I wanted to go to high school, but at that time the nearest high school was in Kamloops. My parents wouldn’t allow it.
So I was working at the Pine Tree Café in town. John Sam would come in and flirt with me. We wanted to get married but my parents didn’t want to let me go. So when I turned 18 we went ahead and got married.
Women didn’t wear wedding dresses in those days. We had the Sears Catalogue but it didn’t have things like that. There were very few vehicles in those days, too. So on our wedding day I walked from my dad’s house across the Necoslie Bridge and into town to the church.
Our wedding day was October 4, 1957. It started snowing while I was walking. I was walking alone. My husband was at his house on the Lower Road. When I got to the church, he wasn’t there. I wondered if he changed his mind.
He was working the night shift in the sawmill so he came late.
We had eight kids together and adopted Rosemary when she was ten days old. We lost two babies—a little girl died of leukemia when she was six months old and one of our sons died of pneumonia a year later. At that time we had to travel to Vanderhoof to see a doctor. Everyone had their kids in Vanderhoof. It wasn’t until later there was a hospital in Fort St. James.
My husband and I had a good time together hunting and boating on the Nation River and the Stuart River. Our marriage ended on July 5, 1982 when John accidentally drowned. We were married almost 25 years and were going to renew our vows.
My life drastically changed after that.
Years ago marriages were arranged. A lot of them didn’t work out. There was no dating or anything. Parents picked out who you were going to marry and that was it. There were strict rules on how it was decided based on your clan.
Sometimes several couples would get married at one time when the priest came.
That is how my Auntie Juliet and Mary Cho got married. It was July 7, 1934. On that day some young women were walking down the road.
My uncle was standing with his friend Bob watching them walk by. His friend said “why don’t you pick one of them and go down to the church and get married.” So my uncle picked Juliet. There were five couples getting married that day.
I didn’t want an arranged marriage. When I was 13 years old I went from LeJac to the logging camp in Babine with my mother. I was there for ten years. I met George in Burns Lake when my family went there for supplies. He would find reasons to visit the logging camp to see me, too.
George and I got married in 1958. He passed away in 1971.
The Basket Social
Young single community members would sometimes gather for basket socials. The young women would prepare a picnic basket with all sorts of good food and decorate them.
The baskets would be lined up and the young men would bid on the basket that looked best to them—without knowing who had prepared it.
The woman who prepared the basket would then bring the picnic lunch on a date with the man who won her basket.