Golden Moments: A homestead that brought a family closer together

Deloris Frederick moved to the Golden area 72 years ago and she has lived in, or near the town ever since

Deloris Frederick moved to the Golden area 72 years ago and she has lived in, or near the town ever since.

Frederick explained that her father came to Canada from Sweden and eventually settled on a 160-acre homestead in the Blaeberry where her family would spend many years.

“There were four siblings in the family and only four and a half years between us from the youngest to oldest,” she said.

Being the oldest child, Frederick explained she had a great deal of responsibilities.

“I just wish my children could have grown up in the same environment I did because I think we learned a lot,” she said.

The farm had no running water or electricity and as a child Frederick would sometimes have to walk three miles to get to school.

“Sometimes in the winter we would walk and other times mom would take us to school on the horse and sleigh,” she said. “There was also the Doyle family who lived near us. One of the boys was five years older than me and he had a bike. Sometimes he would come to our place and put my brother and I on his bike with him. We would all ride down the hills together and then get off to walk up the next hill.”

No having electric lights in those days meant sometimes when she would get off the bus after a day at school her house would be dark.

“When we would get off the bus and you would look down at the farmhouse and there were no lights on I just felt ill. It was like there was something wrong. It was a weird feeling,” she said

Today Frederick admitted she still does not like coming home to a dark house.

Being in the Blaeberry meant that her mom and dad would only go to town once every two weeks and sometimes the children would not go on the trip.

“We had a lot of chickens and there were a lot of coyotes. Someone would have to stay and watch the chickens. Usually I got that job. I had a 22 (caliber rifle) and we all knew how to use it. It was just better to scare the coyotes away from the chickens. You would fire at them and hope you would hit them so dad would be proud of you,” she said.

Frederick said she still has her hunting and fishing license today but was also a pretty good shot back in the day.

“I used to win a lot at the turkey shoots against the women,” she said.

One of the fun trips that Frederick would take when she was growing up was on the train to Calgary to see her grandmother or do some shopping.

“That was a big thing to get on a train. The old Queen’s Hotel was here and my dad would bring my mom and I into town to stay at the hotel. We would then catch the 4:30 train in the morning which would get us into Calgary around 9 a.m. After being on the farm it was nice to get away.”

She added that on another trip to Calgary with a friend of hers from town, they met another person from Golden while shopping in the city which led to a fun night out.

“The guy was from the Blaeberry and he lived up the road from us. He was a Greyhound bus driver and he invited us to a dance that night. We said no because we had to catch the 11 o’clock train because we both had to work in the morning,” she said.

“But they said they would get us back to the train so we ended up going out to Ogden and then got on the train at 11 p.m. We got back into town just in time to go home and change our clothes before heading off to work.”

Frederick explained, that at the age of 16, it didn’t matter how tired you were because back in those days that was just the way it was and you went to work.

Another thing which she remembers about Golden which comes back to her in winter is the smell that coal used to make in the air.

“You would get up in the morning when it was really cold and you would smell the coal. I can still think at times I can smell that coal smoke. It is a smell you would never forget.”

Golden has changed a great deal over the years and Frederick does miss some of the past which is no longer here.

“It has changed a lot. I hate to see some of these old buildings go. Like the old Queen’s Hotel. It seems a shame to see them go and I wish they could have restored some of them,” she said. “I think you grow with the changes. It is like watching a child grow up. You do not notice how big they are growing because you see them every day. The people who notice the changes are my family when they come back to visit.”