I was foolish enough to suggest that we all send in a current resume for the Alumni Newsletter, just to see where everyone is and what they are doing. The exec. liked the idea and guess what??? They suggested that I kick it off. Talking when I should have been listening again – so here goes, where I am and what I am doing and Gawd – what I look like. (I should put that on as an attachment so you don’t have to open it if you have a weak stomach).
If you remember I was the Animal Control Officer/Townsite Enforcement Officer in Banff for two stints, totaling seven years in the l970s and the 80’s. You might even remember my deputy, Brimstone. In my spare time I was the first female bus driver for Brewsters, when along with driving summer tours I drove the Sunshine Hill for five winters. If you can remember back even further I was at the Ya-Ha Tinda for six years, when they built the house and started to build up the ranch, l958 – 1964. (The old Silent Partner syndrome – unpaid, unpensionable service)
We went back to the Lacombe area so the kids could go to school and I could get a paying job and were there for ten years. Both husband and I worked at the Canada Agriculture Research Station in Lacombe. Then I went back to Banff and became dogcatcher with the Warden Service, the first one that Parks Canada had ever had. Also I was the first female RCMP Auxiliary Officer in Alberta. After I left Banff in 1987 I spent about ten years on a farm just east of Calgary.
Twenty years ago I moved, with daughter Jayne and her man, Randy to these 10 acres just outside Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. Youngest daughter, Joanne, also lives in her trailer on the place (works at a local convenience store) and middle kid, Judy has her trailer here too but she wanders around some. Being a hairdresser means that she can work anywhere she likes, so she spent seven years hairdressing on cruise ships, saw the world on someone else’s dime and is presently working in Lethbridge. Jayne has a tack repair shop here on the farm and a herd of Boer goats. (!) I can’t remember when this family did not own a horse but a couple of years ago Jayne sold her last horse and got these goats and now some sheep. Randy has the Vancouver Island franchise for Fruiti-Bars – something like a Popsicle but 100% pure fruit, which goes well with the new “eat healthy” movement.
As for me, I raise chickens. Sounds innocuous enough but I seem to have made a big deal out of it, hatching several hundred chicks per year from a flock of about 100 hens, selling the eggs, being the local “chicken guru”, and organizing the monthly “Coombs Farm Animal and Poultry Swap”. We have no auction barns here on VanIsle so we just take our stock to the local fairgrounds, drop our tailgates and sell off our trucks. Kind of a flea market with real fleas.
When I first got here I noticed that the old “Heritage” breeds of chickens were much smaller than I remember them to be as a kid so some years ago I embarked on a breeding program to increase the size back to what they were. I have met with some little success and the roosters that we now butcher dress out to about 6 – 7lb instead of the former 5 – 5 ½ lb. They also do well at the Poultry Shows at the local fairs so consequently I am locally famous for my “improved” Barred Rocks.
Since I am supposed to be retired the kids ask me, “Why do you have all of these chickens?”, as they are a lot of work and the old bod sometimes has trouble getting around, and then only for short periods. So what would I do if I didn’t have the chickens to get me up in the morning and outside – I would probably sit here at my computer with a pack of cigarettes, a drawer full of chocolate and a rum and coke and get real fat and cranky. So I will keep on with them as long as I can and then you can scatter my ashes with Brimstone on the Hillsdale Meadows.
If any of you are out here on Vancouver Island, holidaying or looking for a real pleasant place to retire, (no winter to speak of) we are easy to find, right on the Alberni Hiway. Be sure to plan a stop or a stay. We have a large yard with plug in for your RV, lots of water and bathrooms. The setting is nice but the service is lousy so plan to do your own cooking. There are a lot of alumni living in this area so you don’t have to visit with just me. In fact I have toyed with the idea of having a “Back to Banff Day” right here on the Island.
So that is about it for me, come on – the rest of you – and let us know where you have landed and what you are doing.
3379 Alberni Hiway
Qualicum Beach, BC