|Ray Strachan's Crooked River|
Grimshaw, Alberta - Monday, October 29, 2007, by: Ray Strachan
I was born in the Tisdale Hospital June 22 1932 but always lived in Crooked River. My Mother
My Dad remarried in 1938 and moved to The Pas Man. but I was raised by my Grandparents in Crooked River. It really was a booming town and I wouldnt change my hometown memories for anything. I left there in 1950, just 2 weeks before my 18th birthday. I apprenticed as a Telegraph Operator and was hired by the CNR June 6 1950. I loved Telegraphy and still have a telegraph set in my home. I retired from CN as a Train Dispatcher. Thanks for the pictures. Very nostalgic. If you see Darlene ask her what my cousin Gerry Green of Wpg are planning on building in Crooked River. (ha ha)
When my Grandfather passed away I was given two old, very old suitcases full of pictures. Many of them were of people back in Ontario where my Great Grandparents came from and I have never known who they are or where they fit in to the Strachan Picture. We held a Strachan family reunion in Tisdale in 1988. I took both suitcases of pictures and spread them out like a smorg and told the relatives to take what they wanted. I still had hundreds left which I brought home. I took out the ones that I felt pertained especially to myself and kept the rest in those old suitcases in the house. Finally I outgrew the space in my house so I took them out to a building at the back of my yard where they survived very well until this past winter. The Town piled snow 15 feet high all along the back alley and mother nature piled it eight feet high all along the front of the building. So my building got flooded and earlier this evening I went out to get the suitcases and found a terrible mess. Pics mostly ruined and I also found that nobody seemed too interested to take pictures of the town buildings. So there was nothing like a picture of the main St in its heyday or really any buildings. But is it ever stored in my memory.
My youngest aunt who I was raised with was 12 years older than me. She was married I think at age 18-19 to a Harvey Hayes. I have two photo envelopes returned to her from Hellofs Studio,Tisdale. This would have been sometime in the 40s. Ill have to take those negatives in and see if they can still be developed. I have no idea what is on them. They are full picture sized negatives which I can't remember when, or if ever I have seen the full sized negatives. I have a picture of a young lady (unknown) who sent a picture to my mother which was taken in 1929, this was before she and my dad married (1931 when she was 18) What interested me was that this young lady wrote a note on the back and there is also a stamped logo which reads "Jerretts Photo Art Studio, Tisdale Sk. Everything else I have ever seen is Jerritts,Melfort. Wonder if they moved to Melfort sometime after 1929?.
I have a booklet of pictures
I have a pic of who I would imagine is my Dad and my Uncle on top of a partially built lumber pile. Apparently they are showing off for a couple of young ladies. They would build a pile as high as they could by just carrying the lumber and placing it correctly on the pile. By correctly, I mean it had to be placed so that there was a space between each board as the lumber was green and had to have airflo through the pile to dry it.
When the pile got to high to just carry the lumber and place it on, they would stick a steel bar between the openings in the pile and it was my Uncles job to jack it up to my Dad who would drop it into place. Because of the jacking motion for ten hours a day six days a week my Uncle had a muscle on his stomach as big and hard as a British army helmet, honestly. My Dad had lots of muscle too but spread over his body more. On top of the pile when he would grab the lumber and drag it onto the pile he had to wear a heavy leather apron. If he wouldn't have had that, his jeans would have been worn through before lunchtime. He had to drop the boards in the exact spot. When the pile was finished it was exactly square, no tilting piles. Worse yet for the two of them,their Dad, my Grandad was the yard foreman,therefore their boss. He was a very proud man, so had to have the two best lumber pilers in Canada ,if not the world. I believe in my heart that that is just what he had. I have a couple of pictures of parts of the mill, but not the best parts.I wish I had pictures of,the burner,the jackladder, the greenchain etc. They were very interesting parts.
I have four pics of general interest. One with a team of horses pulling a dray with a huge steel wheel on it.The wheel would have came from up in the mill and ran with a huge leather belt to run the heavy duty machinery that needed Mary to be run. Another, the lumber yard with mill in distance.Another, a classic. I made up a little story for you on this one.
I was home for the weekend at Crooked River,from my job as Telegrapher in the Chief Dispatchers Office in Prince Albert. We had a little party in Rose and Lawrence McCraes suite, above their General Store. These travelling,professional entertainers in the picture,on Right Alex Fairbairn,conductor of the trio, Charlie Twyver, who married my aunt after she divorced Harvey Hayes, Charlie was an internationally reknowned pianist, but perferred to work for The Saskatchewan Department of Highways, and Joe Kozakavich who made millions of recordings with his wonderful voice, but preferred to work as the Municipal Secretary,Crooked River Sk. Alex was my highschool principal in Cr River after he came home from his job as Flying Instructor during WWII.
Last picture, three gentlemen standing near a bulldozer. Man in centre, Lawrence McCrae, who owned the machine, on the right Herb Canada, one of Crooked River's characters. Leaning on his shotgun. He loved hunting ducks and he and Lawrence were always badgering each other. On the left, machine operator Frank White.Lawrence of course now living in Tisdale, Herb passed, don't know status of Frank.
The Business area of Crooked River,main St etc. From South to North, West side...Lee and Charlies Cafe..Red and White Store, Harpolds..Modern Hotel and Beer Parlour,Harpolds. Barber Shop and Pool Room, John Welgan..Garage and Service Station, Geo Peddy...Cafe, Mrs Head
We young boys always got hired during summer holidays to pile Blockwood, Slabs etc.,for us kids 12 years or more, first wage I remember .15 cents per hour, then jumping to .25 cents, 10 hrs per day, 6 days perweek. That was darn good spending money in those days. Oh yes, there was also A United Church, and Later a RC Church.....Mr and Mrs Bill Peoples sold Milk and Cream
I have tried to go back as far as I possibly could and state who owned the businesses way back when, On The General Store where I showed Bill and Sadie Lyons. That should have been Mr and Mrs Fairbairn SR. And The Mill was,The B F Harris Lumber Co.