Revisited the old family home

From our January 2014 issue

By Gladys (Toody Giesbrecht) Vandergrift – Maple Ridge, B.C.

This house was built by my father, Henry J. Giesbrecht, when he married Margaret Ratzlaff in the old Mennonite Brethren Church in Herbert, Sask., in 1913. The house was located on the corner of Thompson Street and Prospect Avenue.

Home of Henry and Margaret Giesbrecht and their six children in Herbert, Sask., in 1946.

All six children were born in the same bed and bedroom: Edna Toews, Agnes Goertzen, Nick Giesbrecht, Lily Makuch, Corny Giesbrecht and me.

Dad moved an old farm granary into town and started his house from that. It was a great location, one block from school and close to Sunday school and downtown. Being on a corner you could see two blocks in every direction.

The top picture even shows the old telephone pole where all the kids in the neighbourhood gathered on a summer evening. We played Hide ‘n Seek or Pump-pump-pullaway until our parents called us to come in at 9 p.m. Another memory is placing a penny on the railway track waiting for the train to run over it.

Dad had many jobs in Herbert, one of which was delivering drinking water to customers from the well he owned in the Rosefarm area. The water in Herbert was very soft and dark in colour. He also owned a dray which meant hauling groceries from Swift Current to Herbert stores.

In the 1940s, dad was a house mover. Many houses were moved into town by him. He owned a big army truck and huge long timbers.

The Giesbrecht house in 2012.

Our house was sold and moved to the Yeske farm in the 1960s to be used for storage. The land was later sold to the Southland Hutterite Colony.

During the 2012 Centennial, I visited the Colony and was given a very hospitable tour of the old house. I noted the same blue shingles on the roof put on by dad and brother Corny in 1947. It didn’t even leak. They don’t make shingles like that anymore. Inside were the same tile floors that I had to wash and wax every Saturday.

I still have many happy memories of my old prairie hometown, Herbert.