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.
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!