Lake Days 1979 – Children of the pioneer era

Trevor Green had spent several days prior to Lake Days (June 9, 1979) rounding up a costume of sorts to wear in the Lake Days parade

Trevor Green had spent several days prior to Lake Days (June 9, 1979) rounding up a costume of sorts to wear in the Lake Days parade.

Apparently several long time area residents, who were raised here at the Lake, were asked to participate in the Lake Days celebrations. They were to dress up in pioneer childrens’ clothing (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) and ride on a pioneer themed hay wagon in the Lake Days parade. Since all of those who were asked to participate had lived here their entire lives (most were children of pioneer/early era parents) none felt they could refuse the request. With Trevor’s parents recognized as the longest living pioneer family around, he was the first to be approached.

After returning home from the free pancake breakfast, Trevor had just enough time to do a few small chores before putting on his costume and “heading for the fray.” He had managed to find a pair of long dark (knee length) stockings, a pair of dark blue shorts that belonged to his wife, an old fashioned white shirt, a garish tie and a pair of plain black shoes.  After squeezing into the costume, a quick look in the mirror convinced him that he and his costume would “pass muster.”

Soon after, two ladies (pioneer era children), Rene All (wife of one time Lake Cowichan’s earlier mayors), and Joan Gordon (whose father had been a local early era postmaster) arrived at Trevor’s place. Both were dressed in “school girl costumes of yesteryear.” One had long braids falling below an old fashioned poke-bonnet while the other wore a long white and blue dress with long white stockings. The two arrived at Trevor’s house in time to make a last minute check of their costumes. According to Trevor, “the ladies found it necessary to titivate (spruce up) themselves,” so they headed for one of the little Greendale cottages. “I believe a bottle of Vodka was smuggled in with them to give them a little extra courage to face the enthusiastic public (who lined the parade route),” remarked Trevor later. Just before the parade was to start, and still dreading the whole ordeal, he really didn’t care in the least what he looked like but felt “secure in the knowledge that somehow, these dreadful ordeals would come to an end in time.”

Trevor and the two ladies soon joined the others at the hay wagon. The start of the parade route which began on Greendale Road, was alive with “people and children, horses and vehicles of every description.” There were floats and other entries lined up with Trevor and the others perched waiting on the hay wagon. Soon after two more pioneer era children, Nels Olson and Marie Monti, showed up but Gladys Howe, now aged 79, and thought to be the “first white baby born here,” wasn’t feeling well and had “elected to stay home.” Trevor didn’t blame her one bit.

Eventually the parade began and the hay wagon made its way along the road, which was lined on both sides with smiling onlookers. Some of the pioneer children sat on small school sized chairs licking huge lollipops while others made an attempt to use the hula-hoops. To Trevor, who would have rather stayed home, the parade route seemed like a long and never ending journey. He later admitted that the several bottles of beer that Nels had “smuggled aboard” came in handy in the heat of the day.

As the parade progressed, to his embarrassment, Trevor occasionally heard someone yell “Hi Trev!” Or a scandalized voice exclaim, “Look, there’s Mr. Green!” Or “No, That couldn’t be Trevor!” But all in all, he had to admit that the ordeal wasn’t half as bad as he thought it would be. The greetings and catcalls were all in good fun and the adult pioneer children had lots to laugh about.

When the parade ended, Trevor, who had dreaded the day, smiled as he made his way home where he quickly removed the “shabby” costume. After a quick dip in his nearby stream followed by a quiet lunch, he took a nap on the porch. All the while the drone of the water bomber dropping its load of over the fairgrounds could be heard along with the helicopters that whirled about the skies full of Lake Days passengers. Since Trevor had done all that he wished to do that day he was ready to relax and enjoy the rest of Lake Days at his home.