Growing up as a post-war baby boomer, I’ve often thought the Second World War cast a shadow over my childhood and youth. My father lived through occupied France between the ages of eight and 13. My close friend’s father was a veteran who had marched north up the Italian peninsula with the Canadian Army. My grandmother would speak sadly of her older brother, who was lost when his plane went down while serving in the air force. War left a strong impression on these people which took a long time to process, not only touching them but also those close to them.
In the photo where the men walk down Alberta Avenue supporting the war effort, the two ladies rolling up the awning in front of Smith Bakery are Selina Smith, Francis Smith’s wife, and Ruth Smith, his daughter. His daughter Ethel Smith and niece Edna Ore were also working in the bake shop.
Information provided by Francis Smith’s granddaughters Barbara and Frances.
Imagine moving to a new country. The stress of finding a new home, a new job, a new school for your kids, and new friends. Now imagine not being able to speak your new country’s language.
This 1942 photo of army recruits walking down 118 Avenue is a good representation of popular culture in Edmonton during the Second World War.
The Pearl Harbour attack had occurred on Dec. 7, 1941. Lesser known is the heavy loss of Canadian troops during the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong beginning Dec. 8, 1941. The brief but disastrous Dieppe raid on Aug. 19, 1942, was devastating. Of the 4,963 Canadians who left England for the operation, only 2,210 returned, with several wounded.
Terry Protz is a lifelong resident of Norwood. Walking with me along Norwood Boulevard east of Norwood School, Protz provided fascinating details on local history.
Today these city blocks are victims of urban blight. “It used to be a good neighbourhood,” said Protz.
Norwood Boulevard was a lively mixed use area during the Second World War and the years following the war. This working class district contained several businesses, a church, and modest homes.
On May 7, Wesley Andreas hosted a Jane’s Walk through Spruce Avenue. He discussed the neighbourhood’s general history and the strong Polish presence.
Southwest of Alberta Avenue are several Polish businesses and community hubs. Polish settlers have been in Alberta for over a century, but plenty of immigration occurred after the Second World War. The Polish suffered much hardship during the Nazi occupation. Poland developed a strong resistance movement and brought that spirit here.
I love reading the Rat Creek Press. In general, I find the paper to be inclusive and community-minded.
I want to bring to your attention an omission in the March 2016 edition. The article “Celebrating Women” includes a timeline on women’s right to vote. I was dismayed to see that this timeline does not inform readers that Aboriginal women did not have the right to vote until 1960.
I also noticed that the overwhelming majority of the trailblazers are white women.
I was disappointed by the racial bias in this piece. International Women’s Day is for all women and this article did not communicate that.
“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart
International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, is a global event celebrating the economic, social, and political achievements of women and calling for change and equality.
St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is a quiet oasis of kindness and caring. An integral part of the church is Father Frank Stempfle, who has been a priest for over 60 years.
Stempfle was born in 1926 and lived on a farm near Strome, Alberta. He later resided in Primate, Saskatchewan, before returning to Alberta to live on a farm near Hayter.
He was inspired to enter the clergy by the priests he came into contact with as a boy and young man. “We had a very fine parish priest when I was growing up,” said Stempfle. Later on, he attended St. Anthony’s College in Edmonton where he was influenced by the Franciscan priests who ran the school. He spent seven years at St. Joseph Seminary and was ordained in 1952 by Archbishop John Hugh MacDonald.