Salt Spring Island Archives

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Betty Greer

Mrs. Greer talks of her early years in 0ntario and the U.S., her parents, her work overseas during the first war, and her subsequent move to Vancouver. She spent summers on Salt Spring from the late 1920s or early 1930s, and retired to the Island in the 1960's. Few details about the Island are on these tapes.

Accession Number 989.031.038 Interviewer Mary Davidson
Date July 26,1989 Location Cassette tapes box File #24 to File #48 Shelf 8C
Media Audio CD
ID 33:1 Location North End Road




Unknown Speaker 0:01
He owns this property, but originally Oh, no, I don't want to make a wrong statement there. As far as I know. This was part of what he owned a lot of property. Yes, he did. And as far as I know, this was once upon a time with Joe Garner. And he wrote their book. Never fly over an eagle's nest. Yes. tree up here with the Eagle's Nest all the way down the tree. All this years talking about that tree, with the root of all these Eagle's Nest have come over into the water.

Unknown Speaker 0:34
Oh, isn't that too?

Unknown Speaker 0:37
I wish it was still there. Yeah, because it just it had this like this dormitory. So leaders would be flying over here all the time. So never fly by yesterday.

Unknown Speaker 0:49
Yes, yeah. We have quite a few down where we are, too. So what year did you come to the island? Well, we

Unknown Speaker 0:56
got the property here. In 1928.

Unknown Speaker 1:00
Oh, you've been in a long time, but we didn't

Unknown Speaker 1:04
do anything with it. It was just bush.

Unknown Speaker 1:05
Did you come over? Then did you come over? Oh, we wish

Unknown Speaker 1:09
to come over on our own room? Oh, yes. We just heard was quite a while before we put up a tent. There was a piece where they there's a place down below where they had used it, I suppose even for their capital renting that was kind of cleared Nebraska grown up and we set up a tent.

Unknown Speaker 1:30

Unknown Speaker 1:33
But you see, I don't always get my dates quite right. Because we kept coming and going.

Unknown Speaker 1:38
Oh, well. Sure. Then you and you had children too.

Unknown Speaker 1:42
Well, I have a daughter of my own. And then we adopted two boys. My brother's two boys. He was a war casualty. And then limb demo made us are on the hour. Now I'd like to just met him. The his mother died when he was born. And my mother was staying with me out here. And she They phoned him said that Margaret had died. They were going to put them in a home.

Unknown Speaker 2:13
Also you adopted him.

Unknown Speaker 2:15
My mother went right back to Toronto that night and went to the hospital and took the baby. Well, then my husband figured she just shouldn't be having to raise an infant. So he suggested they come out here. So they all came bodily furniture and everything.

Unknown Speaker 2:33
And you settled down this was over in Vancouver. It was it was

Unknown Speaker 2:36
in Vancouver. And oh, even the big house we got because we needed a bigger house them in the big house. Who was it? Who said they built this big house stone on the Boulevard? It has the history too. Oh, he's still around, then we that doesn't matter. We had got this big old house. And it was raised on the Boulevard 16

Unknown Speaker 3:08
Right. Yes, I know that area, you know

Unknown Speaker 3:11
the area just because it made into six apartments.

Unknown Speaker 3:14
Oh my goodness, it must have been a good size. So the

Unknown Speaker 3:17
vehicles were necessarily bigger apartments. So all

Unknown Speaker 3:21
during those years, you brought the family over in your own boat and count here in the

Unknown Speaker 3:27
family in our own boat. We keep you'd come in our own vote. We brought the family over on the know all this stuff and everything on the marriage.

Unknown Speaker 3:38
And you'd stop at Beaver point on the marry and then drive up here.

Unknown Speaker 3:43
But then that was the early it didn't go to be the point. Oh, very soon after we before we came. The kid is used to come to Fernwood. I see them when you began to Ganges. But the time Ganges harbour wouldn't accommodate, you know Phaedra had to dredge it didn't they had to dredge it. It couldn't get up to the dock until they dredged it. So it stopped here at Fernwood. It stopped out there DeRosa Oh,

Unknown Speaker 4:12
that would be quite an experience.

Unknown Speaker 4:14
Read into the dark. It was stuff up beyond the dark. We would meet with the boat was just a rowboat, and we'd roll ashore Oh,

Unknown Speaker 4:29
that wasn't experienced family.

Unknown Speaker 4:30
See, all these things are part of the history. But I could get it but it's confusing because it wouldn't be necessarily in the proper order.

Unknown Speaker 4:39
I don't think that really matters. Nobody cares. No, I think to that. For the dates. That's all recorded on Tuesday. No, well, that's all Ricci. Anyway on

Unknown Speaker 4:51
my front page there that we didn't build this house there quite a while after we use the one down below. They're to see it. But I don't think they've done a Maven say they were in. We've just, we've got a big tent up first, which I still have to defend the hope for myself. It's up in my story, should we put up the tent and you could put six cabins or six cards? to here to here to here. Nice to have the big tent. It's probably mostly.

Unknown Speaker 5:26
And you used to camp there with your family.

Unknown Speaker 5:29
I didn't have any family.

Unknown Speaker 5:31
Or you didn't. This was after the family had grown. mourn them all before the family

Unknown Speaker 5:38
was so for my husband. I see go even before I was married, that was before we had almost before I was ever married.

Unknown Speaker 5:46
Oh, did you?

Unknown Speaker 5:47
Oh my that's a long time ago because Yeah. I was married in 20. Oh, for goodness sake.

Unknown Speaker 5:55
So that was yes. 22 There weren't many people on this island and 22

Unknown Speaker 6:01
I caught him 22 I'm getting my dates mixed up. Well, I'm having my I've had my 30th wedding anniversary, just a few years ago. So I guess the last 10 years since my husband died. I get my dates mixed up. Oh, well, that's all right. Oh, you're giving your dates because they overlap.

Unknown Speaker 6:27
Now that's okay. Don't you worry about the

Unknown Speaker 6:29
dates to see. I would have my I was gonna say, I want to celebrate my 100th birthday, which will be in three years. little over three years. All right. So that's Bates. Correct. I was born at 93. Yeah. 1993 will be my 100th birthday. That's correct. Yes. Not far away. No, it

Unknown Speaker 6:54
isn't not very far at all. No. I just saw a woman celebrating her 100 nights on a TV. Was it last night? I think.

Unknown Speaker 7:05
So. Anybody wants to come to my 100th birthday. They can come? Good. Open House.

Unknown Speaker 7:11
Very good. And Betty will be here to help.

Unknown Speaker 7:14
I'm going to help. Oh, she's already

Unknown Speaker 7:18
she's arranging the party.

Unknown Speaker 7:23
To do all the work. I'm going to sit and twiddle my thumbs. Oh, you you're going to tie already just to

Unknown Speaker 7:30
get you to come for dinner and you have to prepare to have a cup of tea.

Unknown Speaker 7:34
You got your coffee? Your coffee there? You got your call? Yeah, I left it over here.

Unknown Speaker 7:41
Oh, it'd be cool.

Unknown Speaker 7:42
No, it'll be fun.

Unknown Speaker 7:44
Well, you got a special. You got a special mug?

Unknown Speaker 7:48
Yes. Maybe I'll bring this

Unknown Speaker 7:56
Oh, no, you do that very carefully. To handle that way, they are you going to have some? Okay, I'll take a cut and have a cup of coffee.

Unknown Speaker 8:09
And not carry on

Unknown Speaker 8:11
without your tea. Right? No. I will go. There is all part of my history. The My granddaughter sent me down from Paris. She's over there. And you're acquainted with Paris.

Unknown Speaker 8:34
I've been there once.

Unknown Speaker 8:36
That's the Arc de Triomphe. And you'll see the call map the cast a call, which will be star square with English tastico. And those are the spokes of the stars and those are on the streets and doesn't look like a star. Yes. The university sent me that just the other day. She's still over there. And then she sent me that one. She said Raymond see writing a book on me I have now my sister's not my sister. My daughter sent me that from Dawson City. Oh, we just crossed the Arctic Circle. Isn't that interesting? Isn't that interesting? Now what was that picture? I have a Blue Cross Arctic Circle. Doesn't matter.

Unknown Speaker 9:25
It's right on the table.

Unknown Speaker 9:27
The your daughter's live here on the island.

Unknown Speaker 9:30
Oh no. She lives in Vancouver. But oh, it's a child that we're over here all the time. Well, you see, my brother my brother is when his wife died and then

Unknown Speaker 9:41
when the parents one that I don't know where the other one is. Oh, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 9:45
that's. That's in Paris.

Unknown Speaker 9:50
That's the art.

Unknown Speaker 9:53
And that's what she's doing. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 9:55
that would be her big interest.

Unknown Speaker 9:58
Colorful noise A Montmarte

Unknown Speaker 10:06
Is that what it's called? She was there during the wars. See what it is?

Unknown Speaker 10:10
Yes, it's Montmarte

Unknown Speaker 10:11
Oh, yeah. But look at the traffic. And you know, Paris?

Unknown Speaker 10:16
Well, as I say, I've been

Unknown Speaker 10:18
there very long, but I had some funny experiences there.

Unknown Speaker 10:28
So you traveled a lot, and you

Unknown Speaker 10:30
will Well, I wouldn't say an awful lot, but, but I guess I've been to a few places. One place. I haven't been to Africa.

Unknown Speaker 10:40
So why did you settle here on this island?

Unknown Speaker 10:44
Well, we just got the place. Well, as matter of fact, my sister's husband. They got this property originally. Oh, yes. And they were here so that we decided we'll have a summer place over here. So we took a quarter of the property. Oh, I see. And you know what we paid for it? 1000. And now, it's assessed at about $1,000 a foot? Yes. Yeah. Was paid my taxes. Yes. Oh, yes. Very good. Yes. You did listen to them said yeah. They took all my bills yesterday, and he said he paid

Unknown Speaker 11:24
the taxes a long time ago.

Unknown Speaker 11:26
Now this is when is your son?

Unknown Speaker 11:28
No, no, he's by grandnephew. Always a woman's mother died when he was born. Yeah. So I raised well, my mother came out and cheated loose.

Unknown Speaker 11:38
Now does he live here on the

Unknown Speaker 11:41
right. Oh, no. She died years ago. No mother died. She that was my mother and I'm nearly 100 Yes. But she was well in her 80s When she took the baby from the hospital. Oh my. And then my as my husband said, There's no use anybody heard aids trying to raise a baby. Small children. There was an older boy. So it received who told them to come over here because of me.

Unknown Speaker 12:08
So they don't live here all the time. They lend us Oh, he does live here.

Unknown Speaker 12:13
Then them his wife are here all the time. Oh, what's

Unknown Speaker 12:15
their last name? BC. Oh, I see. I was Betty

Unknown Speaker 12:19
Betty BT when I was. Younger, these silly stories, they're so silly. You know what I said fund all my life.

Unknown Speaker 12:32
I'd have to show you the house run did that run over there. But anyway, girls didn't wear rubber boots when I was little. They were always talking. So rubbers. And I thought that was silly. And there was a lot of snow on the ground. And I came to school with my brother's rubber boots. But I put my feet shoes and all into his rubber boots. So as you can imagine when I looked like they were boots, the boots are way up above my knees. And when I went to school, they all laughed at me I look to silly with these great big feet. So the teacher was out of the room and one of the boys went up to the blackboard. And he drew a little read me and in these great big booms. And he put it up on Danny Danny be the boots on it, look out for them. The teacher came in she saw this and she knew she should have reprimanded him. Or she could see the human rather. So she said Do you mind? I said no. I don't care that give anybody a laugh. It's alright with me. So they left that there on the blackboard. That so I've been daddy been EBZ ever since and

Unknown Speaker 13:38
when you must have seen a lot of changes here on

Unknown Speaker 13:41
the island. Oh, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 13:42
I guess again, we have this

Unknown Speaker 13:45
pretty well civilized for weekend. Yeah, this was all wild land here. We have still have 30 acres the other side of the road. Oh, yes. And my my son in law has taken it over. You wants it as a wildlife preserve. So to have it as a wildlife preserve, you have to put a fence all the way around it. Oh yeah cost about as much as the property's worth to put a fence around it. But we yet still have the wildlife. Oh my dear little deer. I hope nothing's happened to it. Just just over there. And every day he's come over on my lawn with twin phone Nigerias of deer. They're so pretty. Yeah, there's our twin phone, and my pussycat was out. And one of the little songs was a way over in the far side and the mother and the other one was over here. And that little slot on my pussycat knows each other. And my little pussy kept noticing the little fall till he pushed it right over to the mother. You wouldn't believe it to see this Captain little phone. I'd love to know the picture that my pussy

Unknown Speaker 14:53
probably outside daddy. I don't know where they're just playing. Just have to be out So

Unknown Speaker 15:01
he's just been put in, but he's such a nice person. You never know. He stood at the door for an hour if he wanted to.

Unknown Speaker 15:07
Oh, he's there, Betty, he's there. He's down there.

Unknown Speaker 15:11
On the Chesterfield behind behind it. Oh, that's already tight. It doesn't matter. He's just he's no special cat. But he said to me.

Unknown Speaker 15:21
So have you been involved in anything here on the island? Have you been involved in any thing on the island like Cherny? Where I

Unknown Speaker 15:28
used to be? Yes. And my husband was quite a bit. But luck was the only thing that I Oh, I belong to the hospital Auxiliary. Oh, yes. To the hospital. Oh, yes.

Unknown Speaker 15:40
And you are fairly active in there. Were you in the hospital with jewelry?

Unknown Speaker 15:45
No, I was never very active nearly by that time. I retired. I used to be very active in Vancouver. And it also of course, I was overseas during the war. VA D in the military hospital.

Unknown Speaker 15:58
Did your husband build this? Oh, that'd be lovely. And you and I understand you that you built the fireplace that he was saying you built the fireplace. Oh, yeah. I built this.

Unknown Speaker 16:09
We're not doing five fireplaces. anymore. I built one down below this one. Of course. They're all built on the Hebron. Yeah, so that you don't have to build it from scratch. The one down below was built. Originally, I had a boy from long road tax rocks. And then I built the chimney down below and I was up on the roof. We had Saturday. And he used to bring the rocks up to me. And then I put them on the gym. For goodness sake that I said how do I get download with you? You said all your shinny down

Unknown Speaker 16:48
here it was a little boy down the road. Who was this boy down the road?

Unknown Speaker 16:53
Or? I don't think you don't think any of the walker? She was it was Dumi Walker. And there was you know, they had five boys? No girls

Unknown Speaker 17:07
are these the White Walkers from Walker hook or

Unknown Speaker 17:11
any connection with Walker? sighs I know that they were

Unknown Speaker 17:17
just here for

Unknown Speaker 17:19
they had a farm. Oh yeah. Very not much of it was a fun. They were she used to do home cooking bread and everything. Oh, you know they were very nice boys. Damon did you know anything? Really helps us to know I have to walk and he was so nice.

Unknown Speaker 17:43
Well, that's nice to have somebody like that.

Unknown Speaker 17:45
Oh, yeah. They always have wonderful neighbors. Nobody close. But the neighborhood has been very good.

Unknown Speaker 17:52
And you uh, you have neighbors still the same people

Unknown Speaker 17:56
I don't see my neighbors now there's I don't really know the difference.

Unknown Speaker 18:00
You I don't really know very many North and

Unknown Speaker 18:03
relatively since have a piece to piece down here. You know, I still go up there about maybe two or 300 feet. They have a very nice it just a summary piece. Oh, yes. They were all very just I think just last week with a very nice neighbors. They have three boys. I think they're no daughters. But they've been very good neighbors. I'll have to show you a picture of my nephew. That's right over there. Because it's so funny looking at you see the little little one right there. Dressed up like a crow PS brings I see

Unknown Speaker 18:57
Yeah, that's my nephew name. His feet, you know. So when I say limb could have been another Nijinsky. He took to ballet like nobody's business. And you see now look over there. Right on the top. Yeah, that's my daughter's in the same show. That was the the what doesn't have the she was in the same show. And she was moonlight. Very lovely outside in the moonlight. And now and that was the studio, the dance studio where the kids went put on their their show that fourth grade junior high. And then that she was moonlight men was a raven. And then, you know, he made quite a hit. You know, we just took two naturally. As usual Want to see himself as a ballet dancer? He wasn't another agency.

Unknown Speaker 20:06
Just just for a schoolboy, just for the school play,

Unknown Speaker 20:10
just for the play. Yeah. Sure to host him.

Unknown Speaker 20:14
Yes, you did.

Unknown Speaker 20:17
So I'm not going to bring up the thumbnails. Got a funny look a lot of funny pictures. McLaren sets my backdrop with the movies. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 20:29
Do you have pictures of Saltspring in the early days?

Unknown Speaker 20:34
I've got all kinds of I couldn't tell you where we are. They're all never together to see if I ever get some get them sorted. I wouldn't mind you having some copies of? Well, we

Unknown Speaker 20:47
wouldn't want to take your originals. We just might be

Unknown Speaker 20:51
original, but I wouldn't mind having a copy. Yeah, I

Unknown Speaker 20:54
have any that I think are interesting. I will get some copies. Well, that would be very, very nice.

Unknown Speaker 21:00
I wouldn't mind because I was good to get some coffees anyway, because some of the family was. So I just in fact, I got over a box of them somewhere. I don't want I've done with George over to pick up the ones that I'd like to get copies

Unknown Speaker 21:16
of. Yes. Any anything that has to do with with Saltspring.

Unknown Speaker 21:20
History? Yes. Because, well,

Unknown Speaker 21:25
of course being CVID we came

Unknown Speaker 21:27
there was no rules there. Oh, no, no. Good point. And then when it was a road it was a country of

Unknown Speaker 21:35
North End Road didn't exist.

Unknown Speaker 21:39
There was no normal Yeah, well, they they called it North young road. But it was a country of Oh my It was good to be alone. Yeah. Road, but it was just a country. You couldn't drive on it. Oh, for goodness sake. What have you got here?

Unknown Speaker 21:59
I'm gonna show your English Fe ones that you should be interested in those.

Unknown Speaker 22:03
Were you interested in English pay? Well, actually, no.

Unknown Speaker 22:07
Break. But I'd like to. I like to see

Unknown Speaker 22:09
any that was English Bay in about 1910 and this is Lonsdale, I guess. Put a Lonsdale after you get up the theory looking up long.

Unknown Speaker 22:23
I know who would be interested in the every

Unknown Speaker 22:25
Friday every Saturday night for your seventh down contract and that double BAM shell there. And people danced right on the road. Yeah. I'll put in the corner Denman and David.

Unknown Speaker 22:38
Well, if you ever think of it, or maybe you could get your nephew to do it or your daughter the bandwidth the Vancouver archives would be very interested in coffee.

Unknown Speaker 22:51
What if I had a handkerchief my nose would run? Okay, that there you go. Oh, thank you

Unknown Speaker 23:07
so North End Road was just a cow trail. Isn't that funny now it's now it's a main road. North End Road.

Unknown Speaker 23:14
No, you're used to the other end. Did you see you had take a booth where there was no rule? Nobody said the booth and we kept the ball Robert Fernwood.

Unknown Speaker 23:26
Oh I see you came from Ganges different. Oh, I see. And then you came up with we very often come over in our own gold. Aha came right around. Thank

Unknown Speaker 23:35
good Oh, here. We used to come over a barrel. Oh, we when we first came? Oh, yeah, that's interesting. There was no road. When we first came, we brought everything furniture, even a stove. Everything. And a Devon's called and tug and barge from Vancouver and adopt everything in the water. We had to pick the stove of the tide came in almost over the top of the stove. It just dumped it in the water they dumped it in the water everything they couldn't get ashore. They just dumped everything because low tide everything at low tide remember before we rescued everything the tide coming in the stove was affect the underwater

Unknown Speaker 24:16
did it all rest away?

Unknown Speaker 24:18
Oh no. It was a mostly and now more quickly cleaned it off. Orders are perfectly good still it's still there.

Unknown Speaker 24:24
Is that right down in the other house online so that's how you had to move in.

Unknown Speaker 24:30
Oh yeah, we can even grab all our furniture looks like a little furniture we brought we didn't have much them to the coffee stone bro. We just slept on the floor is you? Oh yes. The sleeping bags. Rubber mattress. Yeah. I even up here wasn't Betsy then started had a bunch of Girl Guides here one time and they moved everything. They moved even the Chesterfield back backed against the wall