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decided he would like to do Survey work. He went to Thompson in 1960 and worked there for 2 years as a surveyor, before moving out to British Columbia. While in Thompson, he met Elizabeth McJannet, a schoolteacher. They were married in 1964 and live in Coquitlam. Don passed his B.C. Land Surveyors examinations and received his degree in Surveying. They have two sons - John and Michael, ages 14 and 12 years, and they are both at school. Michael enjoys playing the piano and both boys like to play soccer and baseball.
SIMS, BOB AND EVA
by Eva Sims
Robert and Eva Sims bought the Peter Lee Riverside Farm, S.W. 7-1S-1SW, originally homesteaded by his father, Ole Otto Lee, who came to the district from Donnelly, Minnesota, in 1902. Eva and Bob took up residence on October 19, 1976.
Being late arrivals to the district our mode of travel was by car. Because we required cars for work in Edmonton it meant we had two. Bob led the way as we left Edmonton, October 14, 1976. Both cars were loaded with items we did not trust to a moving van and clothing we would require until the van arrived. Bob had our little Pekingese dog, Ming-Ti, as his travel companion, sleeping in his basket in the back seat. As we drove along the highway I would see Ming-Ti pop up in the back window and peer out to see if my car was still coming, and once reassured he would jump back and sleep some more.
On leaving Edmonton at 5:00 a.m. the weather had become quite nasty, chilly and with winds gusting to seventy mph. The cars felt as though they would surely leave the highway, especially when passing large vans. Although we had packed a lunch we stopped for a real breakfast, bacon and eggs, at North Battleford. As we left North Battleford we passed two hitchhikers - quite a common sight in those free and easy years, but unusual considering the weather conditions. They were huddled under blankets in a ditch to protect themselves, and appeared to be a teen-aged boy and girl. Soon thereafter the snow began to fall and by the time we reached Erickson there was a heavy cover of wet, slushy snow. I parked my car in the garage and we unloaded where the builder indicated flooring was in place, and since workmen still had a few days' work to complete, headed for Dauphin. We made it through the park over rough, icy roads, for the snow was beginning to freeze. Shortly thereafter the road was closed to traffic.
We moved into our home on October 19, 1976. The weather had cleared and once the snow had disappeared it became dry and remarkably warm for the time of year. Because of this we were able to do outside work, which we were keen to do before Spring. I assisted while Bob removed old fencing, cleared and burned bursh, etc. I took charge of bonfires, an opportunity not available to me since leaving Dauphin, as fires are forbidden in the city. What wonderful days they were, even though for the first while every bone in our bodies ached! And how we slept! Fresh, clean air and peace and quiet prevailed for the most part. And yet, the morning traffic on Highway
10 was a reassuring sound that we were not completely isolated from the rest of the community. We were able to have lawn sods put into place before snowfall. Remembrance of Manitoba spring winds made us anxious to have this job done. Interestingly enough, Henry Wall, who contracted to do this work, was the next owner of the property.
Bob and I spent two winters in Erickson and the others were spent working in Edmonton. When spring came we could barely await our return to Erickson to see our new friends and acquaintances in Erickson and members of my family still living in Dauphin. Although I had lost my mother, who lived in Dauphin, the first spring, I was most grateful for the opportunity to be close and to visit often during those few months. My last remembrance of her was visiting at her suite on a trip to bring trees from the nursery in Valley River. She reminded me how pleased my father would be, as he had planted many trees around our home in Dauphin and could not understand anyone not thinking of them as a first priority when establishing a home. Although originally from Ontario, my parents had spent some of their young lives in Ox bow, Sask. , before establishing a home and the ice business in Dauphin in 1904. The bald prairie experience had been a vivid memory in my father's mind. His name was Jim Watson.
Our spring and summers were spent landscaping, planting trees, shrubs, creating garden space, etc. Bob was even successful in transplanting spruce from the back bush, with a little help from me and Ming-Ti! He also had the opportunity to rebuild a cutter and wagon out of pieces found in the yard. Another project was an "out of-doors" hairdryer - a nice, high, double swing on the top of the river bank.
One of Bob's joys was hitting the golf course at Clear Lake. With encouragement from Alma and Harry Paulsen even I took up the game and became, I hope, a somewhat bearable golf companion in a couple of years. For someone coming from the city, the freedom to build what and where desired; to have bonfires; to watch deer grazing from our living room window; to actually nurse back to health and hold in our hands a little, injured hummingbird; these were experiences not likely to be repeated in our lifetime. Also Bob felt the real joy of being back on the land, a dream which he had held since leaving his farm home near Rocky Mountain House, Alta.
Bob and Eva Sim's Home - 1977.