image by Judy Shire

Kelso Church Remembered

FTLComm - Kelso - Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Though the initial plan was to dedicate the plaque and rock as a lasting memory of the Kelso Church this event became far more than that. It was a time to remember. The Co-op which was the only business that sustains to the present day was remembered and so was the two room school in which I and so many others began their formal education.

Among those in the picture of those who had attended Greenbank School Grace Porter seated near the middle of the image is the oldest in the picture as she came to the community to go to high school as her sister was a teacher in the community. She married Hubert Porter and in this picture are two of their three daughters.

As a baby boomer, my class was one of the largest grade ones in the school's history and my teacher that year was a beginner like me, Lillian Gullshoski faithfull followed the brand new reading programme
"Dick and Jane" and to that wonder I learned to read quickly but as every reader of this web site can attest spelling was not its strong point and certainly isn't mine.

So there were are; Porters, Fisks, Johnsons, Steeles, Greenbanks, Shires, McVicars, Clements and many more names. So much memory kept out in the hot afternoon. Underwoods, Dashwoods, Hoeys, Hambletons, Hewitts, Lewis names and people, families and events, a tangle of the past as these Anglo-Saxons began this community four years before the transcontental railway was finished. Most of the land homesteaded in the area was settled long before Saskatchewan became a province and the oil and mineral rights to that land is not in the hands of the crown.

We arrived at 1:00 on a hot Saturday afternoon and looked at our little village. Where our house was, the old curling rink still there where my dad learned to curl under the direction of a George Dashwood. He pointed out the location of Hambleton's general store that was sold to Gerry Bonner who was at the event with his brother John. The old liver stable's site across the street and north of us where Ron Longhurst, Larry and Vera Fisk and I once jumped out of the hay loft onto a thin pile of hay in front of the door and Ron Fisk took a bad fall to which to this day I am blamed for having pushed him. Ron and I rarely speak.

I pointed out the location of the well and pump behind the school and where the school's wood pile once was. Immediately as a sixty year old I remember that fall day when George Porter's oldest daughter Diane was commanding everyone to play horsey and I decided that was just not going to happen. Diane was not going to be undone by a mouthy five year old and picked up a large block of wood and feinted that she would throw it me and cousin Ron Longhurst. My definance was more than she could handle and she tossed the block in my direction I picked up a small stick with a knot in it and hurled it at the angry older girl. It was to good a shot and nailed Diane above her left eye and blood gushed from her forehead. Telling you this story now is like seeing it all happen once again and how the teachers bandaged up the nasty wound and how later that day, her mother in a rage, similar to the one exhibited by her daughter, came charging into our yard screaming at my mother. A mother as defiant as her son, it was not a pretty sight. Diane got three stitches and a neat little scar and a story to tell of a mean little kid who hit her with a stick.
I was genuinely disappointed at not seeing Diane Porter but her sister Debbie was the master of ceromonies and was warm and charming so it looks like the family no longer holds a grudge against me.

But the memories that came forth throughout the day were also haunting thoughts about those who once lived in Kelso and made and each of us who lived there what we are. As
Wendy Brehaut (Porter) told the outstanding story of the Kelso Church I remembered "Auntie Beth" (Hambleton) she was the head of the Sunday School and I still cherish the huge and wonderful book of bible stories that she gave me. A book my mother read to me from and a book that I turn to as a reference to this present day.
As my Auntie Jean stood to reveal the plaque it was hard not to think of my grandmother whom she resembles. Edith was the daughter of Andrew McVicar and Jean not only represented her husband's and her father's family but was a reminder to all the importance of "Andy" the tall man who was the catcher for the Manor baseball team and one of those who helped built that old church.

Four of Henry Fisk's family are still alive and two were at the event, sadly one of those missing was my mother but looking across our old yard I could see her there just as she was 55 years ago. In that very yard where Uncle Wes who was there drove his cutter to take us all to Wawota January 24th so that my brother would be born the following morning.

Though it is easy to think of Kelso as a "was" place in each of us who once lived there it is still an "is" place.

Below are some pictures that my wife Judy and I took and you can see them full size by clicking on them. If there is something here that you would like to have as a print send
me e-mail and I can pass along the original image as it came from one of the cameras we used.

The wind made a mess of the audio of the video and the camera battery had had enough at 38 minutes into the recording of the programme so we do not have Ross McMurtry's speech or the unvailing of the plaque but the video tells its own story about we who once lived and many who still do, live in Kelso.
























by: Timothy W. Shire

Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Brehaut, Wendy The History of Kelso United Church, July 9, 2005, Ensign


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This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005
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