‘Always look on the sunny side,’ Okanagan senior says

Heaton Place resident shares story of growing up in Roaring Twenties

When you mention the Roaring Twenties, one might conjure images of flappers and extravagant spending.

But this wasn’t the norm for the average family during the 1920s.

While daily activities were different for people living in rural and urban areas, family values in the 1920s remained relatively constant.

For the Hall family, it was all about family time and working hard.

Joan Schuetz was one of 11 children, born in Moose Jaw, Sask., on Oct. 22, 1925, to Bill and Lydia Hall.

She grew up on a farm with dairy cows, chickens and wheat fields in a small hamlet called St. Boswell’s.

“It was a very good life growing up on the farm; we were a very close knit family,” she recalled.

“It wasn’t uncommon to have a pile of kids playing ball in our yard and mom dishing out homemade ice cream.”

After her school years, Joan went to work for a family in Regina, taking care of the children, earning $35 a month.

Although she loved this work, her sister needed some help running her store in Neidpath, Sask., so she moved back to give her a hand.

This little store worked its magic and became the meeting place for what would be 70 beautiful years of marriage to Louie Schuetz.

They met on Jan. 17, got engaged on March 10 and were married on June 10, 1944, in Joan’s family home.

Joan and Louie brought two girls into the world, Lee and Nadine.

They endured difficult living conditions including no indoor plumbing and hauling water from outside until they moved to Manitoba in 1968.

Joan thought she had died and gone to heaven when she finally had indoor running water.

Joan worked hard alongside Louie hauling grain. At one point in her life she was also a telephone operator.

“Being a telephone operator, you are talking with people every day. I was beginning to think I was a doctor, a cook or even a social worker. Everyone would call and ask questions,” Joan said.

After 25 years in Manitoba, Joan and Louie would move to Armstrong and settle in their home at 2560 Rosedale Ave.

They enjoyed some travels together including an Alaskan cruise and a trip down the Oregon coast, where Louie proposed to his love for a second time.

The couple participated in lawn bowling on the very same property that Heaton Place sits today.

She and Louie even travelled to Australia to bowl.

Joan became an active member of the Woman’s Institute and the Rebekah’s, volunteered for the UCW at the IPE, and was the Bridge Club Seniors Centre president.

Joan is the proud grandma of four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The couple moved into Heaton Place Retirement Residence in 2013 and Joan said farewell to her beloved Louie on Jan. 24, 2015.

After Louie died, Joan’s girls took her to Hawaii.

With a twinkle in her eye, she tells a story of how this handsome Italian singer held her while singing Fly Me To The Moon.

“Both my girls had tears running down their faces,” she said.

Joan now stays busy with playing cards, watching curling and visiting family.

When I asked Joan what message she would want to leave with her family she said, “Always look on the sunny side of life, don’t be looking for trouble; and help your fellow man as much as possible.”

Carrie O’Neill is the resident relations coordinator at Heaton Place in Armstrong, telling the stories of its residents.

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