It’s been 72 years since Burns Lake has been my town

I have seen so many changes in our whole Lakes District. We made our home here and it was good.

In my Jan. 23 paper I wrote the story about the four horses and a sleigh load of timothy seed that went through the ice on Francois Lake. I guess I did not finish it off. Yes, Billy Bickle did go down with the his load and his four horses but on the way down he noticed the hole in the lake so he swam out of the hole onto good solid ice. He was well known in the Lakes District and was a very good friend of our family for many years. He told me this story. Sorry I slipped up on finishing the story.

As a matter of interest as this I slipped up on. A reader was asking if there were any deaths through drownings through the ice. I only know of three; Alec Fergeson, Frank Walters and Tommy Juster. There may have been more I don’t know. With all the traffic during the winter months it’s a surprise there wasn’t more. My phone number is (250) 692-3554.

Little tid bits

On the news today there was a question that came up. “Would you use year round schooling for your child?” Lots of questions on that one. I would guess the parents would have something to say on that one. This would no doubt throw a kink into the family summer holidays. I think it’s just talk to even think about doing away with the summer holidays, but then funny things have happened.

Another thing that has come to my attention and that’s on the front of the local paper. Penny going out of circulation what else will they think of next. My thoughts on the matter “musing but confusing.” Things are confusing enough now so this will no doubt add a bit more. I wonder if the U.S. of A will follow suite.

Big Changes

I have seen so many changes in our whole Lakes District. We made our home here and it was good. September 1941 was our arrival, it’s hard to realize how time flies. We unloaded our box car and stored our furniture etc. in Mat Nourses feed store.

Our home was to be Ootsa Lake and the location would be Marilla. Mother and Brother Peter took the mail stage from Burns Lake to Ootsa Lake landing and then by boat to what was to be our new home.

My dad and I loaded up our two wagons with a cow and a calf and mother’s dogs and chickens and two geese and a black cat for luck. We also had five horses for the wagons. The first days we made Mrs. Peterson’s here at the landing.

The next day we made Bennett’s stopping house then the third day onto our new home to be. Three long hard days on horses. It wads dark when we made Henson’s, mother and Peter met us. As the road was very rough we left our cow and calf with the Vantine’s. We stayed in the Henson store but the deal mother and dad had made went sour so we loaded up and headed back to Ootsa landing.

The Vantine family are very kind and asked to stay with them. We then stayed with the Bergan’s in a new log house. There was nothing suitable for us so we left for Francois Lake and then on October the first 1941 we took over the Francois Lake store from Vern Taylor and we spent most of our life here.

It’s now over 72 years ago. Francois Lake was our home and Burns Lake was our town. I have written a story of our trip and called it Moving on. It’s in much more detail. The store was in a financial bind and the farmers institute had taken it over so it was very fortunate for our family to be there at the right time. Dad had made plans to go back to the prairie and this turned out to be just right for our family. We called it a miracle.

The store building was ideal for our family, half the building was store the other half was residence. The post office was a lean-to on the west side also a cool room and next to it a place for a power plant. In the residence there was a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms.

The bathroom was the great outdoors. We hauled up our water from the lake in a barrel. The shop was next to the store joined up by a walkway and the hand gas pump was in front of the store.

A big drum heater kept the store warm. We had counters and the groceries were on shelves. We stocked everything from fresh meat, dried fruit, tin heaters, rifle shells, rubber boots, jeans, horse shoes, you name it we had it. Fishing gear, nails and we were known for our bacon. All our groceries came by truck from Vancouver every week. It was a general store and big time.

The mail came from Burns Lake by Andy Anderson. All the mail for both the Francois Lake west and the Southside so it was a busy office. I think mother got $35 a month. Everard Hickey hauled the mail once a week to the west end offices. Colleymount, Clemretta, Noralee and Nadina. Norman Schreiber hauled the mail to all the Southside post offices. He used a pickup truck with racks on the sides with hooks that he would hang cream cans on for Anderson’s vehicle to take to town and shipped to the creamery in Telkwa. The empty cans were handled the same way. Shipping cream was a bit of an income for the farmers on the Southside. Of course this is a bit of history I will try to pass on. I have a photo of the mail being transferred in front of our old store and post office.

The post office wicket came from Evesham, Sask. We had it shipped out here. How well I remember as a kid picking up our mail and now to realize I would be giving mail out through the same wicket at Francois Lake. Shopping has changed so much in my lifetime.

After we became settled we had an auction sale. We had brought a plow, a mower, a hay rake and the two wagons plus other stuff. I hated to see our two teams sold. Jack Jones of the J.P. Ranch bought the horses, I kept my saddle horse. Some farmer from the Southside bought the farm machinery.

Bill Durban had the machinery loaded and had an accident driving off the ferry on the southside dock. The ferry was not tied up and it slipped out and dropped Durban’s truck with the machinery part way into the lake. Another truck pulled Bill out so it all ended up just fine.

Just had my grandson Richard and Dimitra drop in and show me their wee little new born daughter, born on Jan. 24, Zya Josephine Ora Neave. I’m so proud to be a great grandpa again. She is a little beauty.

Take care and remember God loves you and so do I.