Golden Moments: Age is just a number in local senior’s eyes

John Mather has spent most of his, near 90 years, in this area after being born in Field in 1923.

John Mather has spent most of his, near 90 years, in this area after being born in Field in 1923.

“I will be 90 years young in March,” he said.

He went to school in Field until Grade 8 but did not continue his education in Golden.

“There was only school to Grade 8 in Field. I couldn’t afford to go out of town to go to school. If I remember right, there were 12 or 14 in Grade 8, and only two moved into Golden to go to high school,” he said. “That was the depression years.”

After graduating from Grade 8, he moved on to live and work in Donald in 1939.

“We bought a piece of land out there with the idea of farming, but that didn’t really happen. When the mill first came in October of 1939 I went to work there,” he said.

Mather said they were good years in Donald, but like many men back then, he ended up going out into the backcountry to build roads and work at smaller mills.

“It was too muddy and too cold but I drove a CAT until I got married, and my wife and I also lived in the bush,” he said.

Mather was married in 1944 to Mary Drown. The couple were married in Golden at Mary’s mother’s house.

Mather and Mary met through a family member but did not start dating right away.

They went on to have three boys and two girls together.

“We stayed out there a couple of years before we moved back to Donald, then I went back to work at the mill there. It was work for 12 months of the year, and you needed that if you were married,” he said. “When I got married I was making big money. I was making 60 cents an hour. It doesn’t sound reasonable now.”

Mather added that people were all happy back in those times, and even when something went wrong, they came together to help one another.

“If someone’s house burned down, everybody was there, and you were not alone,” he said. “Everyone may have been pretty poor, but only in the sense that we didn’t have dollars. But we were all happy and in the same boat.”

Mather said he wished he had written down more about the people he had met over the years.

“You have people from all walks of life. Even people who seemed gruff, would give you the shirt off their back,” he said.

During the discussion Mather said that he would like to travel to Newfoundland for many reasons. One of those reasons is that he feels the people in Newfoundland have the same attitude that people used to have in the local area.

“They are all pretty well laid back. It doesn’t matter if the weather is bad or business is no good. It never seems to bother them,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how tough the job, they always seem to get it done,” said Mather.

Even though Mather is turning 90 this year, he has not slowed down over the years. An avid driver, he still enjoys driving out to different parts of British Columbia to visit family, or just go for a drive somewhere.

“I may not be as free to go as I used to be. I used to have a boat, but I sold it because it got too heavy for me. I started to get a little old a couple of years ago, but I am not really old yet,” he said. “I have a son who lives in Castlegar and I enjoy driving there.”

He added, he went through a period of four months where he could not drive because of a broken leg, and that was difficult for him. However, when he went to do his driver’s test he  said that the person who was testing him said he was a more careful driver than most 40 or 50 year olds.

One area he has been going to is out to the Donald Bridge. Mather explained that he had worked on the first, wooden Donald Bridge.

He said when he worked on the original bridge it was during the winter and they had to cut through the ice to put the supports in.

As for going forward he explained he is always looking forward to what he is going to do, which most of the time is determined from one moment to the next.