Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winnipeg Bound in 1975 by Margaret Ullrich

Today is the first full moon of 2013.
The full moon usually means the end of a moon's cycle.
In 1975 it was the end of the cycle of our living in British Columbia.

We had just been through a rather strange few months.
The previous July we had gone camping in Alberta.
Saw the Stampede in Calgary… camped in the parks… toured Edmonton.

We liked Edmonton quite a bit.
We even toyed with the idea of moving there.
But, Paul had said he had a secure future with Carolina Publications.
Since we were in our twenties, a secure future sounded really good to have.

So we returned to the basement suite of our duplex in Surrey. 
Surrey in those days was barely more than a giant farmer's field.
I went to work for an accountant and did payrolls for lumber companies.
Paul went back to work at Carolina Publications.
We had our plans.

Well, as the saying goes, Man plans and God laughs.

Within a few weeks British Columbia went into one of its bust cycles.
Layoffs in the lumber industry meant my employer wasn't doing payrolls.
Reduced advertising revenues meant Carolina Publications had to cut back.
Paul and I were both unemployed.

But we were young and Paul was in the union.
There were union jobs available in Winnipeg.
No problem.  We'd move to Winnipeg.

Armed with a half dozen submarine sandwiches, we traveled by CN rail to Winnipeg.
It wasn't a luxury ride like the one we enjoyed for our fortieth anniversary last April.
We were sitting in coach all the way across the Rockies.
That's something that should only be done by folks in their twenties.

We arrived in the morning and went to a rather seedy motel.
Well, it was cheap.
Since we'd been living in British Columbia we didn't exactly have clothing warm enough for Winnipeg in January.
Well, we were young and hardy and in too much of a panic to notice.

The day after we arrived Paul had his job interview and was again employed.
We celebrated by going to the movies.
It was about a burning skyscraper.
Perfect… it reminded us things can always get worse.

After another two days we found an attic apartment.
A third floor walkup which had one room and a kitchen.
Thanks to the sloping ceiling, Paul couldn't stand up in half of it.
Hell, a preschooler couldn't stand up in half of it.
We shared the bathroom with an elderly woman who lived across the hall.
None of that mattered. 
The landlord allowed pets.
We paid the rent for February so no one else could take it.

Within four days we had redesigned our future.
It was time to return to Surrey.
Slight problem - CN had gone on strike.
We had to refund our train tickets and go to Greyhound for bus tickets.
Train or bus didn't matter.
It was another trip where we had to sit all the way across the Rockies.

Armed with another half dozen submarine sandwiches, we headed back to Surrey.

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