Kids Survive the Darnedest Things

Hi there! Here’s a post I put together for the Amisk-Hughenden Historical Society all about a lost child and the dream a man had that told him exactly where to find her.

Kids Survive the Darnedest Things

Little nine-year-old Ethel Thorpe, caused a stir in the community that old timers will never forget. July 13, 1915, she and her little dog left as usual about 4 p.m. to bring home the cows. Her family waited, and waited in vain, for her return. It started to rain and her frantic parents, knowing she had on only a light cotton shirt and overalls, lighted a big bonfire on top of a high hill, hoping she would see the light and come to it.

They notified neighbours, who in turn passed on the word that a child was lost and soon the entire countryside from Wainwright to Provost to Hardisty was organized into a huge search party. Men searched on horseback, in buggies and on foot, through rain-soaked brush and trees, through grain fields and rolling prairie thunderstorms encumbered them, they searched doggedly on. But after four days and nights of searching, hopes that she would be found alive were at low ebb.

Westside Main Street 1912
The west side of Hughenden’s main street, 1912

The morning of July 18th dawned clear. The sun shone brightly for the first time in days. Its warmth and brightness seemed to give renewed vigor to the enormous crowd that turned out to make one final effort to find little Ethel.

Two bachelors, Jim Murphy and John Black, felt confident that today they would find her. They knew just where to look, for Jim Murphy had dreamed a dream that night. In the dream he saw the child and recognized the terrain.

They lost no time in getting started that morning. When they reached the approximate spot of Jim’s dream, he got out of the buggy and said, “I’ll walk around this side of the bush, you drive around the other. She is here somewhere.” And there she was, just as he had known she would be, huddled down in the tall grass with her little dog clutched tightly to her breast.

A summertime view from Hughenden’s countryside.

Ethel’s first impulse on being found was to run and flee. It took a lot of coaxing on the part of the men, one of whom was a friend of the family, before she could be persuaded to go with them. It is thought that through exposure to wet and cold, and the fright of being lost, she had been in a sort of fevered stupor much of the time, for she told of how she would run and hide whenever she saw men or teams approaching.

She had lived on berries and slough water, and no doubt her dog, cuddled close to her, helped keep Ethel warm. A doctor pronounced her quite all right but rather weak after her ordeal.

~ written by Mary Burpee, from The Lantern Years

Regarding The Lantern Years: Buffalo Park to Neutral Hills

Lantern YearsThe Lantern Years is a book that covers the span of history from 1867-1967 in Hughenden, Amisk, Czar and surrounding districts. The book was compiled and edited by the Hughenden Women’s Institute. In 1967 it was published by Inter-Collegiate Press, Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, and then this Centennial project was marketed and sold.

Here is the first note of appreciation from the front of the book:

In Appreciation

The Hughenden Women’s Institute Book Committee wish to express their sincere thanks to the following:

  • Our families for their understanding and tolerance when our work on “The       Lantern Years” seemed to have precedence over all but the most essential tasks.
  • All clubs and organizations and individuals who have given us their financial support.
  • The newspapers and broadcasting companies who helped to tell their readers and listeners about “The Lanterns Years.”
  • To all those who so willingly showed their faith in us and “The Lantern Years” by buying anywhere from one to a dozen books in advance of publication. And to those same people we say thank you too for all the kind words of interest and encouragement expressed both verbally and by letter. There were times when they meant more to us than you could ever guess.
  • To Mr. Dick Brouwer for his help and co-operation in the matter of the old pictures.
  • To everyone who has helped in any way with “The Lantern Years” we say “thank you.”

Mary Burpee

Tena Parke

Viola Wight

Ester Mellemstrand (our helper from Amisk)

Whenever I’m doing local research, The Lantern Years is often open on my desk as it is right now. This book offers a unique take on the history of this area. The book is a goldmine of stories often told in the voice of the storyteller. There are old photos throughout the book, and an especially good collection in its back pages, including these great pictures:

Here’s another note of appreciation found in the front pages of The Lantern Years from Mrs. H. H. Carson on behalf of the district:

In Sincere Appreciation

Our sincere appreciation is extended to Mrs. Clarence Burpee, Mrs. L.S. Parke, Mrs. I. Mellemstrand, and Mrs. H.S. Wight for the devotion, time and effort given to the writing and assembly of material for this history so that it might be an authentic record of the pioneers of this district.

A grateful thank you is extended to each and every member of the Hughenden Women’s Institute who have contributed to the history and promoted the sale of books.

Hughenden PicnicTowed Behind Horse

Thanks for dropping by! If you’ve enjoyed this little bit of history, please consider sharing it. Have a really good weekend.

~ Lori



When We Were Vikings

Vikings 2006
This handsome young Mountie agreed to pose with us. We weren’t displeased.

Last night I went to my auntie’s house for supper. We were celebrating my great uncle’s 92nd birthday. After supper when the supper dishes had been cleared from the long table in the dining room, and with the coffee cups and dessert plates pushed out of the way, together we looked at old photographs.

There was one picture I’d never received a copy of. That was the one of my auntie and I all dressed up for Hughenden’s 2006 History Book Release parade. She wore a traditional Norwegian outfit borrowed from a local traditional Norwegian. Thinking that authentic sheep horns attached to a hardhat would make a great costume, that’s what I wore. The silver duct tape was awesome in that it made the hardhat look like a metal helmet.

I thought old sheep horns would be dried up and light. They were not. At dinner last night, I told the other guests, “Before that day, I was actually five feet, seven inches tall. That helmet was so heavy that it compressed me down permanently to five feet!”

Vikings aren’t often on Facebook

While I really miss the connections I had on Facebook, I don’t miss the pressure I got from the social media service to constantly post new content. I’d read that the content that users post to Facebook then belongs to Facebook.

Viking Ship Hughenden Parade
My auntie and I in my old canoe decked-out as a Viking ship. (Vikings never actually wore these heavy helmets. I understand why.)

At first, I didn’t plan to completely leave Facebook. I thought I could get a fresh start by deleting my older posts and by deleting Messenger. After deleting my old posts one by one only to have the social media site restore them not once, not once, but three times, I understood that this really wasn’t my content to delete. Facebook could do what it wanted with content I’d shared to keep its audience engaged. I worked for Facebook.

I also discovered that it’s not possible to delete Messenger once a user has signed on. You can delete the app and you can block selected people from messaging you. But when I clicked around Facebook’s help section and finally found the link to the instructions for removing Messenger, I found out that particular help page was no longer available.

So how do you like me now?

Since you can’t find me on Facebook, how do you “like” and share my work? Well, you can still share my posts to Facebook. I can’t, but if you do, I’ll get more readers. Because of the huge number of people that use the network, Facebook remains one of the best vehicles to drive website traffic. (The corporation really limited how I could do that through my author page near the end, though.)

I still have this lutefisk bumper sticker that was mounted to the rear of the quad that towed our ship float. (I don’t love lutefisk.)

To show your support, you can also follow me here on WordPress. If you have a WordPress account, simply follow me. If you don’t, follow me by email. That way, my new posts will pop right into your email’s inbox. And if you like what you read, please like it and comment on it, just like you would on Facebook.

Thanks for spending this time with me today. I hope you have a nice Sunday evening. Please keep in touch. You can contact me through my website and I’ll get back to you. I’d still love to chat!  ~ Lori