(17:10) Let’s see 1949 until about 1954. (In response to the question, “How long were you at Stoney Creek?”) At Stoney Creek yes (In response to the comment, “You had a story about Stan Peyto at Stoney Creek?”) It was one evening and we see these lights coming down that hill…”Who the heck can that be?” But Stan Peyto had made his way out with a jeep that had a winch on the front in case he got stuck. He came knocking on the door. We didn’t know who it was, but we answered the door of course and here he had brought a turkey out for us for Christmas. Yes, a turkey for Christmas, instead of elk meat. That was the best turkey, it really was! And it was already cooked. Wasn’t that wonderful of him? I will never forget him. He was a kind man.

(18:28) But he was driving a jeep just like Ed had for patrols with a winch on the front. I had to learn how to handle that winch because it took two people. One to operate it from inside the truck to release the cable and then Ed would take the cable and put it around the tree to get us up the hill! Oh gosh…you had to learn a lot. Stuff that I would never do in England of course, never ever! I can remember we got stuck on the hill. Like you head to Minnewanka and there is a hill there, and we got stuck. We couldn’t make it up, so we had to use the winch. Of course I was much younger then!

Ed Michael and Dorothy, Didsbury 1946.

(19:26) I think so. (In response to the comment, “Being so active would have served you well in the backcountry.”) And I was anxious to be a good warden’s wife! Oh golly, it was quite a cultural shock, so different from England that is for sure! But it turned out to be a wonderful life. It really did. And what do you call it? The camaraderie amongst the wardens and their wives. When the wives could get together it was a wonderful time. It really was wonderful because we all had something in common. A lot of us did not have electricity or piped in water. We all related to that.

(20:24) We did! (In response to the comment, “I remember another story you told me about ringing in the New Year at Stoney Creek.” We bought a bottle of wine in the fall when we went in to get all our groceries and we kept that bottle of wine. That was pretty good eh! I had brought my lovely taffeta, lace over taffeta dress. Oh, it felt so good to be in a nice dress! I was dressed up and Ed got dressed up and we toasted across Canada. “Here’s to Nova Scotia” and so on, but we never made British Columbia! I never wore blue jeans, I don’t think I have even to do this day. Do you remember seeing that picture of me out at Stoney Creek with my kilt on? I wore a skirt for the longest time. I thought all the other Canadian women wore skirts. But I soon learned that they didn’t, they wore blue jeans.

(22:06) Yes, he had to do correspondence. (In response to the questions, “Was Michael school aged when you were at Stoney Creek; did he have to do correspondence?”) It was called correspondence in those days. That is right. We had to get the lessons in advance because we couldn’t get in to get the lessons all the time. We had to sort of stack them up when they were done until we could send them in with somebody.

(22:32) No, because they didn’t plow the road, (In response to the question, “Would you go into town once a month to get your groceries?”) No, they didn’t plow the roads until about April or May. That’s right. (In response to the comment, “Then in the fall you would load up with what you really needed.”) We took a trip to Calgary and in the meantime we had bought a second hand truck. So we were able to drive our own truck into Calgary and I think it was Mac Woodworth, (warden) Beef Woodworth’s wife was called Mac. She gave us a pointer as to where to go and get these groceries. So we would stock up, especially with nonperishable stuff, a lot of tinned stuff and powdered milk. Oh boy, that was tough to get the kids to drink powdered milk, but it was a little better than canned milk.

(23:39) Yes, that’s right. (In response to the question, “From Stoney Creek did you go to the
Paddock?”) For one winter. There was an old house there, an old government house. See the kids were able to get to school from there. I think there was a school bus, but we had to walk to the road. Oh, I walked many times from the Buffalo Paddock house into town. Yes, (Dorothy would be pushing a buggy) and with a dog, our cocker spaniel named Chum. I was eager to get a walk in. I had always done a lot of walking in England too. My dad did, yes. (In response to the question, “Did your family do a lot of walking?”) Mom would put on the Sunday roast whilst we were walking.

Having a good laugh at the Buffalo Paddock House

(25:10) Yes, we called it Eisenhower as you know. (In response to the comment, “Then you went to Eisenhower in 1955?) We were there until 1961. We started out again with correspondence with Mike, but they needed to mix with other children. They hadn’t mixed with children for many years. All they saw were other wardens or horse wranglers. So I decided to drive them into Banff, which was into Banff and back, into Banff and back. Because quite often I was baking bread or something. It was really busy. We looked forward to weekends and the summer holidays! Sometimes we carpooled with the Hermanrude’s (a family stationed at Healy Creek). Sometimes I would pick up Karen, or I would drive them to Healy Creek and Alice would take them onto Banff. And also they used to have these, for the CP rail, the section houses. There was a French couple there living at Castle, in the Eisenhower district, not too far from our house and they had a little girl. So we would take her. Yeah, we had a carload!

(27:21) Yes, it was. (In response to the question, “Were your roles as a warden’s wife different at Eisenhower?”) People would be stopping in a lot to get information and I was allowed to give them fishing licenses and then they wanted to know how to get to certain lakes. Like Taylor Lake or Rockbound Lake and how long it would take. Also the climbers would sign out and I would have to be sure that they signed back in, or maybe Ed would be back by then. It was busy…busier with the public which I liked. Yes! (In response to the comment, “I remember you saying you operated the switchboard.”) They installed it. It wasn’t there when we first went out. It was probably put in at least a couple of years after we had been there. They installed the switchboard so that I could order groceries from Kootenay Crossing, there was a warden there. And she would phone and say, “Could you order me some bread?” Also I would have to report the weather. Eileen Harmon would phone out to me and I would relay the message to Kootenay Park. She was in Banff and she would phone out to me to give me the weather. I kind of enjoyed that too! Operating these little switches and plugging them in and pulling them out. They would give me a little bit of sustenance. (In response to the question, “Where you ever paid to do that?”)

(29:25) In 1961. (In response to the question, “When did you move into Banff?”) We had purchased our little house in 1957 and then we rented it out. For about three years and they were very good tenants too…He was with the RCMP and they transferred him to Swan River, I think it was…We knew that eventually we would have to move in, probably for the sake of the kids. Mike was approaching junior high and then Brian had become school aged. That (drive to school every day) was hard on the driver and the car! 80 miles a day…Then sometimes the kids wanted to join the Cubs and Scout’s and Terry wanted to take accordion lessons and so on and so on, which was good, because they hadn’t had that opportunity before. So that would mean another trip, 160 miles! But then Ed was through work so quite often he would do that night trip which was good. You couldn’t deny the kids that. Then Ed would help with the Cubs and then drive them home.

(31:46) He was like the town warden. (In response to the question, “Once you moved into town, did Ed work out of the warden office or the administration building?”)

(31:53) He retired in 1978. Yes, at the Banff Springs Hotel, (In response to the comment, “I understand it was quite a party!”) And Louis Trono played, yes he did! Live music by Louis Trono. It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful! At the Banff Springs…that I will never, ever forget! Yes it was (amazing). It is almost making me cry thinking about it. It is quite emotional really.

(32:46) Yes, because of the change in the warden service. (In response to the question, “Were you ready to retire?”) We didn’t go for that centralization that is right. He was quite happy to retire and then our first hike was to Arnica Lake. I will never forget that! We were able to take off and he didn’t have to worry about anything! We could just enjoy the hike. We did quite a bit after that, but that was our first hike after his retirement.

(33:27) Yes, we went to the Maritimes, we went on a cruise (In response to the question, “Did you also travel with the war bride’s association?”) And we went on a trip across Europe pretty well with the war brides which was very nice. On this trip, the last week we were allowed to go and visit our families. Then we all met again, I think in London. Oh, that was a wonderful trip! We went out to Edinburgh and they had a mock wedding. Have you ever heard of a mock wedding? I forget the name of the place now. Ed was the best man there. At a mock wedding there was sort of a rifle involved, to make sure that the bride didn’t run away or something!

(34:49) Very important! (In response to the question, “Was being part of the warden service family important to you?”) It was very important! It was so nice for the warden wives to get together at times. I remember the gymkhanas too. They used to have gymkhanas out at Hillsdale Meadows. In this kitchen (at Dorothy’s house on Rainbow Avenue) was Barbara Anderson, Dorothy Carleton and another warden’s wife making a big bowl of chili! I remember that and of course we were just happy to be together and doing something together for the warden service. Yes, I love to hear the voices of the Hermanrude’s and the Guttman’s (warden families), (In response to the comment, “And you still keep in touch.”)

(36:12) Well, it became a big part of my life that I really appreciated and enjoyed, especially the comradeship. (In response to the question, “Is there anything about the warden service that you would like people to know?”) It was just wonderful and the warden service still means a lot to me too. If they have any parties, I like to be a part of that. Yes, I do!

(36:53) There were so many. (In response to the question, “Is there anyone from the warden service that stands out in your mind?”) They were all very good to me, this Brit! Everything was so different that I was glad of any help or advice. It still is a big part of my life, the warden service. It became very special to me and it still is. I feel very privileged actually to have experienced living in the backcountry and surviving! What a switch eh! (Coming from Reading England to the remote areas of Banff National Park.) Well you had to have a positive attitude that you were going to do it! (In response to the comment, “I don’t know if everyone could have done it”). You are going to make it, have that bath from the tub on the wall, yes indeed!