The Cannery Kid: Never a dull moment as a Cannery Kid

Living out on a river several kms from a hospital was in itself a challenge for my parents. My mother was a modern women and had learned her first aid on the job. I was always finding a new way to injure myself .

On one summer's morning I awoke with the bed covers attached to my face. Hearing my muffled scream Terry headed up the narrow stairwell to see what all the fuss was about.

After observing me and the bed covers she decided I had a pencil up my nose. Which then sent my mum running up the stairs. With a enthusiastic grab she pulled the blankets which wedged a fish hook that had attached itself to my nose a little further. Barbs on fishhooks were a regular thing back then and my nose now had a 2 barbed hook in it. Off to Rupert we went.

One night as my parents were watching the only TV programme, that was forever on with a guy my mum had nicknamed "Tricky Dick" AKA Nixon, there was a bang at the door. Our front door had a creative security system that entailed a large spike wedged into the door jam. Upon releasing the spike one of dad's fisherman presented a detached arm that had been ripped off by the drum on his boat. Off to Rupert he went.

Then there was the time we were walking past the boat shop and 5 fingers flew into the air. Perfect timing for us and the finger-less worker as we gathered up the fingers and the man who owned them and off to Rupert they went.

Photo Credit Bruce Thompson

Mum was the cannery's unofficial first aid attendant for the children. The mothers always brought their kids to our door with head injuries from falling off the boardwalk or other ailments. Since she was the one with the car it was off to Rupert many times again. A customary way of saying thank you among the cannery people was to give gifts, my mum had the most wonderful collection of Indigenous arts and crafts from her years as a first aid attendant .

Photo credit Gladys Blyth

Swimming in the summer was one of our favourite things to do, it just could not be done in the Skeena River. We did not have to be told not to swim in the river as it was very obvious not to. My friend Tammy lived next to the new floats and we discovered if we flushed her toilet and ran really fast, we could watch everything come out on to the beach at low tide. The village down at the other end had only outhouses that emptied over the river.

We could watch missiles drop from the vantage point at the net loft. There was no sewage treatment plant at the cannery but there was not one in Rupert either!


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