23 March 1896 – 21 February 1999
Nana lived to be just one month shy of her 103rd birthday. My dad (her nephew) tells me she was already over 100 when he saw her at a family reunion, eating and laughing and yakking it up with kin, happy as a clam.
Her great age, which she attributed to taking a spoonful of kerosene every day(!), was impressive by itself, but her start in life is even more interesting. Born in a time when incubators and neonatal ICUs were still far in the future, she was a preemie twin who miraculously beat the odds.
When I was at the Ashcroft Museum recently, I was amazed to find this undated article, possibly from the Ashcroft Journal:
A kitchen oven was turned into a makeshift incubator when Annie Salter was born more than a century ago, several months premature and weighing a little over one pound.
Neonatal technology was still decades away when her grandmother wrapped tiny Annie in cotton cloth, laid her in a cigar box and popped her in the warm oven with the door open.
“It was quite the miracle,” said Salter’s daughter Kae Larson of the remarkable survival in a rural home in 19th-century Dog Creek, BC.
Incredibly, Salter’s mother had miscarried a twin about three months earlier.
The oldest of 11 children, Salter, now 102, was born March 23, 1896 and spent much of her life caring for and feeding others.
First it was her siblings. After she married Frank Salter Dec. 25, 1917, there were her own two children and often several young members of her extended family all living under the same roof.
Sometimes Salter worked as camp cook in the southern Alberta oilfields where her husband toiled.
She couldn’t stand to see anyone go hungry. During the ’30s Depression, she would cook up a huge, hearty stew every Sunday and invite in a dozen or more unemployed oilfield workers, recalled Larson.
“She always said the reason she got married on Christmas Day was that was the one day of the year she knew there would be plenty of food on the table,” said Larson, sitting beside her mother’s wheelchair in the Capital Care Grandview nursing home, 6215 124… [page cut off].
What a gal. Over and over I read stories of the hearty, hard-working, humorous Kirkpatrick women and it makes me so proud.
Nana’s obituary was also included on the photocopied sheet I found:
March 23, 1896 – February 21, 1999
On February 21, 1999 Annie Salter of Edmonton passed away.
Leaving to mourn her loss her daughter and son-in-law, Kae and Ken Larson of Edmonton; daughter-in-law, Pat Salter of Calgary; eight grandchildren, Alec (Anne) Deeves of Calgary, Ronald (Dede) Larson of Singapore, Melody (Dave) Livingston of Grande Cache, Mavis (Ray) Berard of St. Albert, Donna of Edmonton, Dawn Giles of Cobble Hill, B.C., Darlene Bell of Blackie, Alberta and Denise (Darcy) Anderson of Calgary, along with 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Frank in April 1983; grandson, Barry Deeves 1988; son, Jim 1994; parents, Jim and Emma Kirkpatrick; five sisters and five brothers.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 27, 1999 at 2:30 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Chapel, 16204 Fort Road, Edmonton (1/2 mile east of Manning Drive on 167 Avenue – 1/4 mile south on the old Fort Road), with interment in Evergreen Memorial Gardens. Reverend Hart Cantelon officiating. Special thanks to the staff of Capital Care Grandview. If friends so desire, in lieu of floral tributes, memorials may be made to Capital Care Grandview in care of the Capital Care Foundation 500, 9925 – 109 Street, Edmonton, T5K 2J8. Evergreen Funeral Chapel (Telephone: 472-9019).
Nana was quite a character and I do have more things I plan to post about her in future.