In July 1975, the people of southwestern Manitoba gathered at Breadalbane Church to unveil a monument to the area's original settlers. The church is about 8 km from the Etsell farm, and my family was there, but the only thing I really remember is the heat. It was sweltering. Mom says I was pretty well-behaved anyway.
The man at the podium is Harold Leask, my grandmother's first cousin.
Here's the cairn, with Manitoba's lush prairie in the background.
A closeup of the monument reveals the names of the pioneers being honoured that day. Mom's ancestors are represented by the Leask family at the upper right. Note that a Tom and Charlotte Woods are also listed, although there's no direct relation to Dad's side of the family.
This is the inside of the church. I'm in the front row, wearing the green vest. Mom is three rows behind me, the short-haired brunette in the pink blouse. Looking good! Aunt Margaret is right in front of her, sharing a pew with my cousins Cathy, Barbara and David. You can see my grandmother in the row behind, between David and Barbara.
Here's the church as it looked in 2009. It's held up remarkably well.
If you look at the 1975 photo of the cairn, you'll see a shack in the background. It was still there in 2009.
The inside of the church was still in good shape, too.
Sean proved that even the piano still functions.
And I took an opportunity to strike a dramatic pose.
I'm not a religious person, but there's something special about Breadalbane church. Even though it's usually empty these days, you can feel the weight of history emanating from every stone and timber. I wonder what yesterday's pioneers would make of the 21st century. I like to think that at least they'd be pleased to be remembered.