If you really want to understand the history of your community, reading old letters (both personal and business), newspaper clippings, and other “primary sources” is a great way to get a feeling for how people felt, believed, and acted. But don’t neglect other less common sources! Recently I was going through my mom’s autograph books
from the 1930s and 1940s in Summerland–and met so many people whose names I’ve heard, but have not had the privilege of knowing. After reading their own thoughts, or the poems or quotes they chose, I feel like I’ve gotten to know each of them a little better, gained from their wisdom, was startlingly reminded by how much some
things have changed (you may be shocked at the odd entry, but it is a part of our history, and we need to acknowledge that), and also gotten to understand more about the community they lived in, and how that community has been influenced by them down to this day.
I have “bolded” the names of the writers, so if you’re looking for someone in particular, you can find them quickly!
This first autograph book was given to my mom, Marjorie (Mott) Wright, when she was seven years old, by Stella M. Wilson. I will therefore start with an entry by Mrs. Wilson:
West Summerland, B.C. March 8, 1933
I wish you joys to heal it / if this year must hold pain / And quite a lot of rainbows / If you do have rain.
I wish you heaps of roses / So the thorns won’t hurt at all / And ladders made of little hopes / To climb each hampering wall.
I wish you work and its rewards / Until this year ends / And place, and rest, and happiness / And friends, and friends, and friends.
Lovingly, Stella M. Wilson
‘Tis sweet to be remembered / And a pleasant thing to find / that though you may be absent / you still are kept in mind. A.M.B.
W. Summerland, Jan. 27, 1936
Blessed are they, whose thoughts in deeds find wing, / Whose hands the gifts of love and mercy bring.
Summerland, B.C. Feb 7, 1945
If your ever up a tree, phone to me. / If your even in a well, ring my bell. / Its friendship, beautiful friendship.
Your brother, Preston S. Mott
Summerland, B.C. March 16, 1936
Remember, O, Remember / on your memory tree / Remember it was Lois / Who wrote these for thee.
West Summerland – November 15, 1933
We cannot change yesterday – that is clear / Nor begin on to-morrow until it is here / So all that is left for you and for me / Is to make today as sweet as can be.
A. Ruth Dale
Penticton, B.C. Dec 1st 34
Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth. Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long on the earth. Keep thyself pure.
Yours lovingly, J. A. Stark
July 27, 1935
You are growing to be a young girl, and I hope you will not forget your granddad when you arrive to be a full fledged woman. I want you not to forget your grandPa Mott.
Penticton, B.C. May 7/1935 Phone 492-L
In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy Paths. Prov. 3-6.
For the structure that we raise / Time is with materials filled / Our todays and yesterdays / Are the blocks with which we build.
Your most loving friend, Olive J. M. Stark
West Summerland, B.C. December 13, 1933
Cling fast to what you know is best / And unto God leave all the rest / Life has this charm / That those who walk in honor’s way / And keep its laws from day to day /
Need fear no harm.
Thelma M. Hobbs
Summerland, B.C. Jan 31, 1936
Cows like apples / Pigs like squash / I like Marjorie too by gosh.
Your loving friend, Mary Z.
Summerland, B.C. R.R. 1 March 13, 1936
Rose are red / Violets are blue / Vinegar is sour / and so are you.
Yours till leap year leaps.
Nov 23, 1940
Be thou fruitful.
Your friend, Rev. E.C. Madsen
Signature page: (not sure of some spellings!)
Frank Kuroda, Douglas Pearson, Babe Tuby, Bill Spalding, Fred Huva, Russell McLachlan, Yvette Atkenson, Hild M. Renner, Tilly, Richard Roberg, Noreen Thompson, Evelyn
Reid, Maretta Embree, Aaron Hirsoshi, Rita, Jim Clarke, Claire Carpenter, Gladys Daniels, Eileen Inglis, George Rossi, Lloyd Johnstone, Ruth Verrier, Mary Bernhardt,
Goy Gustavson, Roy Juroda, Harold Zielke, Beryl Derrick, Lois Read, Jean Wright, Chortis Rennie, Gilbert Thomas, Gerhart Hurva, Mary Scriver, Allan Lewes, Theresa
Summerland, B.C. March 19, 1938
When years and months have gone by / And on this page you cast your eye / Remember it was a friend sincere / Who wrote this kind remembrance here.
Your friend, Bertha B.
Summerland, B.C. March 13, 1938
Tis His the gentle voice we hear / Soft as a breath at even / That checks each fault, that calms each fear / And speaks of Heaven.
Sincerely yours, J. J. Embree
Summerland, B.C. March 13, 1938
Little deeds of kindness, / Little acts of love, / Make the world around us / Like the Heaven above.
With love, Your loving friend, Mrs. J. J. Embree – John 3.16
Penticton B.C. Mar. 11, 38
Down by the river / Carved on a rock / Are these three words / Forget-Me-Not.
Your friend, Eileen Brown
W. Summerland B.C.
When God made the “nigers” / He made them in the night / He made them in a hurry / and forgot to paint them white.
Your friend, … (this entry was made twice, by different writers)
R.R. Summerland B.C. Dec 2nd 1937
You need two good weapons– / A heart that is pure / And a will that is ready / To do and endure.
Your friend, Jean Wright
Summerland, B.C. May 8th 1935
I use my little hoe and spade / To plant the seed that God has made. / He sends the sunshine and the rain; / The seed becomes a plant again, / With root and stem and
leaves complete, / A flower that is very sweet. / All this from just one little seed, / Our God is wonderful, indeed!
Yours lovingly, Grace J.
West Summerland, B.C. Dec. 12, 1936
Life is only froth and Bubble, / Two things stand like stone, / Kindness in anothers trouble, / Courage in your own.
West Summerland, B.C. Dec. 28, 1935
May your days / Be days of joy, / And happiness / Without alloy.
Sincerely your sister, Emily M. A. Mott
Summerland, B.C. March 16/38
When nature pulls her curtain down; / And pins it with a star, / Remember that you have a friend; / Though she may wander far.
Yrs. truly, Gweneth.
West Summerland, B.C. Nov 20, 1933
A bunch of flowers I give to you. / To try to grow them is what you must do. / Then all who know you the flowers will see / And love and happiness will follow thee.
Yours sincerely, J Muriel Banks
(With a drawing of flowers, labeled: Gentle words, Kind thoughts, Loving Deeds, Willing Feet, Helpful Hands)
Summerland, B.C. March 10
Roses are red / Violets are blue/ Honey is sweet / And so are you.
Your Friend, Hilda Rennie age 15
R.R.I Summerland, B.C. Feb 7, 1936
Two in a hammock / Ready to kiss / All of a sudden / They went like this [“this” written upside down!]
Your friend, Theresa Guidi
(Nancy Smith, Penticton, wrote the same verse July 3/39)
May 17, 1940
May all your hours be spent in bliss, / May all your hopes succeed / Be ever as happy as I wish, / And you’ll be blest indeed
Summerland, B.C. Feb 3/36
I’ll make you cross / I’ll make you frown / By writing in your Autograph / upside down.
West Summerland, March 19, 1936
I thought and thought and thought again, and at last I thought I would sign my name. Your school mate,
Richard Powell, age 11
West Summerland, March 23/36
For all that is noble and high and good / Has an influence on the rest / And the world is better for every one / Who is living at his best.
Other signature pages: (I think a lot of these were from a girls’ camp; I know my mom attended one or more such camps, and some of the pages have notes like “Tent 4”)
Betty Moore, Hedley BC; Myrte E. Milloy, Keremeos; Gladys Nichols, Princeton; Edna McDougall, Penticton; Nancy Smith, Penticton, BC; Marney McLellan, Hedley BC;
Josephine Thomson, Keremeos; Evelyn Vanderburgh, W. S’land BC; Nancy Robertson, Penticton BC; Nancy MacDonald, Pen; Betty Black, Penticton BC; Lirtonia Overend,
Penticton; “Babe” Berryman, Penticton BC; Nan Anderson, Oliver BC; Chrissie Manning, Penticton BC; Verona Harris, Keremeos BC; Dorothy Ewing, Blakeburn BC; Elizabeth
MacGillivray; Aeda McPherson, West S’land; Isobel Atkinson, West S’land; Ellen MacLeod, Pent.; Bettey East, Keremeos BC; Rhodena Moore; Donna Meldrum, Penticton BC;
Edith Cuthbertson, Blakeburn; Harriet Larson, Blakeburn; Dan (?) Hixon, W. S’land BC; Jill Leir, Penticton; Helen McKeen, Penticton; Audrey Wright, West Summerland BC;
Felicia Robinson, Penticton BC; Lois Neve, Penticton; Isobel Bolton; Meredith Pattison, W. S’land BC; Dorothy MacDonald; Moni Colquhoie (?), Penticton BC; Margaret
Johnston; Jean Wright; Jessie Murray, Blakeburn BC; Bernice Murray, Blakeburn BC; Lynn M Allen, Princeton BC; Mary Jones, Princeton BC; Marion Burt, Penticton; Doreen
Homes; Dora Gellatly, Princeton BC; Pearl Lyon, Hedley BC; Doreen Gaube, Penticton; Shirly Steven (?); Shirley Tough, Penticton BC; Dorothy Jean Smith, Oliver BC;
Dorothy Thompson, S’land; Virginia Harvey, S’land; Frances Wilking, Oliver BC; Amy Gould, W. Summerland; Marianne MacGillivrary, Penticton; Edna Gould; Marion
Camp Saree 1939
Consider me a link among your chain of friends.
Yours truly, (first name?) Stewart
In your many chains of friends, Regard me as a link.
Love, Gladys Daniels (her newspaper engagement notice is tucked in the book)
W. Summerland, BC Feb 3, 1936
When you are old and mending britches, Think of me between the stitches.
Sincerely, Noreen Thompson
Y R U M T B 4 T?
Your school friend, E.W.
Summerland BC, Dec 1, 1937
Many a ship has been lost at sea / For want of tar and rudder / Many a man has lost his girl / By talking to another.
Your loving friend, Beryl Derrick
R.R. 1, Summerland, BC Sept 3, 1941
After all, the lives that do the most for the world are the sturdy, quiet lives. They are like stars; they just stay in their appointed place and shine with the light
God has given them. Meteors shoot brilliantly across the sky, and we exclaim and wonder — but long after they have vanished the stars shine on to guide us. May God
make you a guiding star.
Your loving friend, Grace J.
West Summerland BC Sept 1, 1941
If you strike a thorn or rose, Keep a-goin !! / If it hails or if it snows, Keep a-goin !! / ‘T’aint no use to sit and whine / When the fish ain’t on your line / Bait
your hook and keep a’tryin’ — Keep a-goin !
Sincerely, J. Wesley Stewart
Summerland BC March 21, 1936
When you are old and cannot see / put on your specs and think of me.
Your friend, Arthur
W. Summerland, Nov 4, 1943
Be a good girl / Lead a good life / Choose a nice fellow / Make a good wife.
Love, Leona Nelson, Sorrento, BC
Just a Sunoka Serenader
When you are old and cannot see / put on your specs and think of me going to bed
Sincerely, Oroville Mott, 1939 July 15
West Summerland BC Nov 19, 1935
Keep this for your motto, Marjorie.
I expect to pass through this world but once, / Any good, therefore, that I can do, / Or kindness I can show, let me / Do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.
Sincerely, B.A. Garnett
March 18, 1938 Summerland Central School
It matters not what goal you seek, its secret here reposes. You have to dig from week to week to get results — or roses.
Allan J. McKenzie
Feb 7 45
May God richly bless you as you in mercy train to help suffering humanity and ease them from pain, But in that higher service, May you reach that higher goal, to apply
the balm of Gilead and heal the sin sick soul.
Christian love, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Howell, Allen Grove
West Summerland, BC. Aug 7 1934
Keep your face always towards the Sunshine, And the shadows will fall behind you.
Yours lovingly, Aunt Laura (Kelly)
West Summerland, BC March 19, 1938
Make new friends, but keep the old, / Those are the silver, these the gold. / Brows may wrinkle, hair gone gray, / True friendship never knows decay.
Your loving friend, Dorothy MacDonald
West Summerland October 16, 1942
God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.
Your Christian friend, Pauline Welwood
August 24, 1941
Dare to do right, dare to be true, / You have a work that no other can do; / Do it so bravely, so kindly, so well, / Angels will hasten the story to tell.
Your lasting friend, Stanley Welwood
S’land BC July 28/41
Tis more to be good than be great / To be happy is better than wise / You’ll find if you smile at the world / The world will smile back in your eyes.
Your whole life lies before you, / Like a patch of driven snow, / So be careful how your tread it, / For your steps are sure to show.
Your loving friend, Dorothy Stark
(I have another autograph book from the 1940s; I’ll post those up another day!)