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Story of my Youth

I was born on Section 14 Township 2 range 13 West of 2nd. I was the seventh child and sixth daughter of John and Mary Weisgerber. This was the prairies with no trees, you could see for miles. During the thirties we had no crops for seven years. Every spring my dad would seed the fields but never harvest nothing in the fall. During these years grasshoppers would move in and eat everything. During the summer us children would have to keep the wash moving on the clothes line so that the grasshoppers would not eat holes in it. Then would come the army worms. The worms would never go around anything; they would just climb up and over any obstacles in the way including our house.

With no trees we had no wood to burn so we burned cow chips. All summer we would pick cow chips and store them in a shed. Sometimes we would get coal from the Estavan Coal Mine to supplement our chip supply.

For clothing we would make them from flour bags. Sometimes Robin Hood or Five Roses wouldn’t come out, so these would be made into underwear; the rest would be dyed different colors for dresses and shirts.

During these years our family of twelve would get eight dollars a month for relief from the Rural Municipality which we had to pay back. The money was given to the grocery store where we would buy sugar, salt and flour. My dad would pay back the money by helping to build roads using our team of horses and a scraper.

We were also fortunate during these years to get relief food by rail cars from the east. One time we got two bags of Pears while the neighbour got potatoes. The person handing out this food thought all the bags had potatoes in them so when the neighbour heard about our two bags of pears he came over and we exchanged a bag for potatoes.

During our school years we would have a competition among the other students to see who could collect the most gopher tails. The winner would compete against other schools at a field meet at Foster Grove. If you won you would come home with a silver dollar.

After so many years of no crop my dad and mom decided to move away. The government supplied rail cars to move any one to other places where it was better. My dad and my two sisters went north to help with the harvest While he was there he found land to rent so he sent for us. He ordered some rail cars to come and move us at the end of the school year. He had been advised that the cars would arrive the first train day in July. That day came and went, no train. Hasn’t changed much to this day! The station agent telegraphed to find out what had happened to our rail cars. The R.M. of St. Peter’s had canceled them. Our R.M. councillor took dad to Regina where the Municipalities were having a meeting. By the time he was done the cars were reordered. The cars came on July 13, 1937. We loaded all our belongings into the cars and moved to the Engelfeld area of Saskatchewan.