By Terry (Theresa Gosselin) Luxton – Vernon, B.C.
Siblings: Isn’t that how we keep connected as we age? My siblings may not remember some of the occasions and I can hear them hollering, “Theresa!”
The Golems lived on a nearby farm. Mrs. Golem would pick me up and put me on her kitchen counter and comb through my long curly hair.
When I was 13, mom sent me down to the hairdresser to have my long curly hair cut off. The hairdresser sent me back home as she couldn’t bear to cut it off. My mom had to accompany me and reassure her that, yes, we wanted my hair cut off to make it easier to manage.
One vivid incident and one of the very few times that my dad gave me a spanking, was when I lit the bucket of papers that sat by the wood stove on fire. The lesson taught was not to play with matches.
Once, mom sent me down to pick out a pair of shoes. I came home with moccasins. She wasn’t too happy but I wore those moccasins everywhere.
Richard was the brother who was born in the car on the way to the Shaunavon Hospital. We older siblings were all in the car with my parents. He passed away a month later from pneumonia and was buried in the Dollard cemetery.
I recall we children having a terrible bout of whooping cough to the point of hallucination and seeing snakes crawling up towards us on the bed.
Brother Paul gave us quite a scare as a very rotten smell was emanating from him. It turned out to be wadded up paper that he had stuck up his nose which was noticed when it started to rot. My dad pulled it out with great difficulty. Paul and I ended up in a screaming fight where he grabbed my long hair and pulled.
Paul was the musician in our family. He could play anything by ear on the piano. Kenny Carson would come over and the two of them would play together and really get our household a-hopping. There was no booze – just good times with music.
Another time, Paul and I decided to take the horse out for a ride and that horse took off down the streets of Shaunavon. It’s hard to believe that neither one of us fell off. Paul passed away from cancer in 1993. He made up a song about it.
It was the same year John Candy passed away the same year one of my students, Jennifer Cusworth, was murdered in Kelowna, B.C. (They have recently arrested her killer.) Our sister, Jeannette, seemed to always be an accident waiting to happen.
Again, I, being the instigator, decided that we should play ring-around-the-rosy on top of the cooled off old-fashioned wood cook stove. Our feet were tough. We could easily stand on top of the cook stove but Jeannette being the youngest at the time, fell on her bum and burned her rayon underwear to her butt.
It was peeled off delicately and Auntie Edna Moyer rubbed goose grease on it. She kept Jeannette at her place for days until she healed.
One other time, I was babysitting Jeannette, she slipped out of the bathtub and split her forehead open to the bone. I picked her up and laid her flat on the kitchen table. When mom arrived home from visiting Auntie Edna, Jeannette was hysterical.
Mom slapped her a good one which surprised the heck out of me but I realize now, that’s what you did to someone who’s hysterical. After a few stitches Jeannette was good as new.
In Grade 11 and 12, I worked at Rostad’s Lunch in Shaunavon, Sk. and would get home at 2 a.m. to find my brother, Marcel standing in his crib happily babbling away and happy to see me.
I always look at it as saving my brother, Jerome’s life. Dad and Paul were leaving in the truck to head to the farm. Jerome wanted to go along and chased the truck. Why I decided to look out the window, I’ll never know, but I saw Jerome being dragged by the truck. I ran to the door and yelled loud enough for dad to hear, who stopped immediately. Jerome was scraped up but otherwise okay.
The nuns once brought Agnes to sit with me because she wouldn’t stop crying. I was in Grade 2, she was in Grade 1. Another time something upset her at the breakfast table and she went and sat out in the airport field all day until one of us went and brought her back home in the evening.
Doris enjoyed herself at the Eastend rodeo and was always seen in the garden weeding and hoeing. We occasionally get back to Shaunavon to visit. Doris still lives in the home where we grew up.