Name: Kathy Gwilliam
Family: Widow to Hermie (married just shy of 58 years)
Mother of 3, grandmother of 8, great-grandmother of 7
Profession: Retired Farmer
Years in Grenfell: 76
Talk about what life has been like for you.
It's all about family. When we were on the farm, our grandkids always went harvesting with me. But when I unloaded the truck - I was the grain hauler - they had to go to the house and wait until I was done. Then they would come back and we'd go back out to the field. They loved going with us. We always had them with us. They'd spend holidays and summers with us. We loved that. I sure miss it. And then two of our grandkids were here in Grenfell when they were in high school and they spent a lot of time in town at our house. It's really good memories to have our grandchildren with us. For holidays, our trips were usually with somebody, or we would go to the grandchildren. That's basically been our life. We've gone to Church Hill, and Cuba and the Domincan with Cindy. We went to Prince George with the oldest daughter. We travelled in our motorhome and travelled to see our family that way. So that was our life. And we had The Baring Good Companions. You may have heard of them. It was a group of ladies we had on the farm that all lived out that direction. We got together once a month, unless it was harvest, and we made quilts, had picnics, ball games. We hosted showers, and dances. That was years and years ago. I was always in the church groups too, and we curled.
What was your childhood like?
I guess I had a wonderful childhood. I had good parents. I grew up four miles from town. My maiden name is Maier. I grew up in a farming family and there were 7 of us. I milked cows. I went to Brown Hill School out south. We had all the kids in one room, up to grade 8, with one teacher. I worked at Irvings in town when I was older. It was a clothing store in town, where the TD Bank is now. I worked there for 6 months before I got married. This high school over here was brand new and I was in the first class that went. I lived with my grandparents in town for three years, where Debbie Peterson lives. That was my grandparent's house. There were no school buses at that time, so I lived with them in town. That was basically my childhood. I didn't go very far from home.
Who was your favorite teacher in school?
Well, I don't know. There were quite a few in high school, and the ones in public school. There was Mrs. Les Gettle. She was one of my teachers for two years. And Jean Brierley was for one. My grade one teacher.
What is something you do to show to kindness?
All the quilts that we make, and the knitting, it goes to charity. We do that with the church ladies. Actually, last weekend we filled a bunch of mugs... we filled them with coffee, tea, stuff like that, and a goodie, and we put a stocking over them. They'll be sent to Charmichael House in Regina. We did 74 of them. The quilts sometimes go to Regina, or if there is a house fire in town, and Larry Tittle also collects them for families in need. We give him quilts or mitts, or whatever we have at the church. We do school kits, and right now Operation Christmas Child. After christmas we'll do layetts. We put sleepers and tshirts, sweaters, diapers. We sew diapers for those. We try to help with different things. The community helps us. People donate material. There are so many people that work on these things. I'm not alone. We do this all as a group. Cheryl Wagner organizes a lot of it.
What's your favorite time of year?
Mine is summer. I always had a big garden at the farm. I'm a little scared of winter this year. All of a sudden, you don't realize you have to do a lot of the stuff yourself. Thank goodness for my neighbor Barney (Stopanski). He's very helpful. And Matt will help me with the snow.
What was your first concert?
We used to have concerts at the school, the Christmas concerts. Actually, we did them in Baring too, as adults. It's all gone out there now. We did plays, and singing.
How did you meet your spouse?
On Saturday nights you went out. And this friend met this friend, met this friend and I guess that's how I got to know Hermie. He lived just down the road from Brown Hill school and they would drive past once in a while. He went to school not too far from Baring. He didn't go to school really long. Just to grade 8. He did mostly farming. That was fairly normal then. He did a lot of work at the church too. I was 17 when we got married. Our oldest child is 57 now. We got married in Grenfell. We lived in a log cabin for five years when we first got married, then we built a new house in 1966 on the farm. He took over the farm when he was in his 20s.
If you could take a road trip of your dreams, where would you be headed?
The first trip we ever had, we went to Church Hill. We went on the train and it was 26 hours there and 26 hours back. That was probably my first experience of going on a trip of any sorts. Our daughter Cindy had taken us and the grandkids came as well. We saw polar bears and people walking around with rifles to make sure you were safe. We went on our own, but they told us what we could do and what we couldn't do. Where we could go and where we shouldn't. I would like to do this trip again with my daughters, but it's very hard to coordinate that, when everyone still has jobs and is living in different places.
Would you consider yourself creative?
I like doing things, but I don't like selling them. I'm not a seller. My sister is, but I'm not. I don't think I can do a good enough job for someone to buy it. I like making things for people, but just giving them away. I do quilting, and knitting and crocheting.
What is something you did with a grandparent that holds a special place in your heart?
I lived with them for three years, when I was going to school. They spoke to me in German. My grandfather did anyway. I can understand a little bit now, but I don't speak it. There's no one around me that speaks it anymore.
What province have you been to that you really enjoyed?
We took a trip to the East coast. We went on the bus and were gone for three weeks on that. That was a trip that I sometimes think, it would be nice to go back. It's quite colorful out there. I quite enjoyed that trip. We didn't do too much of that sort of thing until the kids were older. And then when they moved away, they were in three different provinces, so a lot of our trips were heading out to see them. After harvest was over, we'd go out. I do like Saskatchewan the best though!