Elsa Barnes in her Saskatoon home. Trelle Burdeniuk/ News Talk Radio
Elsa Barnes’s eyes sparkle as she talks about Christmas time growing up.
“As a child, Christmas was always wonderful,” she said.
Barnes was raised on a farm southeast of Edmonton as the oldest of 10 children — nine girls and one boy. Her family immigrated from part of Prussia, which is now modern-day Poland, in 1929, when she was four-years-old.
Now, 87-years-old, Barnes said part of Christmas she will never forget is how her family helped the neighbouring farm families.
“Mother would bake these buns and take them to two families that were not doing too well with the farming and they had quite a family. We would hitch up the buggy and a horse and mom and I would go and deliver these buns,” she said.
“That stands out in my memory — how happy the kids were and how happy we were.”
Another memory Barnes has from her childhood is how each girl in the family got a new dress for Christmas.
“(My mother) took sewing over in Europe, she actually went to college to learn. She was really a tailoress and she could make us any dress we wanted out of the Eaton’s catalog.”
Barnes laughed saying that was a good skill for her mother to have with nine girls.
“We were always dressed very well. I was always very proud,” she said.
Barnes met her husband near her family’s farm in Alberta, as his family farmed only five miles away.
They moved to Saskatchewan after he served in the Second World War and they had a daughter and a son.
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