was married to Henry in Coaldale February 23, 1941. In August,
just before harvest, he was called up with 35 others for ASW [Alternative
Service Work]. He was farming together with his brother John four
miles south of Coaldale. I was expecting [a child] and inexperienced
in farming but now had to assume unanticipated new responsibilities.
The brothers had lined up a threshing run which had to be carried
out. This, with the added loneliness, put a heavy burden on me.
I took my turn feeding a threshing crew of seven men. Fortunately,
Henry's cousin, Anne Thiessen was in a similar situation, her
husband Nick also being one of the 36 taken from our community
for ASW. She came to live at our house, helped me with the cooking
duties for nearly a month and taught me many things. We also tried
to comfort each other since we were both expecting. We got up
at four in the morning to fix breakfast for the threshing crew.
With each other and God's help we got through the harvest and
managed our other responsibilities."
did not know until later, that the COs' service was to be for
four months, the same as basic training for those in the army.
I was due a week before the men's term of service expired. Henry
got out of camp a week before the other men. I had some difficulties
with the birth of our first son but the Lord sustained me and
the prayers of friends and family were answered."
1942, we were able to stay together and to carry on farming and
family pursuits. However, we had taken the train with our one
year old son to celebrate Christmas with our parents. While there,
Henry got his second call for service, this time to Seebe, Alberta
(Kananaskis). He left me and our son in B.C. with my parents as
well as his parents. During the months of separation, we tried
to update each other on special events and on the progress of
our little son by correspondence. Mail days were always special."
two months I took the train to Calgary so I would be close enough
for Henry to see me on weekend leaves. My son and I lived in a
small downtown room with a hot plate and sink, since rooms were
hard to get during the war. When Henry got a long weekend leave
we took the train to Lethbridge and I settled back on the farm
for spring work, gardening and farm duties. At the end of June,
he got permanent leave from ASW. Once again we were together,
back on the farm and in our church work."
we did not have the uncertainties and anxieties of the men in
the military, we did have stress and burdens. However, we had
the prayers and love of our friends, family and church. In 1943,
since the COs in camp received only 50 cents a day, the church
began supporting me with $15 a month. We certainly went through
many lonely days, but none of our men were “missing in action.”
We were spared such hardships and have many reasons to be thankful.”