First Home

Who did you come home to when you were a baby? What family members shared or spent time in your home?

I came “home” to my grandparents home on Sully Road in Summerland, 11 days after I was born, just in time for my aunt and uncle’s wedding (Laura Mott and Lyle Barnes). After traveling and visiting other family and friends throughout southern BC, I went with mom and dad to our home in Masset BC. We lived in a little green house, which had once been (as I recall) a schoolhouse, but was now divided into two suites with a wall down the center. Right in the middle was a little shared washroom, which had doors to each side, but no locks — so one had to be sure to knock before entering! Other “features” of our little home were a hole in the wall with a little door on it, leading out to a screened-in box, which was our “refrigerator” where fresh foods could be kept cool in cool weather. Naturally, this meant that we didn’t have a lot of fresh food, and when we did have it, we’d buy it in small quantities so it would be used quickly. We made do with canned milk and other similar alternatives. My “bedroom” was my crib in a corner of the living room, with a large blanket covering it. Apparently I would happily go to sleep as soon as the blanket was spread over the crib, even if there was lots of activity going on in the room!

Living on the other side of the house was “Unca Doug” McRae, the Indian agent, and later a United Church minister. He was a very special friend to our family. The house had a porch out front on which I would take my afternoon nap in the buggy, year round! Sometimes I would share the porch with “free range” cows which would wander up onto the porch. I had a number of “adopted aunts and uncles” in Masset, as we lived far from any actual relatives. Mom and Dad often invited people over for meals, and mom ran a “girls club” and dad a “boys club” which each met once a week at the house. I look at old pictures and am amazed at how many people could be happily squeezed into that small space!

Many years later, in 1979, I returned to Masset to teach, and the little green house was still there, right across the street from the school and the Anglican church. It had been converted into a single home, but still looked much the same. And it is still there to this day (2007). I lived in that house until the school board built a new duplex across the street, which we moved into in early 1957, shortly after my brother Stewart’s birth.

Written: Dec 26, 2007

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