I now live in Airdrie AB but I grew up just outside a tiny village in southwestern Saskatchewan, on the farm that my paternal grandfather homesteaded in 1910, in the house that he built between 1917 and 1926. I was a voracious reader and, through reading, I discovered archaeology. It sounded like the neatest, most fun way to spend one’s life. I have not been disappointed. After 12 years of university (McGill, U. of Manitoba and U. of Calgary), and after numerous summer jobs and contracts in both Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, I finally was hired as curator at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina. Among other duties, I was in charge of the development of the First Nations Gallery which required extensive and close collaboration with First Nations elders, artists, and dancers. My archaeological research focused on northern Saskatchewan where I worked with Cree families and communities.
In 2005, I traveled to Cairo to visit friends. There, I crossed paths with another of their friends. A year later, I was engaged to him. In August 2007, I married Roger Clayton of Airdrie, whose family has been here since the 1890s, and a month later I retired from the RSM and moved to Airdrie.
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“I ran away from home so I wouldn’t have to leave home.”
So begins Mary Louise Appleton’s account of her life. Born in New Zealand and raised in England, her father constantly moving the family from one town to another, Mary is unable to feel at home anywhere. Even when she begins work as a domestic servant, she is living in someone else’s home. She takes a leap of faith and emigrates to Canada in the employ of Dr. and Mrs. Waddy of Strathmore, Alberta.
Mary discovers that Canada is a land of opportunity where your future is what you make of it. But Canada has its own challenges – the size, the weather, and different customs and expectations. She wonders if she can ever feel at home.
Searching for Home recounts the struggles of the author’s maternal grandmother as she searches for a place she can call home. In the end, she learns that home is more than a place on the landscape; it is primarily a place in the heart and in the mind.
A tiny shack in a vast prairie. Spooked horses and straying bulls. A town half-destroyed by fire. The year with no crop. An untimely death.
Little did Addie Wright realize what she would face when she came west from Ontario in 1910 to marry her fiancé, Abraham Hanna. Based on entries in Abraham’s diaries, Our Bull’s Loose In Town! tells the story of the author’s grandparents as they built their farm and raised a family in the Meyronne district of southwestern Saskatchewan. Through trials and triumphs, sorrows and successes, the horrors of the Great War, the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties and the dark years of the Dirty Thirties, they found strength and courage in their faith, in their indomitable humour, and in their family and neighbours.
This is also the story of the rise and decline of a prairie village, and of the political and social turmoil of a province and country in the first half of the twentieth century, all as Addie lived it. For more about Margaret Hanna please visit her blog. margaretghanna.wordpress.com