During that time frame that Beth and I owned (partially) this twelve suite apartment block at 534/536 Louise Ave.  Beth and I literally worked our butts off.  She always had foster children to look after as well as cleaning the Common areas of the building while I, after working a busy day at the Dental Clinic in Shilo,  would come home,  have supper and go to work in one of the suites.   There was always something to do.   I wallpapered  and painted every single suite in that building as well as looking after the general routine maintenance.

While there we had one foster Child (grown up) probably about 16 years old who stayed with us about a year and remained a good friend.  Jack Kennedy who I believe is Metis,  is a huge man   but most of all gentle, kind and good natured . . .Many kids came and went and were forgotten but Jack,  along with Roberta Hill,  Derek Ducharme and a Lorne Bone will always be remembered.  Lorne came to us very late one Christmas Eve.  Children's Aid phoned to ask if they could bring a child.  We accepted and a police officer named Wayne Lloyd brought the child. Lorne was Aboriginal  and his Mother had been arrested that evening for aggravated assault. She had taken Lorne with her to a Party where she had been drinking and got into a fight with another lady whom she promptly stabbed.  The other lady survived but Lorne's Mother had been incarcerated for some time in which he stayed with us for that whole period.

The officer, Wayne Lloyd eventually became a close friend and even had taken many piping lessons from me.  Wayne and his wife Alexis now live in Winnipeg   but we still communicate frequently.  As a wee side note,  I am playing at Wayne's older son Jason's wedding this 30 September, 2000.   Two other officer's from the Brandon Police Force also took lessons from me.   They were at the point where they could play a few tunes,   went away on Holidays and gave up the pipes.  Bob James is still on the Force as Ident Officer.   Keith York left the Brandon Force and was Chief of the Dakota Force for some years before moving away to Alberta.

I had bought another house which was quite small but was strictly for rental.  It became unoccupied so I advertised it in the Brandon Sun.  One evening an attractive young lady phoned to ask if she could see it.  She took it and settled in after moving from Moose Jaw.   Joanne took a job at the Keystone Motor Inn.  Soon after, one Sunday morning,  a knock at my door.  It was a young gentleman named Ron Christie.  He told me  that Joanne sent him to see me.  Ron had a deep passion for the bagpipes and asked if I would teach him.  I did just that.  Ron was a talented and hard working learner who would prove to eventually become one of my closest friends.   He and Joanne eventually married   but moved away to Moose Jaw where they started their own business fabricating kitchen cupboards.  I didn't see them again until our 26th Fd Reg't Pipes & Drums were picked up at Brandon Airport by an old DC3 Dakota Aircraft and flown to Moose Jaw   where we stayed at the Air Base for the weekend.  Saturday  we marched in a parade where I was spotted by Ron and Joanne who intercepted me after the Parade and insisted I stay with them that night.  Incidentally,  our Band took 1st in a Grade Three Competition that Saturday in Moose Jaw.  Two  excellent pipers from Rivers  joined our Band some months previous and were very helpful in the Competition.  Jamie McFadden and Leslie Shamray  married a few years later.  Leslie gave up actively playing the Pipes but Jamie stayed with it and several years ago became Pipe Major of the 26th Field.  Another piper who became a close friend but unfortunately moved away to Saskatoon was Merv Morgan.    Merv and I really enjoyed playing together and teamed up whenever possible.  Merv now lives in St Albert, Alberta and yes,  we still keep in touch.

Don MacLennan  was a retired school teacher and his wife Mae was a Real estate Agent.  I had bought and sold a few houses,  Fixed them up,   painted, wallpapered  and rented and whatever.  In the process we had met Mae who became our exclusive Real estate Agent.   She knew Beth's tastes so when a house became available that she knew would interest us,  she would take us to view it.  This happened at a house at 355-15th Street.  It was of an older style, but well built with lots of beautiful Oak woodwork throughout. Again, I papered and painted every room in this house including two additional bedrooms on the 3rd floor.   It was getting very tiring for me to work all day in Shilo,  come home to 15th Street, have a quick supper and then have to go to the Apartment block and fix plumbing or replace burners in a stove or lay new carpeting in a suite.  The point is,  because I am basically a lazy individual,  I no longer wanted to keep this pace therefore Beth and I put the 6th and Louise Apartment block for sale eventually selling it to a Bill McTavish, himself a real estate Broker.

My good friend Charlie Ridgin approached me about this time to join the Independent Order of Oddfellows  (IOOF).   Charlie had been a member of the local Brandon Branch  and thought that this would be good for me.   I decided to join and soon thereafter took part in their initiation and became a full fledged member.   While I was serving with the Forces, I had no problem attending the meetings and keeping up with all obligations, however, when I retired from the Service and became a Correctional Officer,  I found that I could no longer attend on a regular basis. Due to having part-time employment I was subject to phone calls asking me to go to work right now type of thing.  This was tough because I could no longer make plans  and because I was part-time,  I could not afford to turn down any requests to go to work.   My attendance at the Oddfellows suffered and I could no longer keep up with all obligations.  For other reasons,  my friend Charlie had already left the IOOF  and it was apparent that I was to follow.

During my stay at Shilo,  our detachment was tasked with the dental responsibility of CFS  (Canadian Forces Station) Yorkton which was about 15 Kms outside the small city of Yorkton in Saskatchewan.   CFS Yorkton was a Radar Station and part of the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line.   Shilo would provide a dental team to spend 2 to 4 weeks, twice a year, at this location.  A team would comprise a Dental Officer and me.  I was responsible for everything other than the actual dentistry at the Chair.  It was a big job to pack supplies, load a  Military U drive Van,  move to Yorkton,  setup,  and call in all members who were due for their "preventive dentistry" checks.  We would be very busy during these trips and many times had to work into the evening in order to accomplish our goal within the limited time frame.   It became my habit to take the pipes with me   and  it became evident that these temporary duty trips to Yorkton would coincide with their Officer's and Men's Mess functions.  Over the years I made many good friends in CFS Yorkton and after every trip, a letter of appreciation would be received at our HQ in Winnipeg from the Station Commander in Yorkton.

My absolute favorite Dental Officer to take on these Yorkton trips was Gilbert Chaume.   He came to us in Shilo upon graduating from University therefore his dentistry was right up-to-date and was therefore liked and respected by all his patients.   He and I "clicked" and found pleasure in working with each other.  Gilbert took his release from the Forces after doing his mandatory five years  and moved back to Quebec with his very pretty wife  Lorraine.  Lorraine had her "Masters" in nursing and they are still practicing their respective crafts at St Jean De Richelieu in Quebec.  Another "favorite from those Dental Clinic days in Shilo was Bev Gilbert.  She was a civilian employee and was my "right arm" so to speak.  We were good friends as well as co-workers and her good work and professionalism made my job much easier.  Bev married Allan Haverstock and they live about 20 kms south of Brandon.   Of course there were many other dental officers and assistants,  military and civilian whom I worked with there but they are too numerous to mention.  Gilbert and Bev were the "stand-outs".

Also a favorite from that period was our Dental Clinic cleaner,  Marg Haggerty.  Marg's husband Ernie was a cleaner in the hospital and we were all good friends.  For a time Bev and I would go to Marg's house at lunchtime for a game of cards.  This practice came to a screeching halt when Ernie died suddenly of a heart attack.

Heather had taken a secretarial course at Assiniboine Community College and obtained employment at MacKenzie seeds.  She had a second job serving tables at the Keystone Inn.  One night while serving tables she met a young cattle breeder who came to AgEx with his Father from B.C.  Ken Petterson  was soon invited to our house where we met him for the first time.  Not long after,  Heather and young son David left to join Ken on his farm in Sardis,  in the Fraser Valley of B.C.   Ken was a good successful Simmental Breeder but for a variety of reasons,  the business failed and they had to leave B.C. for Alberta.   Beth and I along with Donna and her friend Aleeta Hall traveled to B.C. to visit  with Heather Ken and David.   I was impressed with the farm and the cattle and eventually became a         Simmental owner. Ken had been on a buying trip to Saskatchewan and brought back six full blood heifers.  I had invested five thousand dollars in one of them.  The idea was that this heifer of mine would cooperate with me by giving birth to another heifer and theoretically ,  by the time I was 65   I would be the owner of a huge herd of full blood Simmentals.  It didn't work that way.   The first  calf was born dead.  The Vet that attended did an autopsy and declared it was a Uterus infection (odds one in five hundred) but would have no effect in future pregnancies.   The next year,  the calf was 22 days overdue, lived for twenty minutes and died.   The 3rd year the calf was a bull with hooves turned in.  Useless for breeding, therefore not much future.  It was then that the Simmental Breeders in B.C. began to have problems which resulted in a call from Heather asking what should they do with my heifer and bull calf as they were selling all their animals and moving to Alberta. I received $3000 for both animals so considering my boarding expenses,  insurance and vet bills,  I  lost approximately $4000.  I am though, a lifetime member of the “Simmental Association” and who could ask for more.

In January 1979 Beth and I flew to Vancouver where we were met by Ken and Heather and drove back to their home in Sardis.   Their wedding was planned  but could not happen until Ken received divorce papers  from his first marriage.  A secretary somewhere had not done her job and the papers sat on her desk while we waited in vain.  We could wait no longer and had to return to Brandon without witnessing the wedding which took place two weeks later.

I guess one could say I had been doing a pretty fair job in Yorkton as well as Shilo and became well known for my preventive dentistry lectures as well as being the piper of note (only one available) at all social occasions, including hockey tournaments, curling bonspiels,  summer and winter carnivals, etc.  At least I must have impressed someone as my BDentO (Base Dental Officer) and Base Commander together nominated me for the "Deserving Serviceman's Award".   This award resulted in a trip on one of two training flights per year.  The first  (and best) was a "round-the-world" flight in a Forces Boeing 707.  The second was a flight around South America in a C-130 Hercules.  I was accepted for the award and my name was placed at the bottom of the "list".  It took two years for my name to reach the top of the list and great!! I was in line to go on the 707`s "round the world" flight.   But then, as so often happens in the military, something went wrong!  A female Sgt, who was Secretary to the General that  commanded  "Training Command" in Winnipeg, was recipient of the award and her name was placed at the top of the list. She received the 707 flight while I ended up with the Hercules flight around South America.  That was the first bit of bad luck which was to be with me the whole trip.  One day in February 1979, a car from Shilo was to pick me up in Brandon to take me to the bus in Shilo which would take me to the plane in Winnipeg which would take me to CFB Trenton from where the flight would depart.  The driver hadn't shown,  which forced me to drive my own car to Shilo and leave it there for three weeks which I wanted to avoid.  During the 3 day stay in Trenton, I was in Base Supply getting outfitted with a Flight Suit.  A  heavy metal door was slammed on my hand, resulting in a very sore hand for a few days.  The  flight had a crew of 22 in which I was the only "non-working" member.  One must remember this was a so-called "training flight"  so there were something like four Pilots, three Navigators, three Loadmasters,  three Flight engineers etc.  We even had a female nurse and a Meteorologist!

Finally it is the morning for take-off.   There is a very low and fast moving cloud cover. Our first over-night stop was Norfolk, Virginia but between Trenton and Norfolk there were two USAF Bases that our aircraft  would do touch down and take-off  landings  in the name of training.   Each and every time we took off and landed we would go through the clouds and get bumped all over the place.   Remember my weak stomach?   Right, I became airsick.   The next day when we left for Port of Spain, Trinidad I was sufficiently recovered that I  actually enjoyed the flight. Well we had to land sometime and when we did an insect who had no other purpose in life than to sting me,  did just that.  The result was an infected eye and nose (partially to each).  We stayed in Trinidad for two days before leaving for Rio de Janeiro.  A good time was had by all in Rio,  except me.   I was robbed!  I had carelessly left my wallet in my hotel room while the Meteorologist and I had spent the afternoon on the beach.   Fortunately I had the numbers of my American Express Travellers Cheques and was reimbursed for those,  however,  approximately four hundred American dollars was also missing.

The next stop was Santiago in Chile.   The Canadian Embassy had a very nice pool side party for us, after which we went back to our Sheraton Hotel and partied.  We were warned about the water but thought it would be safe at the Sheraton.   It wasn't and the next day while heading to La Paz Bolivia,  almost all of us on the plane was stricken with diarrhea.  Twenty-two people and one honey pail behind a curtain.  Very interesting!!!!!!

We eventually arrived in La Paz where we were scheduled to stay two days. There had been an assassination attempt on "El Presidente's life the previous week.  He was out in a small aircraft when we arrived.   The Airport was over-run with Security.  The Bolivian authorities forbad our presence and we were unceremoniously told to "please leave"  Our aircraft commander wanted to refuel but could not,  as the authorities demanded cash,  which of course was impossible.   We were not even permitted to empty our "honey pail".  Although we hadn't sufficient fuel  to satisfy safety regulations, we did however have enough to take us to Lima, Peru which was our next "port of call".  One must do what one must do!

We had a very nice visit of two days in Lima and nothing happened to me there that I like to admit, however,  just between the two of us, and don't tell anyone,  I had a real bad toothache!   It was a wee bit embarrassing as, here I am, the only dental type in this 22 man crew to contact a dental problem during the whole trip.  Our next scheduled stop was to have been the Galapagos Islands which I had been looking forward to more than any of the others.   My bad luck was still with us. We received a message from Ottawa that we were to cancel the Galapagos stop which was a huge disappointment.

Next was Mexico City which had a rather severe earthquake a week before we arrived.  There were visible reminders of the quake, which in no way affected out visit, and incidentally was the only stop which had no negative incident happen to me personally.  After two days in Mexico City we headed north to Canada and to CFB Trenton, Ontario.  Again bad luck!  Our Hercules arrived in Trenton just in time for me to miss the Forces 707 flight to Winnipeg. This necessitated another 48 hour wait in Trenton.  No problem, I would contact Peter Hogg who had been an old piper buddy from the Black Watch and was then Pipe Major of the CFB Trenton Pipes & Drums.  Peter was glad to hear from me and invited me to his home for supper.  He was to come to my barracks that night to fetch me.  To this day I have no idea why he didn't show up.

Finally,  I am on my way home.  It is almost time to board the 707 going to Winnipeg.  I bend over with my overloaded Valpack and promptly put my back out…. The pain was severe and probably the worst of all my bad luck which persisted throughout the trip,  as the effects of it lasted for another month! We had 54-1/2 hours of flying time which I really enjoyed with the exception of course the first leg between Trenton and Norfolk.   To sum up the whole experience;  very interesting,   but sorry,  I cannot say I would want to do it again.

In 1978 we moved again.  This time from 15th Street to 1605 Victoria Ave.  At the time this house was quite likely the prettiest house in Brandon;  rather huge with eight bedrooms and multi rooms in the basement which one could call whatever one pleased.  Beth loved this house….. I did not.   I think one reason I cared not for it was that Beth decided to strip all paint from all woodwork.  You cannot imagine what a huge undertaking this was.  She would work almost two hours every day stripping paint and it was my job to refinish these doors, door frames and baseboards.   The paint stripper was caustic and I had been concerned as to what was happening to Beth's lungs.   We had bought the house from long time Brandon resident and optometrist Doctor McDermott and sold it in 1981  to Electrical Contractor Jim Figol.  This house today is a "Bed and Breakfast" known as "Casa Maley".    When we bought this huge home,  Beth and I discussed keeping boarders as a means of paying the rather hefty mortgage payments.  That first year, we had five boarders, all girls on the third floor.   It didn't work out too well so the following year we ceased the “boarders” experiment.

Finally I came close to the magic age of fifty, which was what was called in the Military, the CRA (compulsory release age).  I enjoyed my job at that time and would not have taken my release unless really necessary.  I applied for a one year extension.  During that period of time,  the Canadian Forces were suffering a huge personnel reduction.   The request was denied and on the 11th of Feb 80 I became a civilian.

Ok, what did I want to do………. First I was offered a job with a local Dental Appliance fabrication firm in Brandon.  They wanted me as a “front” man which meant I would greet and interview prospective clients to ascertain their needs,  their means and desires and after examining them;  give them advice as to the different options and the approximent cost of each.   When the time came,  I would do their impressions,   draw up a plan and present it to the lab for fabrication.  When the appliance was made, I would call in the client and insert the denture.  From my limited experience in this field,  I knew it was a high stress situation to be in as I had already seen too many patients that were not happy with their dentures and never would be satisfied.   All this for $1000 a month.   No thank you.   I knew I did not want to sell furniture and couldn't find prospective employers looking for a qualified machine gunner/piper.  I talked to Cop friend Wayne Lloyd who suggested Corrections.

I explored the possibilities  and enrolled in a five month course just beginning at Assiniboine Community College.   Included in the course was a one month period of on-job-training at the Remand Center in Winnipeg.  Then I did three weeks at Headingly Correctional Institution followed by a month at BCI.   I was rather proud of my performance at the College as my graduating marks were high as well as receiving the only “A” in physical training which was an important part of the course.  Every morning I would leave for classes an hour early and have a solitary work-out in the gym followed by a shower.   I think this habit of mine found its way to the Physical training instructor plus the fact that I gave up smoking while there.   After finishing the Course I was hired “part-time” at Brandon Correctional Institution.

Our residence while I took the Course was at 16th and Victoria Ave.  Facing Victoria Ave was  a huge window.   Now Beth was watching television one day when a person was being interviewed by a Cop as to how one would recognize Marijuana.  To illustrate, they had a huge Marijuana plant with them on the set.   Beth thought this was a splendid looking plant and that she would like to grow one so she asked Donna where she could pick up Marijuana seed.  It wasn't long before Donna produced a half dozen seeds which Beth planted in two pots.   One she kept in the kitchen and the other she placed at the front window.   It wasn't long before the one in the front window became a good sized, healthy good looking plant.

The day finally came when the cops,  dog and all raided our house looking for Marijuana plants which they readily found.  As the officer in charge produced the warrant to Beth, he could see plant number one sitting at the window.  He asked Beth,  “do you know what that is?”  Beth replied,  “of course, it's a marijuana plant.  Oh groan, it's a good thing I wasn't  home.   Beth was told charges would be forthcoming.   Our cop friend,  Wayne Lloyd told us to leave it in his hands.  We heard later that there would be no charges but it went without saying that we would never again grow Marijuana.   To illustrate how truly fortunate we were,   consider that Donna still had a few seeds left from what her friend had given her,  and put them on a lid of a tobacco can in our wee greenhouse.   Although the Officers had a “sniffer dog” with them, they didn't bother to go to the greenhouse.  All this while “yours truly” was taking a course learning to be a good Correctional Officer.  :)

The time was drawing perilously close to re-mortgage.   Interest rates were at an all time high and meant that my monthly mortgage payment  would be increasing drastically.   With the uncertainty of earning a good wage at my “part-time” job at BCI.  I was strictly “on call” and was at the mercy of a pager.   More than once I would be sitting with Beth waiting to be served in a restaurant and be called to work. Mostly for only 3 hours supervising gymnasium (in the winter) and fresh air (in the summer).   Times were hard at first  and until I proved myself I was not getting lots of hours.  I did however enjoy the job, enjoyed the fellowship with the officers   and strange as it may seem, I even enjoyed some of the inmates most of the time.  It was certainly an experience working with inmates  and I did feel that serving in the military was good training for what was to come.  The army always taught the three “F"s ”which was “firm, fair and friendly”.  I tried to live by that principle and for the next thirteen years I worked Corrections,  it  seemed to have worked.  To this day I coffee once per week with best friends  (also retired) Andy Gagnon, Lloyd Harness, Bill Burnett, Bob Kilfoyle and Joe Roach.

One day during the spring of “81”  our good friend May MacLennan told us there was a house she would like us to see. It was at 740-21st Street and had been owned by a retired bank manager who unfortunately developed Alzheimers, resulting in years of neglect.  We ended up buying the house but before moving in,  much renovation was necessary.  The most drastic was the gutting and re-building of the bathroom with new bathroom fixtures. Every room is the house was re-papered or painted.  After  moving in,  we had the whole front exterior tyndal-stoned,  a new lawn was laid,  planted bushes and trees,  a new driveway and hey,  it wasn't long before we had the prettiest house on the block.

As we were moving in, the gentleman who lived across the street came across to introduce himself.  Gordon Frazer, retired school principal eventually became one of the best friends I ever had.   We would talk for hours and it was evident the chemistry was there.  Gordon and his wife Dorothy would go to Hawaii every winter for about three months.  While they were gone,    I would keep a close eye on the house and go inside to check out the furnace, freezer and plumbing. When Gordon's son Harold from Toronto and his daughter Donna from Montreal came to visit their Mom and Dad, I became friends with them as well and to this day, Harold and Donna are like second family.

It took about five years before I progressed from part time to full time employee at Brandon Correctional Institution.   The only advantage to being part time during these years was the ability or should I say freedom to take trips and not be missed.  I would of course go with the blessings of the superintendent Jim MacDonald who was also a piper.  Speaking of trips,  Heather and Ken were living at Sardis B.C. just outside of Chilliwak.  I loved driving there for visits.  We would stay at least two weeks and were always lucky with the weather. I was driving the old Peugeot  the first trip or two and then once my car broke down in Vernon B.C.   We had a very hard time to get a simple part that would make us mobile again.

I said to heck with this and traded the car in for a Ford Station Wagon.  Brand new. Nice car.  The downside was that the seat was manually adjustable and very hard on my back,  which I learned driving back to Manitoba.  On the way, Beth and I stopped at  Post Falls, Idaho to visit  with sister Gloria and her family.  On the way there we had been travelling through the State of Washington on a small country road up in the mountains.  I was getting low on gas and wanted to fill up, but this wasn't possible if I didn't find a gas station.  Finally long after nightfall, I ran out of gas while reaching the summit  of a hill.  I coasted over the brow and  three miles to the bottom.  There it was,  a gas station and a restaurant.  How lucky!

Sometime during the last half of August 1983,  Avis and Gerald Foster stopped in on their way to Nova Scotia and the Black Watch reunion.  When they left, I got the bug; went to the Superintendent, Jim MacDonald (who happened to be a piper) and obtained permission to take a couple weeks to go to the reunion.  Beth and I drove to New Brunswick, stayed with our good friends, Earl and Reta Neary for 3 days, then with the Neary's we left for Nova Scotia and the reunion.  What a great trip that was. We saw so many of our old friends, Don and Melina Colburne, Trevor and Laurie Paquin, Mike and Barb Phelan to name just a few. After the reunion we went to New Glasgow to visit with cousin Maryand husband Murray, Lew and Joyce MacNaughton and Bob and Kay Walton as well as close friends Bob and Joyce Nicholson.  I know I've said this before but I cannot help repeating how rich a man is to have such good friends.

We also visited with my Uncle Ted and his wife Dorothy in Trenton.  On the way back to Manitoba, we detoured through USA  and visited my Aunt Grace in New Hampshire.  She was a wonderful woman and our visit was all too short, however, she showed us jewelry that had belonged to her sister, my Aunt Dot  who had died of a heart attack a few months earlier.  She gave us a ring that had belonged to my Grandma. It was in very poor shape, however we took it home,  put it in the jewelers for replacement of some stones, repairs of others.  Let it here be known this ring, at the proper time is to be given to my grand daughter Kyla.    The next stop on the way home was to stop in Hamilton and look up my dear old friend  Eddie Walton.  I was thankful we did that because Eddie was in the hospital and I'm sure, enjoyed our visit very much. Although it happened years later Eddie died and I never got to see him again.

Don Roy Welcome
Narrative I
Narrative II
 Narrative III
 Narrative IV
Narrative V
Narrative VI
Narrative VII
Narrative VIII
Photo Album I
Photo Album II
Photo Album III
Photo Album IV
Photo Album V
Photo Album VI
Photo Album VII
Photo Album VIII
Photo Album IX
Photo Album X
A Lifetime of Piping
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