Royal visit: 1939

Just seven years old at the time, Keith remembers the Royal Visit of 1939.

One that comes to mind is the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada in 1939. Our present queen was not with them, tho’ was about 13 or 14 at the time. The train carrying the Royals stopped briefly in Oak Lake – for water for the steam engine – but they were off to Virden for an official stop.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Radio days

The photo below is of a Sony radio purchased new in the fall of 1987. Friend Larry Clark and I had been selected to do a 6 month CIDA funded assignment in Nigeria. It was called ARMTI, an acronym for Agricultural and Rural Management Institute and the term was Jan 1st to June 30th, 1988. Larry worked with farm management advisors; I was assigned to the audio visual support group. Joy was with me.

Larry and I decided to each get the same kind of radio so we went to Advance Electronics on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg to get them. They were not cheap – over $300, each, I think. But now, 32 years later, they seem like a good buy as ours continues to give yeoman service in our kitchen. In Nigeria we had to use the short wave setting and after sampling BBC, Radio Canada International and Voice of America ( I think that’s what it was called), we settled on BBC.

Radio was very important to me as I grew up on the farm in the 30’s and later. Initially we had no electricity service on the farm. Rural electrification came to Manitoba in 1948. But we had a battery radio with power supplied by a large battery “pack”. Our favourite programs included Lux Radio theatre (an hour long drama),Fibber McGee and Molly and the early afternoon 15 minute soap operas( “Ma Perkins” was a favourite).One image is etched in my brain. It is mid-February, a clear cold day and Dad has gone into town (Oak Lake) with the sleigh box of wheat to sell at the elevator. Bob andPrince ( or was it Mabel and Molly?) were the Percheron horses pulling the sleigh. Lots of snow and no cars on the roads in winter in those days.But the most important thing was that Dad was bringing home  a NEW BATTERY PACK for the radio!. I can see it like it was yesterday – the sun starting to set over Gordon Kennedy’s barn and my dad walking beside the sleigh, trying to keep warm as the team plodded along. Then we hooked up the new battery. We had rationed ourselves for a couple of weeks, only listening to CBC news until the sound faded. But NOW! We could listen to as many programs as we wanted to. My dad’s idea of pure luxury was to go upstairs on a Saturday night in the winter and with an extension speaker, lie on top of his bed and listen to Hockey Night in Canada – Leafs vs the Canadiens,often.

Precious bowl

Actually this isn’t really a “ bowl” but it is a vessel of some kind that Joy has had for years – so long that she can’t really recall how she acquired it. Coming downstairs here in Qualicum Beach a few years ago, I fell and demolished this piece! At a neighbour’s Christmas party last Christmas, someone happened to mention that she specialized in repairing pieces like this.She offered to repair it so Joy gave her the plastic bag with all the pieces and yesterday she came by with the piece -repaired- as you see it here. It might even be valuable as it has a special mark and the word “Persia” on the bottom.

Vancouver Island in 1967

In 1967 ( that’s 53 years ago!) Joy and I were asked to chaperone 24 Manitoba high school students to a high school exchange on Vancouver Island. 12 boys/12 girls. It was Canada’s 100th birthday and there were all kinds of celebrations across the country. We took the train from Winnipeg to Vancouver, then a ferry to Vancouver Island , then a bus to our final destination – Campbell River. Our students were billeted with local high school students; Joy and I stayed in a local motel.

Our time on the Island was great and when we left we (Joy and I ) were given this wooden replica of a west coast salmon. Today this is where our bbq is located.

Baseball in Kenton

The story is that in 1954 I spent the summer helping Lyman on the farm and we both played ball for the Kenton team. There was a ball tournament in Oak Lake in July and we entered, making it to the finals. I can’t recall who we played in the final game but we won it in the last inning when big Cecil Russel from Lenore hit a home run. Almost everyone in that picture have passed away.Just me and a couple of young guys kneeling down at the front are left. We won $250 for first prize- the team, that is.