Do you ever miss being part of the Warden Service?

I miss the Warden Service the way it used to be, not so much the way it is now because I know very few of the Wardens that are there now. I don’t think they have as much fun as we did in the “olden days”.

Oh, and I got kicked out of the union in 1981 because I went to work during the strike. I wasn’t a designated employee, which I could never understand, and I figured that if something came up and there was an emergency that took all the wardens out of the office, there would be nobody to answer the phone etc. and co-ordinate things. We only got tomatoes thrown at us once while travelling back to the Hatchery after lunch. I talked to Moe Vroom, who was my counterpart in Banff, and she said that she had wanted to go to work to, but she said that she didn’t dare because she looked after the inventory and stuff for the ranch and didn’t want to piss off the stores people. I didn’t have that problem so I just went to work. It wasn’t a money thing, more the principle. It seemed to me that my position should have been designated.

What do you enjoy doing in retirement?

In the summer I seem to spend most of my time weeding the various flower and vegetable gardens. My son seems to get carried away with the tomato plants every year and they end up being a weed infested jungle. I don’t mind doing it but it’s very time consuming and doesn’t leave much time for me to go exploring. On the weekend mornings I drive around and go to all the yard sales I can find (and there are lots of them). I love to find the odd treasure but am also quite pleased when I go away from one empty handed because after moving from a three bedroom house to a small apartment, I have no place to put more stuff. I still have quite a number of apple boxes full of stuff in my son’s barn that I don’t know what I am going to do with. It’s hard to part with things.

I have incorporated attending Stars on Ice in Edmonton with the spring trips that I have made back west. I used to go most every year when I lived in Jasper and I guess that as long as Kurt Browning is in it I will continue to go.

After I had retired from the Warden Service and was working in the campgrounds, a friend and I would head down to Reno, Nevada when we were done work in the fall. We flew a couple of times with another lady but after that would load our stuff in a vehicle and drive down and spend anywhere from two weeks to a month on our trips. We generally pointed the vehicle home when we were running out of money. We each put, I think it was $50 a pay away towards our trips and this paid for the gas and hotel rooms and some of our gambling. Our husbands weren’t into it so we were free to go. I really miss those getaways.

From mid January till almost the end of March this year (2015) I shovelled snow and chipped ice as my main activity. I bought us a fine tiller/cultivator that is supposed to handle some of the weeding so I’m hoping to get out and do a bit more exploring this summer.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

I found a publication here called the Elder Skinny which is put out by the senior’s society in Jasper. It’s got a nice article on Toni Klettl in it, and on the back page is a grocery list for Blue Creek Headquarters from around 1958. It’s got the list of supplies that he had to somehow haul in to the district to supply the North Boundary cabins for the winter. He had an ancient snow machine of some sort that he used but it was still a helluva tough haul. An interesting list of supplies – 225 pounds of flour, 75 pounds of sugar – but as one went down the list there was nine pounds of butter, a half a case of pork and beans, four pounds of coffee and three pounds of tea. Good lord! I went through 12 pounds of coffee just for me in the winter. Shirley must have been a tea drinker.

Most all of the people I worked with have stuck in my mind, most especially the earlier ones. When I first started as the office clerk I knew everyone’s middle name and still remember most of them. Can’t remember what day it is half the time now. A few were Fenton John Alexander McGuire, Thomas Lindsey Ross, Alfred Frank Burstrom, Clarence Llewelan Wilkins, George Edgar Camp, Stanley MacDowell Elder, Lawrence Leith Tremblay, Michael John Schintz, Henry Brian Wallace and Norman Galbraith Woody to name a few and some of the spelling could quite easily be wrong. There were many more but I can’t seem to dredge up more than first and last names.

Did you work a lot with Willi Pfisterer?

His office was down the hall from mine at the Hatchery, when he was in it. Willi was a very nice man with a wonderful dry sense of humor. We got along very well, and I could understand him. Many people seemed to have a problem with his accent. I didn’t seem to but at times found Toni Klettl’s accent a bit of a challenge. He was usually very soft spoken which may have had something to do with it. His office was just across the hall from mine at the Hatchery and I rode back and forth to town for lunch with him quite often. After moving east I would go and sit with Toni at the hospital. He was unable to talk by then so I would chatter on until I ran out of things to say and then we would just hold hands for a while. It was really very sad because he would try so hard to talk and just wasn’t able to spit it out. I was back in Jasper for a visit when they held his Memorial Service. It was a wonderful (and I must say large), gathering of old and current friends and I’m sure Toni would have been pleased.

bear carving
A Toni Klettl carving given to Bev by the wardens for her retirement.
The inscription reads “To Mother – Thanks from all of us in the Warden Service and much happiness in the future.”