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Maggie Mulvaney describes Terrace, BC - Circa 1960

Terrace is dusty. The Coast Range likes to pour rain on us. Good thing. We don’t notice the dust as much. There are four paved roads. Two of them got that way because Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited here for British Columbia’s Centennial in 1958. We’ve got two stop lights, both on the main drag, Lakelse Avenue. Both are a block away from each other. I never figured that out. Why not put a light on another street, and make it easier on drivers trying to get between the sporting goods store and the Super Value? Dad says it was to impress Queen Elizabeth and the Prince. The lights were both red when their convertible just drove right on through, so now I have to talk to Dad about his theory, and ask around town about the stop lights.

Logging trucks come right through town, driven by the fathers of most of the kids I go to school with. These guys are tough. They comb their hair like Elvis or Buddy Holly and wear suspenders with their pants cut off just above their boot tops. They smoke Players or Export A. Some of them smoke Sportsman, in the nice yellow packet with a fishing lure on one side, and a different fish on the other. You can collect the packets, and win valuable prizes. Their wives work hard keeping them in lunches, and doubly hard to keep their kid’s noses and clothes clean. The guys like to go to the Royal Canadian Legion on Saturday with their wives for a bit of dinner, a lot of drinks and a few dances.

Just a couple of weeks ago I heard my best friend Ronnie’s Dad tell my Dad about two of the loggers’ wives that were hitting each other over the head with beer bottles. All five of Terrace’s RCMP had to come to break it up. One of the RCMP fellows got a bonk on his head, but he is used to it. After he learned his lesson and got hit, he just held on to both of the ladies’ foreheads as they were swinging at each other. 

Both ladies were stitched up at the hospital. Luckily, they made it back to the bar in time to have a nightcap, and watch their husbands get into an argument about which one of them got the most stitches.  Next thing you know, the same RCMP fellow is back … this time, he called in another RCMP to break the guys up, because both the ladies had devilish looks on their faces, and fresh beer bottles in their hands.

And people wonder why we don’t want to live in the city! Saturday nights are way too exciting in our town. Just ask the RCMP, or the loggers and their wives.

Excerpt from P.S. Don’t tell your Mother by Margo Bates

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Margo has developed four hands-on workshops for writers: It's All About YOU - Marketing yourself and your work, Research - The key to writing fiction and non-fiction. What a Character! Humour Writing and Storytelling for Writers. read more...

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P.S. Don't Tell Your Mother a story of love, tolerance and lessons learned between a 13-year-old girl and her Irish-Canadian Nana

Margo Bates' debut novel brings to life the rough-and-tumble world of Canada's frontier northwest in the late 50s and early 60s. read more...

Review on PS Don't Tell Your Mother by Kathleen Schmitt

Anyone ... gets the real picture [of life in a small town] in this story of the petty quarrels, competitions, and surprising human tenderness that reveal the way life flows with lots of ripples in Telkwa BC. ... Fun and easy to read ... read more...

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