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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 7, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta Saturday, Novombor 7, 1970 THE IE1HBRIDGE HERAID 5 Margaret Luckhiirst Our Meanderings Have Been Meaningful rpHE biggest benefit in mov- ing around the country is that one becomes more cos- mopolitan in "outlook and re- gional loyalties tend to lose their importance. As a family we have moved from one coast to the other in Canada and we find the best way to get along in a new habitat is to do as the natives do and learn to adapt by slight changes in our way of life. In Victoria, a delightfully re- laxing place, we became pseudo British, affecting tweeds, brogues and umbrel- las. Every afternoon at four we had cakes and tea, all nicely done up with a white cloth, linen napkins and good china. No chipped mugs at Ihe kilch- en table for someone might drop in. These customs were easy enough to accept, and_ in doing so we received the im- mediate approval of the proper Victorians who are even more by-jovey and English than the originals. But we fell down badly when we were expected to relish their weather with the same calm enthusiasm they did. For the Victorians, it mast be noted, have a blind faith in their weather, ceasing to dis- cuss it when the fog falls, be- coming snow and the rain freezes, becomii.g ice. When this happens, it is ignored and the Victorians continue in their pattern of living, betraying only their physical limitations by the necessity of having to add on still -more layers of tweeds. One would think it logi- cal to achieve comfort merely by flicking up the thermostat, but for reasons we were never able to understand, this seems to the true Victorian to be a sign of weakness, and an ad- mission that their tight little is- land is not always the land of flowers and gentle breezes, We never did make it as true Victorians though to give us due credit, we tried. But we had come from a prairie home where, when the temperature falls, we turn up the heat or stoke the fires. We found that immigrants to lie city from the prairies quietly followed this procedure and we envied them; unfortunately we lived in a duplex where the heat con- trol was in our landlady's apartment and she kept the thing locked at a chilly 62 degrees. Our little suite faced the sea, and the salt winds hurled against the windows with such force the curtains fanned around. We stuffed papers in all the window ledges which helped some, and resorted to keeping oven and toaster on all day to take the chill off. We beefed of course, but our landlady laughingly teased us about how silly it was of us to complain, considering we came from Manitoba where, in her terms, there really was weath- er. "Now you're in she'd chortle away, ignoring my chattering teeth, "and all we do here when Hie weath- er gets a bit coolish is pull on a nice cozy hat and woolly gloves." "I know I agreed, "but where we come from we don't have to wear them to bed." One day when I was hanging iny fur coat over the to keep out a blizzard, I no- ticed a family plodding along the beach picking up driftwood. I had an idea. Please, Mrs. Landlady, could we turn up the heat provided we gathered driftwood to burn? Well, she thought that a jolly thrifty idea, and said she guessed it was okay, but I think she secretly felt she was succumbing to some undesir- able uti-Victorian decay. How- ever, before she could change her mind we went out with a wheelbarrow to see what we could find. Our pickings were pretty slim; the shore was lined with hardy oldtime resi- dents who actually looked for- ward to this sort of scavenging and knew where to hunt. Only twice did we get the heat up to 70 and the landlady was so af- fronted by all the comfort we indulged in I think she would have asked us to move had the weather not taken a sudden up- turn and we could all resume our Victorian facade without running afoul of local custom. From there we moved to Montreal, a city completely op- posite in character from Vic- toria. Where the latter is regal- ly charming and correct, Mon- treal is something like a frivolous dancing girl. We. of course, wore deter- mined from the outset we were going to learn the lan- guage. Our small suburb was predominately French Cana- dian anf our street almost wholly so. The younger mem- bers of the family picked up the local jargon wilh ease as they played wilh kids who spoke a patois of mixed French and English, It was a good