Untitled

Ten Lost Years… “…Look at it this way. Say on July 1, Steve had a business and a fine house and a nice wife.

Ten Lost Years…

“…Look at it this way. Say on July 1, Steve had a business and a fine house and a nice wife. By January 1st, six months later, he’s zilch! Living in the basement in his own house, and his wife is the maid upstairs and the cook.”

Exaggeration for effect, you suggest? Nope, just a day in the life of Canadians in a time when people called a spade a shovel, the D word was used only by the people who were living it, the sun shone brightly all day, every day, and the kitchen table, which became a byword in our recent election, was a favorite gathering place. It was 1931 when the kitchen table was the only gathering place people could afford, in a time when talking, walking and sparse food on the table was commonplace.

The Depression, the Dirty Thirties, we’re told, hit Canada harder than any other nation in the world, so maybe the R word is right describing today’s situation; maybe it’s recession and not depression, because we actually learned something and found the boy scout motto worked and the experience was entrenched into the financial workings of the country. Too bad we’ve almost swept the story of the people who survived the poverty war of the Dirty Thirties under the rug. That’s about the same as neglecting and forgetting the veterans of our wars, isn’t it?

The old axiom, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, fits them. And now the election is out of our hair, it’s time for us to get going, especially our leaders, isn’t it? That boy scout motto, be prepared, seems to have worked once, so it’s time to try another, illustrated by the experience of a troop of boy scouts hiking an old trail. They came across an abandoned section of railroad tracks. In turn, each tried walking the rails but eventually lost his balance and tumbled off.

Then, two of the boys, after some whispering together, bet the rest they could both walk the entire length of the track without falling off.

Challenged, the two boys jumped up on opposite rails, and joined hands to balance each other walking the section of track with ease.

Now if we could get our political, industrial, financial and environmental leaders to take that lesson and put it into practice, we might get something done in this country.

A tip of the hat to the survivors of the Depression, and the veterans of the Second World War, one and the same people. The people who broke the back of Depression, then went to war, fighting together for the good of our country.

A second tip of the hat to the man who wrote the oral history leading this piece, Barry Broadfoot. In the frontispiece of his book Ten Lost Years, published in 1973, he quotes a Grade 10 student: “We have never been taught it, the Depression, the hard days,” said Jamie, in Calgary. “There’s nothing in the school books, there might be something in the library, but I have never seen it. They never teach it, at least not so far. No, I don’t know why. Maybe they don’t want us to know about it. I know it was a time when no one had any money, not even the country. Yes, I know that. My Mom told me. She told me a few things about it, but that’s all.”

Barry Broadfoot’s oral history books are as close as you can get to kitchen-table history; a lot closer than any board- or cabinet-room table history we’ll ever get. Readers come away proud of them; every man, woman and child of them. You’re awed by their stamina, strength and courage, and, when you turn the last page, you’re as ready to stand up and sing O Canada at the top of your lungs as they always did, all their lives; lives they put on the line the day after suffering untold hardships; hardships too often swept under the rug.

Yes sir, all new members of Parliament at House of Commons tables, I challenge you to match them. They marched together, conquered drought, disaster, hunger, oppression and helped defeat that s.o.b. Hitler and his minions!

Dare you do less?

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

Most Read