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w July 19, 2006

End of Steel

Well, probably not anymore. But back in the 1930s and early 1940s, when my grandparents were teaching in one room schoolhouses in the British Columbia part of the Peace River Block, Pouce Coupe was quite literally, it. The terminus of the Northern Alberta Railway---beyond that, you used a car, or more likely, a horse. We have many photographs of Grandpa and Grandma on their respective horses, bundled up to their EYEBALLS against the wind and cold; not to mention one of my grandfather coming home with, well, dinner. As in freshly shot. This was news to a Toronto girl.

At any rate, my father came into this world in a rather dramatic fashion, 6 weeks premature (no small shakes in 1941), in the Pouce Coupe hospital. Supposedly it was a GOOD thing that it was the dead of winter and a neighbor girl had to ride her horse into town to fetch the doctor, who then drove his car back across the frozen river to fetch my grandmother back to the hospital---had my dad actually shown up on his due date in April or so, it might well have been too muddy to get any wheeled transport through. It's kind of the back of beyond. It was also the location of the only liquor store in the entire area during 1941-42 while the Alaska Highway was being built---apparently the soldiers referred to booze as "Pouce-juice". Which I just love. I found a picture of the main street (try the only street) of Pouce Coupe in the 1930s. It's a bit startling to realize this is what civilization meant for my grandparents. A long way from Vancouver, at any rate.

by at July 19, 2006 8:09 PM | TrackBack Comments
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