Tag Archives: Ritchie School

Like Father……Like Daughter!

6 Mar
Showing off his new car to his parents outside the house in Ritchie!

Showing off his new car to his parents outside the house in Ritchie!

“Like Father…..Like Daughter”……. I had never realized how true this saying was until I caught myself telling a friend about “my cave” in the basement of my house. We have had a very long winter which began in late October and is still ongoing. The message on my phone says something about “not being available as I have gone into my cave until spring”. Well it isn’t really a cave, it is the cellar in my house. It has a cement floor and walls and you can barely stand up without banging your noggan on the floor beams, but it does have a furnace and is very warm and cozy in the winter. I  have spent considerable time down there the past few months. I have all my Genealogy Research Material, books, maps, stacks of notes  and binders spread out over many surfaces. I never have to put anything away. No one else except the cat ventures down there.  I  take my laptop down with me and turn on the TV for additional stimulation. I can lose myself for hours doing my research.

The connection with my dad goes way back. On those long winter nights, after he got home from work, he would go down to the cellar to listen to his ham radio and police scanner. I would go down to play with my toys and listen in to his conversations. My friends would also come over and we would play 78’s on an old RCA Record Player. Great entertainment in the 50’s and 60’s before all the other types of entertainment developed. I remember being excited when the mailman would bring cards confirming a contact he had made. His call letters were VE6 IR and he too would send these card to those he had connected with on his ham radio.

I often think how little I knew of my Dad. I was 33 years old when he died and to that point I guess I wasn’t all that interested in him as a person. He was just My Dad!

Tertius Bernard and his Dad, the Claybrooke Village Blacksmith (1906)

Tertius Bernard and his Dad, the Claybrooke Village Blacksmith (1906)

He was born in 1904 in Claybrooke Magna, a small village in the midlands of England just outside the city of Leicester. This city has made headlines in the past few months due to the discovery of the bones of Richard III under a car park in the city centre. On the site once stood the Grey Friars Priory. Something like this would really have raised his interest. I watched a CBC documentary last evening titled “The King in the CarPark” which told the story of finding the skeleton and thought, if he were alive, he too would have been watching. I do know that my Dad loved to read and learn new things. He loved doing math problems just for the sheer enjoyment of solving them. He tutored many of my friends for their Grade 12 Departmental Exams. I would often go with him to the Library to get books for myself. When I had read all the books in the Children’s’ Library,  I would use his card to get books in the Adult Library. In those days, I think you had to be 12 to borrow books from there, but you could use an adult’s card if you had their permission.

My Dad was 9 when he emigrated to Canada with his parents, John Thomas and Sarah Jane Perkins. They settled in the Ritchie area and he was one of the first students to go to Ritchie School when it opened in 1913. By age 16, he was delivering Telegrams for the Canadian Pacific Railway, a company that he was to work for his entire life. He wasn’t very athletic, but we did go for bicycle rides out to the country and at one time, I remember him going to wrestling matches when Gene Kiniski was fighting. He had a stamp collection, but was not very organized and the stamps were mostly loose in a box. I must have inherited this trait as my Genealogy Research is mostly loose papers in piles. Someday I will get organized……just not sure when! We were also at the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Planetarium in 1960, a first for Western Canada, and oddly enough, I now volunteer at the Telus World of Science just across the park from the Planetarium which has long been closed. It has the Margaret Zeidlar Star Theatre which offers a full dome immersive video experience. The Telus World of Science Edmonton was the first planetarium and science centre in Canada to showcase this new technology for domed theatres. (2008)

Dad retired in 1968 and by the next fall he had enrolled at NAIT, the local Technical Institute to take the Radio and TV Service Program. Guess he figured he would fix TV’s in his spare time or maybe he just wanted a chance to go to school to get a Diploma, something that he hadn’t been able to do as a young person. He probably knew more than all the instructors put together, but he had a great 2 years, socializing with the other students and likely doing some tutoring on the side.

Dad died in 1980 at age 76, way too young by today’s standards. I know he would have loved computers and the internet and would have been one of the first to embrace any new technology. For an Old Ham Radio Operator…… texting and tweeting would have been second nature.

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