My Life

As far back as I can remember my Dad loved to write his name and where he came from.  George Peter Stone, Roseau, Minnesota. This was firmly implanted in my mind and as paper was,  not in any way shape or form, in abundance when i was young. However Dad would write his name anywhere and everywhere.  On the white edge of the newspaper or the boards inside a granary. And his handwriting was beautiful.

My Dad was 15 when they moved from Minnesota and now I realize how much he missed the carefree days of his youth.Life was good back in Minnesota when they first came from Sweden and everyone had jobs lumbering. But once the forests were cleared there were more people than work. (See my post “Edgar Book and Andrew Berg” on immigration to Canada).

Of course Dad talked about all the fun he had playing baseball (of course) and all kinds of other activities.  My Dad was athletic and encouraged all of us to participate in sports.  I never did see my Dad play baseball but I did see him hit balls when my brother Jim was practicing his skills.

Aunt Laura and my Mom Thea with the dusty car

We were small farmers and our pick up truck was not only to haul wheat to the elevator but our ONLY mode of transportation when I was young.  Then one day my dad came home from Kyle, Saskatchewan with this Ford sedan. Now the car dealer in Kyle had a farm as well and he had driven this car in the fields.  With the windows open!  Needless to say, the inside of the car was filled with dust, especially the headliner. We vacuumed and vacuumed the inside of that car but we never could get all the dust out.  Of course we had gravel roads and if you went over a bump, down came the dust.

One of the few times I got to go with just my Dad was to take a load of grain to the Federal Elevator in Strongfield.  After we sold the grain we would go to the cafe for ICE CREAM.  Cost of $.10. And a double scoop! Then my Dad would go into the Pool Hall and play a game of snooker. Then we picked up the mail and went the 14 miles to home.

My dad had a twin brother Paul and one time we three went to see their brother Charlie at Secretan, Saskatchewan some 86 miles away. My Dad was a pretty happy guy and loved to sing. You can just imagine how the two of them could harmonize.  I remember them starting out with “The Sidewalks of New York”, then “After The Ball is Over”, then “Daisy” and of course my Dad’s favorite “Moonlight Bay”.  I’m sure they sang many more songs.  I remember Paul asked my Dad if he could recall the Swedish words to “After The Ball is Over” and they sang that in Swedish.  That was such a wonderful treat for me to listen to them sing.

This picture was taken at the entrance gate for the construction of the Gardiner Dam. Uncle Paul (left) worked as the “stop or go” guy at the gate and sometimes my Dad, Peter (right) my did the job as well.

I didn’t have that many trips with just Dad but one I remember was a trip to Davidson to the Dentist.  While I was in there my Dad went to the Beer Parlor (as they were called in the 1940’s) for a beer or two. My dad picked me up and said, ” Maureen do you want to drive?” I said sure and drove all the way home, about 45 miles.  I was probably 12 years old at the time.

Well that’s my story about my Dad. Loved him lots.

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We were always ready to help anyone in need. Doc often stopped and helped people having “car trouble”. We also were helped by other people. I want to tell you about two occasions where a “car” of ours was instrumental in RECEIVING help, not just once but twice.

First of all the vehicle was the 1978 Pontiac Grand Safari trailering special. 3/4 ton rear end. Air shocks. Heavy duty front brakes. The nicest possible wagon in the GM group. I remember all the lights on the dashboard and even inside floor lights by the doors.

Helper Number One

Doc knew of a Triple E Motorhome that had been in an accident in Alberta and was written off by the insurance company. It was in a auto wrecking shop in Calgary. Doc had phoned to see what damage there was to this motorhome and they told him the frame was damaged. Doc could not see how the frame could be damaged from the accident. So we thought it was worth fixing and drove our 1978 Pontiac to Calgary to see for ourselves the damage.

With metal measuring tape on Saturday morning we were heading to NE Calgary on the Deerfoot when the station wagon slowed down and stopped. No warning. No lights, Nothing.

Within minutes a young fellow, originally from Newfoundland stopped in his pickup truck to see if he could help. He asked where we were going and said, let’s just leave your car here and I’ll take you where you need to go and back. I’ll call a tow truck then.

Away we go with him to the Auto Wreckers. Doc and I found the motorhome (at the far end of the lot) and we crawled underneath and measured the frame. ALL WAS SQUARE.

Our new friend took us back to our car and he called a mechanic he knew to have him meet us at his shop. The tow truck driver took the Pontiac to the shop and the mechanic soldered the clip on the distributor…..the problem was fixed. We were back to our friends home, the Way’s, after a long day. Many thanks to our friend from Newfoundland.

Helper Number Two

Destination Bridger Bowl, Bozeman, Montana

School was out for the Christmas break and the kids were anxious to go skiing. So we packed up the station wagon and drove to Billings after work on the Friday. An overnight stay at the Holiday Inn and after breakfast we were heading west on Interstate 90 when we passed the town of Laurel. The Pontiac stopped. No lights. Nothing.

West Railroad Street at I-90 was where we were stopped. What to do? Well, the two oldest kids left walking down that street back into Laurel to see if they could find a tow truck. (This was before cel phones).

Murray and Lisa

Neil and his friend Bill were driving downtown for their Sunday morning coffee and saw these two youngsters and asked if they needed anything. “ A tow truck”, they said. “Our car has quit on the Interstate.” Neil said “there is no tow truck here but I’ll go and bring your car into town.” So into town he towed our car. “I think we can have a good look at what’s wrong in my garage,” said Neil. Doc said that this had happened back in Calgary and we should look at the distributor. Sure enough that was the problem. “But, NAPA doesn’t open until 11 a.m. so come on in for coffee”, said Neil. Into the house we trooped. Marie, Neil’s wife, had the coffee ready in no time.

Now these people were really good people. Their home was probably built in the 1940’s, very small, white clapboard and they were far from being well to do. What they had was generosity. Marie said they had done what little Christmas shopping they could afford and she had money for a new dress. She had a sister down the street that she and I went to visit. Her sister had bought a string of colored Christmas lights she was so proud of and had put them in her window. Back to the house and we must have had at least two pots of coffee before 11 a.m. Then the guys went to NAPA

In no time the new part was installed and of course Neil was taking no money for all his help. Doc did manage to put a couple of $20’s on his workbench in the garage. We were so thankful for the family we found in Laurel, Montana. We were off to Bozeman by noon and the next day the kids got skiing. The next time we were on our way to Bridger Bowl we stopped, to thank them again, but no one was home.

Bridget with her instructor

The world is full of good people. I just told you a couple of “good people” stories.

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