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Ruby McBeth: Phil gets a good idea

When Helen Dixon stopped at Mile 54 for lunch many years ago, she did not expect that it would change her life; but it did.
Historical photograph of first Women's Institute, 1930. (Fort St. John North Peace Museum I986.02.34)

When Helen Dixon stopped at Mile 54 for lunch many years ago, she did not expect that it would change her life; but it did. 

Helen and a friend were returning from a trip up the highway. Phil Tompkins got talking to them over lunch and he got Helen’s contact information; not for himself but for his friend Jed Wooley. 

Jed was a single parent with a young son. After Phil talked to Jed and passed on Helen’s phone number, Jed flew his plane down to Edmonton to meet her. They decided to get married, and Helen moved up to Fort St. John. She told me that she was embarrassed as she had just bought some dishes on time and had to ask Jed to pay for them so that she could leave Edmonton. 

Jed and Helen went on to have a girl and a boy of their own. The first child, a girl, was named Philippa after Phil Tompkins. Philippa and her family live in Montreal now.

North Peace WIs

Our city has declared February Women’s Institute Month. The Women’s Institutes in the North Peace have several aims: to help their members, to help the people of their community, and to help other women in WIs. 

As a group, we have been able to continue to fulfill these aims despite the pandemic. All three North Peace WIs: Baldonnel, North Pine, and Nor’ Pioneer (Cecil Lake) contributed equally to a scholarship for a woman attending Northern Light College. 

These same WIs each in their own way contributed to community needs. Nor’ Pioneer made over 150 Christmas cards for residents of Peace Villa. North Pine WI donated to the Women’s Resource Centre and to the bags for seniors at Christmas. Baldonnel donated two filled bags for Christmas for seniors. 

Each WI has also supported its members by keeping in touch socially by phone or by Zoom. Some members have kept in touch each week on Zoom coffee times at 4p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. That has been a good time of sharing. I always learn something.

Book Sale

The Friends of the Library have a book sale this Saturday, Feb. 12 at the Library. You will get 50% off if you say “I love books” when paying.

Ruby McBeth lives and writes in Fort St. John.

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