McLean, Angus and Margret

ANGUS AND MARGARET McLEAN

by Angus Mc Lean

Angus McLean and Margaret Bergstrom were married October 7, 1938, and lived in the Elk Point area for several years. Angus attended Richland School near his home, where his only teachers were Hattie Markstad and Mrs. Edwards.

He remembers being paid one cent per gopher tail and working long hours to bring three tails to school. He also remembers men coming to town with guns on their hips, and horses were rustled and driven down road allowances in groups of one hundred to one hundred and fifty, not just at night, and forced to swim the Saskatchewan River on their trip south.

Margaret remembers washing unpainted floors with a solution made by pouring wood ashes into a tub of water that brewed over night. This bleached the unpainted wood and made the homestead house very clean. She also remembers saving fats until there were enough accumulated to mix with a lye solution and make soap for the family laundry.

During their first years of marriage, their grocery bill was approximately $5.00 a month. This was for coffee, sugar and spices. On the farm they raised their own meat and vegetables, had cows for milk and butter, and chickens. Once each year the men hauled a load of wheat to the mill at Myrnam to grind their own flour for the year. At the same time they received cream of wheat, bran, and cracked wheat.

During this first year, cotton dresses were selling for $1.00 and ten yards of good dress material for $3.30.

From 1935 to 1942 dances were the main entertainment outside the home. Men usually paid 25 cents and women brought a dish of sandwiches or a cake for dancing from 9 p.m. to 3 or 4 a.m. At home most families played cards during the winter months.

During our early childhood we spent many evenings passing the Saturday Evening Post from one family member to another. Each person read aloud the continued stories that were carried in the magazine. We read by kerosene lamp but thoroughly enjoyed our evenings as we sat around the kitchen table. Neighbors joined us frequently.