-A ’58 Buick at the Reynold’s museum in Wetaskiwin-
The long wait is almost over, and I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer.
Although this posting is quite personal, you will still find a couple references to skiing. If it bores you, just hang on, and I’ll make my first ski update in a day or so. There’s lots to talk about.
For this one time, indulge me while I acknowledge my brothers and sisters (who don’t even ski!)
The highlight of my summer, besides all the bike trips on Goat Creek, was a family reunion where my siblings and I were together for the first time in 41 years.
Our reunion was in Vegreville where my sister Lorraine lives, and with our mother being of Ukrainian descent, I thought it would be interesting to tour the Ukrainian village which is close by. Of course, xc skiers know all about the Ukrainian Village because it’s where the Birkebeiner ski race starts. On race day, the big red barn is packed with frantic skiers so it seemed kind of forlorn with just a few people enjoying their pyrohy and kielbasa in the gargantuan space where I previously rubbed elbows with a thousand skiers.
I was thrilled to eat a dinner prepared by my sisters Carol and Lorraine on the fine china which my mom saved for special occasions. I was delighted to get a couple jars of homemade chokecherry jam from Lorraine to take home, and deliriously happy when I ate it with my morning toast. It was all gone in 10 days!
For a bunch of brats who all grew up in the same house, with the same parents, same influences, it’s remarkable how different we all are. We went our separate ways and spread out across the prairies. Charlie lives in Regina, Michael in Medicine Hat, Carol in Brandon, and Lorraine in Vegreville. Our oldest brother Kenneth was the only one who remained in Midale, and is buried there. We all knew this reunion would have been a lot more fun if he had been present as he was always the life of the party.
I’m still the only skier, and I didn’t start that until well into middle age. Growing up on the farm in Saskatchewan, I didn’t know too much about skiing. One winter I vaguely remember someone(I think it was Warren Englund) talking about having skis and being pulled through the stubble field with a tractor!
It’s fascinating, almost unbelievable, to look at the changes in the standard of living which have occurred in my lifetime. Our house had no indoor plumbing, no central heating, no insulation, and mom had to cook for eight people on a wood/coal stove. We didn’t have television until I was 11 years old, so I read a lot of books. I’m sure that helped me learn to spell accurately, and that’s why you never see a spelling mistake on this blog. 🙂
Electricity was installed in our house by the time I came along, but I still remember the kerosene lamps being used quite often.
I bet there aren’t many people around today who can say they started school in a one-room schoolhouse, except of course for my classmates, a few of whom I’m in touch with on Facebook. Our teacher, Mrs. Nordby, was very liberal at doling out smacks with the ruler. We washed our hands from a large tin can filled with water. It had a small hole punched in the bottom where the water would trickle out. At lunch time, we lined up one-by-one to take our turn.
Although mom was Ukrainian, dad was Swedish(name had been changed from Karlsson upon coming to North America) and our community was populated mostly with Scandi-hooligans. Just in my class alone there was an Erickson, Swenson, Rosengren, Jacobson, Clauson, and Hoium. Total of 21 in the graduating class of ’71. Ken Rosengren was the quarterback and I was the hard-charging fullback on our football team(nickname was “Reed.”).
When I go skiing now, I usually take over 100 photos each trip. I pick out the best ones to post on here. Back in the day, I doubt if we took 100 photos in a whole year with our Kodak Brownie camera. We had to send the film away to Regina for developing, and it was a momentous occasion when the 12 photos arrived two weeks later. The black and white photos you see here were taken with that camera.
We milked a number cows by hand every morning and every night. To earn extra money, we sold the milk in town. Every morning we loaded up the ’46 Chevy and all us kids would be delivering milk before school. This was raw milk. Unpasteurized. I know what was in that milk. It could be why my immune system is healthy and I have no allergies?
Cheryl and I stopped at the Reynold’s museum on the way home, a place I’ve been trying to get to for years. I enjoyed it immensely, and they even took us for a drive in a ’54 Chev Belair.
It’s amusing to stop and think about all the twists and turns my life has taken to get here, and all the technological developments that have made this blog possible.