Moved Again… To Langley

Even though I had been recommended to pass at Point Grey Junior High School, it was conditional that I attend classes at Langley High for the last ten days of Grade nine! What a waste of time. I had to walk a mile to the school bus, then a five mile drive to the school. This late in the term nothing was happening anyway, but I did get to meet some of the kids.

I remember that first Christmas at Langley. I was sixteen! Clendon gave me a 24 bass accordion. Turned out later he bought it on time… a man came to our house to repossess it, and dad had to pay what was still owing on it!

When I was seventeen I was asked to play in a band… in fact, to be the band… a drummer and me! I was petrified…. But I did it!

Saturday night at the Otter Community Hall they held a whist drive and dance. Whist from 8 to 10, dancing 10 to 12. The drummer was an older man… Stan Wright. He was a customs officer at the Lynden border, near Abbotsford. The fellow that had played accordion with him had moved away, and they would have had to cancel the dances unless I agreed to play.

Mom and dad would go and play whist (me too) and then they stayed and watched the dancing. I soon found out that if I made a mistake in the notes it didn’t really matter as long as I kept the beat! No one noticed if I played the wrong note, but they sure noticed if I changed the beat!

Sometimes someone would bring a fiddle and join us on stage, and then, sometimes, I would get to have a dance. Stan and I were paid one dollar each for each hour we played, so we made two dollars for playing two hours!

One weekend we played at a banquet and dance in Murrayville for three hours ( and had a free dinner) on Friday, then two hours at Otter on Saturday. I made five dollars!

The money I made went towards my clothes. I bought material and made them. We didn’t have a sewing machine… Mom had given hers to Lena when we moved back from the Cariboo. Mrs. Apps, who lived a quarter of a mile from us, let me use her sewing machine at her place. I’d cut out, pin and baste as much as I could, then walk to her place and sew… and then repeat the process until it was finished!

Then I saved up enough money to buy my first store bought NEW coat. Bergundy! Beautiful! I had worn hand me down coats ever since we moved to Beaver Valley. That coat felt so wonderful!  I sure was proud of it!

Girls wore a skirt and blouse, or a dress, with maybe a sweater to school. Boys wore long pants… not denims like today’s jeans. Saddle shoes were the “in” thing….  but they didn’t come in my width of Triple A.

Boy, do I ever jump around… I hope you can follow me!

Getting back tto Langley. We had five Jersey milk cows and we shipped milk to the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association. (FVMPA) I helped dad milk the cows, but if he wasn’t feeling well I had to milk all five of them… by hand. Then I would have to clean the barn before walking a mile and a quarter to catch the school bus.

Dad had fifteen acres, and we grew our own hay and grain. I helped with the harvesting of both crops. We had half an acre in strawberries and I also picked berries at one of the local “patches.”  The most I was ever able to pick was 147 pounds, for jam, which meant we had to hull them as we picked. I got $1.47 for that lot.  One cent a pound! We had some chickens and we also raised a few pigs.


6 thoughts on “Moved Again… To Langley

  1. Good morning Norma!
    Wow, it’s really mind boggling the amount of things you were into, and the amount of various kinds of work you did to help out at various times!
    And you played an accordion at dances too! That’s the first time that I know of that you’ve mentioned that!
    It’s great that you remember so many details from your interesting past! And the photos and sketches always add so much to your great stories!
    Have a great week and keep healing up over there! Hugs!

    • Good afternoon, Greg! So good to see you visiting and commenting… lets have a cup of tea while we visit. Later I had a 120 bass accordion, but eventually that was too heavy for my shoulders… and I got an organ instead. Then, when I moved here, no room for the organ, so I have a keyboard! I don’t play very often now though.

      I hope you are well, and enjoying life. Thanks for coming by!

  2. That burgundy coat would have looked stunning on you. It wasn’t a colour I wore much years ago… my choice was always blue… but it’s become a favourite now.

    I have my Dad’s melodion, but am not sure if I still have the 24 bass accordian I acquired when we lived in Calgary. If I do, it’ll be in a box downstairs because I haven’t attempted to play it in years. I never was proficient anyway. I’ll bet you played beautifully for those dances! 🙂

    • Hello CArol! Thanks for stopping by.. just in time for tea! Not so sure how ell I played, but I did know how to keep the beat! I didn’t know you played accordion! Learn something new every day!

  3. Loved following along your rambling trail, today. And the photos, too. Hey, something we have in common – I was a triple A too. heheh

    • Mornin’ Heather. Pull up a chair while I pour the tea. Thanks for coming by and for your comment. Heh.. 2 tripple A’s! Does that make it a 6A?

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