Archive | July 2014

Time Line!

Time Line.

There is no such thing as a time line in my ramblings! If anyone is trying to figure it out I don’t think they can do it!My ‘head’ doesn’t care about “time”… when it happened… just that it did happen.

Where our house was situated on Muirfield Drive was on a crescent. We were the fourth house down from the main part of the Drive. When we moved there it was all bush across the street from the main part of the drive.

The Minister of the Church phoned me to see if I knew of any molestations that had happened in the bush. I phoned the police and said I knew they wouldn’t release any of that information to me, but would they release it to the people that were responsible for clearing the bush if there was proof. It was cleared out, and the school and a park replaced the bush.1954:07 Gary, wagon

By the time Ra was ready to go to school, the bush had been cleared and a school built. It was  David Oppenheimer, an elementary school, going from Grade one to grade six.  Our boys came home for lunch every day.

Here I go a…wandering again!…. From the time we were married any cooking I had done was on a wood and coal stove…..Muirfield was different. We bought an electric Range. I loved it!  I loved baking!

Before moving there we had lived in a basement suite. This was about 1955. Gary was three.  There was a wood stove. We bought ‘dry’ wood that wasn’t. Had to have wood in the oven to dry it out enough so that it would burn!

Oh yes… that basement suite… One night we were both sound asleep and were awakened with a start as the bed went through the floor.

If you had kids, landlords disliked you immediately… and three kids made it hard to find another place to live! But we did find one.

We moved there on Ra’s Birthday…I don’t remember which one..either four or five….and had the party the following weekend. The night before as I was working in the kitchen getting things ready, I heard someone out in the lane trying to start our car… called my husband and he got out there in time to chase them off!1954:05 Ramon, front steps

I did my mom and dad’s wash for them every week…also     ironing and mending. The washing machine had to hook up to the kitchen sink…didn’t leave much space! And with two extra people there it made the suite look even smaller than it was.

It was a wash day for Mom and Dad. and Central Mortgage and Housing  (CMHC) came to check out our application for one of the veterans homes. They wanted to be sure we really needed one! Boy, did we need one…We qualified for a home ..and were given a key to take a look at it. Brand new,,,It looked like a castle to me!

We packed up what little we had and moved in as fast as we could.

1955:08 Gary, smell the flowersThe boys grew up there. Maybe we did, too! We lived there for thirty five years.

In Person

In Person.

In my last post I mentioned that we started selling our paintings…..what I didn’t tell you… at first it was just my husbands’ paintings and I would take them to shows. He would not go near them….until one show at one of the malls (Brentwood) where he had to paint there in order to have a chance to sell. He won one of the prizes!

The manager at Guildford encouraged me to put my paintings out as well!I I entered the contest held at Lougheed Mall, where three prizes were offered. They added a new category and gave me a prize for my ink sketch of an old building at Prior and Dunlevy. Since the time of the sketch that home has been renovated.

Stanley Park would not allow any “agents” so that meant I could not represent my husbands paintings… he had to be there.

We had a van that my husband and Danny camperized. We would go to the park early so we could get the spot we wanted, and set up some of the easels. Then make coffee, and sometimes , breakfast in the van. I also made lunch in there. I could have made a lot of money if I was selling coffee and food! The ‘aroma’ traveled out to the other artists.

One day at Stanley Park a man approached me. He liked my sketches of old buildings. He invited us to show our paintings in HIS malls… at Williams Lake and Quesnel any time we wanted to go there! Just tell the manager that he had invited us! Great deal.

My sister lived in Quesnel, so we stayed with her for the week while we had a painting display in the mall.

From there we headed back to Williams Lake. The first time we were there, we rented a cabin, and it was so noisy that we couldn’t get any sleep. So, this time we were going to stay in the van.1979:07:00  Abbotsford Air show6

The big question now was where to park? We looked around by the Stampede grounds, but it was too isolated to be there alone in the dark! Finally, we went to the police station. We  told them we were going to have a painting display in Boitanao Mall, and asked them where the best place was for us. They told us to park in their parking lot!!!

We had a great camping site! Close to the Mall, Police protection, and them waving to us as they drove by. I cooked supper in the van, and we ate in the open air!  Before we left I took a box of chocolates in to them to thank them for looking after us!

Did I tell you that my husband and I met in Williams Lake?  But that’s another story!

Play Time

Play Time.

When my sons were small, I didn’t just ‘turn them loose’ as so many of the mothers did. At first we didn’t have a fence, so I would sit on the back porch steps with a cup of coffee, and keep an eye on them while they were playing. I insisted that they have nap time as that was when I could get most of my work done!

When we did get the fence up, I still sat out there, watching what was going on. I would not allow much older kids to come in to play with them.

I can still remember one day that my aunt and uncle were visiting me…there was a knock at the door and this woman started tearing into me because I wouldn’t let her thirteen year old son in the yard to play with my four, five, and six year old boys..I finally got through to her that I had company and would talk to her later.

That brings up another memory….The boys and I had been for a walk and were heading down the lane a  little ways from home. I spotted a bank bag… one they cary money in, so I picked it up and took it home…and called the police. I had to show them where I found it ( we thought it had been thrown out of a car as the robbers fled the scene. You guessed it…. it was behind their house!

She accused me of telling the police that they robbed the bank! We never did become close friends!

If you have read my blog posts before, you will know that I wander..!

I’m not sure what I started out to write!1961:07 Our Pool!

One thing leads to another.

Our yard was fairly wide, and was fenced all along the lane.. It was a hot summer, so my husband took some plywood that we had…and a large sheet of plastic. He set up the plywood and  draped the plastic over…so that we could now have a pool! It took all night with our hose and our neighbours hose to fill it!

It was shallower at one end, and not too deep at the other. My husband would come home from work and go in there with the kids before supper! The boys had a wonderful time playing in there. One friend at a time was allowed to come in to join them.

After about a month, a fourteen year old girl slashed the plastic from the lane… and was very lucky she didn’t get hurt when all that water took off! End of pool!

What Would You Do?

What would  you do?

Three little kids, and with a sum total of 96 cents in the bank… OK. Time to take a big chance… we would start our own business and the profit made from his sign painting would come to him, not some other guy he was working for.  And, we would have complete say over what we did.

We bought materials as needed, and paid cash for everything. Paying cash for everything was our way of life… we never bought what we couldn’t pay for. That way, we never got in ‘over our heads’.

I was the bookkeeper, and the ‘goffer’ and any other ‘hand’ that was needed! I refused to learn how to clean a silk screen… messy job! I could cut a screen if needed, but not as good as my husband.

One time I told my husband that I was going to phone the head office of Super Value. He said, “They don’t want to talk to you.”  Yes they did!!

I asked if they would like anything painted on their windows for a special time?1961-12painted windows

Great idea!

My husband had to do a sketch of what we would paint… I remember it was their eleventh anniversary and we had eleven stores to paint as a trial. They wanted to know how much time it would take.  I was the one that took the sketches to head office, so I got to know them (and they, me). From there on we did windows for them in the spring and at Christmas as well as special times.

Other stores liked the idea, and had us do their windows as well. Not just food stores! Banks, hardware stores, clothing stores, barber shops, etc. One Christmas we did 105 stores!

We had fun doing them, even though we were working. We stopped doing them when we started selling our paintings… his and hers!

The photo is of our front room windows, with our three sons standing in front of them.

A New Painting.

A New Painting


As  you probably know it has been a while since I’ve done any painting. I’ve been “itching to” draw, and that includes painting.


Yesterday I did a drawing, and today I got busy and painted it. I was happy that I had finally done one, so decided to turn it into one of my greetings cards. This picture is one of the greeting cards.

Common yellow throat.T.T.IMG

Management here where I live have put in a small convenience ‘store’ for the tenants. A great idea for those of us who have difficulty going shopping….or who just need one or two things.


Tenants asked them to carry greeting cards… and management asked me to put my line of cards in!


I wont make a fortune as the cards are only three dollars each…covers my expenses and gives me a little profit…also allows me to continue making them.

What’s Next?

What’s next?

I went back to work at the bank until I realized that I was pregnant. The bank didn’t want me to leave, so said they would take me off being the teller, but in the meantime, they would carry my box of money for me. I was seven months pregnant before I left, and I was still the head teller!

I rented a sewing machine, and with it sitting on the ironing board, I made diapers and baby clothes. Sure nothing like today! We had a crib, stroller, and a pram. But you know, we managed quite well!

The next place we moved to out in Surrey had a well, and no washing machine, so water was drawn from the well, heated on the wood and coal stove and then clothes were scrubbed on a scrubbing board, and hung out to dry.

We moved back to Vancouver, and with the third son’s birth we got a washing machine and a fridge! This was ‘back in the day’ when you washed diapers!Unknown

We had our name in for one of the Veteran’s homes.To be eligible for one ..if your children were ‘one of a kind’ you had to have three. If a boy and a girl, only two made you eligible. Can you imagine all the kids that lived in “Fraserview”, and area of Vancouver?

We finally got a call that a home was available for us. We picked up the key and went to see what it was like! WOW! Like a castle for us. Brand new! Three bedrooms, kItchen, dinette, living room and bathroom, and a full basement. Wood and coal furnace. We moved as fast as we could to Muirfield Drive, and lived there for thirty-five years!

When We Were Married.

When We Were Married.


When we were married, we lived in one room at the hotel where Mickey had been living. Then finally we got

the front room ( and front porch) of a house on 21st, near Knight Road and Kingsway.


Famous last words… “My wife isn’t going to work!” I would have gone completely crazy in one room! It had a stove, and a bed. Water was down the hall in the bathroom.  There were six people living on that floor. One more upstairs.


I got a job with United Cigar Stores… their training place was at Hastings and Carroll, about the worst section of ‘town’….and I would have to go across the street to relieve the person there for lunch, and would be alone in the store. I stuck it out for about six weeks before I said “No Thank you.”


We decided to take a little holiday across into the States before I went looking for another job. At that time you had to get a “Form H” and American money from the bank.


The bank was really busy at the front where you got these papers. Even the manager was out there going as fast as he could. I told him I could fill our forms out for him, that I had worked in a bank.

”You can fill them out? Come and see me when you get back”.


So,  that’s what I did, and I was hired and put to work as the head teller.


That worked out very well as I lived about a block and a half from the bank. As the closest person , I also got the job of inspecting the premises  on long weekends… anytime the bank was closed more than two days.


My holiday time came up, so we were going to go to Seattle, but first  had to take my canary out to Langley to my Mom and Dad’s for them to look after.


Before we got there, we met a guy that Mickey knew so he got in the car with us… me in the middle, front seat

of an Austin touring.  Car in front stopped without signaling. Mickey slammed on the brakes…. brake band broke, our car flew through the air  and landed upside down on top of me!


Broken collar bone, broken shoulder blade, and six ribs with twelve breaks in them.! They put a big needle in from the side to collapse my lung so it would not get punctured by a broken rib. I weighed ninety pounds, just skin stretched over bones. If I started to laugh I ended up crying!


I was not expected to live.1949:05 Norma, after accident, no clothes on top


I talked the doctor into letting me out of the hospital to go and stay at my mom and dad’s, and he came there to visit me. As long as someone helped me to get up I could manage on my own.


I was off work for three months.. and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce gave me full pay! We had had the car checked out before we left…and never got a bill from the garage!

Well I Did!

Well, I did!


Reading the blog of my niece,  I came across the question she posed…

Do you own a piano or another musical instrument? If it could talk, what story would it tell of its time in your household?


My brother gave me a 24 bass piano accordion when I turned sixteen! He bought it ‘on time’ and later my dad had to make the final payments on it.


I had never had any lessons, so from a book that came with it, I had to learn how to play it on my own. After a while I could play quite a few songs, one finger melody.


Changing subjects?…No. Saturday nights at the community hall at Otter (part of Langley)they had a whist Drive from eight ‘til ten, then a dance from ten until midnight. They had a drummer and an accordionist for the band. They were very happy with the band…but the accordion player was moving out of the area. Now what could they do?


One of the ladies responsible for these gatherings was our next-door neighbour…. She came and asked me to take his place!!! O.K. I was a bit nervous…quite a bit! I soon discovered that as long as I kept the beat, no one cared what note I played, even if it was not the right one.


And I got paid for playing. I played for two hours and was paid two dollars! Great! One weekend we played there on Saturday, but had played Friday night at a banquet in Murrayville for three hours… yep!  Three dollars.. and we got to eat as well! I made five dollars that weekend.


So, as I tell my sons… I was the first person in this family to play in a band, but I didn’t get paid like Trooper does now.


I played that little accordion for quite a few years, at sing-a-longs. Eventually same brother brought me a 120 bass. Dad didn’t have to pay for this one.


After many years, it was too heavy for my shoulders, so I gave both of them to Gary, and got an organ…then when I moved here It became a keyboard to save space.


I hope it had as much fun as I did!

backtracking 2

Back Tracking 2


I was working in the bank in Langley and had holiday time, so went to the Cariboo to visit with my sister and her husband.


When it was time to go home, Al had to go for a visit at the hospital in Williams Lake. He dropped me off ‘down town’ and headed for his appointment.


I knew no one, and had most of the day to wait for the evening train that would take me back to the coast. I bought a book, and was sitting on a rock with my book when two soldiers came by. One of them said “Is that all you’ve got to do?”


My reply was “ What else is there to do in this town?”


He said “ You can come and watch us fishing’.


So… I watched the two of them fish, (they sold their catch to the restaurant). Afterwards, one of them took me for super.


He didn’t have a lot of money, so said he wasn’t  hungry and just had a coffee. I figured he didn’t have a lot of money, just like me… so I ordered a hamburger… Then he kicked himself for not ordering something. He was afraid I might order something expensive.

Harry and I spent the afternoon together until he saw me off on the train. He got my phone number but I never heard from him for four years.


He was getting his discharge and was talking to one of the other guys who happened to be from Langley.


“I met a girl from Langley, but I can’t remember her name, she worked in the bank”, said Harry!


The other fellow said he knew all the girls in the bank and as he named them off Harry recognized ‘Norma’. He traced me from Langley to Vancouver office, and finally got in touch the night before he, his dad and two brothers were leaving on a hunting trip!


A couple of years later, Harry (Mickey) McGuire, and I were married. December 8, 1947. He died one week short of our fifty seventh wedding anniversary.

1947:12:08 Harry Norma Wedding 3

We were married at the Court House and went out for lunch with my brother. Later that evening we had some friends in to his parents place…had sandwiches that I made… and a wedding cake that my Mom made.  I went back to get the rest of my cake so I could give pieces to friends and relatives that weren’t there…They thought it was a pretty good fruit cake, so ate it!!!  Not too cool!


To be continued!