Those Were the Days

I remember well one of the places I grew up in. It was the town of Stettler. My father was a bowling proprietor so no doubt, I grew up around the sound of bowling balls being lofted on the lanes and teams cheering each other on. At the other end of the building, it was billiard balls being racked and clacked by the youth who were on lunch break from school. It carried on through the evening.

I used to have to take my Dad’s supper up to him at times, but he was never far away; a few blocks at most. I always knew where to find him though he was seldom home. Then there were the summertime memories of the Lake season. This started in May and took us into September long weekend yearly. We had a family-run General Store for many years which consumed our summers. It was a whole lotta fun as well as it was the hangout place. Nothing fancy just a few booths and jute boxes and my parents let kids write on the walls. I still remember one of the sayings clearly: “Never smoke in bed… the sleeping bag you burn may be your wife.” Hmmm! Not nice but in the sixties to 80’s smokers were seen. Another sign too said something like…”We’d like to help you out…which way did you come in?” There were many and it all added to the graffiti section. I also well remember my friends and how we free spirits all flocked together each summer.

I also remember the birds on a wire outside my window that awoke me every morning. I remember the hills and the dirt roads and the black nights with not hardly a light to be seen. I remember my portable radio that brought music to my ears and the lake dances where we whooped it up on weekends.

If you didn’t like to dance there were ball tournaments and other things too for the younger generation. All this, thanks to my father who was a lifetime promoter of people and used to sing: “The More We Get Together…the happier we’ll be.”

There was the Simpson’s Boat Rental not far away in the crescent of the Bay area. We all knew each other well. I was also on very good terms with them and many others until the night of the “Peanut Butter Plaster” Not many were happy when we took to this. Toilet seats, outhouses, car handles, etc. Hardly a family unaffected. I’m still not sure why a young girl’s birthday party and sleepover got so out of hand and I’m not sure I got another one after. Call it temptation, mischief, or truthfully one of the worst things I was part of at that age. My mother grounded me for the remainder of the summer but my Dad who always lightened things up when he knew I was truly sorry, bought me an oversized jar of PB with a handle for my birthday that year.

I always tell others that: “It’s o.k. to be a live wire, as long as you are well grounded.” And I was! I was always surprised by how forgiving the lake people were. I think it’s only because of the love they held for my parent’ who established a name and besides, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as the expression goes.

Backing up a bit I must say that early childhoods were memorable for the youngsters at Buffalo Lake. Who needed toys when all it took was a piece of cardboard and a short walk and you were at snake hill ready to toboggan down? In the afternoon a deck of cards and a few snacks and you were set for the card party. There was no such thing as fear and few bullies ever surfaced. My parent’s kept them in check if they did.

What memories live in your mind? Would you care to share?


Loree Dittrich
Loree Dittrich
I am a writer / Author that loves to inspire and entertain the minds of others. I’m inspired by just about anything and everything imaginable. I first realized the power of the pen as a youngster starting with my diary. My teen yr. Were spent quite often in my room where I would scan through poetry books and magazines for hours, often ripping out pages of interest. I lamented over social issues of justice, the end of the Vietnam war, race, poverty, and such. I discovered then, that writing for me seemed to be a way in and a way out of myself. And certainly, a way to respond to the world around me. My friends often assisted me with rewriting things I loved which all had a sacred spot. At 17, I was off to the city where I landed a job as a Nursing Asst. In Edmonton. I loved working in the presence of pioneers and always felt they had a lot to offer as I listened to their stories. However, it wasn’t long and I had a new vocation: Motherhood! I got caught up in the busies of life but writing little pieces remained a priority whenever possible. ~ My friends and family used to say things like: “You’re really a good little writer...You should write a book one day”...but I buried that thought with a lot of others along the way. But then I started writing a Christmas Greeting when our children were small along with random silly poetry and little notes and quotes. Feedback was always welcome and I gained a lot of confidence from my peers over the years. At times in my life when I felt empty or afflicted,  I turned to ink.  And believe me; some days INK was all I knew!   I am a survivor of breast, skin, and colorectal cancer and am truly grateful for the gift of life. I am also grateful to my husband for affording me the luxury of travel; visiting many countries. I’m a mother of four daughters, a grandmother of nine, and a mentor to many.  My husband and I live in two places: Calgary, Alberta, and our sunny sanctuary: “Ecuador” where we live 3 months of the year. I am happy to announce that in 2019 my first Children’s book: No Home For A Pigeon” was born. My second Children’s book entitled: “A Boy Is Not A Kitten” has come to fruition as well, in Mar. 2023. I now look forward to publishing a Collections book sharing some of my most prized and personal poetry and other writings of my life’s journey. I hope You will follow along with me. Reach out to me at [email protected] if you'd like to learn more about my books.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE