Gris Griswolds Daily Journal Part 7

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«-- Gris Griswolds Daily Journal
Part 7
Part 6

April 1930

Saturday, April 5th

A whole week had gone since last writing. I have had little time to fill in the days events owing to company, work etc. The weather has been mild for the past week and the snow is fast disappearing. I have spent a couple of days out working on the car getting it ready. I am going to paint it this year. The body will be a light brown almost a fawn and the top, fenders etc black. I have it about half cleaned up already. I was up to see Mrs Conibear the other night to get the house back. I am taking it from June the 1st again and in the meantime they are repainting it inside and out. I am getting some real swell wall paper, (I am keeping the design a secret but the colour is fawn) and I sent away for the new window curtains have, and some rose velour for the draperies into the bed room. The whole place will harmonize and the furniture will all be walnut. I also sent to the States for the cabinet for my new radio. It will be a console type with a dynamic speaker built into it. I have made the set but cant do any more to it until the cabinet comes. It has ten tubes, with a push-pull power amplifier in the last stage. It is also arranged so that a phonograph pickup can be plugged into the amplifier, which automatically disconnects the rest of the set. I will send to Edmonton for the furniture to come in on the first boat. Yesterday the last mail arrived until Open Water, I got four letters from Nona, one from Dad and the usual papers etc. That is about all the news excepting that Jack took over all bookkeeping from the first of April, and I went on the key. It will be good practice for me between now and the busy season.

Sunday, April 6th

Joe on duty today, so I got up pretty early and after breakfast I went out to work on the car. I cleaned it all up, or should I say finished cleaning it, as I have been working on it for several days in my spare time. I also tightened up all the steering gear and shimmed up all the bearings. Every one of them is worn quite a bit. I will likely have to get new bushings for the whole steering assembly this summer. It will cost about $2.00 all together. This afternoon was very warm, so I painted the whole car over with Duce auto enamel. The body is a dark fawn and the top, fenders, axels and running gear is black, while all the trimmings are nickel. I took off all the tires and pumped them up and took one that has a slow leak off the rim to repair. While I was out there working, the cat was playing around with me then went outside. After a while I heard a row and went out to see what was the matter and found Shorty, the governments gangs dog shaking him. I rushed out to stop the fight but the cat was dead. I took a leg of a chair that was out in the warehouse and hit him. I thought I had broken his leg so went in to get my rifle to shoot him but he was gone when I got back out. If he ever comes around here again that is just what he is going to get. There is a law here about keeping dogs tied up or muzzled and had he been either one he could not have hurt Alex. Gordon Cummings was down here for a few minutes this afternoon for something, I forgot now what he did ask about but Joe and I gave him about thirty pounds of moose and caribou meat for his dogs. The warm weather caught us with more than we could eat and it is going bad. After supper Joe and I played a few games of cribbage then a couple games of Two Ten Jack. He won nearly all of them. Went to bed about 1:30, we both had a bath just before going to bed.

Monday, April 7th

We both slept in till Jack came over at 9:40 and that woke us up. He was mad at Joe for oversleeping but got over it soon. He took the calls while we ate then went over to get his own breakfast. He was getting breakfast for himself and Evelyn, when our phone rang and as it was not answered he answered it from there. It was Oaks at Fitz with a message. He took it then called us and when we did not answer he brought it over. Evelyn has been sick for the past week so he went back to get her some breakfast and look after her for a while. I went up town today and put in three shelves at the end of the cabinet in the kitchen. The shelves are made with sides of gas cases and lined with beaverboard. They are for keeping towels etc on. I am going to try and make a lot of cupboards and things before it is painted. I received a wire from Nona today saying she would be home in the middle of August. I will have it all ready before she comes. Mrs. Conibear flew to Edmonton yesterday. I forgot to mention it in the diary. Mabel is graduating this May and she went out for the graduation. Mabel is getting her B.A. good stuff for Mabel. I didn't hear whether Kenny was to not but if this if his last year he is. Joe and I went to Lanouettes for supper tonight and Jack Taylor and Frank Dent were in town. They both came back to the station with us and stayed till 1:00. We played cards for a while. The radio was N.G. Joe has been using his 171 tubes in the transmitter and I guess they are no good now. The thermionic emission was too heavy in the transmitter circuit and they wont function as amplifiers in the receiver any more. Went to bed at 1:00. JT was telling us that his application into the RCMP was accepted and he sent his papers in. He will likely go to Regina for training on the first boat.

Tuesday, April 8th

Jack and I on today. I was on the set nearly all day. It rained pretty hard for a couple hours today. That is the first rain of the year. The snow is going fast now. The bare ground is showing all over. There are some great water holes this year. In front of Lanouettes there is a foot of water across the whole road. It will not last long though. As soon as the frost gets out of the sand it will disappear like a sponge. Should be good crops here this summer. I am planting a bunch of sweet peas this year. I am sending to Edmonton to get a bunch of flower seeds and some fertilizer. Will plant sweetpeas all along the fence. Joe went up town tonight to test out a new S.W. transmitter. He is testing with Simpson. I made a date for him with Simpson before closing down. I was alone on the set as Jack went home about 5:30. I finished up at 7:15 and it was after 8:00 when I had my supper. I took the third part of the third degree. AMORC tonight then spent some time with an experiment in Alchemistry. Had quite a lot of success with it too. Will do it all over several times though. I went to bed at 11:00.

Wednesday, April 9th

On the set all day, very busy. After supper I practised on the mandolin for a while and took another lesson in AMORC. Have finished third initiation now. Joe was uptown tonight.

Thursday, April 10

Today I was off the set. I cleaned up the engine room and started to clean up and pack away all the radio apparatus in the room upstairs used as a broadcasting studio. Joe and I separated what belonged to us and each packed his own. After dinner I worked on my car and had it all finished and ready for the road now. There is one tire to be fixed yet but I didn't get a chance to do it today. Went to bed at 23:00.

Friday, April 11

On the set all day again. Business fair. After supper I went uptown and talked to Mr. Conibear for a couple of hours. He gave me a bunch of papers when I left to come home. They are used in putting down the battleship linoleum at the station. I returned about 10:30. Joe was here reading. I read for a while then we both went to bed.

Saturday, April 12

I was on the set this morning. Joe cooked dinner then while he took the set I got my car out. I got stuck here beside the station and was an hour getting out. Later I got stuck again just around the corner off the station lot and was another hour getting out. Joe came out between calls and gave me a hand. We decided to go uptown for supper so I went back out and got out as far as the road then came back and got ready. There was as much business that came thru at the last minute that we didn't get a chance. So I cooked supper and we decided to go uptown later. We have to go thru the drifts that we have come thru already. About 19:30 we were ready so went on. The trail was fine all the way to town now. We have to go around by way of the butcher shop. They have been hauling wood all winter that way and they are using the wide sleighs now. They are the same width as the car. This winter they took a snowplow and plower all the roads so that the teams would have a decent trail. We went past the Butchershop, then down past Godsells and around by the Bay and up the main street as far as my place and turned around. Coming back I had no trouble at all. About 22:00 I was sitting upstairs reading when suddenly took sick to my stomach. I had to go outside for a while. At supper I had some bread and gravy and the gravy was evidently too greasy as it was all that had not digested. I went to bed right away.

Sunday, April 13

My turn on the Meteors this week. I got them away OK then went back to bed till 10:00. I went uptown at 11:00 and brought some parts out that were at home. The roads are fine now. Going over them last night packed them down for me. I got back shortly after 12:00 then Joe and Browne and I went back to Lanouettes for dinner. The road is real good all the way now excepting a little bumpy right here at the station. After we came back Joe and Browne worked on Joe's car and got it going. They went uptown just to try it out. Works OK but a little loose. We all had supper here then Joe and Browne worked for a while on the shore wave transmitter that they are playing with. I read for a while then practised on the mandolin for a while. We went to bed about midnight.

Monday, April 14

I was sure all night that I would be getting a wire from Nona today but as one didn't seem to be coming, I sent her a not thru the gang in Edmonton who will post it to her. After supper I went uptown in the car to bring Joe home. He was at Yorks and it was blowing a blizzard and he wasn't dressed for it. When in front of Mories old store there was a high drift and in the dark and bad weather I got over about 10 inches too far on one side and went thru the drift. I tried to get out but saw that I would only get stuck further so went over to Yorks and got a shovel. Bert came back with me and we worked on it for a while then Bert went back for more help. York told him to leave it there and he would move it in the morning as he was getting Vic Ingraham with a team to do some work for him. He came back and told me so we went back to his place and Joe and I walked home later. It was 01:00 when we got home.

Tuesday, April 15

This afternoon I went up to bring my car home. They had phoned to tell me that Vic was just pulling it out then but when I got there it was out and Vic had gone. I started the engine up and was going to drive over to Lanouettes but the car wouldn't move. The axel was broken. I wasn't sure at the time whether it was the axel or the drive shaft but found when I got home that that it was the former. Burke was just going by so I got him to tow it home for me and I put it away in the garage. When the weather gets warmer I will put the new one in. I have a spare on in the car, thank goodness. It is a miserable job putting it in but it has to be done and I will bet at it as soon as it warms up. It was cold all day again and snowed about 5 inches today. After supper Joe laid down and slept for a few hours and I played the mandolin for a while then wrote a letter to Nona. I am anxious about her and wont get over it till I hear from her and I look for a wire every time we call Edmonton. We went to bed about 01:00.

Wednesday, April 16

I slept till 11:30 today and got up and got the fire going for dinner. I stayed around all afternoon doing nothing. It snowed again for a while today and the wind came up very strong. After supper Joe had to go uptown so I stayed around playing the mandolin for a while and reading.

Thursday, April 17

I was on the set today from 09:00 till noon and from 13:00 till 14:30 then from 16:00 till 18:30 when I closed down for the night. At 13:00 today I got a wire from Nona which made me very happy indeed. It read " Baby girl arrived 16, both well, Love Nona". Joe was here when it came and he could read it as it was coming in. he congratulated me as soon as it was received. I answered it right away. I am glad especially for Nona's sake that it is over as it is a long wait.

Friday, April 18

My 30 birthday.. Holy Smoke that makes me look ancient or it makes me feel like I am. However, I feel like I'm 20. This was Good Friday so it was a holiday except that the station was open for Sunday hours and my turn on shift. I took the 05:30 trick, Joe took the noon and I took the 17:30 trick. Joe and Browne went uptown and dug my old bus Leapin' Lena out and brought it down to the station. I gave it to Browne to use until he goes out or until Alex Loutit, the present owner, calls for it. Joe had to tow it all the way although the engine worked right off but there was only one tire on it that held air and none at all on the front wheels. Those two are sure getting a kick out of it, especially Browne. He is as happy as a boy with it. I printed a bunch of snaps today as I had to stay around the station all day anyway. Went to bed at 23:30.

Saturday, April 19

My day off. I cleaned upstairs this morning and during the afternoon I took the back axel off the springs of the sedan but it was too cold to work any longer so I will take it off at the Universal maybe tomorrow. It snowed again for a couple of hours this afternoon and the==== Temperature is still below freezing. this is the latest it has been since I have been here. There is still nearly 2 feet of snow on the level places and some drifts are still 4-5 feet high.

Sunday, April 20

Nothing doing today. It was too cold to work on the car so I spent the day inside.

Monday, April 21

Today is a holiday, Easter Monday. Joe went uptown this afternoon then went around his trap line to gather up his traps, snowshoes, etc. While he was gone I scrubbed out upstairs and cleaned the place out for the linoleum. After supper there was a dance on at Lanouettes so we decided to go up. We went in Joes car. We played bridge all evening. Joe and I beat Bill Schaffer and Don Naylor. We returned home at 01:30 and went straight to bed.

Tuesday, April 22

Up at 09:00. After breakfast we started laying the linoleum upstairs. We had to go to Lanouettes for dinner as the stove here was not lit. it would have been too hot working around it. By 17:00 we finished all the upstairs excepting the spare room and put things back. It looks dandy there now. . Wednesday, April 23==== Thawing today for the first time in 10 days. We finished laying the linoleum upstairs and the office downstairs. Browne and Emerson were here for a little while just before supper. Joe went up to Leggos after supper and I did some work around the house. Joe came back about midnight. Jack had a date with Simpson tonight at 20:30 and Mrs Pearson came over with him. They were here till 21:10.

Thursday, April 24

I was on the Key all morning until 14:30 when Joe took over. Bert came down to spend the day with us so he and I went to work on the car. Took the rear end out and found that the pinion gear was broken in two. One part had gotten down under and behind the crown gear. The other part had fallen down in the bottom of the housing. There was less than a quarter inch play there and it is a mystery to us how the car was towed home without one or the other of the pieces catching in the teeth of the crown gear. Had they done so they would have been forced thru the housing completely damaging it. We were ver lucky in the work as all the hard jobs seemed to fit right in the first shot. I had figured on not finishing it until tomorrow morning sometime but we had it working and outside before 16:30. There is still nearly 2 feet of snow and some bad drifts that are getting very soft with the warm weather, so I will not take it out on the road again until the roads are pretty well dried up. I don't like to get it all mudded now that it is newly painted and now that the engine and transmission is all newly overhauled and new band in. I don't want to put it on the road and have to razz the dickens out of it trying to keep it going. Bert was here for dinner but went back uptown for supper as Fred wanted him to help him with the new boat. Fred has bought a new boat ( I should say on old one) and is putting the engine out of the Rambler into it and is having 3 barges made this spring. He has the contract of carrying the Commercial Airways gas down as far as Aklavik. There are 300 barrels all together. With all the gas coming in this summer for the NAME, the Atlas Exploration Co, consolidated Mining and Smelt Co, The Western Canada and the Commercial Airways and Dome Explorers planes it is figured there will be close to 100,000 gallons of gas and oil go down river. So the HBC raised the freight on gas a couple of cents/gallon. That is why Fred is getting in on it. He is carrying it at the old price. He bought the old boat for a song, is putting in a sterling 60 hp engine and will sell the scows down river. He should clean up pretty well. Since he went out and passed his flying tests and went on the payroll of the Commercial Airways, he is a different Fred altogether. He looks better and is back to his old self as he was when I first met him. He has gotten over all his petty meanesses that he was getting into. Nothing doing this evening. Went to bed early.

Friday, April 25

My day off duty so I slept till noon then went uptown. There was nothing doing up there. The snow is melting fast today. Every hour a difference can be seen. Came home for supper and went to bed early.

Saturday, April 26

I was on the Key today until 14:30 (Press time) then worked around out in the yard draining the puddles. It was a little colder today so the snow didn't seem to go very fast. Joe and I went uptown for supper.

Sunday, April 27

On duty all day today. Very light business. After supper I went up to Leggos for a while to help him put in the new single drum control in his radio that I got for him some time ago. He has been after me for weeks to do it so i did it to get it over with. He gave me a carton of Millbanks for doing it and I made $25 profit on the parts. On my way home I stopped at Pearsons for a game of cards. I told them I'd get there about 21:00 but it was 22:30. Browne was there with Joe so they did not have to wait for me. When I got there we played Two, Ten, Jack so that all 5 of us could play. Joe won and I was second. Warm again today and the snow is going to beat the band. There are puddles at nearly every corner and they are more like little lakes. Some of them are 2 feet deep. The corner of Axehandle Ave is all under water from the Police fence to the far side of Conibears store. I was 03:00 when Joe and I got home.

Monday, April 28

My week on Meteors. I was up at 05:00 and got them off OK then went back to bed till 11:00. Joe and I went uptown for dinner then I did some shopping and running around that I had to do. It was 16:00 when I got back to the station. The snow is melting here at the station faster than we can drain it off. There is a big lake out in the bush behind the warehouses over a 100 feet across that the water is draining into and is too deep to wade thru with the knee boots. It had backed half way from the trees to the warehouses and our woodpile is under water and there is still a foot of snow on the lot. it sure went down today some. Joe went uptown tonight. I did some experiments in alchemistry of A.M.O.R.C. Joe got home at midnight and we went to bed.

Tuesday, April 29

I was on the Key until Press time then Jack took over and I went out in the yard and helped Joe with the drainage problem. We got things moving pretty well. The years before we used to have 2 little ditches going but this year we have 7 and they are all about twice the size of the ones we had before. They are going all the time. By 17:00 tonight the ground all around the station and on the hills and places here and there were bare of snow but there is about 7 inches of it yet around. Out lake is getting big enough that we could use a boat on it. It is believed that the steamers will come straight thru this year as there is so much water. The river here is raining and there are great pools of water all over it but the ice is still solid. It will not take many more days like these though to do the trick. Joe was uptown all afternoon and didn't come home for supper so I put a perc of coffee on then went out and plithered around the yard. Jack and I had some coffee and bread buns at 17:00 so I was not hungry. I set off a bonfire today and got rid of a bunch of junk that was laying around the place. I also buried the cat. Shorty was down here the other day and killed it but it was too frozen to bury him. I have been laying for Shorty to come around again and have a nice 25-20 shell in the magazine waiting for him but I guess the licking I gave him lasted. he came down yesterday with Getty and when he saw me he beat it and I told Gerry why he didn't want to get close. Gerry was as sorry as the devil about it. he told me that he didn't know that Shorty would bother a cat until the other day one got into the yard and Shorty took after it but the cat stood there and put up a fight. he said he watched it and never saw a dog get torn up so badly before. he didn't stop it when he saw that the cat was able to look after himself because he said it would likely put Shorty in his place. I saw Edyth yesterday and she told me she was dreadfully sorry about "Princess" ( that was still his name to them). It is only 19:30 now so I am going back to work later. I went out and worked a few minutes on the car then was working around in the yard. Then Joe and Browne came in with the car. This is the first care to come in since we had to quit running a week ago. They say that the road is very nearly dry in most places as the frost is going fast and the water is soaking up. Browne went back about 23:00 and I went to bed.

Wednesday, April 30

Was on the set all day today with exception of the Press period. Later on I went uptown with the car. There was only a few water holes but by going thru on low and slowly, I didn't splash any water on the car except on the wheels and ales of course.

May 1930

Thursday, May 01

I was on Meteors this morning but overslept and never woke up until 08:00. I went down but of course I couldn't get Edmonton until 09:00. That is the latest that we were for over a year. We had three alarm clocks and one ran completely down, on Joe shut off in his sleep and I shut the other one off in my sleep. This afternoon Gerry came down to the station and played a hand of poker over the wire with Hastings at Simpson for 10 sweepstakes tickets. Gerry won. He had a pair of Kings and RSH ( Hastings) had a pair of Queens. Mrs Pearson came in just at that time so I came up and put the perc on and we all had coffee and cakes. The cakes were some that she made and brought over to us. Just when Getty was ready to go home it started to rain, the first of the season I think. So I took him home in the car. Mrs Pearson went along and did some shopping. Browne came up this evening about suppertime and he and Joe went back uptown later. I practised for an hour on the mandolin while I was alone. I am playing by ear as I don't care much for the pieces we have around here. There are in too many flats for my limited knowledge of the mandolin.

Friday, May 02

I was on the set all day today and overtime I called Simpson, I expected a SVC about the late Meteors yesterday. I thought for sure there wold be because Jack called Simpson at 13:00 and I could read him from upstairs. He asked them if they knew we were late for Meteors. Oh well, nothing came of it anyway so I guess I shouldn't kick. I went uptown a couple of times today then came back and read for a while. Joe was uptown and came back about 23:00. We went to bed at midnight.

Saturday,May 03

I was on the set until Press time. Went uptown once during the afternoon. After supper I went up to spend the evening at Calaghans and was there till 02:00. had a read good time, too. Bill Schaffeur is staying there until Vic gets the new house finished. he is building a new place of his own across from the new butcher shop. They have a real fine shop there now and with new barns, sheds, etc. It looks like a small town of its own. Campbells house is nearly read too although he is slow with it because he works alone at it. Joe was asleep when I came in so I went straight to bed.

Sunday, May 04

Browne came down early and we went to work and fixed up Cazukus for him. I never saw a car so funny before. The paint job we did is a cream body with red trimmings and grey fenders. The top of the hood is robin blue and the radiator is aluminium. We cut the top so that it just goes over the back seat to represent a Landeau. Browne calls it his Cabriolet ( he pronounces it cab-ree-oh-let ). We got a packing box behind and fixed it on for a trunk and painted licence plates on it ( 1930 model- No9 Dealer) and it has disc wheels and a bumper. The bumper is made from the wooden centre of a linoleum roll. I took some pictures of it but have not had time to finish them yet. Joe, Browne and I went uptown and went to Lanouettes for supper. Then I came home and read for a while and went to bed early.

Monday, May 05

I was on the set today. Browne's car was dry so we phoned Lanouettes to say that we'd be there for supper and decided to have some fun. Browne was chaffer and Joe was footman. They were dressed with our fur coats and blue hat ( from our blue uniform with the badge off) and I was dressed up and had a raincoat and boudoir hat and cane. I was in the back seat. We stopped at pearsons to get a cigar and they wanted to come to. We all went up to Lanouettes then went and called on everybody. My gosh talk about a scream, that outfit takes the cake. We put on lots of style and dog on the trip, too.We stopped at Pearsons on the way back and played cards until about 02:00 then came home and went to bed.

Tuesday, May 06

On the set all day today. Nothing doing in the evening. Joe went uptown with Browne.

Wednesday, May 07

I stayed in bed until 11:00 then went uptown. Was up at the house for a while. Ice moved at the Hay camp and 02:30 this afternoon.

Thursday, May 08

Ice at Smith broke away from the point and cleared as far as Gravel Point. I took a run down the hill to have a look at it. The water is much higher this spring than I ever saw it before. It is dangerously near the HBC warehouse.I was on the set most of the day and during the afternoon Joe was invited at the Police for supper, so I decided to eat at Lanouettes. After supper I decided to go to the Halfway for a ride. The trails are pretty good, although I was stuck chiming back for a few minutes. It was about 22:00 when I got home. Joe and Browne came in about an hour after I arrived. Browne took the pan off his engine and took up the bearings on the connecting rods.

Friday, May 09

I was on the set till 10:00 then got Joe up and while he took the set I went to work outside cleaning up. We had a fellow here working so I went out to show him what there was to do. He raked up the yard. Then he and I cleaned out both warehouses and the engine room and the place is the cleanest it has been for years. It looks the best it ever has because there are no stumps around now like there used to be. The ice broke and started moving at Fitz at 19:30 tonight. I took Mr & Mrs Pearson down the hill to see the river and it had began to go down again. The water was up over the platform but has fallen a foot. Two boats that were considered safe up on the bank drifted away. One of them was Raneys boat. He left it in my charge but there is nothing I can do for it. It is caught in a creek about 50 feet below where it had been but it may go out of there if the river comes up any more. It had gone from a place that ordinarily would have been ten feet above high water. I took the Pearsons out for a ride as far as the boundary then they came down to the station for a while. When they went I started to read a book that they loaned me "Ladies in Hades" by Frederic Arnold Kummer. Went to bed at midnight.

Saturday, May 10

Up about 09:00. I went down to look at the river and it was up under the warehouse now. I took a picture of it and brought the Doctor and Inspector Trundle up the hill. When I got back to the station Joe was talking about the roads to Fitz and I decided to run over and see Walt and Tom Pearce. I left here about 11:00 and stopped to talk to Mickey for a while. It was dinner time so he told me to stay and have dinner. I did. I left there about 12:30 and met Joe Lacombe and Walt on the road about a half mile on the other side of the Halfway and stopped and talked to them for a half hour and as this was its first trip after being overhauled, it was running hot. They were letting it cool off. I got into Fitz about 14:00 and went down to see Mories and after talking to them for about an hour I went up to see Bob McDermitt and talked to him most of the afternoon. I had supper at the Berbers, I was down to Syd Porters for a while to look up some things in the Encyclopedia Britannica. I went back to Mories and spent most of the evening. The Policeman was there and I chewed the fat with him for a long while. I left there about 22:00 and brought Dolly Mercredi and Molese Mercredi over with me. It was about 23:00 when I got home and went to bed.

Sunday, May 11

Up at 05:30 and sent off the Meteors and 2 more wires that were here and took one. About 08:00 Punch Dickens arrived at Fitz. First plane since the March 29. The Commercial plane arrived 10:30 so we should have mail this afternoon. Between the noon and night calls I went over to Pearsons for dinner then took them uptown to see if the mail came in yet but as it hadn't I took them for a ride out over the Mountain Portage. There was hardly any ice left on the lower side but the upper side was jammed. The mail arrived at 15:00 but as this was not a regular run but a special trip to take Mr. McDougal out to the hospital, all they brought was one bag. I got 5 letters from home, 4 from Nona and some from the bank. I answered Nonas' then took them up to the PO after I finished on the set. I was on the Key all day as this was my Sunday on. It was midnight when I went to bed.

Monday, May 12

I was on the set . Joe relieved me at dinner time and was on this afternoon. The 3 of us made out a new schedule this morning. All the operating is being done by Joe and I. The week one is on the early AM Meteors (5:30) then he goes back until 10:30 then gets up and takes any messages uptown that have to go and comes back and cooks dinner. Dinner is at 13:00. This arrangement will only be effective until the new fellows come in, then there will be 3 of us on. The schedule will be changed then to allow for me living at home. When they get here I will be off Meteors. During the afternoon I worked around the car till about 16:00. I read most of the evening.

Tuesday, May 13

More mail arrived this afternoon. One letter from Nona telling me about the baby. it was written in bed and I learned that her name is Yvonne. I like it very much. I got a bunch of seeds from Edmonton and after supper I went up to the cemetery and planted some Stocks and Poppies on Nadene's grave. Then I went home and planted Sweetpeas along the fence. I planted 15 packages of Sweetpeas, every package was a different colour. I have 15 packages left. In the garden at the side of the house, I planted a package of California Poppys and one of the Shirley Poppys and some Candytuft. In the plot around the house I planted one package each of Calliopsis, African Daisy, Scarlet Flax and some Bachelor buttons. Along the lower part of the fence, I planted a package of Nigonette and Lavatera. I planted one package of Nasturtum ( dwarf) around the border of the plot at the side of the house. After I finished I decided to go to the Halfway for a ride and see Walt. When I got there I saw "Jean". He was alone and told me that everybody was at Fitz, launching Mickey boats. I decided to go on over and he went with me. I saw Bert and Walt and talked to them till 22:00. I had a haircut while I was there too. It was midnight when I got home.

Wednesday, May 14

On Wednesdays Joe and I changed around so that it breaks up the week up for the one on Meteors. I had to take the morning shift. Business was just fair. Another mail arrived today but it was all papers and packages. I got a birthday package from Mother & Dad. The plane will be here with the mail everyday for 4 days running till they get the mail to here cleared up. It turned cold today with a north blowing wind and at 09:00 it started to snow but it stopped before the ground was white. It continued cold all day. After supper the drawing for the sweepstakes tickets was held in Lanouettes. Paul, Pop Walters, Morie, Phil Kennedy, Bob Middleton and I did the drawing. Pop drew the numbers, Paul read the name and Bob, Phillip and I did the writing while Fred drew the times. It was 00:30 when we finished. There was a dance going on but I didn't stay. I came home and went to bed.

Thursday, May 15

After taking the Meteors I went back to bed and slept till 11:45. Then I got dinner ready. I was on the set all afternoon. Joe went up and got the mail at 16:00. It was nearly all made up of papers, however. I got a letter from Nona's Mother and Dad in Barrie. I got a pearl pen and pencil from the Tobacco Co. for eight sets of poker hands. It is a beauty too. After supper Joe went uptown with Browne. I developed a pack of films. They came back about 23:00 and we had a lunch and talked till midnight then Browne went home and we went to bed at 01:00.

Friday, May 16

I was on the set all afternoon today. Business fairly brisk. Word came thru that the SS Athabasca left Waterways at 06:00 . After supper Joe went out so I decided to go for a car ride. I went about 5 miles out the Portage Road and back. Then I went over to Lyalls and talked to him for a while and came home and read some newspapers. Went to bed about 23:30.

Saturday, May 17

On the set all afternoon. Business heavy. After supper jack phoned over and asked us all to come over but Joe and Browne were just going to Fitz so they declined. I went over and Mrs Morie and Fred were there. They have been over here for several days. Mrs Morie is waiting to go to the hospital. She has been ready for several days. She had to be back at 21:00 as they lock the hospital up, so I ran them all up in the car. After Fred came back out I asked Mrs Pearson if she would like to go for a car ride and Fred said to go on over to Fitz and he would fill my tank up for me so I did. We all went over and stayed at Fred's for a while. Captain Warner was there. He had just got in with a kicker from Waterways. He said that the steamer should be able to make it OK as there was no ice on the lake. Pete Baker was there too and in a humorous mood. He told us some very interesting yarns of his experiences. I didn't notice the time at al but when we got home it was 02:30. Mrs Pearson was pretty tired and decided not to go over tomorrow to see the steamer come in, at least she said she didn't think she would go.

Sunday, May 18

Jack phoned up at noon and said that they thought they would like to go over to Fitz to see the boat after all. Joe was all ready to go too and as he was on duty today, he was just going to call Jack and ask him if he would take the evening calls for him when jack phoned to say that they would go. We left here at 14:00 and had a puncture just before we came to the 3 mile bridge. Jean Ryan came along and stopped to see if I was OK. he had a load. The Bull Moose had arrived at noon and he was taking a load over to Smith. They were the crew for the Distributor. Chris and McLennan were in the car. We stopped at the Halfway for a while, then went on. Nearly everyone was over there. The Athabasca arrived at 17:25. Old Jack McFayden won the sweepstakes. It was $1290.00. Everybody was glad to see him win, too. He is an old timer here and an old pal of Bill Russells. He is too old to work and hasn't very much. In fact McDermott told me that he was up against ti and this would be a God send to him. Well, good luck to him, thats the kind I like to see win.There were a lot of people on the bank. There are a bunch of mining men coming in and a new bunch for fort Smith. A Mr Norzack and his bride, for the Mining Branch of the Dept. A Mr Meilke and his family for the same outfit, who will live in Hastings house ( Horzack will live in the Hotel. They are fixing up Conibears suite and remaking it over). Then there is a Mr AL Cumming and his family, all for Smith. Had a chat with Capt. Myers. He is just the same as ever. The Athabasca is fixed up swell this year. Jack Barford and Eddie, who worked down at the A&A last year are back and Alex Johnson is now Purser on the Distributor. Backland is back too. Mrs Gagnon and Suzanne were on the boat as well, although I didn't speak to them. The new tire and new upholstery for the car came and Syd gave it to me there. I brought it home and when I looked at the upholstery, Oh Boy, it sure some class. It is a kind of cord material of a bluish grey colour and has a thin stripe of a floral design every 3 inches. The edges of the seats are lined with blue leather and there is a blue leather stipe around the top of the side pieces that go along the side of the car. The new upholstery goes all over the car up to the bottom of the windows. It rained all day and the roads were beginning to get a little slippery when we came home. We got back at 21:30 and I stayed over at Pearsons till 23:00, then went home to bed.

Monday, May 19

I was on the set all morning but during the afternoon I put the new upholstery in the car then fixed the spare tire and am now all set. I have a couple more things for the bus still on the way but they are just small parts to replace. The old bus is running like a new car and everybody says it looks like a new one too. The new paint job turned out swell. After supper Joe went uptown and as it was kid of lonesome here I went over to the Halfway. Mickey, Jean, Bill Johnson, Bert, Callaghan and Bill Russell were there in the office and I talked to them till 22:30 then came home. I went over really to see Walt but he had been up working for 48 hours and went to bed at 17:30 so I didn't go near the shack.

Tuesday, May 20

Nothing much doing today. I was on the set all morning. During the afternoon I worked for a while on the bus, tinkering around with fine adjustments for a car ride. I went over to the Halfway but Walt was pretty busy so I talked to Jean and Bill Johnson for a while then came home. It was about 23:00 when I got back and I went to bed.

Sunday, May 25

Well, this week has flown by and I did not have much chance to keep this UTD. However, during the week I did a few jobs on the car and went for a ride every night. I rode over to Fitz a couple of times because there was nothing else to do and when I didn't go there I went to the Halfway to talk to Walt but he is pretty busy these days. They are all on the go now and as the roads are real good the freight is moving pretty fast. I was over yesterday. The Athabasca was in and I got some stuff from Eatons for the house. I got a new set of stuff for my new house lighting plant. I got quite a lot of new switches and things, curtains and picture frames, etc. I got 2 frames and framed the 2 photo's of Nona. They are dandy too. The weather was cold, with rain occasionally. It is now 02:30 I am going to bed now.

Friday, May 30

It has been impossible to keep up with the diary the past few days as it is so lonesome around the station at night. I have gone to the Halfway nearly every night and went to Fitz a couple of times just to go somewhere. By the time I got home, it's usually after midnight, so I went to bed as I have been on the early morning period on the Key this week. On Tuesday morning Mrs Morie presented Fred with a baby son. Both were doing splendidly until today. Baby was very sick today and the doctor is outside. The Nurse didn't seem to know just what the trouble was so Fred came to the station and wired his family doctor in Edmonton explaining the symptoms and asking for a diagnosis and treatment. No answer yet. Then Fred wanted to go to Fitz to see John about it, so I took him across. I took the engine of my car down night before last and put in a new piston and connecting rod and tightened up all the bearings, cleaned the carbon, inspected and re-seated the valves and it is as quiet now as a new car. The engine can hardly be heard. That about finishes all the work necessary on it for a year anyway. Some of the stuff came for the house this week. I got the new linoleum for the kitchen and the bedroom. There is some more on this boat coming in. The new console radio cabinet and dynamic speaker from Chicago is here but I will not unpack the things as they come until I get them home. I am keeping them all in the warehouse at the station until I get ready for them. I will paint the kitchen, then lay the linoleum, then when the front room is repapered, I will lay the carpet after varnishing around the edges, then lay the linoleum in the bedroom and them move the furniture in and start living there and working evenings to fix it up. I have the flower beds all planted but nothing is up yet but will be before long now. Bill is on his way in, will be here Saturday. I am planning to go across to meet him when he arrives. On this weeks mail I got 2 from Nona, one from Dr Agnew who is in Edmonton at the time and some from places in the states. The last ones were nearly all business correspondence.

Saturday, May 31

Went over the Portage this afternoon after quitting time. The Athabasca got in about 17:00. I met Bill Free in Fitz and talked to him for a while. There was a dance booked for Attridges for tonight but I came over to Smith with Bill Free early. It was 23:00 when we got over. I was in Lanouettes with Bill when Backland came in and wanted me to take a gang of his over. There was six of them. I refused at first but he couldn't get anyone at the Halfway and McNeil was loaded so I took them over and turned the tickets into Mickey and he gave me credit for them. It was 02:00 when I got home to bed.

June 1930

Sunday, June 01

My day off so I went up to see Bill Free. He was going to go over to Fitz and as I had nothing wise to do took him over, got back about 23:00.

Tuesday, June 03

There was nothing doing yesterday. I went across with Free again and got some supplies that he brought in for me. We brought another fellow back with us. I don't know who he was. Today was a holiday. Joe was going to be around all day as he sold his car to Pearson and is going to overhaul it. I went to Fitz this afternoon and made $5 taking passenger over. There was to be a dance there so I asked Kay and Mrs Coutoure if they wanted to go over. They did, so I took them along. Harriet was ready to go and I took her along as well. We stopped at the Halfway for a minute and Bill Johnson was ready to go so he came along. We got in about 22:00. There was a big crowd there as the Echo was in. Several there were a little worse for liquor. Browne was on of them and caused a scene. The APP there took him in hand however and jugged him for the time being then laid some charges against him. Pretty good for the RCMP reputation here. We were among the last to leave. It was about 02:45. Harriet went back with Middleton and I brought Kays' husband back with us in her place. He is going to work in Smith for the rest of the summer. We arrived at home at…………..

Wednesday, June 04

…….04:20 and as it was my morning on Meteors, I lit a fire and sat around till 05:30 then cleared them and went to bed till 12:30. I was on the set all afternoon and the traffic was real heavy and X bad. Had to relay Meteors and rush traffic to and from Simpson and Edmonton. I got thru at 19:20 and right after supper I went over to the Halfway. I stayed around there till 22:00 and came home and wrote a letter to Nona. I went to bed at 01:00.

Monday, June 16

Time flies by so fast that it is almost impossible to keep UTD with this job of daily entering up the diary. However, I have made a list of the more important events that have happened since the fourth and will try to put them all down. The order may not be according to their dates but they all happened during that period. Traffic has ben constantly increasing and so has the static. Col. Cornwall came in a week ago and has gone on to Norman for the summer. I believe most of his work will take him on to Bear Lake. He is still with the DOMEX and says that the outlook for the country has never been better. The Distributor arrived at Smith on the 15 and is loading for Aklavik. they will get away sooner this year than ever before. They expect to get away on the 21. They make it a few days earlier every year. Jim Darwish arrived on the 16 from Rae and reports that the ice is still solid on the Lake. He had to hunt around thru the channels to get thru. He was on the lookout for a bear skin or two for me , one a brown and one a grizzly, but told me that there wasn't one in this spring that he considered worth carting down to me. I overhauled my Elto and finished it on the 16 and after supper Joe and I took it out to try it out. We borrowed the RCMP canoe as my own boat is still at the Halfway. Mr RR MacLeod, the bank manager at McMurray came on the last boat and is spending a week here. He was out to see us at the station.Some of our stores came on the 13 and the balance came on the 15. On the 14, I painted the engine room and the battery room.

Tuesday, June 17

On the Key all AM. During the afternoon I sent most of the time cleaning up the warehouses and around the engine room. I cleaned all the tools and put them in their places. We heard that the AD Sigs was coming up for inspection. He is flying all the way. Flo Cooper had a baby daughter early this morning but it only lived 3 hours. Chas was out at Sucker Creek and Punch flew out and got him. After supper I took Bill Johnson on to Fitz. Gene and Louis were here and I dropped them off at the Halfway. It was 00:30 when I got back to Smith so I stopped and had a cup of coffee and a piece of pie at Lanouettes and talked to Kay until 01:30 then went home. While I was at Fitz I met R. Walton, who is piloting a small Curtiss 2 passenger Robing. It is a dandy small machine. He showed me over it and explained it to me.

Wednesday, June 18

I was on the PM shift today and the static was real heavy. I didn't get thruout until 19:00. Joe kept supper for me though. We eat supper every day at Lanouettes now as the new gang will be here any time and we are closing out the mess account until they get here. The DA Thomas arrived at Fitz this afternoon. It has been up on the Peace River. They took all the fittings out of her so that when she went over the rapids at the Vermillion Shutes and was wrecked, they would save all they could. They made it fine. Not a board broken but practically all the windows on the lower deck were broken in. She is nearly twice the size of the Athabasca River. They are going to remove all the machinery and build a new boat for the lower river work and put in the machinery from the DA Thomas. The lumber from her is to be used in building a new wharf at Fitz. After supper went over to see it and took Kay, Mrs Coutoure, Harriet and Joe. Coming back we brought Leger, the Commercial Airways agent from Fitz. We got back at midnight.

Thursday, June 19

On the Key the AM. Business heavy and static nil. It started raining yesterday and has been at it all day today. The mail did not arrive but Sherlock is here form the North and is going on to Edmonton in the morning so I am going to get my mail up tonight. I had to clean out the gas line on the car today, it was getting plugged.

Saturday, June 28

Time I was bringing this UTD again I guess. Business still increasing at the station and so is the static. L/Cpl. Plunkett arrived at Smith on the 20. There were 7 of them altogether. The others all went on down river. I brought four of them over in the bus. Stevenson was delayed owing to an operation for appendicitis but will be here presently. Frank Conibear has been to Rae but returned this AM so I guess they will be going out in a week or two at the most. I hope so as my stuff is about ready now to move . I hope to go this next Echo ( Monday or Tuesday). I went over to Fitz the other day with Bill Johnson to see the new HBC boat the "Pelly River". It is a twin screw diesel powered boat and the finest on the river now. She has the same engines ( F.M. 70 hp) as the Slave River on the lower river but is far better installed. Roads across the Portage are very good at present. I went over last night in 40 minutes. We were all invited over to Mories for supper. Mrs Ryan came home on the 20. She is looking far better than she was before she went away. Max Finkelstein and JW Campbell were on the boat of the 20th. They were here only a short time. The Distributor pulled out on the 21st at 18:00 on her first trip down river. Joe Lanouette is on a bender again and Mrs Coutoure went home with a headache ( although it quit long enough for her to go to Fitz and dance till 03:30 AM) and Kay has been trying to keep things going alone. Cooking for 40 too. She was out of bread and as I was going for a ride, I went back over to Fitz and got ten loaves from Ed and brought them back to her. I got home at 00:30 and Joe, Cecil and I played 3 games of Solo. I went broke twice and Cecil went broke the last time.

Sunday, June 29

I slept till 12:30 today then got up and worked on the car most of the day. I went to the Halfway this afternoon to get a bolt that came off the transmission. I had hunted all over town and couldn't get one to fit. It was on the rear axle truss rods where they fasten to the Universal joint.

July 1930

Tuesday, July 01

I was up at 09:00. Took some messages uptown then met Walt. He was on his way across so I went over with him and we got back at 14:00. I came down to the station. Jack was here. A message came thru that Col. Forde was enroute from Edmonton and would be here this afternoon. He is coming in with a RCAF plane. We did some cleaning up and got things ready for inspection if he came. They held their annual sports here but owing to the fact that we expected the Colonel here at any time, we did not take part in the baseball as was planned. There was a dance at Lanouettes and we all went up. I had 2 dances and came home about 01:00.

Wednesday,July 02

No word of Col. Forde yet today. Punch Dickens came in from McMurray and said that he would be here tonight. There was a RCAF plane come over at 19:00 and Jack and I went downy he hill to meet him and bring him up to the station but it was a false alarm. I went back to Pearsons and stayed there till about 23:00 then went uptown and had a cup of coffee and came home to bed. When I got there Kay told me that the Col. had arrived and was upstairs in bed. He had just gone up.

Friday, July 04

Started the Delco at 09:00. The Col. arrived here at 10:00 and looked over the place. About 11:00 he and Jack were in the office having a conference and I was upstairs reading when there was a crash and thump down in the engine room then silence. I went downstairs on the gallop and Joe was just ahead of me getting to the engine room. The piston had broken and the connecting rod bearing and what was left of the piston crashed thru the crankcase and spread out on the floor and there was oil all over the place. The oil in the Delco had flashed and fire was spouting out so I put it out with the pyrene. The flywheel was still revolving and I had to wait till it stopped to do anything. As soon as it stopped, I took it down to see what was needed. We needed a new crankcase with cover, crankshaft, piston assembly and cylinder. Col. Forde ordered them right away to be shipped from Edmonton via plane and instructed the operators to reduce transmission to a mere essential. A service was sent to all stations advising them of the breakdown. I started in to see what could be done in the way of a==== Temporary repair. I made a plate to fit over the hole which was about the size of a dinner plate and when it was screwed on I set about putting in the spare piston assembly we had. The crankshaft is badly dented but it may last out till the new one gets here. I ground it as smooth as I could with sandpaper. I sealed the joint in the tin plate with Smoothen ( an iron cement ). Walt heard about it and came over about 23:00 to help me. He tried to get over before but couldn't get over as the cars were in Fitz. I was finished when he got here so we tried it out. The engine ran smoothly and didn't leak any oil so I shut it off till morning. We went back uptown and had a cup of coffee and I came home. Joe and Cecil were at Fitz at the dance.

Saturday, July 05

Started the Delco this morning but after 2 hours operation the seam began to open out and leak oil. I shut it down and patched it some more and allowed it to set but the voltage was getting low and I decided that it would have to go whether it threw oil or not. It did and after I shut down at 18:00, I mopped up 3 quarts of good oil. The Col. was down today and chatted with me for a half hour. He told me that I could bank on coming out to Borden next spring. I was slated for Camp Borden this spring but they had to postpone it owing to several new stations going in.. Went over to the Halfway after supper.


I hope that some of the families of the other characters find this.

Unfortunately the journal ends here. But not the story, Nona comes back in a few weeks, with baby Yvonne and spends another winter in the North till they go to Camp Borden where Gris becomes a teacher for other Signalmen. Other than for short times, they are never apart again for the next 65 years.

Gris spends his working life (post army much later) in electronics going from radio, to TV and eventually to computer parts. He was laid off when he was 86 because the electronics wholesale he worked for went into receivership. I remember how ‘mad’ he was and would say things like “ Who will hire me now? (at 86), so he grudgingly retired. But through an era of such rapid change, his first and true ‘love’ always remained the radio.

--- Deborah Cousins

PS No wonder they were so good at Bridge.

«-- Gris Griswolds Daily Journal
Part 7
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