Another year has come and gone. I am looking forward to 2017, researching my ancestors, sharing their stories with everyone, continued writing. This year saw not as many posts as the year before but when my mother-in-law Maxine left us, she left a little hole in my soul. She was the last piece of our lives that we had held onto, that little piece of a parental love. Now, I will continue my stories and hope to bring each person to life, just a little bit, for a brief moment. As always, my editor, Taylor Bennett, has my sincere gratitude for her patience and love and helping me put together my thoughts. This is my last post for 2016 and my first post for 2017 will conclude the Beatrice Mary Jackson Bennett story. Cheers!
Beatrice Mary Jackson met William George Bennett on June 30th 1927 when two missionaries came to her home in England. Brother Bennett was there to meet a missionary who he left Canada with on his mission and was told to meet him at the home of the Jackson Family. William played the violin and Beatrice played the piano. They had that in common and by the time that he left, Bill asked Bea to write to him. They had only seen each other in person three times. They wrote to one another over a one year period. He sent her a ring that he had purchased in England and taken home with him to Canada. He sent for her and on March 31st, 1928 Bea embarked on the S.S. Montcalm for an 8-day trip across the ocean to Canada at the age of 18. She had a wonderful trip.
She disembarked in Canada and went by train to Lethbridge where Bill was to meet her. He wasn’t there. She stayed on the train to Cardston. When she arrived, she was met by a stranger who introduced himself as Ed Wolsey. He told her his wife was in the hospital with a new baby boy. She was Merelda, a sister to Bill. Bill had been given the wrong time that the train was to arrive and he’d missed her. She was in bed when he finally arrived and it was a joyous meeting. They were married a week later, April 19, 1928, her 19th birthday.
They stayed with his parents for a couple of months until they found a third-floor apartment that they dubbed “Seventh Heaven” and they had very happy days there.
After that, Bill wanted them to live on a ranch that his father owned. Bea felt that was a mistake as she was no country girl. Their nearest neighbor was a mile away and they lived on the U.S. border.
Bill’s father wanted them to move to Kimball and take care of his ranch there so they did. Lloyd was born on August 21, 1929. Her parents wanted to come to Canada and she wanted them to come. They thought they would be able to help care for her family while her father looked for a job. It didn’t work out that way. It was 1929 and impossible to find a job anywhere. She wished they had never come because her father never ended up finding a job. Her father decided to take her brother Ray and head back to England. He had nothing to go back to because they had sold everything to get to Canada.
Eventually, Bill had sold enough wheat that they could make a down payment on a little house in Cardston. Times were very difficult. The rest of her family went back to England and the day Bill came home, Bea was sitting at the table with Lloyd on her lap because the electricity had been turned off. They simply had no money. Bill’s father died on July 3, 1933 and they had no one left to turn to. That following April, Bill had walked miles and miles looking for work and couldn’t find a thing. They sold their car to make ends meet. On April 19, 1933 Bill left the house and didn’t wish her a happy birthday or happy anniversary and she cried after he left. He came home early in the afternoon and had earned 75 cents. That was the happiest birthday she had ever had. She said it was funny how love grows when you only have each other and one small boy.
She was seven and a half months pregnant on May 3, 1933 when she became ill. Her second baby was born and lived for less than two short days. No money to bury her poor baby. They wrote to her folks in England and they were told that they could have jobs if they went back to England and so she, Bill and Lloyd, now 4, sold everything they owned then had to catch a ride with a stranger who was traveling to Montreal in a Packard Straight Eight and wanted help driving.
They arrived in England and in short order they both had jobs and were doing much better. She paid her parents for their room and they both recuperated. They had a good life in England, Lloyd started school and they did well until 1938. Bill had continued to want to return to Canada, his home, but they were very happy in England.
In 1938, things were becoming very troubling in England. Hitler had taken over Germany and Jews were being arrested and murdered by the thousands and many had escaped to England with terrible stories.
Bill wanted to take her and Lloyd to Canada. She wrote to a church elder who had been in World War I, and he told her that England would be at war within the year. They left their jobs, gave up everything they had acquired and prepared to leave for Canada. They had purchased tickets for a ship but it kept getting moved from date to date. Finally, they left Liverpool on the Montroyal, which was loaded with people. Two ships went out with two destroyers next to them. The Germans had sunk a ship by the name of Athenia. They were carrying a lot of passengers that had survived that sinking and their stories were tragic. One woman had lost her husband and children on the Athenia. Her child was in the bathtub and she could hear him screaming when the torpedo hit the ship and couldn’t get to him. While they were on board the SS Montroyal, they heard an explosion and their ship rocked from one end to the other. Lloyd was about 10 years old and white as a sheet. They scurried up to the deck with their gas masks. The sirens were screaming and they got into their lifeboats as they had been instructed. They found that a submarine had been following one of the ships and the destroyer next to them had dropped a depth charge and sunk that submarine. Passengers on deck had seen oil raise from the submarine.
They finally made it to Canada and took the train to Cardston and met up again with Bill’s family.
They adopted a baby girl, Darlene, in February of 1940 and they had a happy little family. Bill was working as a Manager of a grocery store when Pearl Harbor was bombed and Bill decided, against Bea’s wishes, to enlist in the Canadian Army. Bea was left with two children at home in Canada.
When Bill returned, he found a job at Will Cooper Transport and they soon adopted Miriam. Bea had gone to Lethbridge with Bill in his truck and when she was returning to Cardston she saw a little girl sitting in the cab of the truck. She asked Bill who she was and he said Miriam Bach, the child of a man who worked for Bill’s father on the ranch. Miriam was nine years old. She asked if she could come and stay with Bill and Bea. They told her yes and they took her home for two weeks but she stayed the entire summer. She acted so hungry and couldn’t get enough to eat. When summer was over, it was time for her to return to her home and she cried and cried so much. The following year, Miriam wanted to come back to Bill and Bea’s home and Bea told her no.
Bea was working part time in a grocery store when she met Alfred Bach, Miriam’s half-brother. He told her that when Miriam had left them the year before, her mother didn’t’ pick her up as promised but Miriam was staying at Bill’s cousin’s home. Her mother had gone away with another man and Miriam was ill and in the hospital.
The following week Bea went with Bill to Calgary and found that Miriam was a very sick little girl. She had been underfed, under clothed and overworked. They went home and a week later Bea called her in the hospital and when Miriam asked if she could return to them, Bea told her that Bill would go and see her father, to see if he would allow them to raise her.
Bill talked her father into letting them keep Miriam and she came with such threadbare clothing, they simply threw everything away and started from scratch. She had suffered in the hospital with yellow jaundice and looked pitiful. Miriam ate and ate and after dinner asked if she could have a peanut butter sandwich. Bea told her she could. Miriam had nightmares when she first came to them. Two weeks later, Bea found out that the other children had been removed from Miriam’s home too. Miriam was afraid she would be returned to her mother but Bea and Bill put in to legally adopt Miriam.
Miriam was a good and loving daughter. She became very good friends with Lloyd and both she and Darlene adored their brother.
So, Bea and Bill went through a lot in their lives. World War I, the Panic, Depression, back to England, World War II, birth of two children, the death of one child, adoptions, a return to Canada and a more settled life. It will take one more post to finish their story, as they lived a very full life.
Paul and I traveled with his parents and grandparents and this picture was taken in North Carolina on that trip. I stayed in the same room with Grandma and Grandpa.