Wednesday, February 7, 2018


     My parents were married in February of 1938. They were married in Grandma's house in Portage la Prairie , Manitoba. They had a best man, brides maid and preacher as well as grandma and Grandpa. What a grand wedding! They talked about it often. Mom was 24 and Dad was 26.

     Up to that point my Mom had always lived at home. As so many young women did at that time she worked as a hired girl. Most households hired a girl as there were no luxuries or  appliances. All the work was done by hand. Mom talked fondly of a family that   she worked for for many years. She corresponded with these people for years. They were excellent people to work for and they treated her like family. I think she was paid $10.00 to $15.00 per month.

     As many young men of the depression did, Dad traveled and picked up odd jobs and lived with friends. Dad was 18 when he left his family. Dad worked in a sawmill for his uncle all winter and when the job was finished and Dad wanted to move on, Uncle had no money to pay him. Uncle pointed to a pile of lumber and said that was Dad's pay. What could an 18 year old kid do with a pile of lumber that no one wanted. Dad walked away and traveled further on.

   Dad moved on to the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. He had two sisters and some cousins living in the area. Dad picked fruit, worked in the bush, worked on a dairy farm and many other odd jobs. Much of the time he was idle and lived with other young people or his sisters. It was a frustrating time for young people who were not able to make a living for themselves.

   In 1935 Dad came back to the prairies and with one of his sisters bought a small farm. The farm had a small meager house. It was about 14' by 24' . It was very poorly built so was very cold. Dad farmed and picked up the odd job. In the winter he went to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and worked for a man who put up ice to be delivered in the summer for coolers. Again the money was poor but he didn't have anything to do on his farm in the winter.

    So this is where Mom and Dad met.

    A few days after their wedding they got on the train and went out to Dad's farm. Now I can imagine my mother's feelings  as she  was leaving home for the first time and moving out to a shack far away from her parents! The shack had not been heated all winter so it must have taken some time to heat up. Fortunately, one of Dad's friends kept them until the old house was heated. They had brought their clothes and a few household items that they had been given for wedding presents or things that Mom had bought.

     So this was the start of their married life.

    Neither of them complained about the hardships of the great depression. They often talked of the fun they had on no money. Many young people at that time married later in life as they couldn't afford to live independently.

   I always admire how they managed to survive such hardships.