By RUBY (Briscoe) MONDRY – Vernon, B.C.
I was raised in St. Boswells in the southwestern part of Saskatchewan between Gravelbourg and Swift Current. My parents ran the telephone office. Mother was the telephone operator and dad was the linesman.
We were a happy family of 6 children – 3 boys and 3 girls. Our parents were wonderful, and our home was always open to our young friends for music and singing.
My sisters and I learned to be telephone operators. My older sister, Lillian, and I worked for different telephone offices in the district such as Bateman, Hodgeville, Neidpath, and Herbert.
Lillian moved to Regina and went to work for Woolworth’s. When I was 18, she got me a job in Woolworth’s working behind the lunch counter. While I was there, I met Peter Mondry. He used to eat at the lunch counter.
We became good friends in 1940 and were married in 1941. A month later he enlisted and was transferred to Victoria, B.C. where our daughter, Gloria, was born in March 1942.
My husband became a captain in the army and was an excellent trainer of men. After the war, we moved back to Regina where he took a job as a salesman manager for a company.
While on the road, he stopped at a hotel in a town outside of Regina and the owner had a parrot that he was trying to find a good home for so we became the owners of a beautiful green parrot by the name of Polly.
Our daughter was 5 at the time. She had a warm and caring way with birds and all animals. Polly took to her immediately. The second day we had Polly, the house was quiet when all of a sudden I heard this very loud opera singing. It was Polly signing a beautiful opera song. Needless to say I was shocked.
Gloria used to come home from school and stroke Polly’s neck. She liked that. She would take Polly outside and they would chase each other around a big wooden box. If Gloria left, Polly would follow and never leave her side. She knew the time that school was out and she would call, “Glorie! Glorie! Glorie!” at the top of her voice.
We lived at 851 Cameron Street and a man who lived one street over had birds, monkeys, and other animals so we eventually gave Polly to him so she would have company.
The winter of 1948 was bitter cold with temperatures in the minus-40 range. The man suddenly passed away and all his animals perished except Polly. We tried to get Polly back but the estate would not part with her.