1916 - 1925

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This is the story of my life as I  can remember..

        I was brought into the world with the help of my grandma as midwife on her kitchen table.

         They told me I was a cry baby, but I think I was just hungry..

        Dad sold his steam outfit .  He got a railroad car from the C.P.R. at Loyalist and loaded all  their belongings and shipped them to Rimbey  and homesteaded a 1/4 section about 12 miles west of Rimbey  (he was too young to homestead when he was in the Scotfield and Youngstown area).  He took Mother and Reinhold (Ronnie) and I in the Case car which gave us a lot of trouble.  They had built a house and barn and dug a well by hand.

        One of the horses named Lucky got away and was found at Coronation in the pound.   Being moved by rail, no one could believe she could find her way as she was only 30 miles from where she was born and probably would have made it back to her birthplace had she not been put in the pound.

        Dad got word that his youngest sister Bertha  was pregnant by the neighbor's boy.  They wanted to get  married but Grandpa would not allow it and sent her away to Bently to stay with her sister Lydia as he felt she was a disgrace in the area.  She could not stand it anymore and committed suicide.  She was buried outside of the Seven Day Adventist  cemetery at Bently.

        Mother took sick and spent most of the winter in the Lacombe Hospital so Grandpa Maron came and took Ronnie and I back to his farm.  In the spring when he brought us back to Rimbey the Blindman River was flooded  and he had to make two trips across the river in a pig trough  because he couldn't row and hold the two of us at the same time as we were only 2 and 3 year olds .

        While mother was in the hospital Dad's brother Emanuel and Mother's brother Gus came  to the homestead and cut 2 carloads of tamarack rails and shipped them to Loyalist to be used for fence posts as there were no trees in that area at the time.

        Mother finally came home and one day when she was baking bread the creosote in the stove pipes caught fire  and burned  the house to the ground.  Dad was clearing some bush so he wasn't there to help.  They decided to move to Rimbey.   The flue epidemic was very bad that year and everyone on the train had to wear masks, Mother said she had an awful time trying to make Ronnie and I keep them on.   Dad did blacksmith work to earn money so they could move back to Loyalist.

        They moved back to Loyalist and rented a 1\4 section about 6 miles south east of town.  Mother raised chickens and geese and Dad once again used his trade to earn money.  The well was down by the slough back of the barn, it had no pump, just a rope and pulley and was about 20 feet deep.  Mother went to bring the goslings in for the night and went down to the slough as that is where they always were and noticed one was missing.  She checked the well and there it was swimming around.  To get the gosling out Dad stood in the pail and let himself down and stood on top of the cribbing and put the gosling in the pail and had mother pull it up.  Mother got excited and let the pail back down too fast and hit Dad on the head, he was really bleeding when he pulled himself up.  There was another old well a little ways from the house.  In the winter Dad would fill it with snow and in the summer Mother would hang the butter and cream down the well to keep cool.    One day Mother lifted the lid off the well and the string broke, she couldn't reach it so she called me.  " I'll lift you in and you can hand me the butter"  she said.   I ran to the shop and got a piece of wire and fished it out.  After dinner when we went to put the butter back down in the well - all the snow was gone.  Apparently there was just a crust of snow that broke loose when the lid fell in.    Mother screamed what an awful thing she nearly had me do.

        There was a family by the name of Cauflin who were our neighbors, they lived in a sod house.  They had  four boys, Teefen, Sam, Mike and Fred.  Teefen and Sam, being in their early twenties would come over and play checkers or dominos on winter evenings.

        Dad operated the Case steam threshing outfit for Tom Tulien, another neighbor .   One evening when the threshing crew was having supper at a neighbors place about 2 miles east of us, a bachelor neighbor from across the road came crawling in, he had been shot by Mr. Cauflin  and said that he had seen him through the window.  Dad was one of the witnesses and had to go to a three day trial.  The police arrested Mr. Cauflin near Wilkie, Saskatchewan, he was driving a grey horse and buggy.  Before the court date Teefen and Sam road into the yard on horseback . each had a six gun strapped on their belt.  They said "Chris, whatever you do tell the truth or else", and rode off.   The court found that Mr. Cauflin thought the bachelor neighbor was seeing his wife.  When Dad came home from Stettler he came walking up the driveway with a big bundle on his back. Mother and I wondered what it could be.  He had received  his pay for trial duty and said it was the easiest money he had ever  earned and had bought a china tea set.

        Dad found an old McCormick Deering reaper he fixed up to cut his crop.  The crop was very short and the reaped didn't need any twine.  

        Dad also taught me the German alphabet, how to write my name and how to multiply from 1x1 to 12x12 and subtract and divide.  I could read the numbers in German and was the top of the class in math.  I might add that when Reinhold and I started school  in Silverdale we could not speak English, all we could do is laugh in English for that was the same in any language.  There were several Russian families in school that could also only laugh in English.  Ronnie and I got so we could speak a little Russian.  Our teacher Miss Neal was a wonderful teacher, she had 34  pupils and several green ones like Ronnie and I.  I have a lot of memories of Silverdale School, one person I really admired was Dale Murray, he  had polio in his right arm was paralyzed and hung limp at his side.  He was the pitcher for the ball team as he could throw a ball and have his glove back on before anyone could throw the ball  to him, he was also good at using the bat and was known to hit his share of home runs.