Although it was not the exact date of their wedding 70 years ago, Blanche and Lewis Bloomfield had a wonderful time celebrating this great event with friends and family on Jan. 10, at their home in Barriere. Lewis is 92, and Blanche 88, but their ages did nothing to stop them from thoroughly enjoying the party that was held in their honour.
Their home filled to overflowing with well-wishers, and the sound of guests laughing, chatting, and enjoying the many tempting and tasty goodies available created an atmosphere that may have resembled the first wedding celebration held 70 years ago.
Lewis said that when his family moved from Saskatchewan to Lacombe, Alberta, it was there that he met Blanche in 1943, and the couple then married during the winter of 1945, on Jan. 6.
When the pair reminisced about their wedding day, they noted “..at minus 30 degrees it was too cold for a celebration, so we waited for a few weeks and then had a small but enjoyable wedding party.”
They tell that after the wedding the Bloomfield’s continued farming for another year or two, and then Lewis and his brother operated a general hauling business with their own truck. During this time, the family lived in Lacombe, but in January of 1950, they moved to Kelowna, B.C., to join his father in the logging business.
The young couple say they and their children moved many times, then later in 1950, when Lewis began logging and road building for Ken Long who owned Fadear Creek Mill, Lewis and Blanche with their four children moved into the bush in the area where Walterdale is now. There was no human habitation up there, so Lewis and the men who worked with him built four, 10’x20’ shacks lined with tar paper for living quarters.
One of these shacks housed Bloomfield’s with their four small children.
“Our kids were small so we built bunks for them and used fir bows for mattresses,” said Lewis, “It was okay, I don’t remember anyone complaining anyway.”
He told how the shacks were pulled to the logging areas on skids; in fact, they were a mobile logging camp.
Blanche spoke about keeping house in those small buildings without having any conveniences. “The children were still small, but it was sure crowded in there,” said Blanche, “We had to carry water from the creek for everything, and we only had coal oil lamps for light and a wood stove for cooking and heating.”
Asked if she felt upset or angry about those living conditions, Blanche said, “Not really, that was the way it was.”
Eventually the Bloomfield family settled in the area of East Barriere Lake.
As the children grew up though, the family could not remain in the mobile logging camp, and so moved to Kamloops where they attended school. Eventually the Bloomfields were able to buy property with an old house, which they renovated and made fit to live in.
The couple tell that in April of 1960, when the crew was away working, their house caught fire and burned to the ground. Their eldest daughter sustained injuries in the fire which she could not survive, and she passed away in Royal Inland Hospital.
Although there have been times of heartbreak and hardship in the 70 years of Lewis and Blanche’s married life, their strength and support for each other while raising their family has sustained them.
They look back on a good, fulfilling life, while continuing to enjoy each other’s company in their retirement with the support of both family and friends.