Remember When: Sharing memories about early life in the North Thompson Valley

Mrs. Bedard received callers quite early on a frosty morning in February of 2002. She was smartly dressed, looking every inch a cheerful and attractive lady, prepared to entertain visitors. Nothing remarkable about that, except that Kay Bedard was 91 years old.

Her family had come from Ontario to the North Thompson Valley where the McCarten’s purchased land with a large house and barn on at Vinsulla. Jimmy Spratt, an uncle, was the original owner of the place, who had built the family residence. The house, known as the ‘Twenty Mile Road House’ was where Kay Bedard (ne McCarten) was born in 1909. She remembers being told that Dr. J.S. Burris came out from Kamloops by horse and buggy, to attend the delivery.

Kay said she remembers hearing about her miraculous survival as a nine-month-old baby. The family was visiting an aunt in Chase. Her parents and relatives became very concerned because the young child would not stop crying. When it became obvious that the child’s condition had reached the crisis point, her parents and aunt flagged down a freight train to Kamloops. They reached the hospital, located on Lorne Street, which in those early days bordered on a miracle.

McCartens then moved to McLure, to the ‘Twenty Five Mile House’, another stopping place on the road up the North Thompson Valley. It was here, when Kay was seven years old, that her sister was born. She recalls that when she heard of the new arrival she said to her dad “lets beat it to the hills”.

In 1931, Kay met and married George Bedard of Heffley Creek. There they operated the family farm, on which they raised four sons.

When postal service came to the Heffley Creek area around 1925, Bedard family members were among the first postmasters. George Bedard also became the postmaster and held that job until his death, at which time his wife Kay took over that position. The post office was, and still is located in the original farmhouse. Many renovations and changes took place over the years and in 1961 a larger post office was added to the house. Kay Bedard was Heffley Creek’s postmistress for many years. The job was then carried on in the family by son Joe Bedard and his wife Evelyn.

In 2002 Kay was still taking great pleasure in driving into Kamloops to do her shopping and banking business. “I have my parking worked out so that I can go to the IGA, the store is just my size and I am not just a number there; everyone knows me and is very helpful,” she said.

Mrs. Bedard was obviously enjoying life and delighted in sharing her memories with visitors, who were always happy to return for yet another chance to reminisce about bygone days.

Reprinted from the Feb. 14, 2000, issue of the North Thompson Star/Journal

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