Letters: Finding a New Home in 1945

Written on Wednesday, July 18, 1945

A rather important set of letters, these. Key characters from later in the narrative appear, though briefly.

Will is using his leave from the air force to search out a new home in the Okanagan for the whole family to move to from Pense Saskatchewan. Interesting details:

  • The “Embris” are of course the “Embrees”, old family friends. When I was young, we had an honourary Grandma Embree from that same family, and there are still one or two visits a year between our families, despite my parents’ generation of Embrees moving up north (Vanderhoof).
  • Picking cherries in July.
  • Building materials are in short supply but are being released for houses for “returning men”.
  • The “experimental farm” is, of course, the Summerland Research Station (as it was known when I was young) or the Summerland Research and Development Centre. This is a major fruit growing research centre in western Canada. Most notably, the Spartan apple was developed there and introduced to the world in 1936.

Trout Creek
Filling Station
July 18/45
11:30 am

Dear Kid:

Excuse paper but forgot to bring writing paper. My train was late getting in. 45 minutes. So I missed the 1st bus, but Mr. Freisen was at the station + we went up to the house and he phoned one of the congregation – a car salesman + he drove us out to this place + we met the man he spoke of. He’s an elderly christian and works at the experimental station. He has a ranch where he lives + two acres where he intends building a smaller house where eventually he may live. However he intends to build but has been unable to get material so far but thinks if we lived there that the material could be had as they are releasing it for house for returning men. There’s a two room shack on the experimental station but he doesn’t know if he could get them to rent it, but is going to try. There are no lights or water but the creek runs right by + is clear + OK for washing + there’s drinking water a short distance away. People use to live in it he said. There is also a large house where his wife’s grandmother lives but it belongs to the estate + the will hasn’t been settled yet, but he’s going to enquire about it. or part of it. Mr. Freisen says its one of the best committees + quite a lot of christians – four square + pentecostal + he knows no better for the boys. There’s lots of work. I asked about work at the experimental farm + he said there would likely be work but he would advise waking (?) out as the pay is better. Freisen figures that they will find something in time for you to move out by school time. I think we’ll let Langley Prairie go unless you think you want to go there first. I think these men will keep looking until they find something as they are anxious to have christians there. I called to see another christian – pentecostal family while waiting my bus for Kelowna – people by the name of McNutt + they are sure keen on us coming. They cam there a year last spring from Calgary + say its the best they’ve seen also they wouldn’t go back. They have a small ranch + are doing fine + have a couple of their family attending Bible School. I met a daughter who goes to Saskatoon Bible School + knows the girls. They have a boy about 15 + so have the Embris – the folk who would build the house. Let me know what you think by mail + also I’ll talk it over more fully when I see you at Calgary. Its the place where that soldier got on the bus. Its sure too bad we didn’t look around there that day instead of going to Summerland. I’m at the Kelowna CPR station. I have no stamps here, but managed to make a bus. The weather is lovely not hot like the other time we were here although the sun is shining. It rained slightly last night. Mrs. McNutt picks cherries all morning. Hope you are not too disappointed but I believe something will come of this. If I were out I could start working on that house as soon as they got its material. must close as the train is in. will write again as soon as I get to Calgary.




Sicamous BC
July 18, 8:30pm

Dearest Kid:-

You will likely have had my wire by now + before you get this will have received my hurried letter. I had no stamps + no time to get any so had to mail it without, so hope it arrived OK. Hope you aren’t too dissappointed. Personally I’m really sick at heart tonight to think my two weeks leave has gone + still nothing definite and no chance of more leave to look around. I’m also real homesick for you + sick to think how you will feel about the whole thing. If you should run into anything before coming home + feel like renting, just use your own judgement. I’ve got to where I don’t know what to advise. As I said in my letter Freisen thinks something will turn up. Actually I guess its lack of faith on my part. God knows we want His best and His will is best. We have tried to find a place. I wish we were together so that we could talk it over, but I guess I’m too much of a home guy. I sure wish we were able to have our home somewhere. Try to take some holiday before going home. Hope you are not too tired. I am quite tired tonight + shall be glad to get back to camp to get some sleep. I have to wait here till about 1100 oclock. The trains going West are awfully crowded so no doubt those going East will be also. The mosquitos are awful. Will see you on your way through Calgary, I sure love you kid + wish I could do something about a house. Heaps + heaps of love