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Local senior in national publication

A story within a story

Local news columnist, Ethel Bowles had a pleasant surprise when her story triggered a phone call from British Columbia. Bowles explains, “I subscribe to the Senior Paper, published in Regina.”

In speaking with Dennis Stacey, the publisher and editor, he says the paper is more like a magazine, printed monthly with subscribers from all over Canada.

It has been so much like Facebook for elders, sharing stories and even reconnecting old friends, that Stacey just started a Facebook page on March 1, which has 1,600 visits and counting.

Stacey, himself is a local product, with his father starting his newspaper career in Killarney, at The Guide, about 55 years ago. Stacey’s Aunt, Faye Campion still lives in the area.

Bowles story in The Senior Paper resonated with another far away Virdenite. “Well, to my surprise, last week I got a phone call from Prince George, BC, from a friend who lived in Virden during World War II. This friend gets The Senior Paper too. They read the story I put in the paper of a three-day blizzard in the winter of 1947.”

With the kind permission of Dennis Stacey, publisher of The Senior Paper, the Empire-Advance is republishing Ethel Bowles’ story:

Hyooge Snowbanks By Ethel (Greenlay) Bowles

Being married for two years, my husband and I lived in a one-storey brick house near Scarth, Manitoba.

We had friends visiting us: two women and a man, when we had a 3three-day blizzard come upon us.

The house just had a wood stove. No storm doors or storm windows. Our friend and my husband kept busy sawing wood for the stove.

They hooked binder twine from our house to the wood pile, also from the house to the barn to look after the stock, as you couldn’t see much outside.

With just one double bed and one single bed, we three women slept in the double bed, while my husband and friend, a big man, had to share the single bed.

My husband said he slept in installments as the big man slept on his back.

At the end of the blizzard, a huge snowbank covered the porch and house up to the top of the house. There was just one door out from the porch. The porch door opened outwards. Thank God we had a shovel for the men to shovel outside.

We managed through three days. I wonder how the generation of today could go through what we did and live to tell the story?

This was the worst blizzard I ever experienced in my lifetime. I am 92 now and saw two weeks with 40-below weather, climbing up snowbanks to carry pails of milk to the house to separate and carry back over the snowbanks to the barn to feed pigs and calves. I did!

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