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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Sunshine resident tells Christmas tales from two continents

    The Drumheller Mail sat down with Edith Buckley to hear her tales of Christmas. Buckley hails from England and was a nurse during World War II. Afterwards, she immigrated to Canada with her husband and two children.
    “I was training to be a nurse and at Christmas the matron wouldn’t allow anyone to have Christmas day off,  because the majority of our girls came from Ireland. She said ‘The Irish girls can’t go home for Christmas, so you’re not.’
    “But nobody wanted Christmas day off, because Christmas day in the hospital was much better than anywhere else you could go.
    “The majority of things happening in town were a bit mundane because of the war. You couldn’t really let your hair down. The war was always on your mind. It was not an easy time.
    “We would send everybody home from the hospital, which meant we were left with half a dozen people to man a ward with twenty two beds.
    “We would save up our pennies, because in those days nurses got poor pay. We would buy a bottle of wine. Of course we were not allowed to have wine, so we had to keep it secretive.
    “Around Christmas, the staff would make an afternoon tea for the residents and try to give them some festivity. People would play the piano and we’d try to get people to sing.
    “We tried to brighten things up and decorate the whole ward. One year we tried to make the whole ward like a rose garden.
    “We always had a big party at the church I went to. At the end of the party at midnight we’d go out into the district caroling. We’d go to people’s houses who were old and maybe ill and sing for them.
    “I had an auntie who lived in town and when we’d sing carols for her she would have a feast waiting for us. We’d have cookies, hot chocolate, coffee, and all the rest of the goodies of Christmas.
    “After we were done singing carols in the early hours of the morning, we’d go home, get a couple hours of sleep, wake up at 9 a.m., and go do it all again.
    “It was the third of January, 1953, when I arrived in Winnipeg with my two children. The snow was quite heavy that day, the sky was a vivid blue, the snow was white as white could be, it was cold, and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
    “I heard before we came over that Canada was a cold country, with lots of snow and ice. So I prepared my children for what I thought was winter weather. This is winter in England, not Canada. I bought them woolen underwear. But, here you need woolen outerwear. The first thing we had to do was go out and buy the kids snowsuits.
    “I actually disliked Christmas for quite awhile after we arrived in Canada. We had nobody in Canada. At home you’d be going to a relative’s and here we had nowhere to go and nobody to come and see us.
    “It was hurtful to me, because I was used to going to see people - there was family to see, lots of parties to go to where you knew lots of people. My little girl would ask ‘Why can’t we go to grandma’s house?’ It’s hard to explain that grandma’s a million miles away.
    “It changed the longer we stayed here, the more we got to know people. We met another English nurse, and she became an auntie to our two children. Now that my children have families of their own, Christmas is better. It’s about family.”


Genetics guarantees Alberta pork

As more consumers ask where their food comes from, Freson Bros. IGA has signed on to a program where they have genetic proof their pork is home-grown.
    The Freson Bros. chain, which operates in communities throughout Alberta, is carrying Sturgeon Valley based out of the St. Albert area. This company has adopted a genetic traceability system called DNA TraceBack. This system allows the company to back up their claims that the pork they produce is home-grown.


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