Pat Rogers has 80 years of memories when it comes to her life in the Alberni Valley.
“I came to Canada when I was only eight months old, and I have lived my entire life in this country,” said Pat Rogers, who was born in August, 1930 in Shelton, Washington in the USA. “Yes, I will celebrate my 90th birthday in a few months this year!”
Her mother, who was a Canadian citizen, brought Pat and little brother to live with grandparents in Nanaimo. They lived there for about six years and then went to Trail, BC, where they stayed for one year. After that, it was back to Nanaimo for a while.
In 1939, the family decided to move to Port Alberni.
“I did my schooling here,” said Pat. “Our house was on Sixth and Redford and I remember walking to the Eighth Avenue School on the other side of town. At that time, 10th Avenue did not go through as it is today, so we took the ‘Golden Stairs’ as they called it, which was several blocks from the 10th Avenue gully.”
Pat got her first job at age 17 at the “West Coast Bakery” on Second and Argyle. “I worked there as a store clerk for five years,” Pat said.
By the beginning of the ‘50s, young Pat married Murvil Rogers, a local longshoreman. The couple had seven children—six boys and one adopted girl.
Pat worked steadily in the house raising her family as a stay-at-home mother and helped her husband to build their house on Morton Street. This place was their home for 12 years before they moved to another house they purchased on Burde Street, which they made their home for the next 47 years.
When most of their children were grown up, Pat found a paid job at Reitman’s Store in 1979, a business that used to sell ladies’ wear in the mall. She held this job for 12 years.
Pat and Murvil were married for 66 years. Their marriage lasted until 2018, when Murvil passed away at the age of 89.
Pat reminisces on their long life together, raising their family and their house on Burde Street where they lived for several decades. She also reminisces about some of their leisure times.
“When Murvil retired, we had several enjoyable trips, including a travel across Canada, all the way to New Brunswick by car,” she said. “We also drove to Florida, a trip that took us seven weeks to complete.”
They enjoyed a double trip to Cuba as well.
Today, Pat is the grandmother of 27 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchilden. She enjoys her life in Abbeyfield, where she is socially active by taking part in various home activities, as well as spending time with friends at Harbour Quay and taking shopping excursions to other places in town.
Over the years, she has enjoyed personal hobbies such as knitting, crocheting and gardening, as well as travelling to Nanaimo to visit her daughter and two of her sons. The other two live in Port Alberni.
At the end of her interview, she told us about an interesting experience. She said that despite living in Canada for almost her entire life, at the age of 61 she was not recognized as a Canadian citizen because had never held the country’s passport.
“Obviously, I had taken it for granted that after living here for such a length of time, and having my mother as a Canadian, I would naturally qualify to get a Canadian passport,” she said. “Well, to make the story short, they disputed that, and after endless paperwork at the Immigration Office in Nanaimo, I finally became ‘officially’ a Canadian citizen.
“Better late than never!”