We were able to see the family home built from its conception. When we stay there we remember the early days and the stages Papa and Guy went through to see it built. We remember sleeping in the house on cots the night before the Adobe was put on the interior walls. We remember the hundreds of stones we threw into the gully to clear way for our beautiful front lawn. Our children’s initials are carved in the foundation of the wood shed they helped Papa build one summer. That is the way it is when you build a dream tree by tree, rock by rock.
We know the R’s feel the same way about this house. They left us pictures of the construction so we could share in the stages they went through. But we will never know the secrets they know. The rock that wouldn’t move, the board cut with a borrowed blade. One of the pictures they left showed their friends helping carry the 300 pound wood stove down the hill to the kitchen in 1989. One of the friends carrying the stove was Papa. Ironically 23 years later our nephew, (Papas grandson) helped to carry our new fireplace down the hill to the living room.
These secrets are also held by those who built the foundations of the island. The roads, the docks and the building sites. One of the men who was integral to all of these foundations still lives on the island. The first night he slept here was visiting with his mother in 1941. I think he said he was one month old. He has agreed to tell me some of the stories for an article in the Tidelines. We have two subjects picked out. He has brought pictures over and I have begun to take notes. I think these stories will be of keen interest for those of us who are relative new comers.
I have mentioned before that my Grandfather was a builder too. He was a carpenter in Ontario before he and my Grandma retired to a house on Dunbar in Vancouver. I know a secret about that house. Where there was solid wall in my Grandmothers kitchen, she wanted a window over her kitchen sink. It was at the time when BC Electric was retiring the street cars. Grandpa went down to the scrap sale and bought a window from a street car. You know the kind that slides up… He installed that window over the kitchen sink and it is still there. I see it when we visit town and drive down Dunbar. I often think I should knock on their door and tell them the history of their kitchen window… On second thought maybe they too don’t like strangers ringing their door bell. Maybe I should just slip a note
under their door.