From the Centre- Making and being with friends at the Centre

Activities at the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Seniors Centre in Ashcroft are being well attended.

Joyce Freeman

January was a good month for us, in that all our afternoon activities got off to a good start.

Bridge had its afficionados all out, with minds firmly fixed on the cards. Tuesday Carpet Bowling numbers are down a bit, but card games are proceeding nicely. The Monthly Meeting could do with a few more attendees, but business gets done quite nicely. Friday Carpet Bowling has just about doubled its numbers, which is a very encouraging sign, and cards afterwards is doing fine, too. Saturday Bingo is holding steady, with around 20 people coming to try their luck. Visitors are welcome to come and have one free visit prior to joining, to find out what we do, so drop by on one of these days and have a cup of tea or coffee with us.

​Dates for your calendar: Feb. 13 – Carpet Bowling tournament at Little Fort, Centre closed; Feb. 19 – Potluck Lunch at noon, monthly Business Meeting 1 pm; April 25 – 1pm  Strawberry Tea; May 4 – preparation for Bowling Tournament;  May 5 – Carpet Bowling Tournament in Cache Creek Hall.

In my last report, I told you about my 96 year old friend who had started writing poetry. Today I would like to tell you a little about the history of one of our four, 90-plus year old members, Joyce Freeman. She is the Sunshine Lady of the Seniors Group, sending out cards on events like birthdays or simply to keep in touch or to wish us well, and you may know her from that or from the various organizations she belongs to. She is the lady who organizes Meals to Wheels for seniors who don’t get out much and is generally an all round “Good Guy”. Here, in her own words, is the story of her journey to Ashcroft.

I was born at home in Hedley, B.C. on Feb. 7, 1921, and the doctor had to come from Princeton to deliver me (as was the custom at that time).

My Mother did not think a mining camp was quite the place to raise children, so she talked Dad into moving to the Coast. He was a veteran from the First World War so he was able to get assistance to buy a five acre farm at Milner, which became our next home.

It was the Hungry 30s, but we were never out of food because we had fruit trees and a large garden. We had a cow, too, and then we had to get a pig  to use up the excess milk she gave us, so we always had milk products and meat so we were never short of food. Mother was always busy canning or curing something  so we would  have a variety of food year round.

I went to school at Milner Elementary School, and then at Langley High.  After graduation, I took Grade 13 or Sr. Matric, as it was called, by Correspondence. The following year – 1939/40 – I attended Vancouver Normal School to become a teacher. In the fall of 1940, I was busy applying for a teaching job around the province, but jobs were  scarce. Finally, I wrote to Victoria to see if there were any schools at all in B.C.  without a teacher, and was informed that there was only one single position – the Jesmond School.  None of us even knew where Jesmond was!  The Milner Postmaster told me, “It is a very small place 35 miles out of Clinton”, so then, of course I had to find Clinton on the map!! My folks were not terribly happy with the idea, but I decided to try it, anyway.

I went by bus to Clinton, then took a taxi the rest of the way. I boarded with the Coldwells, which worked out very well. Little did I think that would be where I would spend the next 52 years of my life!

Pete and I were married in1942, and raised our family of eight there on the family ranch. I did not teach while the kids were at home, but went back to teaching later when they were grown, and taught for 11 more years, which I enjoyed immensely.

I retired because Pete was not well and I was needed at home to look after him. After our 50th Wedding Anniversary party, we packed up and moved to Ashcroft. He was only with me for a little over a year, but we had made many wonderful friends by that time, and so – here I am, still in Ashcroft!

Joyce West

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