Linda Henry: Remembering work and family

This is a continuation of a feature on Linda Henry and her memories. The first part appeared in our Tuesday Oct. 25 issue.

Linda Henry

ORLANDO DELANO

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

After leaving school, Linda moved to Winnipeg to live with her aunt Margaret and uncle Donald Sinclair and cousins and began working in Eaton’s store  as an office switchboard operator and later as a clerk. Her job as a clerk was to add all the sales from each day on a compdometer.

“My wages were $32.00 per week when I started there.” she recalls. “Merna, my cousin, and I, along with two other girls, rented an apartment in Winnipeg.”

Linda married Jim Thomas, a construction worker from Port Alberni. The young couple first moved to Winnipeg and then to a 40-acre piece of land given to them by Linda’s parents. They had a house moved onto the property. They had four children: Deb, Gordon, Darren (born in Winnipeg) and Janine (born in Brandon).

In Brandon, Jim got a job and bought a house, while Linda worked at the Brandon General Hospital as a switch operator.

After the birth of their children, they moved to Port Alberni in 1972, where Thomas’ entire family lived. “It was a whole different life for me as there was no ‘40 degree below weather’ in the winter,” Linda says.

They bought a house on Lathom Road but they separated soon after, and Linda got a job at the West Coast General Hospital, where she worked from 1973 to 2001. Her first job was in the admitting department, where she worked all rotating shifts for four years (which created a babysitting problem), followed by a position as a laboratory clerk after the retirement of the incumbent.

“Well, that was the end of my graveyard shifts,” she says.

Following that, she went on to take other poisitions in the hospital operation, including postings as the nursing unit clerk in maternity, psych and medical surgical wards during the staff holidays.

In 1994, Linda’s granddaughter, Cindy, was born in Nanaimo. Linda was, of course, planning to visit the newborn girl, but that day after leaving her job, she felt the urgency to go to Nanaimo immediately. So she did. And something happened as soon as she arrived at the hospital: the baby stopped breathing. And, while the mother desperately went down the hallway in search of help, Linda worked on the newborn and saved her life.

“I got there at the right time!” she recalls.

Linda sold her house on Lathom Road and bought a trailer where she lived until her children got married and moved out.

“Soon after, my trailer was often visited by my grandchildren,” she says.

Before her retirement on Dec. 31, 2001, Linda took a final posting as an office bookkeeper.

Linda has enjoyed a number of pastimes during her life, such as knitting, sewing, cooking and making fudge. In 1977, she joined the Sorority group, a membership she holds today. But her favourite leisure activity has been travelling around the world.

“Recently, I made a list of all the places I have visited in my lifetime. I can say that the list is very extensive. It’s something I enjoy doing,” she said with a big smile.

She has been on numerous trips in Canada and abroad, including Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, North and Central America and New Zealand.

“I counted my list of trips I have been on and it is 39 trips I have taken out of the country,” she said.

“It’s been almost two years since I moved to Abbeyfield, a home that gives me security and companionship. I enjoy it because I am surrounded by people and it also gives me the opportunity to take part in bus trips and attend events they schedule for us every week.

“I am able to welcome family and friends to my new home, and they know that they can come to see me anytime they want. Last week, for example, I had a surprise visit by some old time friends from Campbell River.”

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