Part 9
Dunrea was a small prairie town originally established and named after a Mr. Adam Dunlop and a Mr. Rae in the early 1900s. They promptly built a church, likely Methodist or Presbyterian, and the date printed on the plaque was 1908 AD. Mr. Rae was furious when he saw the AD because he felt he had given the same amount as Adam Dunlop and they had put Adam's initials on the plaque and omitted his. Gradually though the French people settled there, and aside from Dunlop's Hardware and the post office all the business people were French. Mr. Smith was postmaster and also operated a small pharmacy in a back room, where, in the absence of a doctor in town, he could dispense a few drugs and look after minor complaints.

Our move to Dunrea required some adjustments on our part. We had been accustomed to electricity and plumbing (except on the farm) but Dunrea had neither. We did our homework in the dining room with the light from coal oil lamps, and we went outside to the outhouse to attend to our personal needs. There was always an old Eaton's catalogue on hand - delicate toilet tissue indeed - but it was a relief not to have a gopher poking his head up through the dirt floor as happened on the farm. Grandma insisted that he was just as frightened as I was. Grandma was wrong.

There was no skating rink, no curling rink, no movies, no TV or radio, no drop-in centre to keep unruly youngsters off the street, and few unruly youngsters. We probably lived in conditions much like the Indian reserves of today, but we were totally unaware that we were poor, our homes were spotless and the whole community worked together to keep a neat tidy town. Some winters the town people got together and made an outdoor rink and had a wonderful time.

Nearly everyone had a large garden. Mr. Smith's garden was planted the 24th or May, not one day sooner or later unless the 24th happened to fall on a Sunday, and it was always the best garden in town. He was not a church attender but he was one of the finest people I have ever known, and he taught us a deep love and respect for the monarchy and the British Empire "on which the sun never sets". Harold and I each had a little garden of our own - Harold grew radish and onions and I grew nasturtiums and mignonette. You never hear of it any more but I think it was an English flower that Mr. Smith had grown at home.

We were fascinated by his collection of reading material, particularly the Books of Knowledge which were filled with stories of the heroes of old, legends of the gods who ruled the world of the Norsemen, the gods of ancient Greece and much of the best of English poetry of that day. It was a wonderful supplement to our education.

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