Saturday 28 January 2017

Where We Spent Our First Canadian Winter

    When we immigrated to Canada in 1973, I took a job teaching in a one-room school at a lumber camp in the BC Interior near Takla Lake.  We were young and looked at the whole thing as an adventure.  It was.
    The photo above shows our place of residence for our first winter.  It was a old small camping trailer with a rectangular wooden “mud room” attached.  Here is what I wrote about our first introduction to our new home:

We dragged our luggage up the two wooden steps, opened the door to what was to be our abode for the winter.  The “mudroom”, which was the Canadian term given to the rectangular wooden addition, was just a big empty space that ran down the entire length of the 18 foot travel trailer.   This room had only one  item in it--a orange 16 inch metal cube, with a screened fan in the front and a one inch thick, heavy duty, insulated electrical cable snaking out of the  back and attached to the wall--it was an industrial-strength space heater.
        From the mudroom, we entered through the aluminum and louvered- glass door of the trailer into the tiny kitchen/dining room, complete with a small two by three foot formica topped table sided by padded upholstered plastic booth-like seats on each side.  
The tiny table jutted out from a window, which allowed us to admire the bleakly painted plywood back of the mill office as we dined.  Behind the left booth seat was the kitchen area, which included a tiny stovetop, oven, and refrigerator that Frank had told us didn’t work.  Along the “kitchen” wall were cabinets and the kitchen sink.  From the kitchen, a narrow passage/hallway ran back to the bedroom, which was basically just a bed with a cramped space that allowed one to walk along one side of its sides to the end of the bed.  There must have been a closet or chest of drawers there somewhere also, but I can’t remember them.
A tiny bathroom was squeezed between the kitchen area and bedroom.  It featured a very small tub/shower, a sink, and an airplane-type toilet, featuring rubber flaps at the bottom of the toilet bowl.
    I don’t think we were too critical about our accommodations, it was small, but adequate, and besides it was all part of our northern adventure.  In fact, later when the camp bosses wanted to move us into a larger, but no more glamorous trailer, we opted to stay where we were.

    I do remember that the bedroom was almost entirely filled with a double bed mattress, which had one of its sides squeezed tightly against the wall.  That was my side.  One very cold morning I woke up with my face close to the wall and discovered that my breathing throughout the night had formed into  frost on the wall and the blankets that were tucked in between the mattress and the wall were frozen to the wall.  
    It was good that we were were young, foolish, and open to adventure during that winter.
    Below is a winter photo of the back of our trailer.

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