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Ruth Marion McMillan

This story is submitted by Kerrie Saunders of the Regina District Office. It is excerpts from the memoirs of Ruth Marion McMillan.

"February 13, 1943, will always be etched in my memory as the day I began my new adventure on the road of life.

Many of the young people in our district were leaving to join the services or work in the war factories. Although I was only 17, I was anxious to have an adventure and see what the world had to offer. My mother thought I should have an opportunity to try working away from home, so Dad phoned his sister, Sadie Clark in Yorkton to see if I could stay with them for a few days while I looked for work, and Aunt Sadie agreed. I packed all my belongings in one suitcase, kissed my mother a fond goodbye, and Dad took me to Elfos in the covered cutter to catch the 5:30 p.m. train to Yorkton. He bought me a return ticket and gave me $15.00 and I was away.

The next day Aunt Sadie and I went to the employment office to see what work was available. They offered me a waitress job, but Aunt Sadie said "No, what else was open." They said there was an opening for a stock clerk at Bowman Brothers Auto Warehouse, but five other people were applying for the job, so they thought it would be filled. Nevertheless, we said we would give it a try. I had an interview and they gave me a math test, and then went home. The next day I had a phone call to start work on the 18th, five days after I arrived in Yorkton. We worked a 48-hour week for $45.00 a month, which worked out to twenty-five cents an hour.

Aunt Sadie said I may as well stay on with them as there was no available accomodations in Yorkton. So, I paid my Aunt $20.00 a month and had the remaining big sum of $25.00 to spend on clothes and all my personal needs.

I never had a bike, and I couldn't ride one. Part of my duties were to ride the big man's bike to the CN station to deliver the mail pouch to be sent to head office in Saskatoon. I offered to walk, but the boss said, "No, just ride the bike, it will be faster." Well, just imagine me in a skirt (slacks were not worn to work in those days) wobbling down the street with little or no control. If the traffic hadn't been so scarce due to a gas rationing, and the man upstairs looking out for me, I probably wouldn't be here today to tell my story. Eventually, Gord Erickson, who worked in shipping noticed my valiant struggles on the bike and took pity on me, I helped him in shipping and he took the mail pouch to the CN station.

I met Nellie Thompson who was a secretary at Bowman's and we became best friends and roomed together at various places until 1946. We really tried to stay at home at least one evening a week to wash our hair, write letters to our families and boyfriends overseas.

May 7, 1945, was V-Day in Europe. There was a big victory celebration in Yorkton, with street dances, fireworks, a huge party. I remember my poor feet were sore for days after jitter-bugging half the night on the city streets.

I met Gordon at the Valentines Day Dance February 14, 1946. Gord was a very handsome, self-assured guy. He was now in civic clothes, but had been a fighter pilot overseas during the war. He was three years older than me, and was ready to marry and settle down. He swept me off my feet with flowers, chocolates, wining and dining me. Gordon and I got engaged on June 19, and married on July 12. No long drawn out engagement, just in case I changed my mind. I guess I must have made the right choice, because Gordon and I are still together 52 years later."

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