Gypsy Sue

Gypsy Sue chapter 6

The Party Store

Delivered balloons for many special occasions. This was a fun job I tell you to get to deliver balloons to people for any number of reasons. One of the most memorable one was to a wedding dressed up as Ragged Ann and I had to say this long drawn out recitation in French to the happy couple who had just been married. And it wasn’t enough  to say it once the wedding guests said to everyone come and hear this she will say it in French well my French had gone by the wayside and I was surprised it was audible at all. They were thrilled and that was the most important thing. ON another occasion we got a request for a bouquet to be delivered to a very posh area of WhiteRock this was quite large bouquet too, So asked my husband and my dad who were so into do this sort of thing, they go up to the door and ring the door bell to deliver the balloons, and ask for the birthday girl, and well she came right up to the door, she was stark naked, I am not sure they closed their eyes or just had their months drop to the floor. They were in hysterics when they returned to the store we were too once they told us what had happened. On another occasion the two went to the Old Beach bar and strip club to deliver to Samantha for her birthday. Well,  they walked him as naive as ever and there was a small crown of people leering at the stage where there was a person rolling about on the floor doing her act after she had danced down a pole. She too was stark naked. Well my dad announced out loud in his ever so gentle and shy voice, Is there a Miss Samantha here?? The voice came from the floor somewhere and it was on the floor of the stage, the woman who was stark naked looks up with nothing on but her birthday suit, how fitting since it was her birthday today and said I am Miss Samantha. She was very sweet so they say now, both of them said they didn’t look at her nakedness, well I being a woman would have been darn curious anyway looking for visible stretch marks, did she have dark roots or where the hooters man made or from God above.  Any healthy human being would be curious to see. Or am I just plain nosey, you don’t have to answer right away. This was a very special job which I didn’t really consider a job it was sheer fun and laughter , everyone who came through the door was there to create some sort of merriment and they did and if they didn’t we did it for them. We became well known about town, but we were also a little before our time or may be didn’t go big enough soon enough, we were just small potatoes didn’t make much money but we had fun.

I had landed the balloon and party store when I was off on sick leave from the hospital for pneumonia so I was between fulltime jobs.  I worked at the Evergreen Baptist nursing home and come share at the same time. That was fairly east to do since neither of them was a full time job.  We had decided to  try and put in some religious books since there was no venue or store in town that carried any Christian books or videos. I learned later that it wasn’t the best idea. But we have to live to learn I think is how the saying goes. We had people from the local Pentecostal churches come in and criticize what were doing. How could we advertise satanic materials on one side of the store and on the other side have Christian books. Some of them were going to parade up and down in front of the store and picket and try to tell people not to purchase from us, what kind of Christians were we anyway. They were very critical indeed, I wasn’t sure what kind of Christians these people were .Why do we look at the speck in your brothers’ eye before you take the plank out of your own.  These were very self righteous souls.  I was a little taken a back from the Christians in town , so glad I didn’t go to the Pentecostal church. I believe a lot  of the time there is nothing wrong with the actual church per say but the people are the nay Sayers the trouble makers . 

Simpson Hospital was just a stop gap while I was waiting for a full time job. I didn’t really enjoy changing diapers  on 85 or 90 year old men. But it was work and work meant money. My husband was just closing down his furniture store in Maple Ridge that unfortunately went awry which was unfortunate. It was a former franchise that had neglected to keep up its terms of agreement so it was difficult for my husband .Now I had to get work the  pressure was on now for sure to get something , we were in  a house with a mortgage . So we had a basement full of Christian books and also a garage full of left over furniture from Franks’ furniture world. I owed an investor some money and didn’t have any to give to I offered to pay him in the product I had in the basement so he agreed to this. I sorted and added up all the costs to total $1000.00 dollars the gentleman came with his pick up truck and then we loaded up the merchandise for him, well he got in the truck and squealed out the driveway as if he was being chased by thieves. Glad that part of the store was over. I didn’t owe anyone else any money that I was aware of , I paid the bank back and then I was free. So the Christian book store didn’t work , the town wasn’t ready for it or atleast

Gypsy Soul Chapter 5

Chapter 5

They  had a great two and half years in Fort Smith working and living the northern life but there came a point where Sue  thought the family  needed to move to the west coast again and be closer to their families and there would be more opportunity for her to work and so that is what they did. Frank gave his resignation to the town and they  looked for places to live in the White Rock or south surrey area and they arranged to move the end of the school year.  They rented a truck from a company named “Ryder” , this was another experience in itself. The darn truck broke down before they even got to take it back to Fort Smith to load it up for the long drive back to Surrey.  Sue’s  brother Colin had agreed to fly up(  his flight paid) and he would drive the van and frank would drive the rental truck. Sue just ran interference with the girls in the two vehicles. The ride back was extremely eventful. After it was loaded and they were really on their way again , they made it as far as Hay River, about 150 miles north from Fort smith and the darn truck broke down again. So the entire family had to stay in a motel and wander about Hay River for two days.  When the truck was fixed they headed south and west to Vancouver and then to White Rock. Colin and Sue and Jess were ahead of Frank and Karen and they  didn’t see them stopped by the side of the road in the Fraser Canyon . They were towing their 1974 Volvo behind the rental truck so they had quite a load. They were not only stopped but the truck had broken down with the Volvo just barely hanging onto the edge of the shoulder of the road in the deadly dangerous Fraser Canyon near Boston Bar. They found out later that  Frank took Karen ,she was only 7 years old at the time and headed for a pay phone to get help since the truck had once again broken down. They hitched hiked back to town which was a long way and then the truck and the car were both towed to our new rental house in South Surrey. Frank and Karen had to get a ride on a Greyhound bus and they were picked up in Cloverdale not far from point of destination .

When they returned from the North Country it was essential that one of the two adults would find a job so Gypsy Sue went to woodlands school for the mentally challenged and was hired on the spot. Literally when she walked in the door to look for the human resources office the clerk grabbed Sue by the arm and prompted her to follow and fill out forms. The job was waiting for her. She started three days later.  It wasn’t the ideal job.

Chapter 7 Woodlands School

the kids were at school so Frank and I went  to Woodlands School for the mentally disadvantaged and I  thought I will see if I can get a job since neither of us had jobs at this point. So I barvely marched in the Human resources office and asked for an application . Well I didn’t have a chance to fill it out Mrs. Bond grabbed me and said come with me I have a job for you . well I went to the Fraser view building where there were individuals that were profoundly retarded bedridden mostly or in a wheelchair. So I accepted a job to start the very next day. OH I wanted a job but not this soon but I took and and ran. They even provided the uniforms what a deal but I chose to purchase my own.  The uniforms were dreadful and looked institutional .

There were many instances where I wished I hadn’t been  there. This was a heavy job. The residents , which they wre called here depended almost solely on the staff for all of their care. Some of there were put in their wheelchairs , tied in and and had a tray in front of them so they couldn’t slip out.  The worst case scenario was a house woman who had no idea of what was going on and ate her food with her fingers and after she ate it she would regurgitate it and eat it again. So she had a one to one to help her from doing this. She would laugh uproariously when we tried  to prevent her from doing this intervention.  It was actually quite gross but she couldn’t do it any other way.

On one particular instance I was paired up with a care worker to transfer a patient to a bath bed and we both had the resident in proper alignment to do the move properly. Well the young person at that very moment said oops I have to leave and left me there holding very heavy resident. I did my best to get her onto the bed or I would have dropped her on the floor,  I was a little annoyed to say the least.

I left there after only seven months there was this patient that was getting an order for chlorpromazine and I was just a new nurse. I had no idea that the order was a little high. All the other nurses were giving him the medication as ordered. I had no idea that some people were no giving it and others were. The medication was being signed for  too. I being the honest brand new

Gypsy Sue Chapter 4

Chapter Four

Gypsy Sue did have some interesting experiences in her lifetime career.

There is getting to be a pattern of roaming about and not being totally settled. Many years later Gypsy Sue had a friend named Yvonne and she called her Gypsy Sue but it was for the reason that Sue moved about in the Mental Health officies.But always stayed in the same area of work.

 Her husband frank was asked by his father to come and work for him in his Calgary office, he was working in another of his father’s  businesses prior to this and it went under, well it wasn’t making money so it was closed so Frank said we had to move.

Frank and Gypsy Sue had just bought   a sweet little house in the west end of the city of Edmonton near the Misericordia so it was great for Sue since she worked at the Misericordia in the laboraratory as a phlebotmist. But this was only to last a short time since Sue  was looking for a job in the similar line of work where she would not have to work shift work. but when the call to Calgary came they sold the little dream house. . Wrong move well only because it didn’t’ go well with the business he was edged out and we moved back to Edmonton a few years later so Frank could return to college. But this is where the journey started with Gypsy Sue and her husband Frank .   Sue did get another job in a medical office working for a paediatric cardiologist. This was a challenge trying to do cardio grams on very small infants and children up to the age of 16 years.  It was a good thing she had been taught how to do electrocardiograms by Sister Theribert. These patients had critical heart defects which altered   the heart functioning. And was life threatening for most. The cardiologist who was in charge of Sue was very strict and precise and expected Sue to be the same, and rightly so since this was a precise ordeal for these enfants and children who had delicate surgeries performed on them, such as tetralogy of fallot.  Tetralogy of Fallot is a rare, complex heart defect. It occurs in about 5 out of every 10,000 babies. The defect affects boys and girls equally. Tetralogy of Fallot involves four heart defects:

  • A large ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) stenosis
  • Right ventricular hypertrophy (hi-PER-tro-fe)
  • An overriding aorta

 Seeing how difficult it was to do these Gypsy Sue quite enjoyed the challenge and had opportunity to broaden her knowledge base in the health care field. She made friends with all the staff and the doctors were very helpful in explaining things to her. She discovered a short time later that she was going to have her first child and the policy of this clinic was that staff could stay employed  here until they were    six months pregnant and at this time Sue had to resign. She should not have told them how pregnant she actually was and then she could have stayed longer. She never looked that pregnant since she is quite tall. This was the policy here to not be seen when you were very pregnant but it may have been a safety issue too at that time, remember this was the early seventies. People now a day’s stay until the day before their due dates. . Wrong move well only because it didn’t’ go well with the business, he was edged out and we moved back to Edmonton a few years later so Frank could return to college in hopes of getting a better job for the little family.  Frank, Gypsy Sue’s husband, decided to return to college, he did very well so well he didn’t a few years later so Frank c.t have to pay his student loan back. He  studied Business Administration at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.   So there is no doubt he was a smart man. Her husband always doubted himself.  Gypsy Sue always encouraged him but that didn’t seem to be enough. It had to come from within. They lived on a small student loan and the savings from selling their house in Calgary. After graduation he was offered a few jobs and decided in the end to take one that was available in Viking, Alberta

. Viking is a town in central Alberta , Canada. It is located at the intersection of Highway 14 and Highway 36, approximately 121 km east of Edmonton. The town also lends it name to the Viking Formation, an oil bearing stratigraphic. The population was 1254 people when we arrived and there were several children born there while they lived there and to this day the road sign still says 1254 people and that is 36 years ago. Go figure.,eh!

Sue didn’t work again until her youngest daughter was 18 months and at this time she worked for a friend in his insurance office one day a week and would get a lady, by the name of Ruth Rattray to come and babysit the two little girls for her . This gave her a day out and a few extra dollars that she could call her own. This was a farming town and the reasons Sue mentions this is because the office she worked in shared a wall with a chiropractor and all day long she would hear crack, crack, pop. It was so loud sometimes. The farmers were always coming for back and hip adjustments since they lifted a lot of heavy bales of hay and equipment. But to this day she can still hear the crack, crack , pop in her head.

In the year 1979  Frank and Gypsy Sue werestill living in Viking still and at that time Frank got an opportunity to work in Surrey B.C. well it was probably mostly because Gypsy Sue had had enough of small town living and wanted to spread their wings and head for the big city. And it was an opportunity for Frank to move into a bigger municipality as town clerk. This was great all her family lived in British Columbia and they wanted to spend time with the grandchildren too. When they were there only a short time Gypsy Sue became restless, no she didn’t leave Frank , she went to Douglas college and studied philosophy and political science. She thought she would return to university and became a lawyer.  Well she studied and completed these courses but decided she should take studies that didn’t take quite so long and so she enquired at the British Columbia Institute for Technology and planned to take general nursing. Well there was a very long wait list but was referred to the psychiatric nursing program and was successful and got in the August 1980 class. This would be and was a challenge for everyone but she had her parents and husband to thank for all the support   Frank was relieved of his duties at the municipal hall so there was no one working in the house and Sue was already enrolled and accepted for the August entry. One good thing about having a spouse on unemployment Sue was eligible for day care expenses. So that was one of the headaches relieved. This little family seems to survive financially much better when they have little or no income. Sue loved going back to school, she was one of the oldest students and one of about three who also had small children. It was like a big holiday and social gathering every day. Sue was not a stay at home mom.

This was real challenge for her husband her the two children. They were 2 ½ and 5 years when she entered the nursing program at BCIT. Her husband was out of work and they had very little income but she was determined to do this and have her own career. There were a lot of gnashing and grinding of teeth. There was a time in the first three months which was the initial phase when Sue thought if she got pregnant now she would have to quit. Then that thought vanished and she kept on going . there were times she had to juggle studies , picking up the girls at school and day care respectively and making supper then taking the older daughter to piano lessons. There was never a dull moment. Sue’s husband wasn’t always available since he finally got a job that was about 2 hours away from home so she had the lions share of the duties. Not much has changed but that is the way of the woman to do it all. , haha.

When Sue was just about finished her husband took a job in the NWT And then she was really left on her own to do it all. So she hired a nanny, who would be at home with the girls after school and after the little one was brought home by her parents.  

After Gypsy Sue  completed her  nurse’s training she  worked for a very short time at  Woodlands School for the mentally challenged .Then once she  got her registration papers Frank got a job and the family   moved to Fort Smith NWT where  frank had a job as  bookkeeper accountant for the  town They had friends they had  become acquainted with while   living in surrey b.c and they told frank about this job.  They  were not too sure they wanted to go but it was a job for Frank.

 .Fort Smith- Nestled in the boreal forest along the banks of the mighty Slave River, Fort Smith is a friendly, multicultural community with a population of 2,500. We are the education capital of the NWT, and the gateway to Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada and a UNESCO World Heritage Site  They had friends they had  become acquainted with while   living in surrey b.c and they told frank about this job.  They  were not too sure they wanted to go but it was a job for Frank.

Fort Smith (Chipewyan language: Thebacha, beside the rapids) is a town in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories , Canada, it is located in the southeastern portion of the northwest Territories, on the Slave River and adjacent to the NWT/Alberta border.

After graduation from Nursing school, at British Columbia Institute of technology Gypsy Sue moved with her  husband and two daughters to Fort Smith in the Northwest territories.  It took a little while before Sue could find a job . The only hospital in the town of 25oo approximately was a 25 bed health center. Half of the hospital was long term care and the only half was regular nursing. Beds and the other half were acute care bedsFirst job was Fort Smith  general duty  36 bed hospital.

This was truly a great experience. She was a psychiatric nurse and was able to work as a medical   nurse as well as a psych nurse in this northern setting.. the diversity of jobs and patients were amazing. She was able to go on medevac’s . the medevac’s were  an added bonus to living and working the isolated  north. They had arrived in February and it wasn’t until October that she got the opportunity to do a medevac.

 It was a combination of many things, medical, psychiatric, geriatric and emergency nursing. The hospital had never had a psychiatric nurse working for them so this was a great asset for the hospital and was asked to offer her skills to any patients that may have psychiatric concerns. It was only an on-call position in the beginning.  She was not offered a full time job until it was time for the family to leave and head south to the lower mainland.

 The hospital or the Health Center as it was known then was a general duty 36 bed hospital This was  a very interesting job since Sue got to use all my medical skills. Part of the hospital about half was for permanent patients, almost an extended care facility. Families would come in regularly to visit and bring them traditional food of the native culture.  Since Gypsy Sue was trained primarily as a psychiatric nurse practitioner the person who interviewed me wanted me to be able to use my skills as well. The skills were very handy for many reasons and in dealing with grieving and personal problems. Some people just needed someone to listen and they didn’t always get that here.  At night around 8pm the doors were all looked and if you wanted to come in and see an emergency doctor you had to ring the buzzer which was a great thing otherwise you would get everyone coming through the door wanting a hand out.  There was one peculiar thing, Sue thought so anyway, was that about 19.45pm most Wednesday nights there were a few families who   came in with their children to have them admitted for dysentery so they could go to the Bingo at the Catholic church. They were never turned down or at least rarely were they or there would a human rights case against the staff. Half or more of the staff were first nation or of aboriginal descent, so there were a few extra babies once in a while. Difficult to get around that.

 At one point Gypsy Sue  had applied for a job as an alcohol and drug counsellor with the the  first nations band but the person who got the job was an alcoholic not in recovery and the big deal was that Sue wasn’t a local to the area or a native. You were not classified as a local for at least twenty years.

 Sue also worked with the continuing education program helping those people who did not have their  high school qualifications get the assistance they were unable to get in the local school since the majority of them were older students. She really found this quite rewarding and challenging at the same time. Sue had always wanted to be a teacher and regrets not going to teachers college years ago.

 Sue hadn’t really seen any dead bodies, people that is, or at least present when someone passed away  since completing nurses school and she was going to get her opportunity this one particular night. Mr. Arseneau,was dying of cancer and he had  waited to die as long as he could, and  passed away finally after his last son arrived from the east coast of Canada.  The body had to be prepared and taken to the morgue. So the preparation was fine but when the team of nurses got to the morgue they  had to slip his body into a drawer and it was a sideways drawer not like the ones you see in CSI Miami where they pull the drawer out and you see the head coming out., things are not as they seem on the television.  well Sue had the feet and another nurse had his head and  lifted the body on the   bottom shelf and ever so gently they placed his body into the metal cupboard where Gypsy Sue  had her right foot stuck under Mr Arseneau , she gasped and said” help I don’t want to be left in the drawer too”. It became a little comical actually and they all started to laugh  and a couple of the staff fell on the floor in laughter and  got on our knees and positioned Mr. A and quickly shoved him in place and shut the drawer. She was sure a lot of the laughter was nervous laughter. It really was a serious job they  were doing but the laughter helped them get through it.So this was Sue’s first experience with an actual dead body.

When they first arrived Sue had gone to the local lpharmacy, the only pharmacy and was standing at the cash desk and noticed out of the corner of her eye, a girl she had gone to high school with , Wendy Grinton, she was living in Fort Smith , small world. She was from Saint John where sue had attended high school.  Never saw or heard from her again after they left for British Columbia about two years later.

They did have a great time while they lived in Fort Smith . There was so much to do, mostly because you had to make your own entertainment or you would go stark raving mad. There were dances at the D.O.T. Known as the Department of Transport facility.  They were so much fun. One of the fondest dances was the Hoosier Party where everyone was to dress like a Hossier , namely Bob and Doug Mackenzie famers. As it happened Frank had a beard so he really looked the part and Gypsy Sue had a hockey mullet haircut and Tracy who lived was us just got into the part and the three won the big prize of top dog Hoosiers. 

Another annual dance was the steak and lobster night . There were only so many tickets sold it was paramount that if you wanted to go you get your tickets early. They did get the tickets and Tracy went with a neighbour. Frank arranged for a sitter for the girls . It was a riot of a night again. Gypsy Sue loved to dance and she rocked her socks off. Exhausted the next day but it was worth it.

Gypsy Sue Chapter 3

Chapter 3

May 3,2019


The trip was interrupted, but planned though with a stopover in Montreal where she visited the Schultz’s for a week. These people were close friends of sues’ parents in fact her dad worked with Harold Schultz. It is Hind sight now but Gypsy Sue feels she would have benefitted if she had   stayed in Montreal and got a job and learned to speak French. It was a great opportunity to move and break away from the family apron strings. She didn’t have the adventure spirit until much later in life. That would have been a major asset in her career path.  Sue was in a hurry to get to the west to see her parents and grandparents. . She had the best time of her life there in Montreal; this couple didn’t have any children of their own. They treated Sue like a princess, never been treated so special. Couldn’t do enough for her. Perfect situation plus she didn’t have to contend with her brother and his behaviour.  He always made her nuts and her parents always just smiled and nodded and the grandparents would protest if her dad tried to discipline him.  In  later years Gypsy Sue was accused by her own daughter of being a bad parent. Kids say and do the darndest things. A Quote by Oscar Wilde goes like this””  Children begin by loving their parents after a while they judge them and they if ever do they forgive them.



These are some of the places Gypsy Sue visited on her excursion to Montreal


Basilique Notre-Dame  is the most significant landmark of Vieux Montreal . This mammoth Gothic Revival undertaking was designed by Irish architect James O’Donnell and built between 1824- 29. The thriving Catholic church has a stunning medieval style interior that features walnut wood carvings , exquisite stained glass windows, 24 carat stars in a vaulted blue ceiling , as  well as one of the largest Ca savant organs in North America.

Parc du Mont-Royal


The geographic highlight of Montreal is undeniably Mont-Royal’s steep slopes. Named by Jacques Cartier in 1535, the protected district of Parc du Mont-Royal covers more than 343 acres of forested mountain, providing abundant green spaces, shrubs and flowers, as well as habitats for hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. Designed in 1876 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Mont-Royal continues to inspire locals as an arboreal delight in the center of their metropolis – activity options, depending on the time of year, include skating, cycling, paddle-boating, tobogganing and snowshoeing. To the northwest of the park is the impressive Oratoire St-Joseph.


Mussee de Beaux Arts de Montreal

One of the most impressive museums in North America dominates by sides of stately rue Sherbrooke Ouest. It began life in 1860, when a group of collectors set up the Art Association of Montreal to present exhibitions, establish an art school, assemble a permanent collection of paintings, and develop an art library. The members eventually raised finances to construct their own building, now the Michal & Renata Hornstein Pavilion, to house Old Masters and contemporary works. In 1991 the museum expanded into the modern Jean-Noel Desmarais Pavilion, on the south side of the street.

Sue speaks of this trip with great fondness. There were few days that Charlotte, the wife of Harold Schultz took her shopping in Montreal and this was a great thrill. Mr. Schultz treated her like a princess she really enjoyed her time there and hasn’t been back to see the city since except to drive through once on her way to the Maritimes.


When Sue arrived in Edmonton, she was greeted by the entire family , Ma and Pa and grand ma and grand pa . her brother was in school at the time. You see there is a lot of years between the two siblings , almost eight years. So there wasn’t much in common with Colin. While she was in Montreal one of the things she bought was a wig , they were all the rage, so I stepped off the trail with this multi colored wig and short skirt. Charlotte made her do it Sue told the family . They were just glad to see her.  She had brought her metal steamer truck with her so she had a lot unpacking to do,.

Gypsy Sue didn’t get a job for a week or so but she didn’t have to wait long. Sue’s dad was still selling glass and one of his contacts was Rusco Windows and doors in the north end of the city, her dad suggested she apply there for a job as receptionist and was successful. Sue also was responsible for filling and there was a lot of that to do. Someone hadn’t done any for a very long time. The job was boring but it brought in some cash to buy all the things she desired. One of the things she needed was a car. Her first car was a 1971 Mazdaa  While working there Sue was introduced to all of the salesman there ,  but one in particular caught her fancy, name of Frank .what she remember about their  first encounter was he was tall and very shy. She initially was mostly attracted to the tall since being fairly tall herself she had difficulty finding a date that was at least eye level. They got a long right from the start. And they became friends and she later invited him to an Oktoberfest celebration at the country club where her parents belonged. They had a very good time. Apparently she drank too much beer, she never drinks beer and still to this day hardly but she thought had better keep up with Frank.  She remember too that her grandfather helped her make a dress for the occasion. Frank was late, quite late and so she thought she was being stood up. Sue’s dad kept saying” when is Ralph coming to pick you up?” To this day have no idea where he got the name Ralph except when sue worked at Dominion Stores there was a young man there named Ralph. Sue was sweet on this fellow whose name was Ralph. There was no chemistry between Ralph and Gypsy Sue  but he was pretty good looking, she always wondered what happened to Ralph.


The job at Rusco Industries came to an end because she had put the wrong size on an order for a window and got fired. She was called into the office of Ken Lee and he told her job had come . She was just as happy to be leaving this job, it was getting serious with Frank and it would be better if she didn’t work in the same office. She noticed an ad for a job at the TD Bank so applied to work as the secretary at the North Edmonton. She didn’t have any formal secretarial training but was a receptionist at Rusco and had taken short hand in high school, something called ABC shorthand. Well when the manager at the bank saw what kind of shorthand she did he said she had to go. Pretty lame excuse. Sue was happy to leave, so she saw an opportunity in the newspaper for Laboratory assistant where she would be   trained as a phlebotomist. Always up for a challenge was she, that Gypsy Sue. She really enjoyed this job and also got trained to do electro-cardiograms too. The person who trained her for electro cardio grams was Sister Hébert. She was very tiny and precise and wore the white habit with the head gear and all.  Gypsy Sue worked here for about two years or so and after she and frank were married working evening shifts was not conducive to newlyweds so she applied to work in the laboratory at the University of Alberta., Provincial Laboratory. It was a Monday to Friday day shift job so this was better for her home life since she was recently married and wanted to spend time with her husband Frank. It was a very interesting job we had to pour petri dishes with agar and learn how to work the autoclave there was allot of sterilization techniques learned here. There was a part of the lab that was designed to test these poor little white mice for different tests so they were injected with serum. Sue got to assist with this, it was actually quite grotesque but it was all part of the job., She did have some interesting experiences in her lifetime career.


Gypsy Sue Chapter 2


april 27,2019

Chapter Two

Unfortunately Gypsy Sue was too much of a social butterfly and worked too much and didn’t apply herself to her studies and was faced with repeating Grade 12.  She knew she had to do this so she made the decision to go to the catholic girls high schools. St. Vincent’s Girls High School. It wasn’t that she had a lot of boy interests but there were so many distractions that she thought it would be best to go to an all girls school and be focused. She had difficulty focusing at home. She probably could have got into Teachers College in Fredericton but she hadn’t graduated and that was really important to finish things. It still is important for her.

She had a great time as always made more friends, haven’t kept in touch with these ones as much as the ones from Saint John High she still considers Saint John High her high school. The actual high school has been demolished and now the girls and boys all go to St. malachy’s high school which was the all boys school. She really enjoyed the school and did manage to pass all her courses. The one course she did not pass was catechism, but she opted to not be in that class she was of the protestant persuasion. While the other girls we are learning about the catholic church and doctrine she was in study hall. The interesting part about the teachers was they were the sisters of Charity and wore habits. The habits the year I went there were shortened to just below the knees so that made the sisters quite attractive. The principal came marching into our classroom on the first day and danced around the class in her new habit. Sister Burns, I still remember her she has probably passed away that was fifty years ago. She was this shorter petite nun with her hair pulled straight back off her face and slightly red faced.  Years later when I went to nurses’ school in British Columbia I did a practicum at St. Vincent’s’ hospital in Vancouver and one of the sisters there from the Sister’s of Charity was Sister Marcoux from St. Vincent’s high school in Saint John. A little too much like the twilight zone for my liking.   I think at the time which was about thirty five years ago since meeting her she was perhaps in her twilight years and was spending her last years in St. Vincents ‘ hospital visiting others.

. Sue was smitten by a boy in high school but he called one night before she started St. Vincent’s for grade 12 and said he was going to return to his girlfriend of several years. Gypsy Sue will never quite know what it was that made her fall in love with this person. It was like Reginald Whyte said, one day the bells will go off in your head. Sue never got over him to this day. Crazy eh! She just accepted it the way it happened. She thought she would not want to get entangled in that mess. There was a friend of his girlfriend, name was Tanya and she would always be  lurking in the hallways watching Donnie and me. The weirdest little woman Nancy was. But he felt she was the better choice.

They spent a lot of time together, he came out to her house on the west side of town and he lived in the east side. He travelled there by motor scooter. She never did get a ride on that vehicle when ever they would go some where she would have her mother’s blue Acadian. Sue would take it to school some times or pick it up from her mother’s real estate office which was near the high school. They drove around town. Didn’t go many places that anyone would see them, but Sue didn’t care she was in love for the first time in her life. He was her first love. As the saying goes, he was her first love and maybe will be her last. That is just an old wives statement She is sure of that. She wasn’t a secret to his parents she had gone to his family’s summer cabin many times with the entire family and the dog too. So it wasn’t that he was ashamed of her just didn’t want his former girlfriend to know about me. She did know about her, she had her thug who would be skulking in the hallways when her and Donnie where chatting or smiling at each other. Gypsy Sue wasn’t always aware of this but her very good friends Marcia and Margaret would tell me that we were being spied upon. Now that she looks back on this historic romance she chuckles about the thug and the girlfriend. Sue always knew there was something not quite right about the girlfriend. Darlene may have been a nice person but she was a little insecure and dressed like she was part of a cult. Sue never quite knew what he saw in this girl until years later when she met up with Donnie, and it was 40 years later. He told Sue about how she was so easy and would let him do whatever he wanted. She professed to her parents that she was such a good girl, Christian and all, she even sang in the church choir. He told me that they would be in the back of the choir stalls doing the nasty. What a pig!  She was small and sniveling but she packed a hard act, she controlled him, he was totally pussy whipped. He told me years later about his marriage, wondered why he didn’t leave years before. He was too weak.  He later picked another girlfriend who also whipped him silly. He needed someone to control him he had no backbone.

It was near the end of summer vacation and Donnie called to see how I was doing and what my plans were for the next school year. We both had not graduated but he decided to go to NB Technical and I had decided to go to St. Vincent’s School for girls, I needed to complete what I had started. I was going to graduate from high school. Donnie  was very surprised. Well it was this phone call when he told me that he was going to go back to Darlene. I was stunned but didn’t say a thing just said okay and wished him well. Never heard from him again until 40 years later. Needless to say I was devastated and never forgot him. Sue was eternally grateful that he did dump her again. What a bad choice it would have been.


When Gypsy Sue graduated from St. Vincent’s she worked at Neilson clearing house where all the coupons and contests were organized and counted. For contests all over North America, pretty much so there were a lot of coupons and papers flying. This may well have been where she learned to get organized.Neilson clearing house what was Neilson’s clearing house. It was the Brainchild of Chicago businessman Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr. NCH began Operations as a Nielsen Coupon Clearing House in 1957. With the growing Volume of coupons being redeem by consumers in the 1950’s, Nielsen Recognized the need for a clearing agent to help manufacturers and Retailers manage the coupon reimbursement process more efficiently. So, A division was opened in Saint John New Brunswick. She travelled with Dot a neighbour who worked there full time and was very proud of her job. I love it when people take pride in their work whatever it is.





It was a busy job and paid pretty good for the summertime. Gypsy Sue was on a list to go to nursing school at the Saint John General. She had enough points to get into the Teaching program in Fredericton, but her family thought it would be better to go to nursing. This is her second regret that she didn’t go to teacher’s college and follow her calling, it is important to follow your dream not just live the dream. Well Sue went and had a good time for a few months she didn’t apply herself to the work and was asked to leave at the end of three months. She did have a fabulous time while she lived in residence. She did have the option at that time to re apply and enter the next class in September1970, it was going to be a two year program so she would have graduated at the same time as her other classmates but she was too proud and embarrassed at the time so she left and choose another path.

The first night that the newbies were there was a night mare. But it was a fun nightmare which is a contradiction. We had brought our trunks and clothes and moved into our respective rooms and there was a great ruckus up and own the halls . I had been given a private room which was great, not sure why but fantastic. While I was carousing up the halls and laughing and singing the second year and third year students ransacked my room my clothes had been spread everywhere, the trunk was dismantled it was a right hot mess. So, I just closed my door and put it all back together there was no point in making a scene, it would just be worse the next day and they would do it again. When I look back I think it was quite funny. I would have loved to have stayed to be the second year students to rifle the newbies the next year.

Then there  was one night that she decided to have a shower and took all her belongings necessary to the shower room, got into the shower and was happily foaming myself and it did become insanely quiet. while she was in there some girls in the dorm decided to play a joke on me and took all my clothes and I was left with nothing but my birthday suit. It would have   been  okay to dash back to my room in my suit, but the floor matron just happened to come around to check everyone and chased me back to my room. That was so embarrassing but absolutely hilarious too.  I have always tried to see the funny side of everything otherwise you will have so much baggage.

On Wednesday nights a very large group of the first year nurses would gather in one of the rooms and it was Pam’s room to watch Tom Jones.

Do you know who Tom Jones is?He , is a Welsh singer. His career has spanned six decades, from his emergence as a vocalist in the mid-1960s with a string of top hits, regular touring, appearances in Las Vegas (1967–2011), and career comebacks—to coaching on The Voice UK from 2012 (with the exception of 2016).[2] Jones’s powerful voice has been described as a “full-throated, robust baritone”.[3] He was a tantalizing singer from Wales, he was the Elvis Presley of Wales. He gyrated his body and the girls would scream uncontrollably when he would come on stage, Well every Wednesday night at 8pm was  the Tom Jones  show so only a few of the girls in residence had a television and so most of them crowded into Pam Prince’s room . We had to wait until the matron was on her break and be so careful not to make much of a ruckus. We would scream and sing along. It   was the highlight of Wednesday night at the residence.

Sue was devastated when she was asked to leave and mostly because she would be so    embarrassed and would have to face the music of my parents and other relatives and say she had failed. One thing I have learned about failing. I know that if I had never tried this route to a nursing career I would not have known and failing allowed me to try something and find out my path. I am sure life would have be a great deal different if I had have stayed and completed the program. It was great being away from home but she forgot one part of the equation you have to study. Well her dad picked her up from the nurses’ residence and loaded her great big blue metal trunk into his car and off they went home again. He was very accepting of me coming home He didn’t scold me  he was great.   Sue was embarrassed but she was also glad to be out of there. She was so enjoying the freedom of being away from home that she neglected to focus on studying and getting her nursing diploma.  It had a lot to do with her not focusing on what she was there for and she knows that for sure. She was having too much of a good time being away from home and it was only across town. This was another regret, she should have gone to a school of nursing out of province. Choices are quite often hind sight. There she goes again with the would or should or could have, we are all so prone to do this in our lives. Just let the cards fall and pick up the pieces and move on. There is the gypsy in me coming out again.

The next morning Gypsy Sue went to Marcia’s place, her best friend and still is closest and  best friend after all these years. Gypsy Sue spoke with Marcia’s sister Greta who told her to go to Bathurst Containers for a job interview since  they needed someone there to do the typesetting and reception. The only office experience she had was at Nielsen clearing House which didn’t seem like office work. Didn’t type well, didn’t do short hand she probably could file.  She was convinced by the two sisters to go and try for it.  Gypsy Sue had no experience in this work but she was willing to give it a try. She had just been asked to leave the nursing school and she couldn’t stay at home. All I can say now looking back they must have been deparate. She was successful and got the job and quite enjoyed the job, shortly after she got the job her father was transferred to Edmonton, Alberta with his work so she decided to stay behind and continue working. This was her opportunity to be herself and make all her own decisions and sometimes they were not always the wisest ones.  Sue had the use of her mother’s blue Acadian, 1969, car for a while so she had it to drive to work every day. This car saw a few extra miles than would have been there if her mother had stayed behind. Some of her friends, once they knew she had a car asked to be driven about but she didn’t buy in to it every time.  She could go to Dipper Harbour where Marcia’s family had a house by the ocean.  Even in high school she had the use of her mother’s car some days.. She drove to Fredericton a few times and down to Grand Bay and to Dipper Harbour. Sue got around. But became a bit of a taxi driver so thought maybe best to send the car out west. With the car going on the train to Edmonton came a ticket to travel also and it included first class with meals and a room to herself didn’t have to sleep better referred to as a roomette. She could travel first class. Even ate in the fancy dining room with fine linen and silver service and waiters in their white jackets.

She lived in the family house for awhile until the movers came to pack and take all the family possessions so Sue had to find a place to live .While living in Saint John after her parents left Sue boarded with Dolly and Reginald White who were the parents of Randy White the future member of parliament for the federal party, the reform party for three years and then he joined the new Conservative party. So looking back I was staying with celebrities.

Sue shared a room with a friend named Jackie who was a mate from her church.  Jacquie was a rebel in her own right. Jacquie had a boyfriend who was married but never spent any time with his family. Sue went on a few road trips to Fredericton and St. Stephen. There was one time we were in a hotel and the friend that had come along with the couple had hoped to have his way with me, if you get the drift, but I said no way I was not into sleeping or having sex with older men,  now she didn’t phrase it quite that way, he was so kind and we just stayed and talked all night. Reflecting back I was very lucky it could have definitely gone sideways. But we just spent the night until the other couple were ready to leave and we headed back to Saint John and to Dolly’s bed and breakfast.

Reggie, Dolly’s husband  used to tease me about not having a boyfriend and so he said I would know one day the bells would go off in my head I would know he was the one.

Sue stayed until July and then she decided to go west and see what was so special about Alberta. There was a visual picture she had in her head about what it looked like from a grade six geography book . she thought is was just open prairie and oil derricks .  It probably is another one of her regrets, but she will have to live with it. Her roommate Jacquie had a boyfriend and all of her other friends did too Since she had no romantic entanglements she thought she would leave town and see what was out on the west coast, at least as far as Alberta. Maybe she would find Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong. She did realize that she was giving up her new-found freedom but she was willing to do it to see the west.


Sue got on the train with all her belongings loaded in her big blue metal trunk and headed to the west from Saint John. Her friend Marcia and her parents came to the train station to see her off not knowing when she would see them again it was a step into the beginning of her Gypsy lifestyle. She did have a wild side or better still an adventurous side of her personality. She was cautious but still wanted to try things out.


A Gypsy Soul




They make fortunes come true.

Don’t get on a gypsy’s bad side.

Why are they so bad?

Their clothing is colorful

Living in huge tents,

She wears sparkly, beaded flowing scarves.

Chunky jewellery and clanging bangles

Henna stained hands.

Resourceful, free spirited

Mysterious and majestic

In the way of The Gypsy.



Like Dorothy on a yellow brick road

She hopes her ruby shoes get up there quick

She left behind those  she loves.


A tale of a gypsy – Gypsy Sue


Chapter 1



How Gypsy Sue remembers Ted Burton , well he was a lovely man whom was known fro  the church she attended in Halifax, it used to be called St. Phillips but has now since it has amalgamated with another Anglican church. Ted was older and was attending Kings, The theological College, which is part of the Dalhousie Campus in Halifax, to become an ordained minister( as well her Dad and Charlie Moulton studied there as well.) Ted was collecting empty pop bottles from along the roadside to pay for his classes and his books. Now this is the story that he mother would tell her. Now we all know that Mommy always tells the truth. Gypsy Sue thought no way. She had to ask her mother several times if this was in fact the truth and it was she said, she had seen him collecting sometimes but she , Sue ,thought he was just being a good citizen not knowing he was collecting the bottles to actually pay for his education. His wife was also a sweet lady who didn’t work outside the home after 1956. She was a school teacher, but didn’t work after marrying Ted, so he was the sole wage earner which made it necessary for him to do the bottle collecting to make his dream come true. He definitely followed his dream or his calling. He did continue and finish his studies to become an Anglican priest.


Now this did seem preposterous a grown man collecting  empty bottles to pay for his courses to become a minister of the cloth. But not so outrageous when you knew his wife Marian. She was as thrifty as they come. They lived in a very nice house in the same area as Gypsy Sue, older house but meagre furnishings would describe their home not poor just the bare essentials. Ted Burton worked for the Nova Scotia Light and Power as a maintenance person before starting his studies in theology. Yes he did collect pop bottles to help him finance his studies and pay for his text books, that is the truth.

Gypsy Sue’s very first job was when she was about 10 years old and it was selling sunglasses to all the friends of her family when they would go camping on July long weekend in Lunenburg , Nova Scotia. This was an annual event for their family and about five other families from the St. Philips church in Halifax.

Gypsy Sue had seen an advertisement in a comic book and answered it and before she knew it there was a little cardboard box at the front door from the mail man. She came by this trade very honestly , her dear ole’ dad was a salesman for over 30 years and as the old saying goes, he could sell refrigerators to the people of the frozen north. He was a cracker jack salesperson. She had so much fun asking people in the campsites if they wanted a pair of plastic sunglasses for only 25 cents. Mrs. Burton, Ted’s wife was the first person to buy a pair and she bought a pair the next summer that sue was selling them. She made some money from the sales and used to to purchase school clothes when her family would go to Bangor , Maine in August on their annual trip there. There used to be this amazing giant shopping market called Zayre’s ,It isn’t there any more and they had the most amazing clothes and Sue would have different clothes then any of her friends at school. So you see Sue sold sunglasses three summers in a row . This was the beginning of her career as a salesperson.


When Gypsy Sue was 16 years old she applied at Dominion Stores, a grocery chain that was in the east coast of Canada in the mid to late 60’s and worked as a packer for a year and the she got on as a cashier. She started out  making  80 cents an hour and later was promoted to 95 cents an hour when she was a cashier. When she tells everyone today in her retirement years or even the younger set they are aghast at the amount she was paid but that was then and this is now.


Now the thing was she always had lots of money since she had her salary from the Dominion Store job and she had the 20 dollar a month her mother would give her from the family allowance. Her Mommie should not have done that she should have put it away and made her save it. Sue was not a good saver of any money ever and neither was her husband. Knowing what she knows now she should have put the family allowance in a savings account and invested it for the future. Hind sight is always 50/50.  She later left the Dominion Store job and went to Kmart.


Does anyone remember when the family allowance came into existence? Well Gypsy Sue will tell you now. The family allowance was Canada’s first universal social program. The family allowance cheques would be mailed to the mothers of the households on a monthly basis, and it was non-taxable. There were two detractors, claiming the allowance was a waste of taxpayer money since it would be distributed to the rich and poor alike.  Designated as the baby bonus, some saw it as an attempt to lure votes, especially those voters with large families living in Quebec.


Over the decades , transformations cased the Family allowance program to become taxable, clawed back from the wealthier families. Eventually the system endured complex radical change in favour of Child Tax Credits. Qualifications were put into place and income caps, along with a re adjustment of amounts paid .


Dominion Stores was once a national chain of supermarkets in Canada , which was founded in 1919 in Ontario and was later acquired by the Argus corporation . It was later sold to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) which ultimately restricted the chain to the greater Toronto area, with stores outside Ontario sold to third parties. A&P ‘s Canadian division was later acquitted by Metro Inc. which rebranded Dominion stores to its namesake banner in 2008. While the demise is attributed to competition in the 1970’s that forced the chain to discount and ultimately led to the collapse in the 1980’s. By 1984 Dominion was closing  unprofitable stores and moving them  to alternative banners in an attempt to stem its losses. The reality was that Dominion Stores was Canada’s No1 grocery chain with sales more than double their closest rival, Loblaws  as they entered the decade of the 80’s. If you mention Dominion Stores to anyone today they look at you with the funny stare, “ What is Dominion Stores?”


Gypsy Sue had made several great friends at the Dominion Stores when she worked there on weekends. There were many relationships formed there.   There were many a Friday night we would all gather at the front door after we had all cleaned up our appropriate areas and headed up to the Reid’s diner at the top of the hill from the store. Sue recalls one night in particular. She had the use of her mother’s car on various occasions and so this night she decided to drive a few up to the restaurant from work. Well they had a great time all had milkshakes and hamburgers and whatever and then it was time to leave and head home. Sue went out to get the car and it was gone.  What she didn’t know was two or three of the guys who she was close with had slipped out of the restaurant while they were eating and moved her car down the hill back by the grocery store. She was  in a great panic at first then looked around and saw the car. Everyone laughed and it was never really known for sure who had taken the car but Gypsy Sue had a good idea.


After working at Dominion Stores for a few years she moved on to Kmart but the only thing available there was working in the cafeteria so she took it. She mostly just cleaned the pots, and pans and all the counters. Sue hated this job. She had to wear an ugly uniform , yellow rayon  skirt and blouse with a frilly white apron. She absolutely hated the outfit.  She did not last there very long.  She got a dream weekend job at a dry cleaners in Saint John . It was every Friday evening and all day Saturday. This was a great after school job. Gypsy Sue got to do her homework and work at the same time. The lady who worked there full time was very sweet , her name was Arvilla and  she was quite old but had to work because her husband was ill and they didn’t have much money for retirement. She lived up town in a flat , she had worked for this company for many years but it didn’t make her rich at all. The boss was a very nice man too he Came in once and awhile to chat. He was a very wealthy man, Mr. Horncastle. He always looked dapper and debonair with his top hat and his tweed coat.  He was a friend of Gypsy Sue’s father so she had a connection to getting this job. She did not mind and was able to work by herself, no one was there to breath down her neck, it was the bee’s knees except for the times that people would come in who would make her feel uncomfortable. The dry-cleaning shop was in a dark part of Saint John and after a certain time of night. she knew some sketchy people who would walk by and she felt intimidated. If she had enough time she would quickly put a closed sign on the door and go to the back of the store where no one could see her at all. Once they had gone by her, would put the open sign back up.


Now remember these jobs were only weekend fillers while Sue was in high school and she says this because a friend of her years later called her Gypsy Sue because she was always moving about with her work. She liked this after school job the best.