Berg, Leonard

THE LEONARD BERG STORY

by Norma Berg

My sister Thelma and I were the first born (twins) of John and Elsie Bauman in the Landonville district. Sister Doris was born three years later, followed by twins Joyce and Jack, which made the family complete.

Though our folks worked hard and their mode of travel was limited for any distance, we seemed to have time to enjoy neighborhood picnics, school fairs, ball tournaments and various parties at Telegraph School. How unfortunate that in the modern school, the children and parents don't enjoy the sharing, such as at the Hallowe'en parties, where we made candy, and all joined in the "taffy pull". In place of the "trick or treat" of today, the parents became children for the evening, and joined their families for one big "spooky party".

Looking back, I remember music was our basic entertainment at neighborhood gatherings. Now every home has a television set which unfortunately takes care of our music need by turning on a button. There are few people that have a musical instrument in the home, or know how to play one. It used to be, every home had a piano or organ, as well as other instruments. Certainly someone in the family could play very well, or at least chord, and that's all that was needed for an evening song. One of my cherished memories is of the good times we had when our neighbors, the McDonalds, would come with their instruments on a winter evening. After supper we would listen to the old Marconi radio and the WLS Barn Dance for several hours. By then we were in the mood to make our own music. With Leonard McDonald, famous for his violin, Bob on the saw or guitar, Allan on the banjo, and Pat on the guitar, joined by Mother on the piano, with the McDonald girls' help, we'd all sing for hours, sometimes until five o'clock in the morning, when the McDonalds would join us for breakfast before going home.

Our neighbors, the Oliver Goldsmiths, had a family of boys who were very interested in hockey, and they along with other local boys worked hard to maintain an outdoor rink, where other teams came to compete. There was no caretaker then to keep the ice clean or flooded--it was all done by the boys, with coal oil or gas lanterns for light. There was some keen rivalry when that famous junior hockey team, coached by Dr. F. G. Miller from Elk Point came to complete against the Landonville boys, coached by Oliver Goldsmith. Both men were very proud of their boys.

While growing up, our only link with Elk Point was with the hospital and doctors. Then an Elk Point girl came to teach at Telegraph when we were in grade eight. It was her first year and it must have been a hardship for her, as she would help with the janitor work after school, and then ride horseback for two miles to her boarding place, regardless of the weather. We missed her when the next year she left to go back to Elk Point and teach at Muriel School.

After twenty-eight years my folks left Landonville and moved briefly to the Peace River area, then back to Elk Point where they farmed for several years, before moving into town. In time, they retired in Vermilion. Mother is alone now, and is still maintaining her little home there

Leonard and I were married on June 6, 1940, and our first home was on a farm that Leonard rented from his miles south of the river. This was also his birthplace uncle, Oscar Johnson, in the Angle Lake district, twelve Leonard's parents, Hjalmar and Karin Berg came from Sweden in the year 1914 with their children, Arthur, Eisa, Astrid and Signe. Until they were able to have their own farm they lived with Oscar Johnson, a brother of Karin, who was a bachelor. When they arrived at the farm, Astrid, just a little girl, was the first one in the house, and not one bit impressed with the bachelor surroundings, she rushed out to greet her mother, exclaiming, "It's not very nice".

Leonard and Norma on their wedding day, June 1940.

Karin Berg, extreme left, Hjalmar Berg, extreme right, with family and neighbors, 1929.

While on this place, other children were born, Svea, Leonard, Carl, Arvid, Harold and Vera. After a few years, they moved to their own farm, although Leonard's father was no farmer, but a skilled carpenter. He owned and operated a saw mill for years, where people from miles around, brought their logs, to be sawed into lumber.

Hylmar Berg 's sawmill and logs, early  1900's.

Their post office then was Angle Lake, operated by G. J. Algot, who later owned a store as well. When the C.P.R. railway came along, Derwent became their town of business. However, Elk Point was the same distance to the north. Leonard's sister Eisa's first job was assisting in nursing care at the Elk Point Hospital. It was there she contacted typhoid fever, and she, along with other members of the family, became gravely ill. Her sister Signe, who was working south of Vermilion at Emersons (Mrs. F. G. Miller's parents) came home to help her mother care for the family. Signe, age sixteen, Svea thirteen and Harold, age three, died within weeks of each other in the spring of 1928. Dr. Miller or Dr. Ross made daily trips to care for the remainder of the ailing family, as Arthur, Astrid and Eisa were ill for many months. I feel Leonard's parents were made of strength, to endure those long, trying days. They had just moved into their new house the winter before, and it was not finished by any means. All the bedrooms were upstairs and were reached by a temporary ladder. Anyone who knows about typhoid fever will realize the amount of bed care needed for this illness. Mrs. Berg washed the bedding by hand for the sick children, as well as giving the constant care required, week after week. Mr. Berg made the coffins for the children, and as each one passed away, this became a more difficult task to perform.

(Mrs.) Karin Berg passed away Nov. 4, 1948, and Hjalmar Berg on Aug.29, 1973.

BERG FAMILY

REAR ROW, Left to Right Art, Arvid, Leonard

FRONT ROW: Elsa, Astrid, Vera

Arthur married Olive Howe of Elk Point in June, 1935. They made their home two miles north of his parent's farm, until a few years ago, when they moved into Elk Point. Their son Allan and his wife Rhonda, and son Dean have taken over the farm. Leonard and Olive's oldest son, Alfred, and his wife Edna live at Carsiand, and have three daughters, Donna, Wanda and Linda. The youngest son, Cecil, lost his life in a farm accident at the age of two years, in 1945.

Astrid married Ted Koistenen, at Abee, Alberta, and had four children, Ronald, Wilbert, Donald and Joyce. Ted passed away in 1977, and Astrid now lives in her trailer home on the farm with sons Ronald and Wilbert, and his wife Barbara.

EIsa married Ernie Creamer and lives in Victoria, B.C. They have two girls, Sandra and Karen.

Carl served in the army overseas, and on his return, worked mostly in the north, at carpentry work. On July 8, 1965, on his way to a job in northern B.C., he lost his life in a plane crash at 100 Mile House.

Vera married Harry Thir, and they bought the Lindbloom place. They farmed it for quite a number of years, before moving to Grand Centre, where they now own and operate the Colonel Saunders Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. They have three children, Rodney, Craig and Debbie.

Arvid is living on the original family home, ten miles south of Elk Point. He has a fine collection of arrowheads, found in abundance on the farm, indicating that the neighboring hills were an ideal spot for a buffalo hunt.

After five years of farming at Uncle Oscar's, Leonard and I moved to Leonard's folks' place with our two children, Blame and Harvey, until we were able to buy the original Bob Tillson farm, where we still make our home. By that time we had another son, Howard. Later on, two daughters, Ingrid and Vali made our family complete.

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FAMILY OF LEONARD BERG, 1975

REAR ROW, Left to Right: Howard, Harvey, Blame.

FRONT ROW: Ingrid, Vali.

 

Our children started school at Yankee, which was on the corner of our farm, until it was sold and moved. Then they attended school at Derwent by bus. Vali drove by car to Elk Point, for her last year in school.

We didn't have a car to take our children to join in district ball games etc., so they formed their own little team at home to play softball, football, etc. They loved riding horseback, and probably travelled further than we were aware of at the time! The boys learned to work with horses at an early age, and helped their dad, and at threshing time, they each worked an outfit like an adult.

In 1957, I started working at the Elk Point Hospital, and at that time Elk Point became our post office and our place of business. I boarded at the staff residence, going home only on my days off. The girls learned to take over household duties, at the age of eight and nine. I worried about the children when they had to pitch in and help with household and outside chores, before and after school, but they managed, and handled the responsibility very well.

While serving in the R.C.M.P. in Vancouver, our oldest boy, Blame, met and married Eileen. In later years he worked as security manager at Simpson-Sears in Sidney, B.C. They have four boys, Carl, Kevin, Kelly and Kenneth. At present they make their home in Hinton, where Blame works with the Fire Safety and Security at the mill.

Harvey married a local Elk Point girl, Helene Zaparyniuk, and they make their home in Edmonton. Harvey works as an O.R. Technician at the Charles Camsell Hospital, and Helene works at the Toronto-Dominion bank in Edmonton Centre. They have one son, Darren.

Ingrid married Erling Jensen, and after living in Australia for four years, they have settled in Grand Cache, where they are both employed by McIntyre Mines. They have two daughters, Carmen and Kimlyn.

Howard, after working in the north at carpentering, now owns a farm-the former Mike Chupka place, one-and-one-half miles southwest of us, and as well works at the Lindbergh Salt Plant. He married a former Calgary girl, Ann Wallace. They have three children, Rusty, Dennis and Sharon. Ann works part-time at the Indian Health Office at the hospital, and part-time at Simpson Sears.

Vali works in Edmonton for Safeway at data processing. At this time of writing this, we are involved in making wedding plans for Vali for some time in April, 1978. The lucky fellow is Bob Hewitt from Edmonton.

The children and grandchildren of the original Berg family honored their respective parents with a dinner in July, 1976, and called it the Berg Family Reunion. After much planning it was decided that it be held in Ed

monton, at the Scandinavian Centre, where accommodation for all visiting relatives was available, and we mothers could be catered to for a change. Just think, a gathering of all the relatives, and we didn't have a worry about meals, dishes, or bed-making! It was an evening to remember.

After the enjoyable dinner, pictures were taken, and engraved trays were presented to the honored guests: Arthur, Astrid, Elsa, Leonard and Vera. Fifty-one guests were present, from as far away as Calgary, Victoria and Hawaii; but unfortunately, Arvid and Blame and his family were unable to be present.

Watching our family grow was a rewarding experience, and now with the arrival of grandchildren, it makes our family complete.