Amalgamation: A Search for the Truth

Written by Harold McNeill on October 27th, 2014. Posted in Editorials


Truth Photoshop

Cartoon (Modified Web Source):  It is amazing how good information can change the complexion of an entire debate.
Join in A Search for the Truth.

(Link to Photo Album of this amazing place we call home)

Dear Reader,

This post provides a short overview and links to four studies that will likely answer many questions as to whether amalgamation of some or all of the Municipalities or Police Services in the Capital Region, is warranted.

These excellent works, written by a world-renowned expert in the field, Dr. Robert L. Bish, provide not only an in-depth review of the comparative costs and operational efficiencies in the Capital Region, it also compares the BC Regional District system with other city and municipal systems across Canada and the United States.

These studies provide clear evidence the Regional District system as developed in British Columbia, is the most inclusive, efficient and cost effective form of Government in North America. In that regard, British Columbia was, and continues to be, a leader in the field and is often cited as a model for others. (43)

Vaccines and the Good Old Days

Written by Harold McNeill on April 17th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts



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If you have a child, it is your decision whether or not to vaccinate. But, you might stand by the strength of your conviction and stop taking your own preventative medications. Why would you want to risk falling prey to one of the side effects of those medications even if the danger is minimal?  There is no better way to show you love your child than standing side-by-side with them if your decision is to not vaccinate.

November 27, 2014  I bring this post back to the top to demonstrate how little we fear once common killers that have made a return, yet becomes panic-stricken over an “ebola” case in Texas – calls for travel bans, airport screening, isolation of passengers, cruise ships in a state of lockdown, aircraft placed in hangers for decontamination, passengers not allowed to board aircraft even after being screened, people wrapped in bubble wrap on flights, etc.  How is it that government and media can so easily push us into this panic state at the drop of a pin, yet when an outbreak of a diseases that at one time killed thousands in our country and around the world appears, we just shrug our shoulders, probably not me? In the face of all this fear about ebola, there is no rationale explanation as to why it has taken so long to begin the ‘War” on that dreaded disease that is killing West Africans by the thousands. We can really make a difference, but six CF-18′s to fight ISIS – that’s just symbolic.

May 17, 2014.  An excellent article on “A Failure to Vaccinate” begins on Page 1, of the  Vancouver Sun. An 80-90% vaccination rate is needed to prevent a widespread outbreak.  Check the details on page A6 and A7 of the Sun or read the Post below. Think it over folks. (Link Here to the Sun Article)

Children of the 1940′s

My sister and I grew up at a time when many childhood communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and others were feared by every parent.  While vaccines had been developed for polio, scarlet fever and others, many killers still remained.  In PolioCrusade_t614every community, children were dying for lack of effective vaccines and over the course of the 18th  and 19th  centuries, millions of children and adults around the world died. Millions more were left with debilitating, life long scars. Except for Chicken Pox, my sister Louise and I luckily escaped the most serious.

Photo (Web): In this polio campaign photo a nurse stands with a recovering child.  Millions of children were afflicted with that dreaded disease and while many died, just as many were left with life long after effects.

After decades of careful medical research more and more vaccines (and safer, more effective vaccines) were being developed. By the 1980’s most childhood killer diseases, including measles, were on the brink of extinction. Many others had already been taken out of existence.

Was the world was safe? Well, almost.  It did not take many years after the rate of infection had dropped to very low levels, for a few to begin to question the possible side effects. It was then parents stopped vaccinating because they feared the side effects more than the disease, after all none of them had ever seen anyone with the disease. It seemed that a few pseudoscientists and celebrities carried more weight than mainstream doctors and scientists. (2089)

Farming in Pibroch, Alberta

Written by Harold McNeill on January 28th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


2003

Photo (From Web)  Pibroch, AB, main street as it looked in 1951 when we arrived. During a trip to that area in 2010,
the main street had not changed all that much.

Link to Next Post: LacLaBiche
Link to Last Post: Edmonton
Link to Family Stories Index

Chapter 2  The Gypsy Years in Pibroch

Introduction:

After bidding a final farewell his youth, the years used up toiling away on a rock farm near Birch Lake, Saskatchewan, Dad was being drawn back to farming. In the spring he had taken over as foreman on the Murfitt spread in Pibroch, Alberta, a mixed farm with 200 head of cattle and about half the 640 acres under cultivation. It provided an opportunity to reconnect to animals and the land.

While horses had given way to tractors during the intervening years, Dad still had plenty of farming skills that made his services eagerly sought after and, as well, Mom would again be working in unison Dad. Taking over the farm kitchen she would work her magic as she cooked for a half dozen full time farmhands in the off-season and twice that many during the harvest.

For Louise and me, it would be a new school and new friends, something we were becoming accustomed to as we shifted from pillar to post over the past two years. The great news about this move – Louise and I would be reunited with Mom and Dad in a country setting that was reminiscent of our early years. Our time at HA Gray and the big city was rapidly coming to an end as we would be heading North as soon as the school year was complete. (9188)

Cold Lake High School Years 1955-1960

Written by Harold McNeill on January 24th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


Introduction Collage

Collage: The above photos provide a small representation of the five years a group of young people spent completing Junior and Senior High in Cold Lake, Alberta. The following story places a context around their world, a world that was becoming vastly different from the one in which their parents and grandparents had spent their teen years.

Chapter 2: The Silent Generation

Link Here to Chapter 2: The Journey Begins
Link Here to Chapter 3: Cars, Girls, Rock and Roll
Link to Family Stories Index

September 1, 2014: Sorry for the delay. Chapter 18 along with about 300 photographs of our High School Years through to graduation, will be posted within the next two weeks.

The Silent Generation, a name coined to define those born between 1925 – 1945.  While it was applied to those of us who filed into Grade 8 at Cold Lake Junior (photos in footer) in September, 1954, we were so close to the cusp it seems to have missed the mark. Our small group preceded the Baby Boomers by a few years and in the months following graduation, we helped to add a tidy number of Little Boomers to Canada’s rapidly growing population.

The Silent Generation! Really? It seems the Time Magazine reporters who defined our group obviously never traveled to Cold Lake High in the late 50′s, nor did they do any first hand research at those week-end ‘retreats’ at French Bay, English Bay or Marie Lake. For that matter, all they had to do was drop by one of the week-end parties at the Ruggles, Hill’s, Sanregret’s, Poirier’s or any of a dozen other homes when the parents were away. People called us many things, but ‘silent’ ‘grave’ and ‘fatalistic’ were not the adjectives that flowed past their lips. (2260)

Life Aboard the River Beatrice 2/7

Written by Harold McNeill on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Travelogue


River Beatrice Photo

Photo: Garth, Esther, Lynn and Harold relax in the dining room of the River Beatrice. While the surroundings were elegant and the service exquisite, it was not many meals into the cruise before everyone had the feeling of being among family and friends. With complimentary local wines and beer served at both lunch and dinner the atmosphere was certainly lively.

Link to Travel Stories Index and Cruise and Vacation Specialist, Lynn McNeill 

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McNeill Life Stories Facebook page and click Like.
LINK HERE

It would be difficult to grow up with the affluence that permeates life in North America, particularly as presented on TV and in the movies, without at least once wondering what it might be like to live aboard one of the many super yachts sprinkled throughout the harbours of our nation, a yacht upon which you could invite family and friends and where you would most certainly meet others from the four corners of the earth? (22575)

Cold Lake High: Cars, Girls, Rock and Roll

Written by Harold McNeill on September 27th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


CL Cover for IIIPhoto Collage: There was never enough time to do it all. Cars, girls, rock and roll were all part of the freedoms that came in the 1950′s.  If was a unique time in the Canada and we made the best of it. The majority even managed to graduate with distinction. I was one of the non-distincts, however my sister, Louise McNeill, graduated with a distinct distinction, that being the 1961 Honour Role. This post makes it clear why I failed to do so.

(Photo selection: Jimmy Martineau, Gordie Wusyk, Billy Martineau and drummer in the background, Gary McGlaughlinplaying at the Tropicana Night Club. Below, the Pinsky Cadillac. Harold McNeill and Aaron Pinsky in a “cool” shot at the Roundel Hotel.  Sitting across from us is Dorothy Hartman, an awesome dance partner. We worked out the fine points of the back over flip as shown in the photo top right  (Dance photos from the web).

Chapter 3: The High School Years

Link Here for Chapter 1 of the High School Years
Link Here for Chapter 2 of the High School Years
Link to Family Stories Index

1. Introduction

Perhaps the best way to pick my way through the final two segments of the Cold Lake High School Years is by selecting random memories. Not to worry, I will be discrete, well as discrete as I can and still keep the history and stories interesting. This is not meant as a titillating account of a small town as in Peyton Place, but seeks instead to give one side of the story about High School kids in a small town at the edge of the wilderness on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. Besides, we generally agreed peytonbwonrockthat most of what happened in Cold Lake would stay in Cold Lake, so I will just pick at the edges.

Peyton Place:  The sizzling movie version of the best selling book was released in 1957, just in time for our coming of age. While the movie was toned down, it still raised eyebrows and was soundly condemned in many quarters.  By todays standards it would be fairly tame.

Another thing that will become evident, this story was written from the male perspective. To make any statements about what girls focussed on in the day will be up to them.  Any girls who wish to add to my descriptions, please write a few chapters of your own, they will be added to the post so we can compare and contrast our views of life in the 50′s.

Two things defined High School boys back then as today – cars and girls. In my day the two consumed an enormous portion of our limited and highly specialized brain space – girls occupied the left hemisphere, cars the right. As we boys couldn’t use both halves at the same time, the balance wavered from day to day. For that matter, our brains stopped working altogether when other parts of our anatomy kicked in. (842)

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Comments

  • Karen

    September 28, 2014 |

    Hi Harold!
    Great Post! LOVE the pictures and story! Would love to know if you have any photos of my Mom or other stories about her. I never knew she lived at Peggy’s or worked at A&W. :)
    K

  • Harold McNeill

    September 28, 2014 |

    Thanks Sis will add his name. The opening comment was also updated. It was the 1961 Honour Roll was it not. Tell Frank that if I missed anything, let me know and I will add it. I’ve gone this far, no use holding back now.

  • Louise

    September 27, 2014 |

    The drummer is Gary McLaughlan

  • McNeill Life Stories Farming in Pibroch Alberta: McNeill Life Stories

    September 21, 2014 |

    [...] For Louise and me, it would be a new school and new friends, something we were becoming accustomed to as we shifted from pillar to post over the past two years. The great news about this move – Louise and I would be reunited with Mom and Dad in a country setting that was reminiscent of our early years. Our time at HA Gray and the big city was rapidly coming to an end as we would be heading North as soon as the school year was complete. (Link: Our time in Edmonton) [...]

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  • Harold McNeill

    September 14, 2014 |

    Hi Kenneth. A little history in some of the other posts and at one time I spoke with several people who lived in the area (or were relatives of those who did. Probably the people I spoke too were relatives of yours. I will send a note out to a few people who may have something to add. Cheers, Harold

  • Hutchinson,Kenneth

    September 14, 2014 |

    My great uncle,Arthur Leland Mason,I believe lived(homestead?) in “Harlan” just after WW I,in which he served.I was under the impression Harlan was in Alberta,but I have no record of his exact farm site.Would anyone reading this be able to tell me anything more about Harlan and whether I can find any buildings ,people ,etc. Acquainted with Harlan.In honor of Uncle”Archie” as he was known and WW I ,I am trying to piece together what my living relatives cannot help me with.
    Thanks

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