine translucent cotton or silk fabric that is usually stiffened and used for women’s clothing” with lace. I just couldn’t help it. Mom also made me a very pretty pink dress with sort of full sleeves. I am just a hopeless case. Mom says I shouldn’t buy any more summer clothes, but with fall coming I can a start all over again. I only wish you were down here to go shopping with. I used to have so much fun when we would go on our sprees every Saturday.

We haven’t heard from Larry lately. I guess he will be pretty busy now. Boots is in the hospital over in Orlando now. She is in some pain after her operation. If you’d ant to write here write to:

Marion Hilton

Orange Memorial Hospital

Orlando, Florida

I am going downtown tomorrow and buy Elvis’ album from the picture. Have you seen it yet?

Wanda and I went shopping the other day, for a while, she likes her school work very much. She is learning about the hair styling end of her work. She has to go to school for nine months. Roy was home a couple of weeks ago. He was looking just the same as usual. He asked how you were. I guess he is in California now from what Wanda says.

When I tell you this you will die. At work the other day I was sitting next to this girl who was placing a collect call to some girl and guess who the cal was from? Freddy Peacock, our old friend. The girl accepted the charges. He must really get around these days huh?

Lila’s (however you spell) cousin works in Furchott’s. I was there the other day. She said to say hello to you.

I haven’t been to the beach or swimming in ages. I am so pale!

I painted my finger nails a really weird shade the other day. I put two coats of gold over two coats of apricot ice. It looked just like a new shade out now called “orange gold”.

The top song around here is still “Purple People Eater” I am getting so tired of that song.

Have you heard Ricky Nelson’s new record of “Poor Little Fools?”

I left my pen with the green ink at work today, I sure hope it will be there tomorrow.

Well Margaret, write me soon and tell me all the news.

Love Barbara

PS did I tell you Merle and Marty got married last month. Big deal!


Most fun I’ve had since I got out of RCH (FGK 236)

Pincher Creek, Alberta

April 26, 1954

Dear Margie

My but I’ve neglected you shamefully lately. Im really ashamed of myself, but the excuse, same as always is that I’ve been busy.

Here I am writing a letter while lying on my back, just like I used to do on my blessed old frame. I’ll tell you the reason why later on.

i was supposed to come up (as you know) in about a month’s time from March 19th to get my brace off but heard nothing from the hospital about what day etc. so, mom phoned Dr T the other day to find out what to do. He told me to start taking my brace off at supper time for a couple of weeks and leave it off till bedtime if I wasn’t doing anything strenuous. Then I am to start taking it off after school hours (not much of a promotion) for another two weeks. After that Im supposed to go up to the “horse pistol” and I hope, get it off for good. So I’ll see you sometime in May. Last time I was up, I phoned “Hamers” about the pictures (I still haven’t got them yet by the way) and she sounded as good as ever. I wanted to go over and see her, but it was quite a distance and Dad and Mum wanted to get home, as usual.

You didn’t happen to get home for the Easter holidays did you? It would certainly have been nice if you did. I came home the Tuesday before Easter and have been here ever since. I’m going back to Lethbridge tomorrow or Wednesday.

The night I came home, Tuesday, I got in on the 7:00 bus and right after supper went to church for a special service for confirmation candidates. You knew I was getting confirmed didn’t you? Well now you do. After the service we went over to the height school to a play that the United Church Young People were putting on. Ted was the leading man and Sharon Bratz was the nurse. Remember Sharon? The one that came in with May that day, perhaps you don’t. It was called “Take your own Medicine” and was really hilarious. The cast really did their parts well.

Here it is the 6th of May and I’ve just now got around to adding a few more lines. Gosh I’ve been busy! I must impress that fact on you or you’ll think I’ve just been forgetting you. Well I haven’t!!!!!!

Gee it feels good to get out of “Uswald” for a while each day. I’ve got the ugliest “puffs” on my hips from it and it exaggerates my plumpness a little bit too much!! Am I ever getting fat kiddo!!!! (I enjoy making exclamation points as you notice. They’re more exciting than just periods or question marks).

I went to the High School Party during the holidays. I wasn’t planning on going but then when nobody seemed to think it would hurt I decided to go. Did I ever have fun!!!! Most fun I’ve had since I got out of RCH. Verna was there looking wonderful as ever, but was on the lunch committee and seemed to be doing most of the work so Ruth Watson (Ted’s sister) and I went in and helped her a bit. You better not tell anyone up there about the dance for fear they might not approve. I doubt if it matters because Dr T said I could do anything within reason, and I think a few waltzes is within reason don’t you? However maybe a few other people might not.

May 7. Third edition

I may finish this episode before I get to the fifth or sixth edition.

Give my love to Miss Horner and the rest. Tell her I started a letter to her a month or so ago but haven’t finished it yet. Tell her not to give up hope though.

Oh yes! While I was home, the ladies in a neighbouring district put on a little kids dance. All the little brats from miles around went to it to, presumably to learn how to dance. Mom and Auntie Dorthy thought Charlotte and I might like to go and help teach them. So we went!!!

In one corner, there were really little ones tottering around supposed to be playing “drop the handkerchief” with some poor frazzled mothers trying to help. In another corner were the poor, tired, bored fathers playing cards and gossiping. Up on the stage was the orchestra consisting of a piano, accordion, and a violin; and in the rest of the hall where Charlotte and I were were all the young dancers playing around like a “bunch of young cattle in a pen” as Marjory put it. The evening consisted of pushing kids around until you forgot what you were doing yourself almost. Then we ate and a so-called cowboy sang four cowboy songs and a lot of others showed off we had another dance and then went home. What a night! And yet we had fun!!!!!!!

Last Saturday (May Day) the Shriners were down here for the weekend and had a parade. Anne and I went. After it had gone by we started to run up to the store where Annie’s mom works to tell her to be sure to watch. There weren’t many people on the sidewalk as they were all out in the streets so I guess we would attract attention running up the street at such a rate. Anyway suddenly we heard everybody behind us start to laugh but we thought they were laughing at the parade so we didn’t look back. All of a sudden I saw something black stick out in front of me and some went around each of us. Something dug into our sides and it felt like I had a shock or something. We turned around and here it was the “black devil” from the parade he had a long black fork with a little battery on the end and he would dig that into people and give them a shock. Anne and I both got one and I was never so scared in my life, nor so humiliated. I couldn’t look anybody in the face on that street without having them sort of grin and make me feel worse then ever. I wish I had fainted or something and got that guy whoever he was into trouble. After we got over our scare we were just plain mad.

Say “old bean”, why don’t you get Dr Townsend. Maybe he’d get you out of “that place” soon. I didn’t think you’d ever get mad at Dr Walsh. I always thought he looked sort of sleepy. (I’m sure glad I’m not wishing throwing distance from you right now, I’d probably get a roll of toilet paper in my face). Or would I?!!!!!!! Anyway I don’t blame you for wanting to get out. You’ve sure been in there long enough!!! Im glad to hear you’re walking on crutches that’s quite a bit “promotion” or whatever you call it.

Well, I suppose I better do my exercises and go to bed. I promised Miss Mason I’d do them faithfully and I guess I’d better not let her down. can you keep a secret? I missed two days in a row, so I’ve been doing double-duty ever since. My old stomach and back muscles are still going “flippity flop” though. Gee I wish they’d improve!! When I get out of my brace I just eel like I’m going to break or fall and my back will end up in one corner and the rest of me in another.

Say hi to Helen and Lillian and Maryanne and anyone else you see that I’m acquainted with. I hope to see you all before too long. I told Mom to write you a note Marg and apologize for my neglecting you because I didn’t have time, but by grabbing a minute here and there I managed to get a few pages done. You may get a letter from her anyway though as I won’t be writing home for a while. I hope you can read this shameful scrawl. The reason I’m using pencil is because I can’t find my ink. It’s lost on my desk somewhere.

bye for now “sweetie”

heaps of love and loads of kisses,


PS don’t go and get measles or something. I want to see you when I come up this time. I’m afraid Im one of those people that write an awful lot and tell very little

love Janet


A day in the life in Fort Macleod (FGK 235)

I find these mystery letters quite interesting. It seems this was a pen pal set up through this girl’s Sunday School. I googled and found her mom’s obituary – these types of letters make me wonder how this story of this young girl turned out as she grew into a woman. What adventures did she have? I hope her life has been happy. Mom would have been 13 when this letter was sent, so they’re close to the same age. Both her mom and my grandma died in the same year (2004) although grandma was 4 years older. It’s easy to fall down rabbit holes with this stuff.

Pearce, Alberta

January 27, 1954

Dear Margaret

We get Sunday School Lessons from Mr. W R Johnson in Calgary. He sent us your address so I am writing to you.

I am 12 years old and my birthday is July 11. I live on a farm and have three brothers, 1 older than me and 2 younger and two younger sisters. All buy my youngest sister go to school. We go to school in Fort Macleod on a School Bus. We are 1 mile from Fort Macleod. We get on the bus about 8:25 in the morning and get off about 4 o’clock if nothing happens and the roads are good. We start school at 9 o’clock and get out at 3:30 in the afternoon.

I am in grade seven at school starting my first year of Junior High School. I have four teachers, one we get only once a week for Home Economics on Wednesday afternoon from 1 o’clock until 3:30. There are 35 pupils in my room, 16 girls and 19 boys. Our room teacher is Miss Hyssop, who teaches us mathematics, English, Spelling, Physical Education, Reading for Meaning, and Social Studies which she also teaches to the two other Junior High rooms grade 8 and grade 7 & 8. Mr. Sterling the 7 & 8 teacher teaches us Health, Literature, and Art which we get once a week. The three rooms also have a Student’s Union. We have meetings and programs once a month.

On our farm we have 1 horse which belongs to Jacob my older brother which he broke last year. She is a sorrel and about 12 years old. We have 4 young calves about a year old. 2 heifers and 2 steers which also belong to Jacob. Then we have 2 heifers which will have their first calf this year. One of them I call mine and the other Esther my youngest sister calls hers. We have 4 cows, a red one Garrett the oldest of my two younger brothers owns. A red white face that is also Jacob’s. Then we have a Holstein and a red white face. We have one pig which we want to get rid of as soon as it warms up as it it too cold to butcher it now in this sub-zero weather. We have around 40 chickens now, 3 roosters and the rest old hens and young pullets. Last spring I set a hen and got 8 chicks, 4 roosters and 4 pullets. They were really cute when they were babies especially my little black rooster who disappeared when he was bout 3 months old. He was quite tame. My other 3 roosters we ate. My 4 pullets are now laying eggs. We have 1 dog a white and black one about a year and a half old. He isn’t too much good except that he barks when someone comes. He is really a pest but he sure likes barking at anything.

I didn’t go to school today because it is too cold and we have got farther to walk now than before. Jacob was the only one that went. Last night the bus got stuck coming off the highway. The snow was so deep and full of ruts that you couldn’t expect much else to happen so the driver said we would have to walk that far. It really isn’t so far but it’s so cold outside.

That’s all for now.


Mary Ann deKoning

ps. Hoping that you will write back soon