South Peace News
Gerry Hachey has fond memories of getting a special Christmas gift when he was a young boy.
When he was about six years old living with his family on the farm north of Falher, he received a unique toy from his older sister, Lorette, who lived in McLennan at the time.
“She came home one Christmas and brought gifts for everyone in the family,” says Hachey, 85, now a resident of the Villa Beausejour in Falher.
“I got an electric train, which was a new thing in those days.
“It was a big thing for me.”
However, he couldn’t play with his prized possession when he got it.
“I couldn’t run the train because we didn’t have electricity at home,” says Hachey, the youngest of 13 children of Alexander and Marie-Louise Hachey.
Years later, the family bought a house in Falher and he was able to enjoy the high-tech train.
Another year, he got a BB gun.
He was able the make a bit of money on the side.
“I’d go out and shoot ducks and muskrats and sell the furs of muskrats,” Hachey says.
Gifts were opened on Christmas morning.
“We looked forward to Christmas Day for a long time ahead,” Hachey says.
The season was filled with family and fun.
“Christmas was a great time because the extended family got together and there was always somebody playing music on the piano,” Hachey says.
The piano was a special delivery for the family.
“The funniest thing about that was that my Dad was a trader and he had a sawmill and a farm,” Hachey says.
“At Christmas one year, he came home with a piano.
“He traded a steam engine for a piano.”
It made the girls in the family happy.
“My sisters were ecstatic because they could play the piano and sing Christmas carols,” he says.
Christmas dinner was served on Christmas Day around noon when extended family feasted on special food.
Meat pies – tortieres – were a favourite for the young boy.
“They’re a traditional French-Canadian dish, usually served at Christmas,” Hachey says.
He also loved head cheese.
“It’s very tasty,” Hachey says.
He went to school in a convent in Falher which included about 80 students from Grade 1-12.
“We had Christmas concerts and a lot of celebrating,” Hachey says.
Students in Grade 1-3 presented plays and other students played violins.