It’s the end of my second day in Canada and I’m sitting by the banks of the Elbow River in Bragg Creek, Alberta. The very river that swept my great aunt Mabel Harwood, from her home in the great flood of 1932. Although she was rescued, she spent some time in the icy water and fell ill shortly after, dying from the resulting pneumonia and heart failure.
This morning I spent a few hours at the Glenbow library and archives in Calgary. A very friendly user resource. On entering the modern, roomy, research areas one is met with two manned desks. “Ask the librarian ” or “Ask the Archivist”. Lots of working space and free terminals so one can search the library or archives online. The files I ordered contained further poetry written by my ‘unsuitable uncle” Charlie Harwood. I had hoped that the files would reveal where the poetry had been found, but there were no such notes.
Stopping by to visit Charlie’s gravestone in the Burnsland Cemetery we then headed on to Bragg Creek. After a brief fight with the satnav, we lost. We remain none the wiser as to how to increase the volume of the directions and we now know not to input the postcode into the destination. Mr ginandgenealogy believes the satnav is not to be trusted on any account.
The Elbow River runs rapidly through Bragg Creek and our room and balcony at the wonderful Riverside Chateaux looks directly onto its course. On learning that I had ancestors in Bragg Creek, Merak, the owner of the Riverside suggested that I go across to The Trading Post and speak to Barbara Teghtmeyer mwho is is a fifth generation Bragg Creek resident with links to the local family history society. Such a lovely lady and so helpful in locating the cabins that the Harwoods owned in their Bragg Creek years. She also identified the cabin where Charlie built a stone fireplace for his neighbour. Amazingly the fireplace still stands. The rest of the cabin is in ruins but Charlie’s fireplace remains!
I’m not superstitious neither do I believe in ghosts but in the twighlight here, beside the bubbling Elbow river i am almost expecting to hear the rustle of Mabel’s skirts or the strains of Charlie’s violin. Or maybe I’m just a little jet lagged……..An Unsuitable Uncle