Golden Moments: Two teachers grew with the community

Two of the community's teachers, who have watched the youth of Golden grow up over the years, decided to make this their home 49 years ago.

Two of the community’s teachers, who have watched the youth of Golden grow up over the years, decided to make this their home 49 years ago.

Eleanor and Jim Nelson, originally from further down the valley in Cranbrook and Kimberley, came to Golden for a job.

“We came here for one year, and then I was going to take her some place nice. And then Golden became nice, and we just grew with the community,” said Jim.

Between the two of them, the Nelsons worked at Lady Grey Elementary, Alexander Park Elementary, and Nicholson Elementary. Eleanor taught Grade 1, and Jim spent much of his career as a principal.

“I really enjoyed them, I enjoyed that age,” said Eleanor. “I’ve run into a few of the ones that I had when I first got here, and now they’re grandmothers. That makes us feel pretty old.”

Jim, having worked with older students, loves running into his former pupils. Yet he often wonders if they hold onto the good memories, or if they only remember him as a disciplinarian.

“When you’re speaking with a former student out in the town in a social situation, and he is talking about how lethal his hands are since coming out of the armed forces, you have to wonder where the conversation is going,” said Jim, laughing as he remembered the conversation.

“They treat us very well, they’re always very friendly.”

Back in the day, Jim also had to find odd jobs during the summer when the teaching pay cheques stopped for a couple months. He found himself working for the Town for a short time.

“I had lots of fun jobs… I worked for the Town one summer. When we saw all the workers the next year and they’d say they missed me. When I asked why they’d say ‘usually after you finished working for us in the summertime we’d spend the whole winter cleaning up all the messes you made.’ I gave them plenty to do,” said Jim.

The Nelsons were also very involved in the sports community in Golden. The entire family are avid golfers, and over the years they have also been involved in curling, cross country skiing, and hockey, including Jim’s time with the Golden Rockets oldtimers team.

When they retired, they devoted more of their time to their hobbies.

“She decided it was time to devote more to her golf career. And I was going to stay working because I really enjoyed the job, the parents and the kids,” said Jim. “Then I thought about her golf game, and how much it was improving. Hers went up, and mine went steadily down. Now I’m just more of a caddy for her.”

“He didn’t want to be going to work every morning while I was heading out to the golf course,” said Eleanor.

Now, having been retired for many years, the Nelsons spend their time enjoying what Golden has to offer, before heading down south to escape the winters.

“We travel south as soon as the snow flies and I have to shovel the driveway. Each year I set it less and less. It used to be seven times, I would shovel the driveway seven times before we would leave… Now it’s down to two or three times,” said Jim.

They always make it back for Christmas though, because their kids and grandkids love to visit them here in Golden.

Even though they no longer have ties in the community (their three kids have all moved on), they have no intention of leaving until they have to.

“We won’t move… at least until we’re too old to golf and move around. Then we expect to move into our kids’ house and they can look after us. I don’t know if that will work out or not,” said Jim.