happiness

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

Calgary

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,

Ruth

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Boy Crazy Girls (FGK-43)

It’s good to see that no matter the time or situation, teenage girls are teenage girls. Mom would have been almost 13 when this letter was written. I love the “teenager-ey-ness” of this letter. But under the typical teenage stuff, there sure is a strong underlying theme of some of the challenges these kids faced in the hospital. Thinking of mom 2 years on, still in bed, all of these kids going through operations, wearing packs, being so isolated. No wonder mom didn’t want to talk about these years. But like with so many dark times, this era of mom’s life is sure wrapped in love.

I feel like it was a real blessing I found these letters, and when I say found, I mean that God kind of put them in my path and made me trip over them. I don’t really know why I started posting them, except I thought it was a good way for me to understand mom a bit better, and this was a place to record it all. But I’ve been delighted by how many other people are enjoying reading them, and I love the history gaps that are being filled for me, and the memories that other people are sharing. So thank you all for joining me on this journey! There are lots more to come.

Box no. 235

Eckville, Alta

Aug 18, 1953

Dearest Margie,

Well, how’s my favourite girlfriend today? Just fine I hope. I’m still pickin’. Too bad, how sad!

How are you coming along, really? Can you move your legs any more since I left? You’ve got to get up and out of that bed soon. I couldn’t stand to see you laying down much longer. What you need is me there (as I told Janet with my “good” influence).

I got you guys something from Sylvan Lake. I think I’ll have to send them as if I I go to stay with ____ I won’t see you for a little while longer. At least not as soon as I’d expected.

Mary Anne’s doing alright eh? Gee, I was so worried for a while there! Here’s hoping things turned around for the best and that she will have and a successful operation. I know what it’s like to have unsuccessful operations. It isn’t very nice. One day – I’ll be going through the whole ordeal again. What an awful though eh? Oh well, I’ll have my fun first.

I saw Norman finally! Gee, he was nice. Just like I thought he would be. We were in Red Deer so I went to see him at work. We spent all our morning in a garage getting the car filled up. I went around talking to all the good-looking men. There was one in particular that caught my eye. He had a moustache (just a small one). Real cute.

Now, why on earth did they cut all these weeds down on the lawn- just after I left? All the time I was there I was wishing they would do just that. I miss watching “the boy next door”. I miss that most. I was really getting interested. You know me!!!

How’s all your family? Will you please say “hi” to your mother and dad for me? I miss them (not seeing them anymore).

I got about five mosquito bites on the ankle of my “bad” leg. They were so itchy that I scratched them and now they’re infected and my whole ankle is swollen. That’s what you get for it. Bob always tole me not to scratch my “______” <haha – I googled the closest version to what I could understand this word spelled and I am NOT printing that in here>. He stayed in this house for 2 weeks. Gee he’s a big tease. He just left yesterday. He calls himself the “handsome, intelligent, red-blooded Canadian.” What a corny character.

Norman’s going on his holidays, so he said he was coming to Eckville , as a matter of fact he should arrive today.

I think I better close before you fall asleep. I’ve put Janet to sleep by being bored already too.

Well, be good! I’ll see you soon. Sure miss you honey

All my love, Lillian (MICKEY)

PS you should see the nice-looking boy that lives a couple of doors down from where I”m staying. Kevin Mullen. He sure is cute.

By the way, has any of the boys heard from George? I sure miss him.

How’s Louis? Is he walking legally, yet?

Also how’s Calvin? I hear he had his operation just recently. Here’s hoping they’re all fine.

I’ll be sending you a picture of me soon. That one you sent from the negative Diane gave me.

Love from “Mickey”

PPS has the pastel badge arrived yet?

So Betty Brown has a diamond eh? Gee I’m glad for her.

Will be in Calgary by Monday

Love, Lil

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Time Waits For No Man (FGK-42)

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

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

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

RR2 Calgary Alberta

Wednesday

Dear Margy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luff and best wishes

Agnes

Time Waits For No Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hazing Days at Olds (FGK 41)

Fortunately Froshing, or Hazing was no longer allowed by the time I reached high school or university, but I certainly read stories and watched it in the movies. Clarence’s description does not sound as bad as some of the more graphic stories I saw in the movies, but I’m still glad I avoided it. I grew up not really knowing his children, but about 4 years ago I had a rather dramatic crash off my horse and shattered my shoulder. Clarence’s son was the doctor at the cast clinic who looked after me, proving that Copithornes are everywhere, and the world is still a small place.

O.S.A.

Nov 5/52

Dear Margie

Well how is my favourite cousin? Not too bad I hope. All the reports I hear are getting better.

Well I’ve been up here about 2 weeks now and it’s not too bad when you get to know some of the kids. The initiation is over now. You know what that is, the kids who were here last year have the right to be boss over the new kids like me. Well this went on for a week and I’ll tell you what we had to do. They made us call them “Most Excellent Second-Year” whenever we met them, get off the sidewalk for them, polish shoes, make beds, and sweep floors for them. And we couldn’t object or they would throw us in the shower and soak us to the skin. We had to wear different shoes and different socks for a whole week along with wearing a towel or scarf around our head. We also couldn’t comb our hair for 1 week and we could only shave one half of our face. We had to wear our pants rolled up six inches about our boot tops.

If the “second-years” saw us doing something we shouldn’t be doing they could send us out to do some dirty job. Some of the kids were sent out with a water pail and soap and had to wash al the stop signs in Olds which is quite a few. Some of the others had to wash the dean’s car. I was a good boy so I didn’t have to do any of these things. The last day of the week was the worst. They made us wear all our clothes inside out and backwards along with all the other things I mentioned. the girls had to wear stockings over their hair and wrong shoes and stockings

On the last day they made the girls do up their hair in different ways. Pin curls on one side, curlers on the other side, braids on another side, and straight and uncombed on the other side. They also had to smear lipstick al lover their mouth. It looked really funny. On Saturday afternoon they put us all on a long rope and herded us all over town and that night they put us through the initiation ceremonies. They blindfolded us, walked us up a plank over wet macaroni, sprayed wet gooey stuff all over our face and then gave us a real shock when we weren’t expecting it. But after that we had a good dance and we are supposed to be real student of Old School of Agriculture now.

We were down on Tuesday to Calgary and went through the Burn’s Packing Plant. It was interesting with lots of blood and gore.

Say hello to your Dad and Mum for me will you? I think I’d better close now before I bore you too much so bye for now.

Clarence B

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To the Girls in Ward 234 (FGK-40)

Sometimes I forget how young these kids were in the hospital. I mean, when I imagine my mom, aunt, and uncle I often just imagine shrunken down versions of their adult selves, which is silly because childhood me was not just a shrunken down version of who I am.

It must have been weird to be one of the ones who was discharged and back in the real world while their friends on the ward were still going through daily routines involving the painful packs and stuck in the day to day reality of polio wondering how their bodies would recover.

Mom would be 80 now and as I read these letters I find myself wondering what happened to her friends from the hospital, how did their lives turn out? I hope they all found peace and fulfillment.

(Addressed to the Girls in Ward 234)

Calgary, Alberta

July 1953

Dear Girls,

How are you all? I’ve been meaning to write for a long time but never got around to it. Terribly busy you know! Ha!

Is Iserna (?) out of her cast yet? If she is I bet she’s really happy. How about Margie? Has she still got packs? I guess Lil and Isabel and Mary Ann are pretty nearly home. Is Annie still in bed or is she up at all?

I sure wish I could get up to see you kids but because I’m under 16 i have to follow the rules. However Miss Baxter is away so I’ll try and get up one of these days.

How did you kids like the parade? I didn’t see it – but I took in al the rides one nite. I thought the stage show was very poor but I guess most people liked it.

I hear from Helen quite often. We phone back and forth all the time.

When is Rose coming in? I bet you kids will really have fun this summer. I sure hope you get well soon and are all out for the fall.

Love and best wishes always

Laurie

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Written on Birch Bark (FGK-39)

This is by far the coolest letter I have discovered so far. Not in content, but because of the “paper” on which it was written. It is indeed birch bark. He must have peeled some off a tree and used it. I can’t believe that 68 years later this bark is still intact. What a treasure. This letter is from mom’s cousin Lawrence.

For some interesting family trivia, the coasters that are holding the birch bark flat were created by Lawrence’s talented great nephew Yarrow and gifted to me at Christmas time because I bought one of his amazing wooden cutting boards for my boy.

Box 58

Cochrane, Alberta

July 16, 1953

Dear Margie

Queerly shaped paper I’ve got here isn’t it? I guess you know it’s birch bark. It’s not bad stuff to write on.

I just got your letter today. Gosh I wish I could have seen you the day of the parade! I’m sure glad that you had so much fun.

There was a man out from William Goett Co. Ltd the other day who sold us a machine called a rototiller. It is the same idea as the seaman(?) tiller your dad has.

A salesman sold mom a nice sewing machine yesterday. She was very happy.

We are going to Banff now so I have to go.

Lawrence

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Mom Standing, School Dances, Neighbourhood News (FGK-38)

Stressing about school seems to be something that is timeless. My poor girl seems to spend as much time stressing about school as she does in school, and I know I was the same (am the same still since I’m back in school now). I’m guessing the trip Edith is taking is the one for the Stampede Queen that was written about a while ago. These school dances and parties sound like they were really something!! Nothing boring at all about a small, one room schoolhouse.

Oct 27/53

Dear Margie

It seems like ages since I last wrote. Sheila just phoned, she said you were getting along fine. I was very happy to hear that you had stood up for a few seconds by yourself.

We get our report cards in about a week and am I ever worried. We had the hardest math test, and the worst French test I ever saw. I was lucky I thought to make all my subjects last year, this year’s just out of the question.

My sorority is putting on a party a week this Saturday and we have to ask boys. I haven’t decided who I’ll ask yet but it will probably be Ron Scott.

I am rather looking forward to the Halloween dance that the school kids are putting on. I don’t know most what I want to see; Mr. O’Brien drunk or the kids have a good time and a good crowd.

My Grandmother and Grandfather went down to Rochester on a trip and a medical examination. They plan to be back soon.

Did you hear about Marilyn and Don Edge? I guess they will be married soon.

Hasn’t the weather just been grand, everyone must surely have their crop in by now. It will save quite a lot on feed too.

Kenny just got in from from going to a show with Ken McMilan, they go around a bit together. Tommy is sure growing up, he can talk quite well now. He calls me Toes which sure sounds cute, he makes such an effort.

I guess the Light Horse Association had quite a party last Wednesday. Mom and Dad went and had a good time. It was for members twenty one and over so that left quite a few out.

Edith’s and the rest of the family’s picture was in the paper. I guess she’s going on her trip on the first of November. Lucky girl!

Well I hope you can read the sprawl and make out the words.

Hope you are getting along fine.

Love

Anne M Copithorne

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A note from Grandpa (FGK-37)

This is the first letter I’ve found to mom from Grandpa. Like me, Grandpa was born left handed, except in his era left handed people were not allowed to be left handed and he got his knuckles rapped regularly to force him to write with his right hand. I have to say, his penmanship is quite spectacular, especially considering he wrote with his non dominant hand.

Grandpa died when I was only seven, and given the short amount of time I had with him I have many happy memories. I realize now as an adult that means that he must have gone out of his way to spend a lot of time with me (and his other grandkids) to make such an impression. My favourite Grandpa memory is of the time we drove up to our cottage (only steps from their house) and Grandpa was standing on the driveway. As soon as I got out of the car he called me over all excited to show me something. I was maybe 5 or 6. On the driveway was a garter snake, and Grandpa looked at me with a huge smile on his face and told me that I should take it inside and show Grandma and her friends because they loved snakes and they’d be very happy to see it. Grandma was having a tea party in the dining room with a few ladies and I danced into the room holding the snake up for all to see. I remember screaming and people running, and then the snake slithering across the kitchen floor while Grandpa laughed and Grandma yelled at him. Turned out the snake didn’t want to leave the kitchen either, and Grandpa had to sweep him out the kitchen door several times before he finally went on his way.

March 10, 1953

Hello Margie

Here is Dad at last with a note. Have been thinking of you a lot, seeing that I can’t see you these days. I was up in the hills yesterday to see if I could find any more cattle but did not find any. Len, Clarence, and Frank was with me. We put our horses in the truck and drove up past the ranger station and rode from there. Sure is a desolate country this time of year. Just snow and not a track of anything.

Anne is gone now so Mom and I have an awful time deciding who is going to get up in the morning and prepare breakfast. So far I think I have been getting the worst of it.

Rees is in the Hospital for a minor operation but is getting out on Thursday. So I had Jimmy Patterson to feed the steers in Grand Valley.

Marshall and I were riding on Saturday and the hound caught another coyote. Buster and Rex helped and between us all we got him killed. Rex chewed on a front leg.

Hope you are doing fine and didn’t catch any more chicken pox.

Am sending you a card to mail to anybody you care to.

Dad

I included his letter so you could see his penmanship. I love this letter, I wish I’d known Grandpa for longer.
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Hospital Friends, Lightening, Toothaches (FGK-35)

These letters from friends mom made while in the hospital must have been kind of bittersweet. I’m sure they built extremely close friendships, and they would have understood each other in a way that no one else could. Their shared experience would have bonded them because no matter how hard anyone else tried, it would be impossible to fully understand what life was like for these kids isolated from family and friends in the hospital. I feel for mom being one of the kids who had to remain in there after some of her friends were well enough to go home and return to their lives. Grandma talked of mom’s loneliness and I feel it in my soul even though I know I don’t understand but a small part of it. Mom was in the hospital almost 3 years when this letter was written.

Based on the handwriting (and I know I probably shouldn’t make assumptions), it seems that Anne is younger. And Janet, if you’re out there, I find you anything but an old bore!

I wonder what happened to these old friends. I don’t recall mom ever getting together and visiting with them in my lifetime.

Stavely, Alberta

August 15, 1954

Dear Margie;

I guess it’s about time I wrote eh? You’ll think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth again.

How’s life at JRCH? Same as usual I suppose. Do you have an y idea at all about when you’ll get out? I just can’t wait for you to get out of that place and we can see each other again without having some nurse’s permission, and then only being able to say “hello” and “good-bye”.

I at last got my results the other day, and I was even pleasantly surprised. I got 4 H’s , and A, and a B. My B of course was in math, but was better than I expected at that! If you happen to see Mrs. Aiken, you might tell her my marks. She may want to know. I should write her myself I guess, but I very likely won’t get around to it. You know me and my letter-writing well enough to agree with that.

I’m in Stavely at present – have been here since last Wednesday. Anne is with me and we’re staying at Broomfields. You remember Mrs. Broomfield don’t you? The one I called Auntie Ella. They know George Lane quite well. Now you know!!

Auntie and Uncle took us to the drive in last night. While we were there it started to pour rain. We had the windshield wipers going, making it awfully hard to see, and the lightening was blinding. We left before it was over and had an awful trip home. The lightening was the worst I have ever seen, about six streaks would come at once, and it was mixed with sheet lightning. Every time a flash would come it was as bright as day only it looked like kind of a blue light.

I just got Anne going and she’s going to put in a note too. I’ve had a time keeping her mind off homesickness. She had a bad toothache off and on since we came and last night we noticed that one side of her face was swollen. It must be abscessed to make it do that.

We’re going home tomorrow on the bus. I think Anne’s glad. I just noticed her telling you the same thing.

We wanted to get home for the fair on Tuesday, and anyway, we’ve bothered these poor long-suffering folks enough.

I hate to disappoint you dearie, but this is all the news I’ve got. I’ll write as soon as I can and tell you about the fair.

Start putting the pressure on Dr. Walsh and Miss Olsen and fly out of there one of these days.

bye, and bushels of love,

Janet (that old bore)

Stavely, Alberta

Aug. 15 1954

Dear Margie

I hope you can get out of the Red Cross Hospital quite soon. When you get out you have to come and see us. I really should write to you more often, I’ll try.

Auntie Ella bought me a new doll and a dress. Janet bought me some other new clothes, including a pedal-pusher outfit so Ill be well dressed for a while.

We went to a drive-in last night.

I’ve had a bad toothache the last few days. My face was swollen this morning.

We are going to leave Stavely tomorrow morning early on the bus.

Love Anne

Hope to see you soon.

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Teepees and First Nations Celebrations (FGK-34)

I feel like anything I could say would ruin the perfect beauty of this letter. I am simply going to make the statement, as I do every time this terminology comes up, that I think Aunt Gertie would want to use culturally sensitive words, and this was the language they had at the time. There has always been a lot of respect for our First Nations neighbours to the west of us (and elsewhere).

Cochrane, Alberta

July 23, 1953

Dear Margie:-

Well Margie Sumer is certainly well underway. Haying is in full swing. Last night we had a lot of fun setting up the teepee for the Indians crew in our yard. The children helped us make the wickets and pickets and set up the poles. Afterwards they ramped through the doorway and had pillow fights on the beds. You could hear the giggles everywhere I thought I never would get them in the house to go to bed.

We surely enjoyed the Indian Day celebration at Banff. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. It was held on the grounds of the Banff Springs Hotel. The enclosure was made to resemble a theatre stage and the walls were made of small pine trees set close together. Three gaily painted teepees and a microphone were the main stage feathers. The Indians wandered in leisurely and squatted in groups around the tents. Their beautifully beaded costumes and headdresses lent the whole scene a gay colourful note. The announcer was the best I’ve ever heard. He was from New York and had been made a blood brother ie his wrists had been slashed and his blood mixed with Indian blood. Not many white people have had this honour. He was so witty and interesting that he held us all spellbound.

I wish you could have seen their dancing: the elk dance, the deer dance, chicken dance etc. Each Indian is doing something different and yet all are keeping perfect time. Even the little children join in. Two were only about 3 years old and they were so comical. They kept pulling their gum in and out of their mouths watching the crowds with big brown eyes and keeping the step perfectly. One little boy of the “Ear Family” was only 4 1/2 years old and he was a wonderful dancer. He spun hoops on his arm and both thighs all the time he danced. The crowd kept cheering and he came back three or four times to give solo dances.

I saw the famous dancer “Saddleback”. He is supposed to be the best Indian dancer in Alberta and I can well believe it. You just couldn’t help but notice him. He had a beautiful powder blue suit with rose heading and more snow white fox skins at his waist and one he held over one arm like a muff. He put his feet down so carefully and lightly and they were never still a moment. The many bells on his ankles tinkled merrily. You could almost imagine the deer’s movement as he danced. He also danced with hoops whisking on both arms and legs. One thing I noticed particularly in the Indian dance it is the play of the muscles in the shoulders. It was a steady rhythm and must take quite a while to learn.

Eddie “One Spot” sang some cowboy songs. Another “One Spot” boy played the guitar and sang. Music takes on an added charm in the mountains as it seems to almost echo back. I was sorry we hadn’t taken all the children as they would have enjoyed it so much.

At one point in the program the announcer asked which people thought they had come from the longest distance. Some were from South America, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Germany etc. One girl called “Karen” came from Sweden. Another gentleman was from Switzerland. These were considered to have come from furthest away. As a keepsake of their visit to Canada each was given a beautifully beaded pair of moccasins. They surely were pleased.

Last week my aunt Mina and uncle Ed and 3 cousins were here from Toronto, Ontario. They were motoring through northern USA and back through Canada. They seemed to enjoy western Canada albeit uncle Ed was sure fed up with mountains. He was so funny describing his driving on mountain roads.

I guess Shirley is leaving me in another couple of weeks. She is going to get her old job back as secretary. She can earn a lot more money that way. I’ll miss her as she has sure been a good worker and i really need the help with a hay crew. Alvin is going to try and get a job with the oil wells as it pays well. It’s too bad young folks can’t learn to wait to marry till they have a bit of money saved up. They seem to have to learn the hard way.

My peonies have been just grand this year. I’ll still have bouquets of them for another week I think .The garden looks so nice since we used our new rototiller.

I’ve been busy canning fruit and making jam. It’s nice to get the shelves filled again.

We all send best wishes

Lovingly

Aunt Gertie

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