Friday, August 29, 2008

Childhood memories

It's time for the EtsyBloggers Blog Carnival again and the topic I've chosen is "Something You Did When A Child That You Will Always Remember".
The choice seemed simple even though I have many wonderful childhood memories. What immediately came to mind were the family vacation trips we would make each summer to Canada. My grandfather had a summer home near Trail, B.C. in a little community called Robson. His place was right on the Arrow Lakes.
I was six when we moved from Canada to California and after that my family made a pilgrimage back to Trail and Robson each summer for several weeks. Some of my memories of these trips include:

  • Picking cherries in the orchard above the properties, also digging potatoes and harvesting other vegetables and fruits.
  • Going for walks along with road with my grandmother and going out in the evenings to visit neighbors or having them in.
  • Several days or a week overlapped with my two male cousins and my Aunt and Uncle on most trips. My grandfather had made and hung two wooden swings in the large trees on his Robson property and while both families were there, we had to fight our cousins for them.
  • Car rides with my grandfather to visit his friends and go to "town", i.e. Trail or Nelson. My grandfather was the Mayor of Trail from 1924-1929 and 1940 to 1946 and knew everyone in and around there. During the war, he had a wager with the mayor of Nelson about which city could sell the most war bonds. Nelson won the bet and my grandfather had to submit to milking a cow in the middle of the street near City Hall while a crowd watched. My aunt has a cartoon drawing of this occasion.
  • Row boat and motor boat (1/2 hp engine) rides on the Arrow Lakes and just sitting in the rowboat tied to my grandfather's dock and feeling the waves when a big boat or boom went by. Swimming in the cold, cold water.
  • Playing scrabble, "pig", canasta and later bridge along with other games.
  • Sleeping in the "little cabin" my grandfather built and having to wait until the curtains were open in the house before we could go in to the house each morning. Breakfast was always "porridge" i.e. oatmeal.
  • Using the outhouse (now a potting shed) and being afraid I would fall in the hole or that spiders would get me.
Now that I'm grown, my grandparents and my parents are gone, I still love to visit. My aunt owns the Robson property and it feels a lot like going home to visit there. On one of my recent visits, we arranged to see the inside of my grandfather's house in Trail and that brought back many wonderful memories too.
While reminiscing about the wonderful summer vacations at Robson, I found myself pulling the family history information I have. My father put together a book after my son was born that details much of the family history, including my mother's family. I also have a wonderful CD/book of Clark Family history that was put together by some other descendants of my great great grandfather and grandmother, John and Jane Cooper Clark. I came across a short autobiography my grandfather, Herbert Clark, wrote and was struck by his adventurous early life . Here are some extracts from the document he wrote in 1967 (the year I graduated from high school)
"Born on a farm near Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia" in 1885. Left home in 1902 to learn the Machinist trade and went to work in Massachusetts. Went to Edmonton, then Kelowna, B.C in 1906, visiting Trail BC in 1907 but went on to Seattle, then "drifted East" as far as Williston, North Dakota. "By May 1909 had enough of the Dakotas and moved North to Nelson, B.C. working there with the Nelson Iron Works and the Kootenay Engineering Company until November 1909 when I took a job with The C M &S Co then operating the Snowshoe Mine at Phoenix, B.C. which lasted until May 1910 then Westward Ho to Vancouver, while taking a look at the waterfront I saw a steamer due to leave for Australia the following day, decided to take a look down under."
"Worked in Sydney, N.S.W. and coastal points for a year then in May 1911 booked passage to England via the Suez Canal, six weeks and four days later arrived in Southampton in time to see part of the coronation ceremonies of King George V and visit the birthplace of my father near Aberdeen, Scotland and then booked passage to Nova Scotia. Shortly after my arrival back home I took on a two year contract as Machine Shop Foreman with the Cerro de Pasco Mining and Smelting Company in Cerro de Pasco Peru, elevation 14,400 feet above sea level. "
"Returned to Canada in late 1913 (he was then 28) where I took a job with C.M.S." which led to his employment at the Trail smelter, a place he continued to be employed until his retirement in 1946.
I have a couple of souvenirs from my grandfather's time in Peru, these wonderful silver llamas which he made or had made while he was there. They do have an incredible amount of detail but they were difficult to photograph, in part because they have a significant amount of tarnish.
My research about Cerro de Pasco led me to this page about lamas (with some photos taken about the time of my grandfather's stay there). I also read that Cerro de Pasco is the highest city in the world and in contrast to the sound of it's name, it is described as a barren, bleak area which was known for it's silver mines and later copper and other metals were mined there.


A Keeper's Jackpot said...

Love the pictures! Sounds like fun!

artsyclay said...

I enjoyed reading this. What wonderful memories you have!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Wow what a great post. I loved traveling with you down your memories. The pictures are to be cherrished for sure. It just makes me want to jump through the photos and go back in time to those simple days of our childhoods.

storybeader said...

thanks for sharing a bit of your past with us. You pic of playing scrabble brings back LOADS of memories; my sister and I always played scrabble on our weekend trips, sailing with our family. Nice memories that I completely forgot about!