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   Volume 82 - Issue 9 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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- Steve Foster  
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RCMP Commercial Crime   

 

Story
photos Mrs. Mundie’s collection
Gini and Susan Decoux with bouquets of wild lilies.
Looking Back - John KinnearAs a collector of all things historic there is one well known area I have never indulged in. That is the art of scrap booking, an age-old hobby that dates back to the fifteenth century when it was referred to as commonplace books. It has continued throughout history under such names as friendship albums and evolved later into photo albums and modern scrapbooking.
For those of us working on historical research in our modern times there is a lot of electronic information available.  But this wasn’t always the case which brings me to the story of Mrs. Mary Mundie Mary passed away in 2003 in Blairmore at the age of 90, but for over thirty six years (1964 to 2000) she religiously clipped, labelled and mounted thousands of newspaper articles from the Pass Herald and other local and national papers. These snippets in time were lovingly pasted or taped into no less than 67 - 11 by 17 scrapbooks complete with occasional pen notes and dates where newspaper date banners were not included.  It is an astonishing collection that profiles every aspect of Pass life and many national and international events.  To open one of these books is to step back in time and remember or learn what was in the news in that particular year.  
Mrs. Mundie had an enormous respect for the Crowsnest Pass and its citizens and every wedding, funeral, accident or social event was carefully snipped out and added to that year’s collection.  I have only just begun to absorb some of the information she has so zealously kept but in doing so it is reconnecting me with my roots and Pass history in a wonderful way.
Flipping through the pages of older scrapbooks requires some care as the newspaper clippings are fading (bleached pulp) and the tape used has long since acidified, turned yellow and lost its stickiness.  It will take some time for me to assess her work but in the process I am coming to know more about her. What Mary saw as important or significant and the little notes and hand drawn arrows she added to local pieces tells me what brought her joy and what disturbed her.
Locally Mrs Mundie has pretty well all relevant events covered through the aforementioned time span.  Her hundreds of obituary clippings are little mini histories of Pass residents lost through the years and for an historian provides connectivity as you study that person’s life profile and family legacy. Wedding photos give one maiden names and the beginning of family’s now flourishing, pictures of disasters and accidents bring back painful memories and coverage of social events shows Pass residents in earlier years.
I can flip open to any page of any of her books and step back into those important moments in time that has brought us to where we are today. And that in itself is important because if we don’t study our history and evolvement as a community we won’t clearly understand where we are going. 
For most of Mary’s scrapping years I was away in college or living in Calgary or Fernie so I missed a lot of local history.
Flipping through the stories in this period there are two faces that show up on an almost unbelievably regular basis.
 
These two individuals so entwined themselves into the fabric of our communities that it is impossible to not run into them shaking hands, cutting cakes or handing out cheques in any of the books.  That would be Doctor John Irwin and former MLA Fred Bradley.  Fred has worked tirelessly for many years on behalf of the Pass as an MLA and a heritage advocate and continues to do so. Throughout all his years as Mayor, John Irwin never missed an opportunity to be a part of happenings in his beloved Pass.   There are hundreds of shots of him but the most intriguing one of all is Doctor John posing in a full length dress. Not sure what the event was but you can be sure he was being a good sport about it. What a legacy.
I thought that it might be interesting to share with you some of the clipping topics in one of Mrs. Mundie ’s scrapbooks just so you can get an idea of their comprehensiveness.  So let us go to her 1973/74 collage and take a mini- snippet of her snippets.  Pictures of Mr and Mrs Elmo Fontana installed as presidents of the Blairmore Legion and women’s auxiliary, The Reverend Douglas Dunn family from Gleichen taking up ministerial duties at the United Church, Charge Nurse Nettie Kinnear of the Senior Citizens Home  accepting a wheelchair donation from Mrs. Olive Ruzicka and a lovely picture of Gini and Susan Decoux as very young girls posing with armfuls of lady slippers, shooting stars and yellow glacier lilies. Pete Bodie of Blairmore holding a four pound Pontiac potato he grew and a picture of Anthony Feregotto freshly retired from CPR. Tony was a renowned pool player, soft ball pitcher and soccer player.  The new Kentucky Fried Chicken building complete with the latest K-F 2000 sudden service electric cookers, Blairmore firefighter Chuck Decoux receiving a trophy from Fire Chief Tom Gibos for 44 years of service with Mayor Ernie Fantin looking on. Wow!  44 years.
There are stories about Coleman officials protesting provincial highway planners reroute of Highway 3 through what was already planned as the Pineview Subdivision, Doug Newshaw’s dramatic rescue of little Becky VanderKley from a Frank pond, the uncovering of 10,000 year old bones at the Bellevue sewer project and the erection of a CFCN rebroadcast tower (channel 8) on Bluff Mountain.
The picture that blew me away was of no less than 70 students from the Crowsnest Consolidated High School band preparing to leave for the Spokane Expo of 1974. Now that is a school band!
Mrs. Mundie has left behind a legacy of clippings that is a tunnel to the past that I shall be roaming around in and sharing with you for some time to come.
Editors Note: Country Encounters in Coleman hosts at least 10 scrap bookers gatherings a year with enthusiasts coming from places like Calgary, High River and Lethbridge to give their work some undivided attention and enjoy the camaraderie of other scrappers. The events are generally sponsored by craft and hobby shop businesses. Supplying materials for scrap bookers is a billion dollar business in the United States.
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