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PRESENTATION GIVEN BY R. JOHN McLEOD
AT THE McLEOD FAMILY REUNION
SAVONA, BRITISH COLUMBIA
JULY 7, 2001




My Dad often mentioned that, when returning from a trip to Vancouver by train, he awoke as the sun was coming up and shining over a lake with a small village on the other side of it called Savona. He said that he had never forgotten that sight and when the opportunity came along, he bid on the station agent's job there. He came to Savona in the spring of 1927 and Mother and the kids came out after Joyce and Art were finished school. I'm sure it must have been a great shock to everyone after leaving the cool and trees of northern Alberta to land up in such a hot, dry place as the Canadian National side of the lake at Savona.

I'm not sure how long he worked as an agent before quitting. He then became a travelling salesman selling mens clothing. I believe he did well at that until the Depression hit. After that, no one was buying suits or much of anything else.

There is a period of time that I'm not sure just what he did, if he had work or, for that matter, how we got by.

Dad then went to work in Tom Edward's store and was there for several years. But, when Tom's son, John, finished school, Dad was let go. He was hired the next day by Archie Styers to work in his store which was the only other store in town.

Dad always had chickens and liked to be around poultry and when I came home from the Army in 1946, we raised poultry for three years. He then went back to work in the store for a while until he turned 70 years old, when, as the saying goes, he went out to pasture.

That is the story of my Dad's working life in Savona as I know it. Dad was a hard worker. He worked long hours in the store and always had wood to cut and water to carry - or, at least, until I was old enough to do it!

Dad was well-liked by everyone and treated everyone the same. If an old Indian with 50 cents in his pocket walked in ahead of the richest man in town, the old Indian got served first. For example, when he left Edwards Store and went to work at Styers, all the Indians from the reserve and most of the ranchers and railroaders who had dealt at Edwards all went to Styers when he started working there.

Dad had a good sense of humour and always liked a good laugh. He liked to have company come to the house but, for some reason, never went to visit people in their homes.

He was always a railroader at heart and always stopped whatever he was doing to watch a train as it went through town. He was also a staunch Liberal. So, if you were a railroader, you were a good guy. But, if you were a Liberal and a railroader, you could do no wrong! As poor as we were, I can never remember a Christmas that we didn't have one or two bachelor section men for Christmas dinner.

Dad's life could not have been easy having lost one wife and one son and having to raise ten children through the years. He had little time for anything but hard work and must have had a lot of things to worry about. Even so, I never heard my father swear or saw him take a drink of liquor. All in all, he did a good job of raising a bunch of kids. I'm sure that the Depression came along at the wrong time for him as his second family were all small and things were really hard. Nevertheless, we all turned out reasonably well and none of us ever landed in jail (at least I don't think so!).

I can't leave this, however, without saying that it was our Mother that was the glue in our family and she was always there for us whenever we needed her and was the one who gave Dad the support that he needed when things were really hard.

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