BOOMER TALK: My first love

It was 1957. I was nine-years-old and it was the year we adopted eight-week-old Rex.

It was 1957.  I was nine-years-old and lived on the wrong side of the tracks in Prince George.  It was the year we adopted eight-week-old Rex.

My father was the CN policeman and we lived in CN housing. The first house CN  provided for us was two boxcars joined together to form the  letter H. Well, actually that was the second, as the first one was practically slum housing and it rained through the roof.

Mom had the boxcars fixed up so cute that people would ask us where they could, “get a house like that.”

We lived in a tiny house before it became trendy and when I was 12, we moved to another tiny house that actually looked like a house, also provided by the CN.

If you ever head up to Prince George and go to the railway museum, you will see the house I grew up in. Now don’t get too excited. LOL.

It is called the Russell House. They have been working on restoring it for some time now.  It gives whole new meaning to the phrase, “You know you are old when.”  LOL.

I was a free-range child as opposed to being a child of helicopter parents. For those who are not aware, I’m told helicopter parents hover over their children all of the time, almost never letting them out of their sight, over-scheduling them with as many activities that can fit into a 24-hour time frame.

So the latest trend, apparently, is to allow children to walk more than a few blocks all by themselves and it is called free- range  (like chickens?). OK, that was a bit sarcastic.  Ahem.

Our fear-based society has managed to make some of us believe there is danger lurking around every corner.

I was allowed to roam quite freely around the fields that surrounded our house and this included walking across the beaver dam and exploring Cottonwood Island (across the railway tracks, down the hill and across the creek via said beaver dam).

But then, my best friend was always with me. Rex grew up to be a very handsome fellow.

He had a fawn-coloured coat with a black muzzle.  He was a large, mixed-breed of German shepherd and boxer cross.

I was an only child living in an irregular neighbourhood, so Rex was my only playmate. Actually, we were the neighbourhood for many years.

He was a working dog and worked with my dad when he patrolled the CN yards. If he was hurt, he went  to mom and if he wanted to have fun and play, he and I would team up.

He was exceptionally well trained and extremely protective of me. So as I explored the island and came across someone living in a cardboard shelter, which I did from time to time, Rex would put himself between me and the other person and growl menacingly.

We spent hours together, exploring and finding all sorts of interesting flora and fauna.  I am flooded with lovely memories when I think of this now.  Our love for each other was unconditional and those memories make me smile.

I remember climbing a tree with Rex sitting watching me, with what seemed to be a worried look on his face as I climbed higher and higher. I remember telling him, “I’ll be OK Rex, it’s OK. Unfortunately, I misjudged the strength of a branch and ended up falling out of the tree, thankfully injuring only my pride.

For me, being a free-range child was a wonderful experience as my love of nature and animals was born then.

So, as irregular as parts of my childhood were, I am very grateful for this now.  Life felt wonderfully simple and pure as I wandered the fields with Rex.

But my heart was shattered  when  my best friend became ill when he was  nine-years-old and had to be euthanized.

Rex was my first love and I will always hold his memory deep in my heart.

Carole Fawcett is a counsellor, clinical hypnotherapist and freelance writer.


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

Just Posted

Time’s running out for say in new Vernon park

A survey seeking input on the city’s new park design is set to close on July 20

Morning Start: Big Bertha is the oldest cow to ever live

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 14, 2020

COVID-19 cancels 2 main Armstrong-Spallumcheen events

Community Excellence Awards, Citizen of the Year, cancelled for 2020; both to return in 2021

Spallumcheen looks to photo contest for wesbite revamp

Residents would submit entries covering the four seasons for use on township website, documents

Vernon golf course to host national event local qualifier

The Rise hosts the RBC PGA Scramble qualifier Sunday, July 26

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Most Read