By Carol Jean (Boyer) Maier pg 585 More Big Hill Country 2009
Ralph was born in the Wayne Hospital, Alberta. His family lived at Willow Creek and he and his two sisters, Martha and Marlene, had a large playground around the HooDoos east of Drumheller. When Ralph was seven, the family moved to Cochrane, to the farm Sec 3 Twp 28 Range 4 W5M. The children walked to the Weedon School, located at the corner of NE Sec 22 Twp 27 Range 4W5M for September, it was closed due to a lack of students. They then were picked up by Mr. Wesley Wilson and went to Cochrane Lakes School until Christmas. In January 1944 they walked to the school bus stop which was half a mile away and went to Cochrane School. In 1953 Westbrook School opened and the means of transportation was either horseback or walk, the family lived too close to the school for the bus to pick them up.
Ralph has been farming most of his teenage and adult life. In his teens he was on a threshing crew, supplying his own team, wagon, feed for his horses for $5.00/day. He took Agricultural Mechanics Course and Welding at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, drove into Calgary part of the time in a Model A. During the winters he worked out at many jobs: working for James Henderson, building roads, fencing in the Municipality, working on pipeline fall of 1960 around Rocky Mountain House. After that he started on with the rigs, G.P. in 1965, then Westbourne, working mostly in Northern Alberta drilling for gas and oil. If a drilling site was close to home he worked on it year-round, putting the crop in after his shifts and days off. One winter he was employed with Nabors drilling and the crew went to Japan to drill holes for geo-thermal for power plants.
Carol was born in Broadview, Saskatchewan, and in 1959 our family moved to my Mom’s family ranch in the Cypress Hills, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. After high school, I attended Business College in Medicine Hat, AB. I was employed for the Maple Creek School Unit for several years, and then my sister and I took off for Ottawa, Ontario. I worked in the Ottawa Public Library for 10 months, and on days off we were tourists, Expo 67, Montreal, New York and of course Ottawa! We came back west and on to Calgary. Worked for a furniture store in the office for a few years, and then took off for a tour of the world. I came back to Calgary and was able to get my job back at Ravvin’s, and worked there until I moved to the farm.
Ralph and I met at a square dance club in Calgary and we were married in 1974. That fall we moved to the Cypress Hills, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. For close to 4 years Ralph was travelling back and forth many times. Ralph’s Mom still had her chores, a few cows, pigs and chickens, which she loved doing and her huge garden. With our neighbour Buck Miller checking on her often and Ralph’s sister Marlene and daughter Leni living in Calgary, everything went well.
We have 3 sons: Robert Douglas was born in Foothills Hospital, Calgary, Joseph Kent was born in the Maple Creek Hospital, and Gary John was born in the old Grace Hospital, Calgary. They attended Weedon Play School, Bob was in kindergarten in Cochrane, half days (bused only in the morning), Joe kept on at playschool, and Gary went to kindergarten at Westbrook, full-day, bused both ways. All 3 attended Westbrook School and Cochrane High School and were bused.
In 1974 family and friends moved Ralph’s Mom into her “new” home, one that had been moved out of Calgary, in which she had running water and heat at all times. The old house had many memories for her, with a wood stove which had to be stoked, often in the winter. She did enjoy her new kitchen! We lived in a mobile home in the yard. Ralph’s Mom passed away in May 1982 and once again the month of May brought lots of snow. Ralph and I have carried on with the same garden plot that she had, but have cut down on the size by at least three-quarters.
Our boys kept us busy with their activities: school, school sports, 4-H Beef Club, hockey, and Joe was in High School Rodeo, bull riding, and he won enough points in the Alberta finals two years in a row, that we got to go on two “holidays”. The first year was to Fallon, Nevada, and the next year to Gillette, Wyoming for the North American High School Finals. Also to Yorkton, Saskatchewan for Canadian High School Finals. Bob is a journeyman agriculture mechanic, working as a heavy-duty mechanic in Calgary. Joe is working as a welder, working towards a “ticket” in Olds. Gary is a journeyman millwright and works in many areas of Alberta. All have left home, but they help us out lots.
Ralph and I are still farming on the place that Ralph’s Dad bought in 1943 and when his Mom saw it for the first time asked “Here, with all these rocks?”