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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 24, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta 16 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Monday, Ftbruiry 24, 1975 Edith Swanson looks back at 1930s with fondness "J. Depression years 6good times' CALGARY (CP) The cry that the country is on the brink of another depression has been heard more than once lately, but at least one person who weathered the De- pression of the 1930s does not despair at the memory of those years. Edith Swanson, 65, who spent a major portion of her younger years on Hie riding boxcars, living in tents or cars, and helping her hus- band scrape together a few cents each day to feed themselves and their three looks back on those years as the "good times." "All our friends were surprised that we enjoyed our she says. "They thought we were having such tough luck. "But that's the way the times were and that's the life we had to lead, so we made the most of it." Mrs. Swanson was orte of the 12 children of a Wainwright, Alta., homesteader whose farm land turn- ed out to be nothing more than sand. "My father had to take a job at a manufacturing company to keep us fed and she said. "We were poor, but we had what we needed." Her transient life-style began after, at the age of 17, she married John Swanson, a boy from a neighboring'farm. They rented a farm near their families' homes, but in less than a year were forced to leave when the owner of the farm returned. Work was getting scarce at that point, Mrs. Swanson recalled. "There were no prospects there at Wainwright at all, so we had to start moving round to where we could find work." With their savings, the couple bought a car and went to Edmonton, Calgary and then to Banff, haying and doing other odd jobs for farmers en route. In Banff, Mr. Swanson found work on a crew constructing a new wing at the Banff Springs Hotel. The Swansons, who had spent months living in cheap hotel rooms, were able to rent a small cabin before their first child was born. But before the baby was three months old, the collapse of a wall on the building site sent' Mr. Swanson to hospital. The couple returned to Wainwright with their child, their savings diminished. At Wainwright, Mr. Swanson worked for the railway, but by spr- ing prospects in the town were bleak again and the Swansons, with their two-year-old son, took to the rails. "I dressed up like a man, in overalls and a hat, and we rode the freight trains from Wainwright to a' town near Edmonton, then (vent on to Jasper in a boxcar, where we finally found Mrs. Swanson said. "My husband worked in Jasper for a while, then we jumped the trains to Canmore, where he found work on a gravel gang." At the time, numerous people were riding boxcars from town to town in search of work, but few of them were women, Mrs. Swanson said. In addition, many of the men who rode the trains in the early days of the 1930s were "rough customers." "When I got in a boxcar, I just stayed close to John and kept my mouth shut. At times, I was afraid of what they'd do to me if they knew I was a woman." From Canmore, the Swansons drove a car to central British Columbia, where they remained un- til 1933. Mr; Swanson worked for a logging company for a year until he found better prospects in nearby Kamloops. "1932 was Mrs. Swanson said. "For that year, we had a house. 'We worked for a guy in a butcher shop and fed his hogs for the rent of our place. My husband worked for the highway people, and in his spare time put up fence posts." By now the couple's second son had arrived, but byithe time he was a year old the family was back in the boxcars. "We rode the rails to a town about 80 miles away where we picked blueberries and huckleberries, and then we went further west to pick strawberries. It was easier for me riding the rails this time, because I didn't have to pretend I was a man." Women were riding boxcars in larger numbers by then. "B.C. was the easiest for -rail riding, so that's where ,the women were doing Mrs. Swanson said. "Most of the girls were the younger set, riding around looking for work just like everybody else. And they didn't seem to run into too much trouble." The Swansons worked their way to Chilliwack, B.C., doing odd jobs and riding trains between small towns. In 1935 Mr. Swanson found a farm job that lasted for more than a year. From the Chilliwack farm, the family drove to the coast in their new Hupmobile, a wooden-wheeled car that would later be their home. In Vancouver, Mr. Swanson found work as a ship loader. "My third son was born on the Mrs. Swanson said. "We had rented a beautiful house on top of a hill, and I was beginning to think we had settled down." She was 26 and had been married for almost 10 years. But by spring, the family was on the road again, living in a tent on the roadside as they headed for Trail, B.C., and new prospects. Mr. Swanson was hired almost im- mediately to work in the smelters there, but within four years the iron residue had so seriously weakened his health, that he was forced to leave. Once again, the family bought a car, loaded its possessions, and camped their way back to Alberta. "That was the last time we had to travel around for jobs. My husband found a job in Edmonton with the CPR and the only other time we moved was in 1943, when the com- pany transferred him to Calgary." Mr. Swanson died four years ago, and the three sons have left home, but Mrs, Swanson remains in the first house she and her husband bought. "This place is rny she said. "It's the only place we ever owned. -The Hcrald- Family Federal gov't asked to review Family Court By VICTOR MACKIE Herald Ottawa Bureau OTTAWA The problem of enforcement of court mainte- nance orders which cost the Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars in defaulted payments, because of lack of unified Fam- ily Court regulations, should be reviewed immediately by Ot- tawa. Dan McKenzie South Centre) called on the federal government in the commons last week to take some ac- tion as soon as possible to rectify this situation. This is the se- cond time in the past 12 months he has made this plea. The Law Reform Commission of Canada recommended over a year ago that a "unified Family Court should assume a more substantial responsibility for securing the enforcement of the orders of the court." It found that at present 75 per cent of all family maintenance orders made by such courts against deserting spouses are defaulted. The opposition member first raised the question in March 1974 in the house. At that time he was informed by the parlia- mentary secretary to Justice Minister Otto Lang that the matter should be studied immediately. The parliamentary sec- retary also promised to refer the matter to the minister and give it particular attention. Speaking in the house this past week Mr. McKenzie pointed out that nothing had been done in the intervening year. However the same parliamentary secretary Gilles Marceau said the matter was raised at the 1974 meeting of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. It was put off until the 1975 meeting in August. Mr. McKenzie said outside the house he hoped the govern- ment would act to remedy the situation long before August. It should launch consultations with the provinces as soon as pos- sible. SCHOOL OF CONTINUING EDUCATION LETHBRIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE offers LIP READING For adults with a hearing handicap For parents of children with a hearing handicap The program is designed to improve a person's ability to lip read. The student will progress from lip reading individual words, to phrases, sentences and then to small paragraphs. The program will be very beneficial to parents of children with a hearing disability. Parents will learn lip reading techniques and gain a greater under- standing of a hearing disability. Classroom emphasis is on practical exercises in oral communication. 15 Wednesdays starting February 26th p.m. to p.m. FEE: I SENIOB CITIZENS-NO TUITION I Instructor: Miss Barbara CormacK Speech Therapist Chinook Health Unit rtf ikrMr UTMMtf CMNNTY MUfK M7-2141 -to.m Eighty gone forty more to go Hamina Ibrhim of Toronto shows her daughter, Mary, four and a half years of age, a dress she wore when she weighed 222 pounds. Mrs. Ibrhim had her jaws wired shut and lost 80 pounds on a liquid diet. Now she wants her jaws wired again so she can reach her goal Of 100 pounds, just 10 more than when she was married. ANNUAL DINNER MEETING Wed., Feb. p.m. Sven Ericksen's Family Restaurant Mayor Magrath Drivt TicktUAtDoor "Members and Friends Welcome" UNITED WAY PARTICIPATING AGENCY Medicine storage varies OTTAWA (CP) Some medicines lose their potency within as short a period as two weeks, says the Consumers' Association of Canada. But lotions and ointments and most non-prescription tablets, if stored in a dry, cool place, will remain potent for a year. Except for liquid an- good for two weeks if medicines can also be kept for a year. EDITH SWANSON, 65, ENJOYED LIFESTYLE OF THE '30s Winter running groups to cover miles PEKING (Reuter) Early in the morning and late at night, tiie sound of pounding feet and heavy breathing echoes along Peking's streets and lanes as the city's winter running program goes into its second month. The official Hsinhua news agency reports about 1.7 million of the Chinese capital's seven million citizens are taking part in the program this winter, more than twice as many as last year. The idea is for schools, factories and other work units to form groups of 30 runners and for each group to cover a distance of miles during two months of daily running. The distance, Hsinhua said, "symbolizes the route which Chairman Mao and the Communist party central committee travelled from Yenan (Mao's wartime base in northern Shensi province) to Peking during the libera- tion war period The most popular times for the winter runners appear to be early morning, when traf- fic is thin and the air is clear, and after work. TRAIN FOR RACE Last year's scheme.called for groups of 150 runners to covr the epic Long March of the Communist forces under Mao's leadership from southeastern Kiangsi province to Yenan in 1934-35. Some of the runners use the Community calendar Tau Chapter, Beta Sigma Phi, will meet at 8 p.m. Tues- day at the home of Sharon Rooke. Guest speaker Lillian Miller will .talk about Cana- dian mental health. The program, The Land and Art, will be presented by Martha Campbell and Carolyn Tucker, introduced by Delia Pearson. Co-hostesses will be Gloria Hyde and Lavina Matisz. A meeting of the Southern Alberta Gallery Association will be held at 8 p.m. Wednes- day in the Gallery Building (former library) on 3rd Avenue S. Election of officers will take place. The Original Pensioners and Senior Citizens Society of Lethbridge will hold the monthly meeting on'Wednes- day in the civic centre. Enter- tainment and lunch will be provided. Citizenship Court will be held at a.m. Tuesday in the Lethbridge Court House. Judge G. V. Sinclair will be presiding. Neil Kelly of the speech-debate team of Winston Churchill High School will be guest speaker. Margery D. Constable of the Dr. F. H. Mewbum Chapter, IODE, will convene the tea which will be held in St. Augustine's Parish Hall. Hostess is Alice Guise. The Ladies Auxiliary to the Lethbridge Municipal Hospital will hold a work meeting at 9 a.m. Friday in the nurses' lounge. USE WAX Ease open a sticky drawer or door by rubbing a candle over the edges. The wax will help the drawer or door to glide freely. Lethbridge World Day of Prayer organizers have set March 7 for this year's worship program. The service will be held at 2 p.m. in McKillop United Church. Henrietta Hatt will be guest speaker. The La Leche League of Lethbridge will hold its meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the home of Mrs. G. C. Nordstrom, 624 18th St. S. The womanly art of breast feeding, including the topics of nutrition and weaning, will be discussed. For further in- formation call Mrs. F. J. Papp at 327-6308 or Mrs. Nordstrom at 328-1881. program as training for the annual round-the-city race, held during the Chinese New Year celebrations, when up to competitors race six miles around the red-painted wafls enclosing the Forbidden City, beginning and ending at Gate of Heavenly Peace. It is difficult to imagine over one-quarter of the pop- ulation of any large western city taking part in a running program, let alone in the sear- ing cold of a north China winter. For the 80 per cent of the population who live in the countryside, life is still made up of seasonal work in the fields, with a regular routine of sowing, harvesting, plowing land in the winter months, working on irrigation, land levelling or flood control pro- jects. City bureaucrats are sent off every few years to a rural commune where they com- bine manual work with Marx- ist study akin to the health cures taken by jaded Western executives, except that the emphasis of such courses is on mixing with the peasants. Though physical fitness is considered important, the dic- tum governing all forms of sport is "friendship first, competition and Chinese sportsmen have a reputation abroad for fair, though hard play. If China's keep-fit enthusiasts need an example to follow, they need look no further than Chairman Mao who, it was disclosed recently, still takes the occa- sional dip in his swimming pool at the age of 80. THE BETTER HALF By Barnes "Now is the time for all good men to come to." INSTALL A BUILT-IN VACUUM SYSTEM! Inereau the vilui of your lift easier lor yourwlf. Nothing to lug wound, no cordt. Quietly wet or dry. cleaning coitt. be In any nouM oM or new. C.S.A. Approved. PHONE 758-6540 OR WRITE BOX 485, MAGRATH ml liwIHd OwtH Clubwomt JACKPOT ;