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(As told by her granddaughter Martha M. Helm Salway)

My grandma Schaffer was short, round, jolly and witty.  She always had a comeback for everything.  She laughed a lot and people liked to be around her. As kids we knew she liked us, she played like a kid and thoroughly enjoyed life.   The best times of my childhood were with grandma.  These stories show her exciting , inquisitive personality.

Our farm was about 11 miles away from the nearest school.  During school years we were boarded in Irvine, Alberta.  Being the oldest I was responsible for my siblings.  At the time, they were; Jim, Gordon, Jack, Eddy. We were divided up so half of us went to grandma Deering’s and the other half to  grandma Schaffers.  We all wanted to go to grandma Schaffers, but had to take turns.  Irvine was a small town with the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks running through the middle of it.  The town consisted of one grain elevator, a mercantile store, a butcher shop (my uncle Hausauer owned it) A bank, a pool hall and wooden sidewalks.

Irvine, Alberta Early Years


One week when I was staying with grandma Schaffer, grandpa decided to take the train to Medicine Hat, a city about 50 miles away.  Grandma sure wanted to go with him.  She teased, cajoled grandpa and even begged, but grandpa was adamant she stay home and take care of us kids.

When it was time for grandpa to leave, grandma grabbed my hand and said “Come” we will see grandpa off on the train.  So we walked the block to the train station and waved as grandpa got settled by a window on the train.  The train started and grandma did an amazing thing.  She pressed a large penny into my hand and said  “Take care of the kids” I watched dumbfounded as my fat rolly polly grandma quickly hopped on the next coach and was of to Medicine Hat.  She waved to me with a delighted grin on her face.

The next day I was anxiously waiting at the train station for their return.  Grandpa and grandma stepped onto the platform, both grinning and talking excitedly.  I could hardly wait to hear about their adventure.  I was sure grandma would get in trouble.  At supper I dared to ask.  Grandpa said “When I got off the train in Medicine Hat, there was grandma waiting on the platform smiling, just as I had left her.  At first I was thinking we had gone back to Irvine.  Then I couldn’t figure out how she got to Medicine Hat before me. But that’s my Caroline,  ALWAYS  FULL OF SURPRISES.

We laughed and all agreed that our grandma was indeed full of surprises.