Bev and Skipper
About 9 pm Thursday 30 October, I received a phone call from Kim Aeichele, telling me that her mother had passed way during the night of Oct 29-30. The funeral has not been planned yet, but the body will probably be cremated and the ashes scattered over Sylvan Lake.
My Cousin Bev
Beverley Ann McCallum was about a year younger than me, and my only sister is 10 years younger than me, so as a child I thought of Bev almost as a sister. Her parents would bring her to Breton when they would visit us and our uncle Jack Buchanan who lived on an adjacent farm. She and her spaniel dog, Skipper would be our playmates until it was time for them to return to Sylvan Lake. On the farm we had chickens, ducks and rabbits, as well as our own cats and dog, and Bev and Skipper fit in well with the rest of us. One summer she stayed with Jack and Tina for several days.
Occasionally my parents would take us to Sylvan Lake to visit the McCallums. I remember going to fetch water from the village pump, and walks along the lake shore together.
Then in 1954, my parents moved to Edgewater, BC, where Dad had a job working on the planer at the sawmill mill. In the summer of 1956, my parents arranged that my friend Reg Larson and Bev and her friend Gail Blair would stay with us for the summer. I don’t know what they were thinking! They had 5 children of their own and now they were adding a 14-year old boy and two 13-year old girls to the mixture. But it worked out really well. Some things we did as a large family, other activities involved the four of us, often my brother Reg (who was 12) was included and my brother Lloyd (who was 11). Edgewater was a wonderful place to explore. Picture a small town in the mountains, with the Columbia river flowing by, just out of sight, separated from the town by the railroad tracks and a quarter-mile or so of fir trees. Sometimes we would hike up to Baptiste Lake and spend the day there. There was a rowboat tied to the shore that was available for the use of anyone. We would row out into the lake and soak up some sunshine, and look down into the clear water and count the fish. I remember us going swimming fully clothed. We came out of the water looking like a pack of drowned rats! But our clothes would dry in the warm sunshine before we had walked back to town.
Our house had two upstairs windows that overlooked the street. One window was in the room where us boys slept and the other was in the room occupied by Bev and Gail. I remember Bev and I sitting in the windows of respective bedrooms (after we were supposed to be asleep, of course) having long talks on profound subjects we knew very little about. Meanwhile Reg Larson and Gail joined in, occasionally swapping places with us on the window sills. It was kind of a magical time. It was a time of innocence, as we were poised on the brink of the adulthood that would take us in different directions.
In the early 1960s my brother Lloyd and I lived in Calgary and we visited Bev and Gail, who were also living in Calgary. Then I was living in France and Switzerland, returned to Calgary, got married, and moved away and we lost touch for a while. In 1974, Uncle Jack died, and we were all together for his funeral. This renewed the old ties. Then Uncle Ber passed away in the spring of 1975 and Dad in the fall of 1975. At times like these we appreciate our family ties. Occasionally I would visit Bev or talk to her on the phone. Once she phoned to say that her brother Lloyd had passed away. Another time she called to say that her brother Jim had died. Last night it was Kim who called to tell me that Bev was gone.
She was my cousin and my friend. She will be missed.
I really appreciated the phone call from Kim. I know it must be hard to phone everyone and give them such sad news. For each of us, there is no one like our mother.