The Present

If you have been following along, you will remember that when the stock market crash really hit home, my dad and mom moved our family (two boys and two girls) to Beaver Valley in the Cariboo so we could “eat off the land.”

After about three years, Dad decided we had to move back to Vancouver so he and the boys could get jobs and have some cash coming in. It wasn’t happening in Beaver Valley.

Norma - age 12

I was twelve at the time. I had missed going to school. I did take a correspondence course from Victoria, but … my family didn’t think I could do the lessons, I guess, because mom and my brothers did the work, and had me copy it out in my handwriting. Do you think that did me any good? Anyway, I was two years behind formal classes when I went back to Maple Grove Elementary. Luckily I managed to skip a grade, so I was only one year behind when I finished High School.

I had missed long division and fractions in those “absent years.” Our neighbour, Jessie Acorn, was a teacher, so I had special lessons from her to catch up.

My sister, Lena, was nineteen and she and Al Campbell were married in October. She went back to live in Beaver valley where she raised her three children.

Money was about nonexistent. Dad must have gone on Relief, as it was called in those days. I don’t know.

Christmas came a couple of months after we moved. I went to bed Christmas Eve with no tree. So sad for a twelve year old, but how terrible it must have been for my parents.

In the wee small hours of the night, they woke me up and got me to come down stairs. A very large tree had appeared and we had to decorate it! We had one package of tinsel and one small box of ornaments, but what a beautiful tree! One I will never forget.

My brothers, Horace and Clendon, had waited until after midnight, when the Christmas tree lot was closing, and then had cleaned up the area in exchange for the tree … and they bought the few decorations.

Next morning we opened our presents … not much, to be sure. My little parcel was a handkerchief, and I was grateful for that … and then I discovered, wrapped in it was my Mom’s watch. I was thrilled! Horace wanted to see it, so I passed it over to him, but we fumbled in some way and it landed on the floor.

I had a watch, but it wouldn’t work until Dad was able to take it to Grassies Jewelry Store to be fixed some time later!


8 thoughts on “The Present

  1. I think it’s so beautiful how your brothers did that for the family – and then your mother’s watch. All gifts from hearts full of love. 🙂

  2. Joel, thanks for your comment. That was one big tree, with very little in the way of decorations, but it was the most beautiful to that twelve year old! Sorry, I forgot to put the kettle on… you’ll just have to come back!
    Heather.. my brothers were pretty great. Clendon was ten years older than me, and Horace eight and a half. My sister, Lena, was seven years older, and had married and left home. When I was born (so they told me later) my brothers used to love to take me for a walk in the carriage! I’m glad you put the kettle on, and you’ll notice I baked shortbread this morning… help yourself! Thanks for coming by!
    Carol thanks for stopping by. Heather put the kettle on, so make some tea, and have some of my Christmas baking.
    Phillip, Thanks for dropping in, all the way from Nova Scotia. Say hi to your dad for me…I haven’t seen him since I was about 17 or 18! A long time ago! Doug and Madylein (your grandparents) used to visit Aunt Sadie and Uncle Russ quite often… my parents! Did you get your cup of tea? I hope you enjoyed your visit!
    Dianne, I do appreciate your comments, and hope you will join u s often for tea and cookies. You might have to bring the cookies!

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