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Kimberley Families

The Waller Family

as told by Jessie

Mr. and Mrs. Childs were married in England and came to Orilla, Ontario on their honeymoon. Jessie's mother died when she was only two and her father married again. Jessie is one of nine children. Her father was a bookkeeper and he moved to Lethbridge, Alberta to do bookkeeping for the Galt Mines when she was eight years old.

When Jessie was nineteen, she came to Cranbrook where two of her older sisters worked. She got a job as a telephone operator for two years. She met and married an Irishman, Archie Waller, originally from Londonderry. He was in partnership with Vincent Liddicoat in Cranbrook, a building and contracting business until Mr. Liddicoat joined the Forces and went overseas.

Archie was a bricklayer and mason by trade, and for the first few years, Jessie and Archie moved around a great deal, going to wherever there was work: Vancouver, Penticton, Salmon Arm, etc. They operated a small stationery and confectionery store in Prince Rupert during the war. They had two children, a daughter, Ena, born in Vancouver, and a son, Archie Jr., born in Penticton.

Archie first worked in this area installing oilers at the Yalk sawmill. He then installed the fireplaces and chimneys for Elmer Staples at the S-Half Diamond Ranch at Premier Lake. Jessie remained in Salmon Arm. When Archie sent for her, she arrived in Kimberley on the old train. It was April, 1925 and they lived in Upper Blarchmont near the old ski hill.

During the Second World War, telephone operators were needed so Jessie went to work in the Kimberley Office. Ena was thirteen and Archie Jr. was ten at the time. She worked for fifteen years, first relieving but mostly on night shift. Archie Sr. passed away in 1946 and Jessie later married Henry Hepper. They moved to his new home in Marysville in the fall of 1948.

Jessie's daughter, Ena, was the first girl in Western Canada to earn a radio operator's license and for six years she worked with the Western Air Command in Victoria. She met another radio operator, Victor Zariski, on a skiing trip up Grouse Mountain. The first few years of their marriage were spent in places like Whitehorse and Watson Lake in the Yukon, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray in the Peace River. They have three boys, so while they were attending school they lived in Edmonton. Victor was stationed in Ottawa for seven years where he taught radar and other technical procedures, returning to Edmonton occasionally to teach classes there as well. He is now with the Department of Transport in Edmonton and will be retiring soon.

Jessie's son, Archie, joined the Army and was in a jeep accident when he was just eighteen. He sustained a broken neck that caused nerve damage. By the time he could get a specialist's help, the nerves had been irreparably damaged. Archie has never been able to work and has had' to spend most of his life in the Disabled Veteran Hospital in Vancouver. He does manage to come and visit occasionally.

Jessie knits and crochets and is an active member of the little church in Marysville. She taught Sunday School for a time and still belongs to the Women's Auxiliary and the Bible Study Group. She also used to busy herself writing verses and having them published in the Nelson Daily News. They both like Marysville and Henry says that if they had to move away, he would want to take all his neighbors with him!

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