Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Alberta

My blogging friend, Beetley Pete, has been running a series of posts featuring photographs from post-war Britain. They are fascinating, a great look back at another time and another place. I would suggest you check them out here.

I love old photographs and am so pleased that my family is a family of picture takers. Over the years I have accumulated some wonderful old pictures from the Canadian prairies. So I thought I would post a few of them from time to time as others may enjoy them too. Many will be of family and some will be poor quality. The following are from the 1950s.

This four-generation picture is one of my favourites. Seated is my great-grandmother, and on the left is my grandmother holding little me (and teddy). My mom is on the right. These three women were a huge influence in my life. The shadow of my dad taking the picture makes it even more special.

Another favourite with special women in my life. From left to right, my aunt with my cousin, Mom holding my little brother, me (with teddy), my paternal grandmother, a close family friend I called Aunty and her two children (who I’m still friends with).

Now here is one I just love. I am on the right with my aunt and my brother. We were playing wedding and needed a bridesmaid so we put a dress on my younger brother. He looks so happy because we actually let him play with us. We look a bit guilty, I think. He is not fond of this picture but has forgiven us. I think he looks so cute!

Two farm kids from the 1950s at Hilda, Alberta. One now lives in Thailand, the other in Spain. Who would have thought?

Here I am on the farm with my brother and a snowman we had just built; our dog lurking in the background.

My next little brother with my mom’s teenage sisters, my dear aunts. Another favourite picture.

There you have it, six pictures from another time. I have more to share later.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane.

Do you enjoy looking at old pictures?

I was gifted a set of special postage stamps from a long-time friend. The stamps feature members of her family who immigrated to Amber Valley, Alberta over one hundred years ago. How special to have your family featured on a postage stamp. I am delighted to own a set.

I will let my friend´s daughter, Gillian White, tell you about the history of her forefathers.

Last year my Great, Great Grandfather Jordan Murphy (he’s the handsome one in the middle) and his two grandchildren were featured on a Canadian stamp for black history month! Such an honour!

I’ll share with you a little bit of the history of Black Canadians and my Great Great Grandfathers Journey.

In the early 1900s about 1000, African American’s moved from the United States to Western Canada in hopes of finding a better life…..Canada was offering small sections of land for a very little amount of $10! This applied to many African Americans looking for freedom.

My Grandfather was one of the few looking to escape racism, prejudice, Jim Crow (forced segregation between blacks and whites). It was a very dangerous time for Black people, especially where he was from in Oklahoma.

My Great, Great Grandfather Jordan Murphy made the long trek to Amber Valley, North of Edmonton and this settlement is believed to be the most Northerly all-black community that has ever existed in the world. It was a long journey, by train, horse and buggy and then lots of hardship breaking ground and building a new life – while still facing adversity, discrimination and marginalization.

I’m so darn grateful for my grandfather’s bravery and perseverance because of him, we live in a country with so many opportunities and freedom.

written by Gillian White

Check out Gillian´s website, podcasts, and newsletters which are full of inspiration, music and recipes. I look forward to them every month.

https://www.gillian-white.com/newsletter

https://www.gillian-white.com/

https://www.buzzsprout.com/

I also found this wonderful video, narrated by descendants of the original homesteaders.

Winner of the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Excellence in Digital Storytelling; About 100 km North of Edmonton is Amber Valley, one of the first all-Black settlements in Canada. Arriving in 1909, the pioneers of this community battled the elements and racism to not only survive but thrive.

I am so pleased to know this family and learn more about their rich heritage, an integral part of Canada´s history.

Delighted to be a guest on Beetley Pete’s wonderful blog. I share a special memory of the arrival of a younger brother.

Baby Timmy with his aunties.

beetleypete

I am very happy to present a guest post from the lovely Darlene Foster. Blogger, and published author of the popular ‘Amanda’ series of books, Darlene is from Canada, and lives in Spain.

Babies and Blizzards
By Darlene Foster

I remember when my brother, Timothy, was born. It had been a typical cold and snowy prairie winter with blizzards creating impassable road conditions. Mom expected the third member of our family to arrive in early February. Dad was concerned that the inclement weather might stop him from getting her to the hospital sixty miles away, when the time came. So he took mom and my younger brother, Lorne to stay with our grandparents in the city well before her due date. Since I had school, I stayed with my great-aunt and great-uncle in the small town near our farm.

I was excited about this as I loved Aunt Elsie and…

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You can imagine how excited I was when my friend suggested we take a drive to Banff, about an hour and a half from Calgary. The excitement grew as we drove through the picturesque foothills and came closer and closer to the majestic Rocky Mountains of Canada.

Foothills outside Calgary with Rocky Mountains in the distance
Getting closer
Wow! I had forgotten how incredibly amazing these mountains are.

We parked the car and went in search of a good place to have lunch when we encountered a gathering of Stony-Nakoda First Nations people preparing for a traditional dance performance. I am always amazed at my luck when ever I happen upon these cultural events. We were treated to an incredible performance by many members of the Chief’s family. This made my day!

Adorable in a jingle dance dress
Performing the jingle dance

I was delighted to see a jingle dance performance as I mention this dance in Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone

A gorgeous traditional dress with intricate bead work
An impressive performance by the Chief’s grandson
This splendid dance took my breath away
Another beautiful traditional dress
Some family members keeping the dance tradition alive for us to enjoy today.

The importance of family was highlighted when we were privileged to witness a baby naming ceremony for a great nephew, recently born.

A traditional baby naming ceremony
I was honoured to have a picture taken with the chief and his granddaughter in her jingle dance dress

Banff is Canada’s first national park, established in 1885. It is the most visited park with over three million visitors a year. The town of Banff has many wonderful museums, craft shops, and restaurants. We had a great lunch at Nourish Cafe. Although some say it has become too touristy, I feel Banff still retains its mountain village charm.

The town of Banff nestled in the mountains
We had coffee at the impressive Banff Springs Hotel
And visited the original Cave and Basin hot springs where hot water filled with minerals seeps from the rocks
Every where we went, we found incredible views.

And on the drive home, the mountains seen from another view.

Thanks so much Sheila for this wonderful day. A day to remember!

BFFs by the Bow Falls

After two long years, I finally made it back to Alberta, Canada. As I landed in Calgary and saw the prairies unfold below me, I burst into tears. It was so good to see my family and friends again. I was given comfy beds to sleep in, yummy meals, pets to snuggle and great conversations. Four generations of women spent valuable time together at my granddaughter´s place. We celebrated mom’s life at a local park by talking about her life and how much she meant to each of us, and by sharing food, conversation and laughter. She would have liked that. Here´s just a few photos of the trip.

Mom’s sister and brother along with my brother and I celebrating mom´s life
Three generations of amazing women, all mine!
Grandkids and grand dog. Love them to bits.
With number one daughter
With number one son
My excellent chauffeur in Medicine Hat, the youngest grandson with his first car.

And I woke up to goats outside my window!!

Goats on the prairie. Wiener, Pickle and Bean
With my grand goats

I did a book signing event at a wonderful bookstore in Medicine Hat, called Unlimited Characters.

A book signing at Unlimited Characters in Medicine Hat, Alberta. A great turn out.
It was so great to see the prairies

A good friend took me to Banff for a day trip. What a treat. I had forgotten how amazing those Rocky Mountains are. I will do another post just about Banff soon.

The road to Banff
With a good friend at Bow Falls, she treated me to a fabulous day in Banff.
Those Rocky Mountains make a great backdrop.

And I got to see cousins I hadn´t seen for a long time.

Cousins are the best!
A dear cousin in her lovely back yard. She gave me a place to sleep and drove me around Calgary.
And I found the most amazing outhouse! I need to put this in a story somewhere.

It was time well spent and I have all these wonderful memories to keep me going.

More to come…

I enjoy following Jennie Fitzkee, a preschool teacher in New England. I have featured her here on my blog. She believes in the power of reading out loud to children of all ages, including reading chapter books to preschoolers. Jennie recently posted about the books she read this summer, which included great picture books as well as some chapter books. And guess what, she included Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone! I was delighted that she enjoyed the story and wrote a good review. I’m included with some pretty awesome authors too.

This is part of what she wrote:

Amanda and Leah see the Calgary Stampede (a rodeo), go on a cattle drive, visit Buffalo Jump, and the dinosaur museum.  These adventures are intertwined with a mystery- Amanda finds a stone, which people seem to want, one cowboy in particular.  Amanda is curious about the markings on the stone and is determined to learn more.  She is the modern day Nancy Drew, and her sleuthing proves to be both dangerous and exciting at times.

Please read the rest of her post.

https://jenniefitzkee.com/2020/08/30/my-summer-of-books-part-3/

I am a guest on Sally´s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine where she features a post from my archives about my wonderful dad.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link:Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares a lovely post about her dad, who was a real life cattle man, and also shares some of his down to earth wisdom. This was first posted in 2014

Cowboy Wisdom

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My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hard-working man of integrity, loyalty and determination, he almost always wore his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you…

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Pete has done it again. I sent him a picture of the house my great grandfather built over 100 years ago and it prompted him to write a fabulous story. I didn´t tell him the house was in Alberta until after.

beetleypete

This is a short story, in 1350 words.
It was prompted by the above photo, sent to me by Darlene Foster.
https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/about/

When she split up with Joanne, the first thing Carrie wanted to do was to get out of Vancouver. She put in to the RCMP personnel department for a transfer to anywhere, and it wasn’t long before Alberta was offered.

Edmonton, somewhere she had never been. She accepted it without a second thought, and told them she would stay in a motel until she found an apartment to rent.

It was an Inspector’s job with the detective branch. Most of the others were well established already, and she knew she wouldn’t get anything high profile until she proved herself. After a couple of weeks getting used to the place, and settling in, Carrie found a decent apartment, then set about getting on with the job. She arrived early…

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Many people are intrigued by the name of my birthplace and tend to want to know more about it. So I thought I would share an article I recently had published in Travel Thru History, a wonderful ezine featuring great travel articles. There are many reasons to visit this interesting prairie city that will always be apart of me no matter where I go. Here are ten of them.

CityofMH

TEN REASONS TO VISIT MEDICINE HAT 
Canada
by Darlene Foster

Medicine Hat, Alberta, is not often high on anyone’s must-visit list, if it’s there at all. But it should be. There are many reasons to visit this oasis in the Canadian prairies, here are ten of them.

The Name

Who wouldn’t want to visit a place with such a unique name? There are many stories about how the city acquired its unique name derived from the original First Nation’s name Saamis, which means The Medicine Man’s Hat. All the legends involve a feather headdress. One story tells of a battle between the Blackfoot and Cree in which a retreating Cree Medicine Man lost his headdress in the South Saskatchewan River at the place where Medicine Hat became a town. The city uses a feather headdress as its symbol. The locals simply call their town, “The Hat” and residents are often called, “Hatters”.

SAAMISTepee

The World’s Largest Tepee

It’s hard to miss this towering structure as you enter Medicine Hat on the Trans-Canada Highway from either direction. Originally constructed for the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics, the Saamis Tepee is a tribute to Canada’s native heritage. The colours of the structure are symbolic, white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun and blue for the flowing river. It is the World’s Tallest Tepee standing over 20 stories high, weighing 200 tonnes

Read more about Medicine Hat here 

http://www.travelthruhistory.com/html/cities121.html

Jim Marshall mural

One of the many sculptured brick murals by Jim Marshall.

To learn more about Jim Marshall and his sculptured brick murals watch this interesting video which includes fabulous views of the city.

https://www.pbs.org/video/northwest-profiles-james-marshall-brick-artist/

Giantchess set

The giant chess set by the library. Grandchildren is another reason for me to visit.

Do you come from an interesting place? Please share with me in the comments.

I was sad to hear of the recent devasting prairies fires near Hilda where I was raised in southern Alberta. Many farms and ranches were affected as wildfires, spurred by high winds, raced through acres of land destroying property, machines, stored grain, feed and livestock. In efforts to contain the fires, volunteer firefighters worked tirelessly. One young volunteer, a father of three, lost his life when the water tank truck he was driving overturned. I learned he was the son of a former schoolmate of mine. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Fires are so awful.

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A photo I used as a prompt for my writing workshop in Vancouver.

Our family was not spared, although not to such a great degree.  The house my great-grandfather, Henry Hoffman, built in 1915 soon after immigrating to Canada was destroyed when the fires swept through the homestead. Although the house stood vacant for years it contained many memories. My own mom, Henry and Katherina’s granddaughter, was born in this house almost 89 years ago. By the time I was born, my great-grandparents had retired to the city and it was their son, my great uncle John, who lived in the house with his wife and family. Since we lived nearby and they were our favourite relatives, I spent many happy times sharing meals and playing with my second cousins at this place.

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A recent picture of the Hoffman house taken by Debbie Hoffman Nagel, granddaughter of Henry and Katherina Hoffman.

Over the years, whenever in the area, we would visit the homestead and reminisce. I particularly loved the old barn, built from rocks and clay by my great-grandfather, as it had so much character. Sad to say it was also destroyed by the recent wildfire.

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The barn built by Great Grandpa Hoffman

This was not the first time fire has visited this farm. Back in 1910 when they first arrived at their homestead, a wooden shack was built for Henry and Katherina, their four small children and Henry’s parents to live in. While they were all out digging a well one day, a suspicious fire consumed their shack. Not to be deterred, they replaced it with two sod shacks until the large two-story wooden building was built to accommodate the growing family. Nine additional children were born in this house. Sadly, as often happened in those days, only five survived infancy. The nine surviving children produced hundreds of descendants who remember this farm with fondness.

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What was left after the prairie fire, October 2017

The buildings are gone, but the memories will live forever through pictures and stories from the many descendants of these enterprising people.

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A picture taken in 1927 of  Great Grandpa Henry Hoffman standing outside the house and barn he built.

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Henry and Katherina with their children and some of their grandchildren, taken in 1942.

Note: The pictures are a collection of mine and my cousin’s.


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