I have hesitated over the past few weeks… wondering if I should write about this… but it is a very huge part of my life, so bear with me, please.
We were married Dec 8, 1947. We were living in a one room suite, with the bathroom “down the hall” that was shared by 3 other suites (5 other people), and the washing machine that we were allowed to use was in that bathroom! You might say it was a different time!
I was no longer working in the Royal Bank. My husband said his wife wasn’t going to work… well, I got bored silly with next to nothing to do all day, and I finally talked him into “letting me” go to work.
I answered an ad in the paper and went to work for United Cigar stores. Their training station was at Carrol and Hastings, and the tram station was part of their store… where you had to go out there, selling magazines… with a cold wind funneling through the area. Part of what I had to do was go across the street to another one of their stores to relieve the person for his lunch hour. That meant I was alone in the store, in a pretty bad area.
After six weeks I decided to quit!
Are you still with me? It’s a round about way to get there, but eventually you will understand what all this leads up to.
Before looking for another job, we decided to take a little holiday and go across the line into the United States. We were just going to “play it by ear”, go until half our time was up, then head for home.
In order to go to the States, we had to fill out some forms at the bank.. A Form H to be more exact. The bank of Commerce was about a block from our home, so I went there to get some American money. They were very busy…even had the manager working the front counter… so I told him I would fill out the needed forms. He said, “Do you want a job? Come and see me when you get back.” I did, and went to work! I was head teller.
I had worked there for a year, and it was holiday time for me. Mickey got his holidays at the same time, and we were going to go across the line again, but this time we could go further as we had more time.
We took the car in for a check up to make sure it was in good condition for our trip! We had a canary, so loaded it and it’s cage in the back of the car and headed for Langley to leave it with my Mom.
We happened to run into a fella that worked for my brother-in-law. He was delivering pop to a store… so he got in our car, front seat, with me squeezed in the middle. Heading down the road to go for a drink…the car in front of us stopped (for no reason). My husband slammed on the brakes and the left brake band broke. We were thrown out as the car overturned, and it landed on me. Broken shoulder blade, broken collar bone, and 6 ribs with 2 breaks in each rib, for a total of 12. Battery acid had spilled on my leg and it was more painful than the rest at the time.
Police came. I said, “Hello Constable Johnson. It’s Norma.” Doctor came. I said, “Hello Doctor Rose, it’s Norma.”
Two weeks later I talked the doctor into letting me go to my parent’s place in Langley. It took a while before I could even get up without help, but I was back at work three months later. I’ll never forget that even though I had only worked at that bank for a year, they gave me full pay while I was off!
The garage that did the check up never billed us!
By the way, the canary survived even though the cage was quite squashed!