When Lynne Auer stepped off the CP train in Golden at 5:30 a.m. one April morning in 1950, she thought she had reached the “end of the world.”
It wouldn’t be long before she realized just how lucky she would be to become part of such a close community.
“I came here when I was seven and a half, it was early April… My dad was in the RCMP. He was in the Kamloops Provincial Police, and that’s when they decided to grandfather everyone into the RCMP,” said Auer, who spent the first seven years of her life in Kamloops.
“His first posting was in Golden in 1950. I was a city kid, I had never been on a farm or anything.”
Having very little concept of what it was like to live in a rural community, especially one in the mountains, Auer had to adapt to her new life, starting with putting on some warmer clothes.
“I stepped off the train dressed like I was in the Okanagan, and darn near froze,” she said.
Auer soon saw the benefits that came along with living in a community like Golden. She had more friends, and more genuine connections with people than she ever would have if she had stayed in a city.
“It was different, but eventually I found what it was like to live in a small town. Everybody knew everybody in school, the old Lady Grey. In the city you don’t really have friends, you might know whoever is on your block, but that’s it,” she said.
“We used to go to the Civic Centre. It opened that year in 1950. We used to go there for dances all the time, the best ones in town. Golden was active for a small town, the community really worked together.”
A self-described “typical teenager,” Auer was eager to leave Golden after high school, so she went back to Kamloops to pursue her career in nursing.
But after getting her training, she found that she was not happy living and working in the city she was born in. She quit her job and moved back to Golden while she was figuring out her next move. It was there that she ran into her old babysitter.
“She asked why I wasn’t at work, and when I told her I had quit my job she said ‘be at the hospital at 4 p.m.’ That’s how I got hired here, and I’ve been here ever since,” said Auer.
Even then, Auer didn’t really expect to stay as long as she did. But as is often the case, she met someone and got married. She had two children, and soon after lost her husband when she was only 29.
“Golden was a good place to raise my kids. You know the town, and there’s no crime here. You felt safe letting your kids just be kids,” she said.
“In those days everybody knew everybody. There were 900 people here when I arrived on the train that morning.”
Auer has done some extensive travelling in her lifetime, but has always called Golden home.
“I enjoy living here. It’s a nice little town, it’s beautiful here,” she said. Her daughter is still living in town, teaching at the high school, and Auer makes it to Montreal a couple times a year to visit her son.
Auer has been retired for five years, but has no trouble keeping herself busy. She is continuing her education at the College of the Rockies, learning about computers, and is very involved in Golden’s Hospital Auxiliary.
“It’s a group of very dedicated ladies. We’ve been functioning for about 85 years,” said Auer. “It serves the people of Golden. It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are, someone in your family at some time is going to be thankful that the equipment was purchased.”
The auxiliary raises money to help purchase much needed equipment at the Golden and District Hospital. The group is always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested, you can contact Auer at firstname.lastname@example.org.