Jeff Moss and his late wife, Share, were looking for a change of scenery in the early 1970s and found it with a move to Golden. The couple was living in Berkley, California during the heart of the United States’ increasingly unpopular Vietnam War. Moss passionately opposed the cause, and despite the fact that he wasn’t even eligible for the draft, did what many Americans did at the time and moved his family north.
“My former homeland and I couldn’t agree politically, so we decided that I would leave,” he laughed.
At the time, Caleb, his oldest son (he has another son as well, Noah), was 6 months old, and Moss said that this was a factor in the timing of the move as well.
“I didn’t want to raise my kids there,” he said.
Moss was born in Los Angeles and had lived in the city his entire life. When he and Share decided they were moving north, they wanted to find somewhere rural to live and settled on B.C..
A couple of his friends had previously moved to Toronto to avoid the draft and they all decided they would meet somewhere in Canada to start their new lives as Canadians.
When Moss drew a line on the map north from Berkley and west from Toronto, the lines intersected in Golden. While Golden was supposed to be just a meeting place before they explored B.C. and found a permanent home, circumstances would change their plans indefinitely.
“My car broke down just as I was pulling into Golden. So we were here for two weeks while I was fixing it, and during those two weeks we went looking around and thought that this place was really beautiful,” Moss said.
No further exploration proved necessary and they found a small cabin to live in for the winter near Parson. That winter was the snowiest winter since he got here, Moss said, but the harsh weather didn’t make him long for the sunny beaches of California.
Eventually, the Moss family bought property on Thomas Rd., where Moss still lives today.
Moss has a degree in chemistry from UCLA, and held a very interesting job before his departure from the U.S. as a research chemist for NASA’s Apollo program.
“We were analyzing returned lunar samples. It was pretty high end stuff, there was only a few people in the world that got to touch that stuff,” he said.
For Moss, the move to rural lifestyle necessitated a career change.
“There wasn’t anybody who needed a chemist in Parson,” he laughed.
After a brief stint working for the CPR, Moss began work in the logging industry as a chain saw operator. When a dead snag fell and injured his shoulder, he started his own small sawmill business. When he broke his leg, he was forced to take some time off from that and began substitute teaching. A
teaching degree wasn’t required at the time and Moss started teaching chemistry and math part time at the high school. He loved it from the very beginning.
“Teaching was the best job in the world,” he said. “It was so great hanging out with kids all day long…[I loved] the relationships you can build with them.”
To work full-time, Moss had to attend teacher’s college in Kelowna during the week and commute back to Golden on the weekend to visit with his wife and kids. Moss was put to work as soon as he got home.
“She’d hand off these two teenage kids to me, ‘You take them’,” he said with a smile.
Moss got his teaching certificate and began teaching in Sept. 1987. He eventually had to leave full-time teaching when Share was diagnosed with cancer and Moss became her caregiver, which was hard on him in more ways than one.
“It was terrible to leave the classroom…but in the end [you] really have no choice,” he said.
The couple had to go to Calgary while Share received treatment for her illness, and Moss took advantage of the free time that he had by picking up the cello for the first time since his youth. In addition to music, fishing and gardening remain his biggest hobbies.
Despite what his birth certificate might tell you, Moss is adamant about where his real home is now.
“I love this country. When people call me an American, I get [upset]. I am not an American, I am a Canadian,” he said.