Well, let's see, I was born in Vancouver General Hospital, the second of nine children, on January 31, 1929. We lived in the West End at the time; but by the time I was ready to start school, we had moved to North Vancouver, 528 Eighth Street, just off the Boulevard and half a block from Ridgeway School. At the end of grade nine, I carried on until graduation at North Vancouver High School.
My dad was away fighting in the Second World War from the time I was 12 until 17. When he came home, he wanted to move out to the country, so he bought 5 acres in North Delta. At that time, I did not realize that this was a property that had been stolen from the Japanese/Canadians when the government moved them back from the Coast; the thought of living in a house and enjoying the grounds of a property that had such a sorry history continues to disturb me.
I attended Vancouver Normal School the next year; and worked for my board in one of the wealthier homes in Shaughnessy Heights. In those days, 1948, there was a shortage of teachers, so with the death of the teacher at 12-mile school on the Hope Princeton Highway, the Principal of the Normal School asked me if I would leave school early (at Easter) and take on this job. I was glad to do so - a most interesting experience - five of the children were Japanese-Canadians, who had been interned during the war at 14-mile ranch; and five were occidental, living at Anderson's Camp, the children of the workers building the highway. The highway had reached the 25 mile point at that time.
The following September, I took a position at Rossland Junior/Senior High School teaching physical education and mathematics to grade 8's. Because I had only grade 12 and normal school myself, I attended summer school and night classes every year until I finally completed by Bachelor's Degree (Secondary) in 1959.
I married Walter Manning in 1950 and gave birth to two children, Kenneth Eugene in 1951, and Kathryn Joanne in 1954. Walter suffered from alcoholism, and though he tried to overcome the problem he never succeeded for long. I moved back to the Coast in 1955; the disease took him in 1961.
In 1963, I was fortunate to obtain a position as an exchange teacher at Bromley Technical School in Kent, England. Some of the highlights were, tea with the Queen Mother, a visit to Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Garden Party, and an Easter 10-day visit to Europe - brief stops in 8 countries. Mom and Dad came for a visit the second summer - mom hadn't been home to England since she'd left 35 years before; Dad, of course, had been back during the war.
In 1964, I married a Danish fellow, Helmer Christensen. The marriage ended in divorce (1974) but not before I had given birth to my third child, Theodor Helmer, in 1971. Ken (20) and Kathy (17) thought it was great to have a baby in the family. With Kathy's help (Port Moody School having burnt down, she attended Centennial where I was teaching) we managed to get through the difficult years - baby, diapers, bottles, blankets to day care and home again - so that I could keep working to support the family.
In 1974, I joined the Swinging Singles Square Dance Club, and danced with them for nearly 20 years. Until then, I hadn't realized that adults could have good, clean fun - one of the best activities I have ever enjoyed.
When I retired from teaching in 1985, I joined the Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society, a cycle touring club for seniors, currently planning their second trip across Canada, Vancouver to Halifax. Three months on the road, rain or shine, sleeping on the ground in small tents, taking turns cooking meals for thirty hungry bikers, and pedal, pedal, pedal. I met my present husband, our van driver, a widower, Al Lifton, on that trip. We married the following year.
Wanting to leave the hustle/bustle of the Lower Mainland, and to live in an area where we could golf, bike, and Al could fish, we went looking on Vancouver Island and found Fairwinds. We sold our homes, built a home on the golf course above the second tee one block from the water, and moved here. As the saying goes, the rest is history.