Back To Vancouver

In March 1945 dad, mom and I moved back to Vancouver, staying with friends for a couple of weeks until dad could find a place. He had sold the fifteen acres in Langley and had been renting a little place on Brown Road. I was staying in Langley, coming home to visit them most weekends. He found a nice place at 39th and Dunbar… we even had a little pond in the back yard. The address was 3583 W. 39thAve.I went to work at the main office of the Royal Bank at Hastings and Granville. The first couple of weeks I was in the “silver cage”… where all the money from the B.C. Electric Street Cars was brought in. Then I was put in the Discount department with Mac McDiaramid. When he went on holidays I had to run the discount department, which I was quite capable of doing.

The streetcar ride to work took an hour, each way. I did a lot of knitting or reading on those trips.

When I was still working in the Silver cage… one weekend I was one of three employees that took the bank to Britannia Beach. Ruth Westland, Bob Jay and myself. A taxi picked us up at the bank early Friday morning and took us to the boat to Squamish. We arrived at the town site of Britannia Beach about noon and opened for business. We had brought money and the ledgers with us from Vancouver.

Next morning a “crummy” took us to the cable car that we rode up the mountain to Britannia mine. We opened for business that day, and spent the evening playing cards with the miners… and stayed over night in the mine bunkhouse. We ate with the miners, and couldn’t believe the food that was served. Sugar was rationed at this time, but you would not have known it if you were eating there…. pies, puddings, etc.

We opened the bank until noon of the third day, then back down in the cable car. They let us off at the top of a flight of stairs and we had to walk down them… all 300 steps!

When our boat arrived in Vancouver about 7 PM we were picked up by taxi and taken back to the bank. It was quite an experience for me, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You couldn’t find nylon stockings as they were very scarce, but the store at Britannia Beach let us have a couple of pair each! We were treated like very special people on that trip.

The bank had a lunch room for their staff, at Hastings and Cambie, so we had to walk a few blocks. We had a complete dinner and dessert, with a choice in both cases, seconds if you wanted them… for ten cents. That’s right… ten cents!

When we lived on 39th, and I was eating ten cent lunches at the bank lunch room, during the week I only ate one meal a day at home. I paid thirty dollars a month board to the folks… and that paid the mortgagee. I also picked up stuff at the grocery store to take home to help out.

At that time the street car fare was seven cents for each ticket, or four for twenty-five cents, or you could get a weekly pass for a dollar twenty-five. Our next door neighbour always bought the weekly pass, and when Friday night came she would give it to us to use for the weekend. We didn’t have a car. I don’t know what happened to the old buick that went to the Cariboo and back with us.

One time mom and I were on a streetcar, and were going to get off somewhere on Broadway. We were standing at the back of the car, waiting to get off. All of a sudden our car slammed into the one in front of us that had stopped.  Mom was knocked down, along with some others. They called an ambulance and we managed to get her into it.  It went about ten feet and broke down! So we called a taxi and got mom into that and had them take us home. That was in the days when doctors made house calls.

Mom was in a lot of pain, and was bedridden for a short time. She had no appetite, but I was able to tempt her with my salad of oranges, grapefruit, avocados and lettuce… really quite good.

It was shortly after this that mom and dad moved to Horne Lake on Vancouver Island. The B.C. Electric, who owned the streetcars at that time, had an insurance investigator going to mom’s neighbours in Vancouver and Horne Lake, checking up on what she could do or couldn’t do. I think they got some kind of settlement from that, but I didn’t live at home any more so was not sure… nor what the settlement was if they did get one.

I do know that the ambulance sent a bill, and I phoned them to tell them we would not pay it as the ambulance didn’t take her anywhere.


4 thoughts on “Back To Vancouver

  1. Interesting article today, Norma. I had to laugh at the end regarding the ambulance bill. Hope your mother was able to get over her injuries! Great little photo in there to add some colour. 🙂

    • Hi Heather! I’m late getting to my commenters.. will have to have tea next time as I’m on my way to bed! Thanks for coming by and for your comments.

  2. Lots of out-of-the-way communities now have ATM machines for cash withdrawals, but I wonder if any of our banks today would take their banking services to customers that far away.

    Did your parents retire on Vancouver Island, or was that just another move?

    • Hi Carol, Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
      No, my folks moved back, if I remember correctly it was to Langley. Dad was just over there for the job.
      In those days, you went where you could get work.

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