Mom and the Great Flood of 1950

Living in Winnipeg on the prairies brings back a lot of memories for my mom Irene. She remembers the big sky and the monarchs, as well as being surprised at the beauty of the tiger lilies just growing right there amongst the grasses.

I stumbled upon the City of Winnipeg Archives the other day, looking for information on my grandfather Roy’s time at Vulcan Iron Works, and discovered they had many online photos of the big flood in 1950. I know that they eventually built a huge ditch around the city, and that Mom would ski down the sides in the winter at a small club there.

Here is a link to the archives.

Disraeli, 1950 Winnipeg Flood, Harold K. White Studio, courtesy the City of Winnipeg Archives.
Main Street, 1950 Winnipeg Flood, Harold K. White Studio, courtesy the City of Winnipeg Archives.

I asked Mom about the flood, as she would have been 16 at the time, and she said she remembers staying up all night in the attic sorting clothing for “relief.” She was a “CGIT girl” which she likened to the Girl Guides. According to their website the “Canadian Girls in Training” were founded in 1915 and is a “non-denominational Christian organization for girls in grades 7-12” and it still has groups across the prairies and in some other provinces.

When reminiscing about living in Winnipeg during her childhood, Mom asked me if I knew about the song “Red River Valley,” and reminded me that the river valley was very wide, indeed.

A few days later I remembered about Mom mentioning the song, so I found a video. Watch “Marty Robbins Sings ‘Red River Valley.'”

From this valley they say you are going.
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile,
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened our pathway a while.

So come sit by my side if you love me.
Do not hasten to bid me adieu.
Just remember the Red River Valley,
And the cowboy that has loved you so true.


Stay safe…


May 2, 2020

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