Ellen Carlson has lived in Golden since August 23, 1959, when she and her husband moved to town.
“He was one of the very last Morse code operators on the CPR,” she said.
She came to Golden from Albert Canyon, a town of 13 families, most of who worked for CPR.
“When we moved into town we had a little tiny 28 foot trailer. We put it over on the other side of 9th Street, where the apartments are, and there were only three houses in this area. The rest was shrubs and trees,” she said.
She was a stay-at-home mom who looked after five of her own children, but her house was a favourite place for other local children to drop by as well.
“It was a houseful and we always had neighbour kids too.”
These days, she spends time at local markets, when she is not volunteering at places like the Seniors Centre or the Golden Food Bank.
At the markets, Carlson sells her own handmade items. She has knitted and sewn since she was a young child.
“During the war years (the Second World War), my mother belonged to the Red Cross and the IODE (the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire). Every Saturday she took a dozen pairs of men’s socks into one or the other. I was knitting socks for her,” she said.
Now she likes to sew and knit because, “It gives me something to do. Even the days I do not sell anything, I am still out meeting other people who I wouldn’t see if I was at home.”
She added, this interaction is something she enjoys because she gets to not only chat with people from the area, but also people who come to Golden from all over the world.
She thinks it is very important for seniors to stay occupied as they grow older.
“For me, if I don’t keep using my hands and fingers I will loose the use of them. This is what happens to a lot of seniors. They can’t keep doing things and they give up,” she said.
She also said she volunteers as best she can to try and help out local groups.
“At the Food Bank, I am what they call a Bag Lady. I get someone to get me a large bag and then I separate it into smaller bags for the clients.”
She added volunteering is fun for her.
One thing she doesn’t do as much as she used to is drive. Even though the roads are better the long waits (especially in winter) and high speeds on the highways are a concern for her. She is always worried about drivers who do not know how to deal with driving through the mountains.
An avid square dancer in her early days in Golden, Carlson spoke fondly of weekend events which used to be held in town.
“In May we had our last event. I would say 30 squares would come for the weekend. In total 240 people would come. On Friday we’d dance at night. Saturday would be two workshops and a dance in the evening, and maybe a potluck. There was always a pancake breakfast on Sunday, and then we would dance until noon,” she said. “Quite simply if you were going to square dance then you did not drink. I am not saying square dancers don’t drink but they did it after.”
In the end, she said with a smile, “I am going to keep going as long as I can.”