Robert Anderson’s life in Golden began in 1927, when he was born into the community he would call home for his entire life.
“I was born in the old hospital here,” said Anderson, whose parents immigrated from Sweden in the early 1920s.
“Knowing from letters that I have that my parents wrote, he came here first before they were married…Then he went back for her, and brought her here,” said Anderson.
Life could be hard in those times, but Anderson says his family managed to find everything they need.
“During the Depression we didn’t have much, but everybody was in the same situation,” he said.
Being too young to join the war effort in Europe in the 1940s, Anderson had to step up and fill some important roles back here in Golden.
“I was fighting forest fires when I was 14, all the men were over fighting in the war, so we had to help out,” he said. “I got paid 25 cents an hour, which wasn’t too bad back then.”
Anderson smiled as he reminisced about growing up in the Columbia Valley, enjoying all the outdoor adventures the area has to offer.
“I skied, tobogganed, and skated on the river all winter, and in the summer I was fishing all the time. We lived about two blocks from the Columbia River,” he said.
“We had no electricity, TV, telephone or radio, so we had to fill our time other ways.”
The Andersons had to get all their water from a well outside, until they eventually got a pump inside the house. And they didn’t get electricity until the 1950s, and it was the ’60s before they had a telephone.
Like many young men in that time, Anderson ended his education at Grade 8, and entered the work force. At age 15 he started working for CP Rail for three years.
After that he started working as a carpenter, and has had his hand in a lot of homes and recognizable buildings and structures in the area.
He helped with the construction of the Mica Damn, the previous Lady Grey Elementary School that eventually burned down, the shopping centre in Trail, and countless other business and homes up and down the valley.
As for his family life, Anderson met his wife right here in Golden in 1966.
“She was here visiting her sister, and decided she wanted to stay for a bit so she got a job at the store. I was in the Lions Club, and another member said I should meet her,” said Anderson. “We met in the spring, and we were married in December.”
Anderson finished out his working life at the school district working maintenance.
He feels fortunate to have always been able to find work, which is one of the reasons he never left Golden.
“I loved living in Golden, there was always something to do outside, fishing and hunting,” he said.
“There are still some people here I grew up with as well, it’s always nice to see them around town.”