Interviews with Jean and Reg Heal
- Date Range
- November 19 1988
- August 14 1997
- BVM Oral History collection
- Description Level
- sound recording
- electronic record
- Scope and Content
- Two interviews with Reg and Jean Heal (nee Gregerson). One was recorded on November 19th 1988 by Ruth Murdoch as part of the "Growing Up in the Bulkley Valley" series. The other was recorded on August 14th 1997 by Misty Jorgen at the Heals' home in Smithers. Includes raw and edited .WAV files, .MP3…
- BVM Oral History collection
- Description Level
- Ruth Murdoch;
- Misty Jorgen
- Fonds No.
- Item No.
- Accession No.
- Physical Description
- 4.93 GB of digital records
- Date Range
- November 19 1988
- August 14 1997
- History / Biographical
- Reg Heal (1917-2004) was born to Ernest and Mary Heal on the family farm near Telkwa; Jean (1920-2014) was born in Smithers to Gilbert and Mary Gregerson of Evelyn. Reg helped out on his family’s farm, cut ice on Lake Kathlyn, and worked in the Telkwa Coal Mine. Jean worked on the Low farm and Dr. Green’s office in Smithers. They married in 1943 and had two children, Lawrence and Barbara. In 1956 the Heals moved to Smithers, where Reg worked for the school district.
- Scope and Content
- Two interviews with Reg and Jean Heal (nee Gregerson). One was recorded on November 19th 1988 by Ruth Murdoch as part of the "Growing Up in the Bulkley Valley" series. The other was recorded on August 14th 1997 by Misty Jorgen at the Heals' home in Smithers. Includes raw and edited .WAV files, .MP3 access files, and .jpg release forms.
- Sound quality of both interviews is very poor due to high background noise and low interviewee volume.
- Type of Record
- Archival Description
Interview with Jean and Reg Heal - November 19, 1988
Interview with Jean and Reg Heal - November 19, 1988https://search.bvmuseum.org/media/Digital%20Fonds%20and%20Collections/C5%20BVM%20Oral%20History%20collection/2021.21.43_Heal,%20Jean%20and%20Reg/1988%20interview/Heal,%20Jean%20and%20Reg%201988_11_19.ACCESS.mp3
Introduction of Reg and Jean Heal, giving their years and places of birth and some info about their parents.
Ernest Heal; Evelyn; Heal farm; horse and wagon; Mary Fryer Heal; Mary Gregerson; road conditions; Smithers Town Hall; Telkwa; Tyhee Lake
birth info; Jean Gregerson; Reg Heal
Jean and Reg share childhood memories of playing outdoors on their families' farms.
barbecues; calf roping; cat; creek; dog; Evelyn School; frogs; grouse; homemade skis; lassoing; Margaret Gregerson; Mary Gregerson; pollywogs; pond; rabbits; skiing; sleigh rides; spring; summer; Ted Gregerson; Telkwa Barbecue; winter
childhood; family; outdoors; play; recreation; siblings
Jean Heal recounts the chores that she did as a child and where her mother sold the goods produced by the family farm.
butter; carrying water; chickens; chicks; eggs; firewood; Mary Gregerson; milking cows; school; Telkwa Creamery; Valentine Dairy; Watson's Store
chores; farm; responsibilities
Jean recalls how special her family's horses were to her, telling stories of sleigh rides, the death of a favourite horse, and a time when the new horses attempted to run away.
colic; death; horse driving; horse team; Mary Gregerson; runaway horses; sickness; sleigh; sleighing
Jean discusses a special tree in her family's barnyard which served as a stopping point for travelers and a place of trade between the Gregerson family and local Indigenous peoples. She also describes tending to her family's gardens and harvesting some of the weeds to eat.
chores; church; Evelyn School; fish; Indigenous people; Mary Gregerson; nettles; pigweed; stopping place; trading; washing
favourite place; gardens; tree; weeding
Jean Heal shares a story of how her mother and several neighbours rescued a calf which had fallen through the ice into a river.
Fred Rosberg; ice; Lee Johnson; Mr. Owens?; Mrs. Johnson; Selma Rosberg; winter
calf; Mary Gregerson; rescue; river
Jean recounts games that she used to play as a child, both and hole and at school.
Ante-Ante-I-Over; hide and seek; Prisoner's Base; school; scrub baseball; snow forts; snow tunnel; snowball fights; tag; teacher
entertainment; games; play; recreation
Jean recounts her memories of Christmas as a child, particularly the scarcity of money and presents. Note that the latter section about traplines is almost inaudible.
Auntie Meg; Christmas concerts; Christmas trees; cup and saucer; furs; Japanese oranges; no presents; parcel; trapline; trapping
Jean talks about how the family rarely went in to Smithers all together, as someone always had to be left behind to do chores on the farm. She also mentions how horses and wagons would cut across Lake Kathlyn when it was frozen, which sometimes ended in disaster.
Beaton's Barn; Belgian horse team; clearing snow; horses; ice; ice houses; Lake Kathlyn; sleigh; wagon; winter
Smithers; transportation; travel
Jean recalls entertaining school events such as noon hour dances and end-of-the-year picnics, as well as which hours of the day the different grades started and left school.
Henry Johnson; ice cream; May 24th; musical instruments; Orville Elliott; school hours; school picnics; school times; Trout Creek; Victoria Day
dancing; Evelyn School; events; picnic; school
Jean explains the essential roles that women, such as her mother Mary Gregerson, played in rural society.
canning; cars; driving; food preservation; meet curing
chores; jobs; responsibilities; women; women's labour
Reg Heal recalls his childhood on the family farm near Tyhee Lake, with a focus on chores such as hauling hay and milking cows.
chickens; clover seed; cows; crops; dairy; hauling hay; hay rake; horses; milking cows; tie cutting; timothy seed
childhood; chores; farms; responsibilities
Reg recalls toys, games, and other forms of entertainment from his childhood, particularly winter sports such as skating and skiing.
Barger Ranch; hide and seek; homemade skis; pop guns; skating; skiing; sleigh riding; softball; toy train; Tyhee Lake
entertainment; games; sports; toys
Reg gives his memories of Christmas at his paternal grandparents' (Fred and Ann Heal) house.
Ann Anderson Heal; beefsteak pudding; English; Fred Heal; gramophone; music; plum pudding
Christmas; grandparents; holidays
Reg gives his memories of attending school in Telkwa, including a story about a time the horse he was riding turned around and brought him back home.
chores; grandparents' house; horse riding; horses; Hubert; school; Telkwa School; tie contract; wood packing
Reg recounts Christmas and New Year's gatherings with the tie camp workers at Hubert, including one man who would buy presents and play Santa Claus for the children. He and Jean also discuss dances held at Evelyn and how young men would have to ask permission from a woman's parents to dance with her.
accordion; chaperones; dancing; fiddling; Hubert; Hubert townsite; Mary Heal Jr; music; New Year's Dance; Oscar Englund; presents; raft; Santa Claus; tie camp; tie cutters; toy train; Victor Lundstrom; workers
Christmas; dances; gatherings; holidays; New Year's; social events
While discussing the general self-sufficiency of the era (1920s & 30s), Jean describes how she would raise chicks in an incubator and later sell the fryers at Lake Kathlyn. Reg talks about how his father would deliver eggs and chickens to hotels and restaurants in town. Also some discussion of the low prices of the time.
bicycling; biking; carrying water; chicks; costs; eggs; Ernie Heal; fryers; incubator; Lake Kathlyn; Mary Gregerson; Model T Ford; no money; prices; restaurants; school; summer homes; transportation; walking
chores; deliveries; errands; prices; raising chickens; self-sufficiency; selling goods
In a continuation of the previous topic, Jean and Reg discuss the end of the Depression and the start of WWII, including the arrival of extra workers to build the Smithers Airport, Jean's role making items for the Red Cross, and why Reg was unsuccessful in joining the army.
airport construction; bandages; broken eardrum; ear infection; essential worker; extra workers; farming; knitting; mining; sewing; Telkwa Colleries; war effort
army; Great Depression; military service; Red Cross; Smithers Airport; World War II
Interview concludes with various additional reminiscences of Reg's and Jean's, including: clearing land, knitting and sewing, a 1929 Oldsmobile bought and repaired by Reg as a teenager, teacher Phyllis Davidson, the friendliness of Indigenous neighbours, and forms of financial relief during the Great Depression. Note: interview ends suddenly without a proper conclusion.
1929 Oldsmobile; cars; clean-up plant; clearing land; driver's license; Eaton's; Great Depression; Moricetown; Mr. Joe Nass; Mrs. Joe Nass; Phyllis Davidson; relief camps; relief funds; repairing machinery; Singer sewing machine; teacher; welfare; Witset
cars; financial aid; financial assistance; Indigenous people; knitting; memories; sewing
Interview with Jean and Reg Heal - August 14 1997
Jean Gregerson Heal recounts the histories of her parents, their occupations, how they met and came to Canada after the First World War, and their arrival and marriage in Smithers. She also tells of her birth in Smithers' town hall during a thunderstorm.
Alaska; Alfred Avenue; appendix; Beaton's Barn; birth; Boer War; Bulkley Hotel; Copper River Slim; coyote carpet; delivering babies; diagnoses; Donald Lake; Duluth, Minnesota; Elliotts; England; Evelyn; furs; gardening; homesteading; Hudson Bay Company; immigration; Ingrid Palmer; Johnny Johnson; Johnsons; livery stable; logging; marriage; McDonell Lake; military hospital; Mr. and Mrs. Beaton; Norway; nurse; Petersons; practical nursing; railroad; Scotland; Smithers; South Africa; South African War; St. James Anglican Church; town hall; trapping; Vancouver; Vimy Ridge; war bride; wartime experiences; Wiggs O'Neill; World War I; wounded in action
family history; Gilbert Gregerson; Gregerson family; Mary Gregerson
Jean describes how her parents moved to the Evelyn area shortly after their marriage and made a living as farmers. She discusses the typical work that was done on the farm, her mother's career as a midwife, and the hazards of travelling over the frozen Lake Kathlyn to get to Smithers or cut ice.
bread; canning; credit; curing meat; delivering babies; driving; first car; food preservation; groceries; horses; ice cutting; ice houses; Jim Waddington; knitting; Lake Kathlyn; lamps; lighting; livestock; medal; midwife; Mr. and Mrs. Miller; nursing; produce; Railway Avenue; reading; Red Cross campaign; sewing; Smithers; socializing; Soldier Settlement Board; Thornes; transportation; Watson's Store; winter
Evelyn; farming; Gilbert Gregerson; Mary Gregerson
Jean talks about growing up in Evelyn with her twin sister Margaret and brother Ted. She describes the chores that the children did around the farm, as well as school and recreation.
berry picking; birth; carrying water; chickens; chopping wood; cream separating; doctors; Dr. Cecil Hankinson; Dr. L.M. (Lawrence) Greene; eggs; feeding animals; games; gardening; homework; making butter; Margaret Gregerson; milking cows; Mrs. Gray; nurse; Prince Rupert; school; skiing; Smithers Hospital; Ted Gregerson; Telkwa Creamery; town hall; twins; Valentine's Dairy; Vanderhoof
childhood; chores; Evelyn; farm; siblings
Jean describes her education at Evelyn School, including special events such as parties, concerts, picnics, dancing, and examinations.
activities; blackboards; busing; Christmas concerts; classmates; correspondence courses; dancing; doctor; Dr. F. Vere Agnew; Driftwood; Ella Currie; embroidery; entrance exam; examinations; fishing; flower garden; Halloween parties; Henry Johnson; ice cream; ink; inkwells; inspection; Kitseguecla; local dances; Marjorie Jacquot; May 24th picnic; medical exam; Mr. Muir; Mr. Plumber; music; musical instruments; nib pens; oral tests; Orville Elliott; Phyllis Davidson; picnics; school house; sewing; singing; students; swimming; teachers; Toboggan Creek; Toboggan Lake; Trout Creek; Verna Marett; Victor Lundstrom
education; Evelyn School; school; special events
Jean discusses her life after graduation: working for various local families, meeting Reg Heal at a dance at Driftwood, and eventually marrying him.
Barbara Heal Hurstfield; children; correspondence courses; Credit Union; dance; Dr. L.M. (Lawrence) Greene; Driftwood School; Evelyn; gas rations; Glentanna; Hazelton; honeymoon; Jean Gair; Lawrence Heal; music; musicians; Prince Rupert; Smithers; Sorrento, BC; United Church; Walcott
employment; marriage; Reg Heal; work
Jean discusses the location and history of the Evelyn community, and describes what life was like there in the 1920s and 30s.
Adam's Igloo; agriculture; Andrew Johnson; Auntie Meg; bicycle; burning; canning; carpenter; cattle; chickens; Christmas; clearing land; cream; Doughty; driving horses; Ed Johnson; eggs; Evelyn School; farmers; hand-me-downs; haying; health; ice loading; incubator; Jack Johnson; livelihoods; MacMillans; Mary Gregerson; moose; Mr. and Mrs. Nichols; Mr. Fagerlid; odd jobs; Owens family; parcel; picking rocks; population; post office; raising chickens; Rosbergs; Scandinavians; section foreman; sickness; Storey family; subdivisions; Trout Creek; women's labour
Evelyn; history; rural life
Jean continues her discussion of Evelyn, with a focus on the various buildings, businesses, and community events there.
badminton; bunkhouse; church; concerts; doctor's office; Elks Hall; Evelyn Community Hall; Evelyn post office; Evelyn Station; flagging; halibut; hay shed; house; Jim Storey; L.B. Storey; Masons; minister; Mr. Fagerlid; Mr. Rosberg; New Year's dance; social events; station houses; stationmaster; Storeys; Toboggan Lake; train station; transportation of goods; United Church; waiting room; weddings; Women's Institute
buildings; businesses; community events; community organizations; Evelyn; Evelyn Hall; railway; special events
Interview cuts to a different conversation regarding a map of Evelyn. Jean identifies where different families lived and who later took over their properties.
Evelyn School; highway; Toboggan Creek
Evelyn; farms; properties
Jean discusses the many families who resided in Evelyn and what they did for a living. (Note: the spelling of these names has been verified with the Interior News whenever possible, but may not be 100% accurate in all instances).
Andrew Johnson; Castells; Charlie McGuire; Dave Bird; dugout; Ed Johnson; Elliotts; Fagerlids; farming; Fred Castell; George Ballard; George Storey; Gus Olsen; Hanson's farm; Helge Karlsen; highways; ice cream store; Jim Capling; John Johnson; John Tyne; Leipes; loading ties; MacMillans; McDonalds; mining; Mr. McMaster; Murrays; Oscar Engman; Owens family; Palmesons; Pedersens; Petersons; post office; Rosbergs; section man; Smalls; station agent; Trigvie; W. Siler; Yeliches
Evelyn; families; farmers; livelihoods; occupations
Interview cuts suddenly to a discussion about log driving along the Skeena.
log driving; river drives; Skeena River; transport
Reg Heal's section of the interview begins with a discussion of his family's history. He explains how the Heals came to the Bulkley Valley in the early 1900s and what jobs they took up once there.
Ann Anderson Heal; birth; clearing land; doctor; Ernest Heal; family farm; Fred Heal; government work; Hagwilget Bridge; Hazelton; land pre-emption; Mary Fryer Heal; midwife; Olof Hanson; policeman; Saanich; sternwheeler; tie contracts; tie cutting; Tyhee Lake; Victoria; work
family history; farming; Heal family; occupations
Short discussion of local politician and businessman Olof Hanson.
airport; Hubert; office; politics; Smithers
Reg explains how a demand for timothy seed saved many farmers' livelihoods during the Great Depression.
agriculture; crops; harvesting; seeding; threshing
farmers; farming; Great Depression; timothy seed
Reg briefly discusses his father Ernest's contract to help clear a section of the Smithers townsite in 1913.
contract; Jack Oakes; Main Street; swamp
clearing land; employment; Ernest Heal; Smithers townsite; work
Reg briefly discusses his school days in Telkwa.
grades; student population; teachers
education; school; Telkwa School
Reg discusses the work he did after leaving school as a teenager, first on the family farm and later at a sawmill. He describes in detail how the ties were cut at the mill.
bush camp; clearing land; cutting wood; ploughing
cutting ties; employment; farm work; labour; sawmill; work
Reg discusses his later work as an ice cutter on Lake Kathlyn, detailing how the ice was cut, loaded, transported by train, and unloaded at its destination. (Note: section from about 2:10:25 to 2:11:30 is particularly difficult to understand).
box car; bunkhouse; Charlie Wilson; contract; ice houses; Larry Warner; loading ice; Olof Hanson; Orville Rosberg; payment; Prince George; train; train car; unloading ice; wages
employment; ice cutting; Lake Kathlyn; work
Reg talks about working at the Telkwa Coal Mine during the Second World War, as he was unable to join the military due to an ear problem.
Bulkley Valley Collieries; bunkhouse; Dockrills; employees; miners; mining papers; powder; types of coal; unloading coal; World War II
coal mining; employment; Telkwa Coal Mine; work
Reg discusses the former town of Hubert, where his father used to rent land while hewing ties.
bridge; buildings; divisional point; farms; government building; location; population; railway stations; stores; townsite
Reg discusses his 25 years spent working for the school district as a bus driver and maintenance worker. (Note: interview ends suddenly without a proper conclusion).
bus drivers; bus driving; buses; employees; maintenance work; repair work; repairs
employment; School District 54; work