When I was young, my grandmother and great aunt were school teachers in a small farming community in southern Alberta. The county supplied housing, little 2 bedroom teacherages near the school. Did both of them have their own house? I seem to think so…but they may have shared one place. They were VERY small (our family lived in one a few years later, in another part of County Forty Mile).
Manyberries is way out on the great plains, with only a small general store and a post office, plus a mechanic and a church, I think, at that time UPDATE: A Google search says a bar/hotel was probably open then, too. And of course, the school, which served the children from farms and ranches in the area, grades one through twelve. The streets were not paved.
One year (that I’m positive of…4th grade?), my family and my cousin’s family all went to Manyberries for Thanksgiving. There are 6 children in her family, and the 3 children in ours, plus our parents. We slept in sleeping bags on the floors of the living rooms and bedrooms. If my sister was small enough, she slept in a dresser drawer made into a bed.
No one complained about anything, that I can remember. We spent a lot of time outdoors, even though the temps run in the teens up there in November. I’m fairly sure there was snow. We chased gophers…or maybe it was birds…and walked and talked…and the ladies cooked, while the dads had a few beers and a few cigarettes…there was no tv, no telephone service, no theatre or museum or even a park, though we did spend some time on the playground at the school. We entertained ourselves. And first thing Friday or Saturday morning, we packed back into the cars and made the long drives home.
My memories are a muddle of time and date and faces, but there they are…and I am thankful for them.
UPDATE: I found some pictures on a real estate site…I could BUY this old teacherage, if I wanted to…oh, how I miss those wide open spaces, the skies, the wind…
Medicine Hat, AB Home for Sale From RE/MAX.
It’s a big, big country out there…and my heart just aches, looking at the pictures, most of which I can’t put here because they’re copyrighted…so beautiful…so wild…
We’re going for a bit of a hike tomorrow, while the kids go to Chris’ parents for Thanksgiving dinner. Then we’ll have the buffet at Ramirez. Our Family dinner is Saturday, at the kids’ house, for the first time! We’re all pretty excited about that! Anyway, I gotta run the vacuum and do a quick-mop before it gets dark. Y’all have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day – remember, we have MUCH to be thankful for, just as those who first began this tradition.
Thanks for stopping by, see ya soon!
FROM my brother, at Among the Joshua Trees:
We also played basketball in the gym at night. There was Fat Emma’s and Moon Pies along with the Rowntree Maple Buds Candy at the little general store. Our Grandmother and Great Aunt did live in the same house. We did end up living in one just like it at a place called Conquerville a few years later. The back porch was my bedroom. It was not insulated. Southern Alberta Winters are something in the realm of not for the faint of heart. Good Lord, I do miss that place so…