Tuesday, February 27, 2024


     In my last post there were details missing that could help to make more sense of the situations. 

     The isolated settlement I went to had 188 Inuit and 12 white guys. I was hired as Local administrator , principal of a two room school and teacher. The administration was a tremendous amount of work but very interesting. For the local Administration I had a one hour open office right after school. With this job I issued welfare money. I would give them gas so that they could go hunting  with canoes or skidoos. I bought soapstone carvings everyday for the government. I had a $2000.00 monthly budget to buy carvings.  I supervised the mechanic who didn't need supervision. I had to check off supplies that came in on the ship. I looked after visiting administrators. Since there were no facilities to look after travelers I looked after them and as a result met some very interesting people. Fred Breumer a noted photographer and author stayed with us for a week. In other words administration at times was a full time job.  However, it was very, very interesting. For all this work I received $1000.00 per year. This was in 1967. 

    The Inuit did not speak English. There were a few younger people who could interpret. The people looked after their own affairs as in if someone died, they looked after all of it. Al and I were worried about the lack of communication. However, they knew this situation was different and did not interfere. 

    I had written to the Quebec Dept. of health describing Alisi but received a blah, blah letter which said they would do nothing. My predecessor had also written. 

    So in less than a year Alisi came back on the  plane with clean clothes and tailor made cigarettes. None of us had any idea that she was coming back. She was not charged but was probably assessed and given medication. I don't know how any assessment could be made as she didn't understand French and they didn't understand Eskimo. I don't know how she would get more medication as we were 300 miles from a pharmacist. 

    One day one of the elders asked me where Alisi's baby was. So the child was taken out so decisions could be made. So none of us had thought about the closure needed for the loss of this child. This was a serious mistake in handling the body.

    However, I've always said that this whole northern experience changed my life forever. 

    In most ways these Inuit were very independent. However, since they were encouraged to live in a village and send their kids to school, they very quickly lost hunting skills or the will to hunt. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024


       I wrote the last post for my friend, Bob. He commented that we had taught together in the same school for 24 years and he didn't know the story of my first year teaching. So,  I was trying to explain how Bob could find more about me. 

       I thought I'd have some fun with Bob and ask him to search for murder on my blog. To be safe I checked it out myself. I was very surprised that the story I was looking for was not there but there were five other stories.

     So that gives me my topic for today. 

     Many times I've told you of teaching in a very isolated northern community. I have no idea how close the nearest road came to me. I know that I was 300 miles from any service like medical and air transportation. Flights into the community were only occasional.

    Did I say this was supposed  to be about murder? Well , yes, but I had to set things up. 

    I was working for the federal Government. I was in the province of Quebec so there was some friction between the two governments. 

    One early Sunday morning, when we were still in bed, one of the people came and said, "Alisi's baby not good." The Micro Manager had been treating this little girl so she quickly got dressed and on her way to check on the baby. 

    To The Micro Manager's horror, when she got there, the little girl was dead. Furthermore, it was very obvious that the little girl had been beaten. The MM hurried back to the house to take the next steps in the case.

    The Quebec Govt. looked after justice matters. So off to the Quebec administrator we went. Al, The Quebec administrator, radioed the only police man within 300 miles. Horror of horrors. There were no airplanes to bring him to our settlement. He  said it could be six weeks before he got in. So , over the radio , he told us what he wanted us to do. We were to collect the body. That was the Al's  job but he asked me to go with him. The MM was to make a sketch showing the injuries. It was gruesome There were many burns and bruises. 

    Now, I was a naive prairie boy, who never ever dreamed that I would find my self looking after such  situation. We were to put the body in a box and keep it in the Al's garage. It was late Sept. so the garage would be cool. Now we were pretty nervous as neither one of had any experience with bodies. We went down and Al   picked the little girl up in his arms. After we said we should have taken the box and carried her in the box. 

    Fortunately the police man who was younger than Bob and I came in 5 days later and took the body and mother. Oh, I didn't say that it was obvious the mother had beaten the child. What did we do with the murderer those 5 days? We couldn't arrest her. We could not hold her in custody.  Her niece said that she would stay with her aunt and they carried on with daily life. The lady was seriously mentally ill and was not likely to harm any one else. 

   So again, I never thought I would be in such a situation. I'm sure that no other criminal situation would have been handled the way Al and I looked after it. 

    I haven't had to look after another case since!.  


Friday, February 23, 2024


       I belong to a local naturalists group that has speakers for 6 or 7 months of the year.

     We are not a rich group so have to be careful in selecting speakers. We have a policy where we cover the speaker's expenses. Of course that limits getting some of the more prominent speakers. We sometimes have speakers from the local college, grad students from various universities and some scientists doing research. Speakers are quite often looking for publicity about their studies.

    Last night we had a speaker on bison. He is connected with the Grasslands  park in southern Saskatchewan where they are trying to establish a large herd of prairie bison.

    I have always been interested in bison. The speaker we had last night was disappointing in a number of ways. I was expecting to hear about the history and operation of Grasslands Park. There was nothing except in questions after the presentation. I was expecting to hear abut prairie bison in North America. There was very little. 

    The speaker gave the world history of bison over millions of years and how they got to North America. I was not interested in the long history of bison. So , although the guy was well prepared and knowledgeable I was not interested in the part of the topic he presented.

   So close to 100% of our speakers are great and  their topics interesting. So one disappointing speaker once in a while isn't bad. 


            The scary moose at the nature center reminding us to be cautious.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024


       My last post was about my beginning as a teacher. Now some of my followers had not seen anything like this before. They wanted to see more. And I'm embarrassed to admit that when I went back and checked I found another very similar post only it was better. 

     So searching my blog is easy. On the top left side of the home page is a blank with a search symbol. So you can type in a topic and if it's on the blog it will come up and you can read it. So if you type in Louisville you will  find another similar post and for all I know maybe some other posts on Louisville. Try typing in such things as teaching, education, students, Wakeham Bay, Inuvik, school. You will find many  posts that I have written on my teaching career as well as my reflections on education. 

      I have written very close to 2000 posts. There's lots there . You just have to find it.

    When I started the blog, I had in the back of my mind a biography. Most of my life is on the blog. I would have to pull it out of Hiawatha House and tie it all together and add some missing parts. I know what to do , but it isn't going to happen. 

    Anyway enjoy searching through the blog. Search and let me know what you find that's surprising. 

Saturday, February 17, 2024


       Over my life I have had many experiences and adventures.

      I was a teacher for a while...37 years. Teaching was a challenge but a very satisfying experience.

     I entered teacher's college before my 18th birthday. This was a one year course that did a pretty good job of preparing people to teach. 

     I got a job in a one room country school. I started teaching before my 19th birthday. Most people would look at 19 year olds as if they were a joke in a classroom. 19 year olds would not be hired today. 

    I had nine students. The school building was old and in very poor condition. It was built using green lumber which shrunk so there were many cracks in the walls.. You could see daylight out of the northeast corner. There was no insulation. It was heated by a heater not a furnace. Sometimes we would sit around the heater to keep warm. Most mornings we sat around the heater until the building warmed up.

    I liked working with those nine kids. I particularly liked the grade ones. It was most satisfying to  see how much they had learned in one year.

    I enjoyed this year. The parents were most supportive. It was at a time when the rural population was in decline. Schools with this level of enrolment should have been closed but, school divisions could not purchase buses and there wasn't equipment to clean snow off the roads.

   I taught one year and resigned. The district wanted me to stay. They had a series of poor teachers before me so wanted me to stay. 

   The next  year the school was closed and the students bused to town. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024


       My maternal grandparents were born in the 1880's and raised in the south of England. Grandma made some income by sewing and grandpa was a butcher , not the kind of butchers we have today. At that time there was no refrigeration. Grandpa went from farm to farm and butchered for farmers. This job was neither lucrative nor steady. Then a depression hit in England and they were very poor.

     A church group in Canada agreed to sponsor them to emigrate to Canada. They were set up as market gardeners but this was a poor choice of business. Grandpa loved gardening but it was not enough to keep the wolf from the door. 

    During the second world war he was a janitor on an air force training base. After that he drove a delivery truck for a bakery.

    In the late 40's they moved to the west coast where Grandpa again found employment as a janitor. He worked well into his 70's. He said when he got tired he sat in the bath room for a break. 

    Grandma told us that when she was a girl they talked about flying but it was imaginary. She never thought she'd see airplanes . She was able to fly on a jet back to England to visit relatives . 

    After Grandpa retired they would spend part of their summer on our farm. Here grandpa could garden to his heart's content as there was a large garden on the farm. He liked nothing better than to bring in fresh produce. Mom would tell Grandpa what she wanted and grandpa would harvest it. He was a handyman. One summer he painted the barn. He was not allowed to climb the ladder so the higher parts of the barn weren't painted. Dad had about 300 laying hens and grandpa loved looking after the chickens. One day grandpa didn't show up for lunch. A discussion was had and they thought he was gathering eggs just before lunch. They checked the chicken house but the door was fastened from the outside. Finally they heard Grandpa yelling. His grandson had seen the chicken house door not latched so he latched the door and that's how grandpa was locked in the chicken house and didn't make it in the house for lunch. His grandson received some teasing.

     When they were coming back to the prairies for parts of the summer, I was away and missed spending time with them. I had regrets but I was not living at home anymore . 

    It's hard to believe the many hardships this couple faced in their life. Their grandchildren certainly benefited from their hard work. 

     This photo was taken in the early 70's shortly before Grandma passed away. 

Sunday, February 11, 2024


       When I was looking for photos on my last post I ran into some other interesting photos.

      I've written about my childhood in the 40's and 50's. Sometimes it's hard to believe what I was writing. 

     So this photo may be from around 1945. The three kids are my brother and sister and I. And of course, Dad. This was winter transportation. I don't know where we had been . This was not a fancy sleigh to go for a sleigh ride singing Jingle Bells. This was a work sleigh. The horses where Queenie and Daisy. Queenie was very old. Daisy was a younger horse. 

    So this was winter transportation.  We didn't have snow clearing equipment. Cars had not yet been built for winter driving. 

    However , the photo shows part of our life when we had to use horses for winter transportation. 

Friday, February 9, 2024


     Today we talk about free range kids. My kids, who grew up in the 70's and 80's, think that they were sort of free range kids. They look back and are happy with the freedom they had.

     For my growing up in the 40's and 50's free range involved much more . There wasn't much supervision of kids on the prairie farms as Dad's were busy farming and Moms were just plane busy with house work and many other things.

    So, as well as being free range kids we had freedom with no supervision. Stuff was not locked up so we were drawn to guns. Now most farmers at that time had a very small rifle. Hunting wasn't done so big rifles were not around.

    So it didn't take long before we started playing with guns. The shells were easily available on the farm. The storekeeper in town would sell us shells. 

   So the playing began. Hitting a stalk of grass was cool and you had bragging rights. How far your bullet went in a 2 x 4 counted. Tin cans were great targets. Seeing how far your bullet would travel was another pass time. 

  So there were usually 5 or 6 kids together. We had no instructions about gun safety and we really weren't supposed to have the guns. With that many kids running around , I can't believe someone wasn't hurt. 

   Taking a small tractor on new ice and applying one break made the tractor spin. We were all riding . Did we think of falling off? Never. Again it was dangerous with no parental supervision or permission.

   So I often look back to those days and say "How did we ever survive?"

   So this photo shows the culprits. Here are two sets of four brothers. We are cousins. We were the only kids in the district. We'd grown up since our gun days except for my little brother who now is about 70. 

Monday, February 5, 2024


      I have had some situations where my health care has taken a very long time to begin or carry on. 

      I would like to see some rules and regulations that put a limit on the time taken to see a patient and begin treatment.

     Okay, there's a bee in my toque. I was recently referred to a heart specialist to investigate a condition I have that may be circulation related. The initial communication happened in acceptable time. I wore a heart rate monitor and blood pressure cuff for about 20 hours. I was told I would get the results back in a week and at the most 2 weeks. Well, here it is 3 weeks and I've heard nothing. I'm not impressed with this specialist. I could get very old before he wakes up and sees me.

    A family member was  referred to  specialist and waited 6 months for an appointment which was done by phone! Not Zoom. Just the old land line. 2 more calls were made and finally a test was done and biopsies taken. Now the guy is away all Feb and an appointment is made for March to go over a test from Jan 17. 

    So this is where I'm coming from. Once referrals are made it should be mandatory to meet and have examinations and tests in a short time and not wait for 6 months. 

     Now I know specialists and physicians have all kinds of challenges because of limitations from health facilities. 

    However, I think that there should be some kind of penalty for taking too long to see and treat a patient. 

Friday, February 2, 2024


      So another groundhog day has come and gone. Predictions have been made and we had fun. 

     Growing up on the wild western prairie of Canada I had some problems getting my head around ground hog day. We don't have groundhogs. How could a groundhog in Philadelphia predict when spring would occur if he was that far away? Well, I put up with it and debated with my buddies about the predictions. As little fellows we had trouble remembering what was predicted by seeing the shadow or not seeing the shadow. Usually the temperature was far below 0 F at that time of year. Spring was the least thing on our minds. We had no idea how spring could arrive.

    Well, since my childhood days, the groundhog day participants have increased. Ontario has Wireton Willy. They have real ground hogs there. It was found that groundhog day made a good attraction. Groundhog day was used to promote a town.

   Hey, even Alberta has it's groundhog, Balzac Billy. Balzac Billy looks pretty lively for just coming out of hibernation. You will see what a meant about being fun.