Salvage Sunday #1 – History In The Shadows


When I started Boomdeeadda, I really had no idea how often I would post or if anyone would actually ever visit. Well, almost two years and over 270 posts later, here we are.  I had some fun the other night going back to a number of older posts and reading them again.  Do you ever do that too?  I think I’ve learned a lot about blogging from you and hopefully my posts have improved along the way. With that in mind, I thought I’d share the odd one again with updated text or links on a new monthly feature I’m calling,  ‘Salvage Sunday‘.

Salvage Sunday

Please enjoy, ‘History In The Shadows’

Just a shadow of its former self, Willingdon was once THE social centre for many Ukrainian farming families living near by. The town grew up very fast with the arrival of the railroad and incorporated in June 1928. Now, neglected buildings with their peeling paint, stand silent on main street. Waiting, wishing, for someone to open their creaky doors once more. Even half falling down, vintage architecture has charms I can’t resist. I long to know their stories.

Willingdon is lonely

My dad was born in 1932 and  raised on a farm near town. Heat was from the wood burning kitchen stove and ice-cold water was drawn by bucket from a well beside their little house. The biffy was just far enough away from the house to make you think twice in the middle of the night. Daddy would try to comfort me and say, “No, no, there’s no bats out there”. But I’d make him come with me anyways.  Doesn’t this sounds like camping to you?

Farming Fun

I don’t imagine laundry day being much fun either

As a kid,  I thought life on the farm was a pretty great adventure.  We’d walk to the river to find little treasures washed ashore, or snoop through the rafters of outbuildings for long-lost comics. Too bad we weren’t smart enough to hang on to them 😉 If you have an old pile at home, check these titles, maybe you’re rich!   I always thought the artwork was a lot of fun. Did you have a favourite?


After lunch, maybe a tractor ride, saskatoon picking or just playing with the dogs. Birthdays were extra special when we got to spend them with Grandpa on the farm.

That’s wee Boomdee far right

In his later years, Grandpa moved off the farm and retired to a small house on the edge of  town. The last time I drove through Willingdon,  I looked for some of the old familiar haunts.  Where’s the corner store I bought orange soda’s from?  Where’s the gas station? Gone!! But there, framed in blue sky, were the tired facades that only hinted at a prosperous past. So few families are farming in the area now, even the grain elevators have disappeared.

Blue Skies & Thoughts Of Days Gone By

On my way out of town, I drove past my Grandpa’s old house. There it was, the big red garage. I can still see Grandpa standing there, waving goodbye to us kids as we blew kisses out the back window of  daddy’s silver Chrysler. This town may be fading away but certainly not my love for the family history that falls in the shadows around it.

Faded Memories

Faded Memories

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends, xox Boomdeeadda!

I hope you’re making wonderful family memories together!

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(Link via the photo’s)

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53 responses »

  1. Pingback: Salvage Sunday #2 – Gone But Not Forgotten | Boomdeeadda

  2. I love this post! Brings me back to the times when I was 9 yrs old and spending my summer vacations at my grandparents’ summer cottage. Those were good times. 🙂

    • Thank you for your message and following too, I’ll look forward to your posts as well.

      I really felt luck to be able to have time with my grandpa. He showed us that you don’t need much to be happy. A home and family and a simple meal and he was a happy guy.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Boomdee!! My gramma grew up in Alberta! I’m not sure of the town/city, but my mum has a photograph of the farm in her living room. It’s an overhead shot, taken from a plane and you can even see chickens and geese in the photo!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours (albeit a day late). I love old towns like this—it’s bittersweet, knowing they were once busy hubs of commerce that supported so many families, and now they’re all but silent—yet in that silence they have so much to say, don’t they? Your pictures of the old buildings are such fun to see, and of course the family photos are always a treat. 🙂

    • Thank you Jen, that means a lot coming from an accomplished photographer like yourself. You’re not actually late at all. Appreciate your holiday wishes too! Today is THE day but most families celebrated yesterday because most had today off and could recuperate from all the indulgences.

      • Oh! Well, I hope you enjoyed it regardless. Not that we Americans know anything about indulgences. 😉 I’ll tell you, being celiac is a bit of a boon ’round this time of year—I’ve a built-in excuse for saying ‘no’ to a lot of things! Ha!

  5. Hey Boomie! I love this new series you created and I look forward to many more posts! You were a cutie pie when you were little! I remember taking lots of photographs when I was little, learning how to use a camera. Man, I wish I had all of those old photographs I took. Wonder what happened to them?

    • 😀 Thanks Val, YOU’RE cute to say! Just another short kid in a sea of kids in our old neighbourhood. Man there were a lot of kids then. I don’t remember getting a camera of my own till I was a teen and we’d take pictures camping or at parties.

      It’d be fun to see some of your old photo’s, please share if you ever find them!

      • Unfortunately, those old photographs of mine are all gone. I know I mostly took photographs of our dog back then, but I did move up to flowers! LOL

    • We are living in a very different time aren’t we. With photography being so available, kids now can document whatever they want and do (que tell-all FB pages of nights out) Back when grandpa was buying you candy at the gas station, you needed a roll of film, maybe a pkg of flashbulbs and then $$ for processing. I don’t know that there’ll be any romanticizing of the past now 😀

  6. I love this post! Thanks for sharing it again, I never saw it the first time. I’m with Alys; I spotted you the instant I scrolled down to the photo. That unmistakeable Boomdee charm. You’re right that our grandparents never seemed to think of themselves as having a hard life, though it was very much so compared to ours. But perhaps they would feel sad to think of some of the things we missed, as I do when I realized kids nowadays can’t play hide and seek outside til way after dark as we used to do. I am glad there are people such as you who appreciate and record details about the past.

    • I guess I’m easy to pick out after all, LOL You’re such a dear to say too, thanks Julia. I can’t imagine living without electricity day in and out. We’ve all done it for a week or two for camping trips but it’s nice to come back to civilization pronto. I’ve notice even without our luxuries, everyone dressed smartly on weekends. We can be so casual for everything now. I loved when guys put on a nice shirt for Sunday dinner and ladies got to wear gloves and hats. I’m living 70 years behind my optimum decade, I love the 40’s. Family history is something they should have kids do in grades 6,7 or 8. When your parents and grandparents are able to share stories. It’s much harder when their gone, but I love it.

  7. So bittersweet … your blog showcases happy memories (I love the smiling faces around the table), but also makes me sad that we neglect old buildings. Your photos are really wonderful!

    • It is a little bittersweet Laurie, absolutely. I am terrible at letting go. I wish it was a place we could still drive thru and enjoy a meal or pie and coffee. Maybe talk to some old timers……no can do. It was my little brother Waynes birthday here, he was turning 2…now he’s 48…LOL. Thank you for admiring the photo’s. I didn’t take to much time to compose, but it was such a beautiful day.

  8. You’re brilliant! I love the intro and the idea of a Sunday feature. Your newer readers can see what they’ve missed, and the rest of us can enjoy revisiting an older post.

    I had to giggle when you identified yourself. I could pick you out in a flash, that sweet little smile still there all these years later. Cutey-pie.

    I love that big red barn. I took a photo of a barn last week, though not as magnificent in color, nor as special as this one is to you.

    What a rich heritage you have, my dear. Thanks for sharing it and you with all of us.

    • You’re a spoiler my dear !! I was a little hesitant but when I was reading stats, there’s a view oldies that haven’t had many views because I hadn’t been up very long. Thank you for all your love and support and encouragement.

      Ha, I guess I kind of gave it away since I’m the only little girl in the photo LOL. But you’re sweet to say I was a cutie pie. I was noticing my cubby little hands, they haven’t changed 😀

      It was kind of surprising that the garage is still there, same colour and all. It was a bit of a time warp moment. So many years ago, yet there it was, exactly the same…weird. Were you back out to the pumpkin farm? To have any place to go in the summer AWAY from the city is such a privilege, we were really lucky. We never got sent to camp, I don’t think my parents could afford to send 4 so no one got to go. Farm days were OUR summer camp. I just loved it out there. Gophers, Dogs, wood stove, gas lamps…a kids paradise 😀 Thank you for you lovely message hon xoxoK

  9. Lovely post and very interesting too. The photos are great. Im just trying to recal but there is a Canadian artist who has documented her childhood through family photos and then revisited the site of the photos as autobiographical practice. Cheryl Soukes I think but I may have misrembered.

    • Thanks for visiting Big Forest and for your tip. I’ll have to look her up and see what Cheryl is all about. I’ve been back to the farm (which our family no longer owns), it’s really different and the house is gone. Part of a BIG farm now, I think they do wheat. A shame, little family farms can’t survive at all now.

  10. What a wonderful idea to look back at old posts. I love the trip down memory lane to your old haunts. Not something I can do easily. A lot of people are taking old commercial buildings with lots of square footage and turning them into homes. But the town has to have some life in it still. So many sweet places are dying out and it breaks my heart. Maybe it will all turn around one day. You looked like a very happy child. But like you, I don’t miss the outdoor facilities.:)

    • Thanks for your thoughtful message Marlene. When we’ve driven thru States on the East coast, there seems to be a lot of really cute old small towns that have a tourist draw and lots of fun old refurbished buildings. Unfortunately, this won’t happen in Willingdon, it’s out in the middle of no-where. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a quaint store on a main street of a busy little town. I picture myself like Angela Landsbury on a bike, I loved her house 😀 We were happy out on the farm, that’s a certainty xoK

    • Welcome back Colleen and thank you for catching up. Visiting Willingdon is one of those ‘sweet spots’ in my childhood. Also a connection to my dad, who’s missed everyday. I like to understand what shaped his upbringing and naturally influenced mine too. He was such a very kind and loving person.

    • That was a bittersweet day wasn’t it. Thanks for your message Aunty. We never got back there this summer. I guess if the weather holds out, we can still plan a drive. I’m up for it if you are 😀 We’re out to the lake today. See you soon, LUL xK

  11. It’s nice looking back “from whence we come”…….I didn’t have grandparents to visit but I certainly DO have memories of my childhood and I enjoy looking through old photos and remembering…..”those were the days” that made us what we are now! Nice blog post Boomdee!!


    • Good Sunday Morning (here anyways) Pam! What’s Sammy up to today?
      Thanks for your visit and message too. I really love looking thru old photo’s and it’s always interesting to me to learn how my great grandparents then grand parents and my dad lived in the area and what their lives were like. I even enjoy looking thru old photos at antique shows, even when I don’t know who they are, LOL. Weird right? Just fun though.

      • I love old photos too……I have some super old photos that my Dad had saved from his childhood and I love the clothes in particular. Hats were so fanciful back then…..and BIG!

    • Thank you so much. I don’t think the folks who called the area home thought it was a tough life really. Back in it’s heyday, Willingdon was a prairie town that supported a community of Ukrainian immigrants that had left a country where they probably never would have owned their own land. I think they had far less need for luxuries than we enjoy today. Funny how things changed so fast in only 70 years.

      • Very true. I know my father was born in a house with no running water or electricity, they didn’t move into a house with those comforts til he was about 8 years old! (and he’s quite a bit younger than 70!).

      • No kidding! What year was your dad born? It’s amazing that just a couple of generations ago, plumbing and electric were a luxury. Look at us now, we have a TV in our purse. That’s wild.

      • Dad was born in 1951. Of course, everybody in towns and villages in Ireland had electricity that time but they lived in the country sort of in the middle of nowhere!
        It’s crazy how things have changed, I remember seeing cartoons in the 80’s with video phones as a futuristic technology and now we’re all on skype!

  12. This is a lovely post Boomdee – I’m glad you have reprised it! My hometown is another Wellington – though a big bustling, lively city. It’s one of the vagaries of life and change isn’t it – even towns live and die, but our memories of the places and people we loved can never be taken away from us.

    • Thank you, I’m so happy you enjoyed your visit Pauline. Glad to hear your hometown is still a happening place. Once the industries that support these tiny towns on the Prairies are gone, the community has a hard time surviving. I suppose Detroit is a little like that even though is a million times bigger.

      But you’re right, I will always think of it fondly, as the town I knew when I was young and my Grandpa lived there.

Talk nerdy to me………..

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