Golden Moments: A long journey to find a new home in Golden

Jette Arkinstall came to Canada from Denmark at the age of nine and eventually made her way to Golden.

Jette Arkinstall has lived in many communities in the Columbia Valley but has called Golden home for over four decades.

Jette Arkinstall was born in Copenhagen, Denmark where she lived with her family. At the age of nine a decision was made to move to Canada.

She remembers a great deal about her time in Denmark.

“I remember living in this big apartment house. It was a square, and in the middle there was a play yard and clotheslines for the tenets,” she said. “There were lots of bicycles because people there did not drive too much.”

As a child Arkinstall and her sister would spend a great deal of time at the beach with their parents.

“I remember going down to the ocean and going swimming because we lived right next to it. We spent a lot of time there in the summer,” she said.

When she was nine the decision was made by her parents to come to Canada and live with her uncle who was living in Radium Hot Springs.

“He talked my dad into coming over so we sold everything and made the move.”

The family made the journey on a large ship which gave her a great deal of enjoyment during the trip.

“I had fun on the boat. My mom was sick as a dog but my sister, dad and I were not sick. I made friends with all the waiters and they would give me oranges that people did not take with them from meals. So I had a lot of oranges,” she said.

After landing in New York, the family took a train to Toronto before making their way to Brooks, Alberta where they were met by her aunt and uncle.

“We drove to Radium where we lived and stayed for a while,” she said.

Arkinstall said she particularly enjoyed her time in Radium Hot Springs.

“The water came right out of the rocks. It was all old rocks which is not what it is like now with the cement. The hot pools were very different. You could see all the ice hanging off the rocks. Every time I go there now I think about how it is so commercialized,” she said.

Eventually, her father got a job at the mill in Parson and the family moved there.

“When you come into Parson there is a little log cabin down in a hole filled with water. We lived in that cabin,” she said.

Arkinstall said that her father used to bike back and forth to work because they still did not have a car. When the family got a vehicle many people in the town would use it.

“We enjoyed ourselves in Parson because you never had to lock the doors or anything. We would leave the keys in our truck and if we got up in the morning and the truck was gone we would wonder who took it. A little later someone would bring it back full of gas and say they needed  to get some wood.”

Once a week the family would come into Golden and Arkinstall would get the chance to go to the movies.

“Mom would give me a dime to go to the show. I would go to the show and they would go shopping,” she said.

Another pastime Arkinstall had as a child was a passion for comic books.

“I loved them when I was growing up. I enjoyed Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger. I liked all the cowboys,” she said.

Arkinstall got married in the late 1950s and moved to Hazelton and the to Houston, before moving back to Golden in 1969.

“Golden was the same as when I left. There were the old buildings and I enjoyed the old shops like King’s Store,” she said.

One of the changes she has enjoyed in Golden is the Pedestrian Bridge over the Kicking Horse River.

“I love that bridge. It is very nice,” she said.

Arkinstall also said she enjoyed raising her six children (five girls and one boy) over the years.

Her son was the baby of the group, and may have been spoiled a little by everyone according to Arkinstall.

“They spoiled him rotten,” she said laughing. “He had a very interesting childhood growing up with five older sisters.”

She added that the area was a wonderful place to be raised as a child or to raise children.

“When I was a kid we had bonfires and Halloween was great.”

An avid athlete, Arkinstall also returned to bowling and curling when she came back to Golden.

“I only gave up curling because my legs did not move as well as I wanted them to. That’s when I took up golfing,” she said.

She added that one of the best parts about golfing is getting to meet so many different people on the course.

“I can hardly wait to get out there. I golf three or four times a week. You get to talk to people and I like to golf with people from out of town,” she said. “At first some of them think that they are golfing with an old lady but by the time we are finished they think it was the best golf round they have ever had.”

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