Bev Gudjonson (nee Mosher) moved away from Parson briefly before the area called her back. Otherwise, she has spent nearly her entire life living in the Columbia Valley and now lives just a few hundred metres from where she grew up.
“I’m so familiar with the whole place, right from the time when I was two years old I was here.”
Gudjonson moved to the area when she was still a toddler. Her father worked for Canadian Pacific and took a job at CP’s station in Parson, which handled passenger traffic at the time.
In a rather unique work-at-home arrangement, the family actually lived in the five bedroom house that was attached to the station.
Gudjonson had a pleasant childhood and enjoyed attending the Parson school. When she was 11 or 12 years old, she was given an opportunity to earn what must have felt like a lot of money at the time as the school’s custodian.
“I think I made $7 per month,” she laughed. “I thought I was rich.”
In 1950, a boy named Baldur moved next door to her family. They dated during high school and were married when Gudjonson was just 16 years old.
Together they had seven children and Gudjonson now has 16 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren as a result.
Tragically, one of her sons, David, was killed after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle.
“He left (our house) and he said ‘I want to ride my bike’ and I told him he’d never ridden his bike before on the road,” she remembered. “He said ‘I’ll be careful.’ He just got to the bottom of the hill…he went to cross the road and it was an old couple that hit him. He died instantly.”
The family also had to deal with another tragedy when the house they had been living in burnt down. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.
Gudjonson was exceptionally grateful for the support she received from the community after both incidents. Friends and neighbours were particularly helpful after the fire and helped her family with the construction of a new home.
“The people of the community were certainly good to us,” she said. “We could never thank them enough for all they did.”
After their children grew up and moved away, Bev and Baldur (who has since passed away) moved first to Nakusp and then Creston to live closer to family, but that experiment didn’t last very long.
“We lived (in Creston) for about a year and a half and then we decided we didn’t like it so we came back (to Parson),” Gudjonson said.
“It was just home.”
And home it continues to be.