One glance at the mountains, and Doreen Kelley never looked back.
“I came as a new bride in September. My husband had worked here for a year before we were married,” said Kelley, remembering what brought her to Golden in 1961.
She agreed to start a new life with her new family in Golden, but had very little idea of what she was getting into.
“He never told me much. When I asked what Golden was like, he said ‘you’ll see.’ He wouldn’t tell me,” said Kelley.
“I came to Golden over the Big Bend Highway, there was no Rogers Pass. And the first morning when I opened my eyes I said this will forever be my home. And I’ve never changed my mind.”
Although admittedly difficult at times, Golden has felt like home ever since for Kelley. She had her first child one year and two days after her wedding, and the next two came within the next two and a half years.
Money was tight back then, and Kelley, at times, felt isolated from her family (who were still in the southern Okanagan).
“I could only afford to phone home once in a great while. We had no money, and travel was so difficult at the time,” she said. “It was tough. We wrote letters a lot.”
However, she found all the support she needed right here in Golden. There were some health issues in the Kelley family, but the community was always there to help however they could.
“We had two sick children, and Golden stood behind us,” said Kelley. “We had good years and bad years in that time… Tom (Kelley’s late husband) appreciated Golden as much as I did.”
Kelley very much enjoyed raising her children here, and is thrilled that two of her three kids have decided to also make Golden their home.
Now that her children are older, Kelley likes to keep herself busy by helping out in the community.
She is the head caterer for the Seniors Centre, and devotes much of that job to catering funeral receptions.
And when she isn’t busy doing that, Kelley is lucky to have many friends who still live in Golden.
She was also fortunate enough to be able to travel quite a bit with Tom. They would take road trips all over the country.
“There’s very few roads in B.C. and Alberta that we didn’t travel,” she said.
Kelley even took a cruise recently to Alaska, after having driven up there years earlier. On the cruise, a woman approached Kelley and asked her why she didn’t seem as enthusiastic as some of the other passengers.
“I told her that we have all this on our doorstep, the bears walk through my backyard,” said Kelley.
“Then she asked me if I appreciate where I live, and I said ‘every morning when I get up and see the mountains.'”