Quest in Roots:
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ALLAN AND ELAINE BlECK (MACK)
I, Elaine Bieck, was the daughter of Ernest and Ella Mack of Oberon district and was raised on my father''s farm.
As was expected, I, following in the footsteps of the other four members of the Ernest Mack family, attended Brookdale High School. But my first day of grade nine was not at Brookdale; it was at the Auburn School in Oberon. Since the previous year, grade eight had been a very happy one, I was looking forward to the coming year. Due to the new teacher not being licenced to teach grade nine, I could not remain with my classmates at Oberon in the familiar surroundings of the years past.
Eventually new classmates, new teachers, and the new school building at Brookdale became less disconcerting. The required studies, e.G.LT., and the brief but most enjoyable e.G.LT. choir directed by Mrs. Moffatt, opened up a new area in my life. Of all the teachers, my fondest memories are of Mrs.
Marie MacDonald who firmly, but with kindness, tried to instill the enjoyment of gaining knowledge.
We travelled to school by various modes of transportation: horse and buggy; team and van; on horseback; and, by car - Model A Ford. Part of one severe winter, I stayed in town having rented a room from Mrs. Dodds. She was a warm, concerned person and tried to make a home for me; but I never quite acquired the taste for ginger tea which was sure to cure my "cold"! Before moving to Winnipeg, I was organist at Oberon United Church and later was pianist for my nursing year class during training. Having been advised that secretarial training was a stepping stone to any field of endeavour, I followed this advice. This led me from The Canadian Wheat Board to the offices of Winnipeg''s City Hall; later to the Provincial Department of Industry and Commerce. In spite of wonderful friends and happy times in Winnipeg, my heart still yearned for the knowledge of nursing. From the acceptances, I chose Brantford in Ontario. These three years were filled with joys and sorrows. The joys were: flying for the first time in a North Star and a Douglas DC-3; obtaining the skills and knowledge needed in nursing; making new friends; and meeting Allan Bieck. The sorrows came when my father died from a cerebral haemorrhage during my first year of training and my mother died in a tragic traffic accident at the end of my third year.
After my marriage to Allan, we lived in Sault Ste. Marie, where he was a bush pilot with the ·Ontario Provincial Air Service. His duties included forest protection which took us every spring to the Armstrong district; our base accessible only by aircraft or boat. Both daughters grew up in this partially isolated area. When our younger daughter was a year old, I decided to join the flying fraternity.
Five weeks of flying lessons, starting in November at Buttonville (north of Toronto), gave me the minimum 35 hours required before being allowed to take the flight test; then back to Sault Ste. Marie to diapers and Christmas. In January, I passed the written examination and in February an invitation came to receive my wings at the Wings Presentation Banquet at Toronto. When we got our Piper Super Cruiser, the girls always flew with me to the northern base and, as well, to Oberon, landing at the Neepawa airport.
As job opportunities arose, we moved to Toronto where Al became Executive Pilot with the same Department, flying throughout North America.
I continued with part-time work in various medical fields and also assisted in community volunteer work; carried on with a variety of hobbies and dealt with the organization and maintenance of the home. Since buying the Piper Comanche 250, we have flown to such areas as the fiordlike cliffs of Gros Morne, Newfoundland, to the Buttes in Monument Valley, Utah, to the pingos at Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.
Our girls continued their education in Toronto with Carolyn graduating with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, whereas Sharon obtained her Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Social Work. After travelling for an extended time, one to Europe and the other to Australia, both daughters are now in Toronto, fortunate to be working in their chosen fields. Continuing education studies keep us, as well as Sharon''s husband, Brian, busy in our respective fields of interest. Iam glad to have my Manitoba background and have encouraged our family to see the wider horizon in their outlook on life.
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