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Date Range From
1907
Date Range To
1995
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
WOOD, METAL, VARNISH
Catalogue Number
P20160003008
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Date Range From
1907
Date Range To
1995
Materials
WOOD, METAL, VARNISH
No. Pieces
1
Height
107
Diameter
54.5
Description
WOODEN SPINNING WHEEL COATED WITH RED WOOD VARNISH. THE BOBBIN IS APPROX. 11.5CM IN LENGTH AND APPROX. 9CM IN DIAMETER. THERE IS SOME HANDSPUN, WHITE YARN REMAINING ON THE BOBBIN, IN ADDITION TO A SMALL AMOUNT OF GREEN YARN. THE SPINNING WHEEL IS FULLY ASSEMBLED. ON EITHER SIDE OF THE FLYER THERE ARE 10 METAL HOOKS. ON THE LEFT SIDE ONE OF THE 10 HOOKS IS PARTIALLY BROKEN OFF. ON THE FRONT MAIDEN, A WHITE STRING IS TIED AROUND A FRONT KNOB WITH A METAL WIRE BENT LIKE A HOOK (POSSIBLY TO PULL YARN THROUGH THE METAL ORIFICE ATTACHED TO FLYER). LONG SECTION OF RED YARN LOOPED AROUND THE SPINNING WHEEL (MAY BE DRIVE BAND). TREADLE IS TIED TO THE FOOTMAN WITH A DARK GREY, FLAT STRING THAT IS 5MM IN WIDTH. GOOD CONDITION. TREADLE IS WELL WORN WITH VARNISH WORN OFF AND METAL NAIL HEADS EXPOSED.
Subjects
TEXTILEWORKING T&E
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928, THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. MORRIS ACQUIRED THIS SPINNING WHEEL FROM HER MOTHER AT THE SAME TIME SHE ACQUIRED THE RUG (P20160003006-GA). SHE EXPLAINS: “I ASKED HER IF I COULD USE THE SPINNING WHEEL – SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPIN. AND SHE ALSO TAUGHT ME HOW TO WEAVE, ACTUALLY MY GRANDMOTHER DID THAT MORE SO THAN MY MOTHER. AND I BELONG TO THE WEAVERS’ GUILD, SO I THOUGHT THAT I BETTER DO SOME SPINNING. AND I DID SOME, SO THAT’S WHY I’VE GOT IT HERE AND MOTHER SAID NOT TO BOTHER BRINGING IT BECAUSE SHE WASN’T GOING TO DO ANYMORE SPINNING. SHE HAD LOTS AND LOTS OF YARN THAT SHE DID. SO IT’S BEEN SITTING HERE; IT WAS IN THE BASEMENT.” THE WHEEL WAS MADE FOR ELIZABETH KONKIN WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD IN BRITISH COLUMBIA. MORRIS EXPLAINED THAT: “… [THE SPINNING WHEEL] WAS MADE ESPECIALLY FOR HER. SHE WAS VERY YOUNG. AND THAT IS THE CADILLAC OF SPINNING WHEELS… BECAUSE SHE KNEW WHO THE SPINNERS WERE, WHO THE SPINNING WHEEL CARPENTERS WERE. AND THERE WAS ONE PARTICULAR MAN AND HER MOTHER SAID, ‘WE’LL GO TO THAT ONE.’ AND THEN IN TURN, IN PAYMENT, SHE WOVE HIM ENOUGH MATERIAL TO MAKE A SUIT – A LINEN ONE… [T]HEY DIDN’T LIVE IN CASTELLAR, THEY LIVED IN ANOTHER PLACE. IT’S CALLED - IN RUSSIAN IT IS CALLED OOTISCHENIA. IT’S WHERE THE BIG – ONE OF THE BIG DAMS IS. IF YOU EVER GO ON THAT ROAD, THERE’LL BE DAMS – I THINK ABOUT 3 HUGE ONES… NEAR CASTELLAR, YEAH.” WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE TIME THE WHEEL WAS BUILT FOR HER MOTHER, MORRIS ANSWERED: “… [S]HE GOT IT LONG BEFORE [HER MARRIAGE].” SHE EXPLAINED THAT PRIOR TO MARRYING, GIRLS WOULD PUT TOGETHER TROUSSEAUS “AND THEY MAKE ALL KINDS OF FANCY THINGS WHICH THEY NEVER USE.” MORRIS RECALLS THE SPINNING WHEEL BEING USED WITHIN HER FAMILY’S HOME IN SHOULDICE AND IN THE LEAN-TO AREA IN THEIR HOME AT VAUXHALL: ‘WELL I THINK [THE SKILL IS] IN THE GENES ACTUALLY. BECAUSE MOST FAMILIES WOVE, AND THEY CERTAINLY SPUN, AS FAR AS I REMEMBER. I KNOW EVERY FALL THE LOOM WOULD COME OUT AND WE WERE LIVING WITH MY GRANDPARENTS ON MY DAD’S [SIDE]. WE LIVED UPSTAIRS, AND EVERY WINTER THEY’D HAUL THAT HUGE LOOM INTO THE BATHHOUSE – THE STEAM BATHHOUSE – BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ROOM ANYWHERE ELSE. AND THEY – THE LADIES SET IT UP AND IN THE SUMMERTIME. THEY TORE THE RAGS FOR THE RUGS, OR SPUN THEM. [FOR] WHATEVER THEY WERE GOING TO MAKE. MY MOM WAS SPINNING WHEN I WAS OLD. [S]HE USED MAKE MITTENS AND SOCKS FOR THE KIDS FOR MY CHILDREN AND SO WHEN SHE DIED THERE WAS A WHOLE STACK OF THESE MITTENS AND SOCKS AND I’VE BEEN GIVING IT TO MY GRAND[KIDS AND] MY GREAT GRANDKIDS” MORRIS ALSO USED THIS SPINNING WHEEL MANY TIMES HERSELF. SHE SAID, “IT WAS VERY EASY TO SPIN AND WHEN YOU TRY SOMEBODY ELSE’S SPINNING WHEEL YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE RIGHT AWAY. IT’S LIKE DRIVING A CADILLAC AND THEN DRIVING AN OLD FORD. IT’S JUST, IT’S SMOOTH. OUR SON, I TOLD YOU HE WAS VERY CLEVER, HE TRIED SPINNING AND HE SAID IT WAS JUST A VERY, VERY GOOD SPINNING WHEEL. WHEN I WAS IN THE GUILD I TRIED DOING [WHAT] MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME HOW TO SPIN FINE THREAD AND I WANTED HEAVY THREAD BECAUSE NOW [THEY'RE] MAKING THESE WALL HANGINGS. THEY USE THREAD AS THICK AS TWO FINGERS SO I DID THAT AND I DYED IT. I WENT OUT AND CREATED MY OWN DYES. THAT WAS FUN AND THEN I HAVE A SAMPLER OF ALL THE DYES I MADE… I STOPPED SPINNING SHORTLY BEFORE I STOPPED WEAVING… I LOVED WEAVING. FIRST OF ALL I LEARNED HOW TO EMBROIDER. I LIKED THAT THEN I LEARNED HOW CROCHET, I LIKED THAT. THEN I LEARNED HOW TO KNIT AND THAT WAS TOPS. THEN ONE DAY I WAS VISITING MY FRIEND, FRANCES, AND SHE WAS GOING TO THE BOWMAN AND I SAID, 'WHERE ARE YOU GOING?' SHE SAID 'I’M GOING THERE TO WEAVE.' I SAID, 'I DIDN’T KNOW YOU COULD WEAVE?' SHE SAID, 'OH YES,' AND I SAID ‘IS IT HARD?' SHE SAID, ‘NO,” SO I WENT THERE AND I SAW THE THINGS SHE WOVE. THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL AND SO I JOINED THE GROUP AND THEN OF COURSE I WANTED TO HAVE SOME OF THE STUFF I HAD SPUN MYSELF AND DYED MYSELF AND NOBODY ELSE WANTED. THEN I DECIDED, ‘ALRIGHT, I’VE WOVEN ALL THESE THINGS, WOVE MYSELF A SUIT, LONG SKIRT YOU NAME IT. PLACE MATS GALORE. THIS LITTLE RUNNER,’ AND I THOUGHT, ‘WELL, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THE REST BECAUSE NOBODY WANTS HOMESPUN STUFF. THEY WANT TO GO TO WALMART OR SOME PLACE AND BUY SOMETHING READYMADE,’ SO I GAVE UP SPINNING AND WEAVING… I STOPPED AFTER I MADE MY SUIT. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO, EASILY.” MORRIS’ MOTHER WOULD WEAVE IN SHOULDICE, BUT “[I]N VAUXHALL, NO, SHE WASN’T [WEAVING]. SHE DIDN’T HAVE A LOOM.” MORRIS SAID IN SHOULDICE, “I LEARNED HOW TO THROW THE SHUTTLE BACK AND FORTH TO WEAVE RUGS BECAUSE I USED TO SIT THERE WATCHING MY GRANDMOTHER AND SHE LET ME DO THAT, AND THEN YOU SEE WHEN I GOT SO INTERESTED IN WEAVING THAT I BOUGHT A LOOM, SITTING DOWN IN THE BASEMENT. I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SELL IT EVER SINCE AND NOBODY WANTS IT. I OFFERED TO GIVE IT FOR FREE AND NOBODY WANTS IT BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE SPACE FOR IT.” PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003008
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER
Date Range From
1918
Date Range To
1950
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
PLYWOOD, PAINT
Catalogue Number
P20110031021
  2 images  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER
Date Range From
1918
Date Range To
1950
Materials
PLYWOOD, PAINT
No. Pieces
5
Height
303.5
Length
114.3
Description
STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER, IN FIVE PANEL PIECES. .001 TOP CENTRE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. GREEN BACKGROUND WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. TWO FLAGS IN THE CENTRE: THE KUOMINTANG/NATIONAL LEAGUE FLAG IS ON THE LEFT (NAVY BLUE WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE MIDDLE) AND THE FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA IS ON THE RIGHT (RED BODY, WITH A NAVY BLUE RECTANGLE IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER AND A GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS NAVY SECTION). BETWEEN THE FLAGS IS A NAVY BLUE, ROUGHLY OCTAGON SHAPE, WITH ANOTHER GOLDEN YELLOW SUN IN THE CENTRE. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. ON THE FAR RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL IS A SMALL RECTANGULAR PIECE, ATTACHED WITH WIRE, ROUGHLY 19CM X 7.6CM. PANEL IS 241.6CM X 47.6CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. PANEL IS WELL WORN, THE COLOURS ARE FADED, AND THE PAINT IS CHIPPED IN SEVERAL SPOTS. .002 TOP SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL ARE THE TOPS OF TWO COLUMNS. A SMALL PINK/RED FLOWER ON A GREEN VINE IS VISIBLE ON THE COLUMN. TO THE LEFT OF THE COLUMNS IS A SECTION OF GREEN WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. BELOW THE RED AND YELLOW SECTION IS A NAVY BLUE SECTION, WITH A YELLOW SECTION JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE COLUMN. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. PANEL IS 200.7CM X 56.2CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. PAINT SCRATCHED OFF, ESPECIALLY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE GREEN FLOWER SECTION. NOT AS FADED OR AS WORN AS .001. TAPE REMNANTS IN THE GREEN SECTION TO THE RIGHT OF COLUMNS. .003 TOP SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PANEL ARE THE TOPS OF TWO COLUMNS. TO THE LEFT OF THE COLUMNS IS A SECTION OF GREEN WITH PINK/RED FLOWERS. ALONG THE BOTTOM IS A REPEATING PATTERN IN RED AND YELLOW OF TWO DOTS, A LINE, AND A DOT. BELOW THE RED AND YELLOW SECTION IS A NAVY BLUE SECTION, WITH A YELLOW SECTION JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THE COLUMN. SCREW HOLES ALONG THE TOP AND SIDES FOR MOUNTING. PANEL IS 243.2CM X 55.2CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. TAN PAINT ALONG THE BOTTOM, OVER THE GREEN SECTION, IN SEVERAL AREAS. THE NAVY BLUE SECTION HAS A LOT OF HAIRLINE CRACKS IN THE PAINT. .004 SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PANEL IS A RECTANGLE IN THREE SHADES OF BROWN/TAN. ALONG THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PANEL THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS, WHICH HAVE PINK/RED FLOWERS ON GREEN VINES WRAPPED AROUND THEM. NAVY BLUE CURTAIN TO THE RIGHT OF COLUMNS. THERE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE OVER THIS NAVY CURTAIN. THE RECTANGLE HAS A LIGHT BLUE/GREEN BACKGROUND AND HAS SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN YELLOW. THERE IS ORNAMENTATION AROUND THIS RECTANGLE. THE NAVY CURTAIN IS HELD BACK WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW TIEBACK NEAR THE TOP. ON THE FAR RIGHT SIDE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE WITH AN ORANGE BACKGROUND AND SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN BLACK. SCREW HOLES FOR MOUNTING AROUND EDGE OF PANEL. PANEL IS 303.5CM X 114.3CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. IN WORSE CONDITION THAN .005. LOTS OF LITTLE HOLES, ESPECIALLY ON THE NAVY CURTAIN. LOTS OF WALL PAINT FLECKS, ESPECIALLY ON THE COLUMNS. THE BLUE VERTICAL RECTANGLE IS MORE GREEN THAN ON .005 AND THE PAINT IS VERY, VERY WORN. .005 SIDE PANEL. RECTANGULAR. VERY THIN PLYWOOD. ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PANEL IS A RECTANGLE IN THREE SHADES OF BROWN/TAN. ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PANEL THERE ARE TWO COLUMNS, WHICH HAVE PINK/RED FLOWERS ON GREEN VINES WRAPPED AROUND THEM. NAVY BLUE CURTAIN TO THE LEFT OF COLUMNS. THERE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE OVER THIS NAVY CURTAIN. THE RECTANGLE HAS A LIGHT BLUE/GREEN BACKGROUND AND HAS SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN YELLOW. THERE IS ORNAMENTATION AROUND THIS RECTANGLE. BELOW THIS BLUE RECTANGLE, ON THE NAVY CURTAIN, ARE SEVERAL CHINESE CHARACTERS ON A DIAGONAL, PAINTED ON IN RED. THE NAVY CURTAIN IS HELD BACK WITH A GOLDEN YELLOW TIEBACK NEAR THE TOP. ON THE FAR LEFT SIDE IS A VERTICAL RECTANGLE WITH AN ORANGE BACKGROUND AND SEVEN CHINESE CHARACTERS IN BLACK. SCREW HOLES FOR MOUNTING AROUND EDGE OF PANEL. PANEL IS 303.5CM X 114.3CM POOR TO FAIR CONDITION. LOTS OF CHIPPED PAINT. PANEL IS FADED/DISCOLOURED. BOTTOM BACK IS IN ESPECIALLY POOR CONDITION AND IS VERY DIRTY.
Subjects
PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE
Historical Association
ASSOCIATIONS
FINE ARTS
LEISURE
History
THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THIS ARTIFACT COMES FROM INTERVIEWS HELD WITH MAY LEE AND JUDY CHAN, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG AND JANICE WONG. PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE LIVES OF MAY LEE, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG THEIR IMMIGRATION TO CANADA ARE FOUND BELOW THE ARTIFACT DETAILS AND BELOW THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY BUILDING. MAY RECALLED THAT THERE WERE OPERAS AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING, BUT THAT THEY DIDN’T COME VERY OFTEN. SHE DIDN’T RECALL ATTENDING MANY OPERAS, BUT DID REMEMBER THAT “HONG WONG WAS SINGING THERE.” RICHARD, MEANWHILE, THOUGHT THAT THE OPERAS WERE FINISHED BEFORE HE ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE. HE NEVER SAW AN OPERA PRODUCTION AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING, BUT DID RECALL THAT PROJECTION FILMS WERE SHOWN. RICHARD SUGGESTED “ASK HONG. HE LIKED A LITTLE BIT OF OPERA TOO … HE SANG IN STUFF LIKE THAT.” HONG INDICATED THAT THERE WAS NO OPERAS AT THE SOCIETY BUILDING WHEN HE CAME IN 1951, BUT THAT THE SOCIETY DID STAGE PRODUCTIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY. ASKED WHERE THE COSTUMES CAME FROM, HONG SAID “WE GOT THEM FROM CALGARY AT THAT TIME, WELL, ACTUALLY WE JUST BORROWED THEM. WE DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY THEM.” HONG CONTINUED SAYING THAT THIS STAGE PERFORMANCE BORDER WAS USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH A LARGE MURAL (SEE P20010027000) AND A STAGE. A SERIES OF ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD GIVE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY AND ITS BUILDING: THE BUILDING THAT HOUSED THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE SOCIETY WAS BUILT IN 1909-1910 IN THE 300 BLOCK OF 2 AVENUE SOUTH AND IT WAS ORIGINALLY A RESTAURANT. BY 1915 IT HAD BECOME THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE LETHBRIDGE BRANCH OF THE KAO MIN TANG (ALTERNATIVE SPELLINGS INCLUDE KUOMINTANG, KUO MIN TANG, GUOMINDANG, AND GUO MIN DANG). THE BUILDING WAS DESIGNATED AS A PROVINCIAL HERITAGE RESOURCE IN 1995 BECAUSE OF ITS VALUE AS A SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CENTRE FOR THE LETHBRIDGE CHINESE COMMUNITY. THE BUILDING WAS USED IN A VARIETY OF WAYS BY THE SOCIETY AND INCLUDED, AT VARIOUS TIMES, A RESTAURANT, A SCHOOL, AND LIVING ACCOMODATIONS. IN FEBRUARY 2011 A SECTION OF THE BRICK FAÇADE FELL OFF THE BUILDING AND CITY INSPECTORS DETERMINED THAT THE TIMBER AND RED BRICK STRUCTURE WAS POTENTIALLY UNSTABLE. THE BUILDING WAS TORN DOWN A SHORT TIME LATER. LETHBRIDGE'S CHINATOWN EMERGED IN 1901, A RESULT OF THE CHINESE POPULATION BEING RELEGATED TO A SECTION OF THE CITY BETWEEN GALT GARDENS AND THE COULEES. IN A JANUARY 7, 2002 ARTICLE ALBERT LEONG EXPLAINS THAT NO ONE REALLY WANTED CHINESE PEOPLE AROUND AND THAT “’ THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE ONLY PLACE THEY COULD START BUSINESSES WAS BETWEEN THE COULEES AT THE PARK, BECAUSE THE CITY DIDN’T WANT ANY COMPETITION FOR THE WHITE BUSINESSMEN … BUT ‘GHETTO-IZED’ OR NOT, THE CHINESE WHO CAME TO LETHBRIDGE FORMED AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE BACKBONE OF THIS CITY, [AND MADE] NOTEWORTHY [CONTRIBUTIONS] TO THE HISTORY OF THIS PLACE.’” BUSINESSES SUCH AS LAUNDRIES, MARKET GARDENS, AND RESTAURANTS WERE OPENED IN CHINATOWN, WITH THE RESIDENTS LIVING IN ROOMS ABOVE THE BUSINESSES. IN 1912 THERE WERE ABOUT 100 PEOPLE LIVING IN CHINATOWN AND BY THE 1930S, IT WAS A BUSTLING COMMUNITY. THE POPULATION OF CHINATOWN DWINDLED FOLLOWING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. JANICE WONG, PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIETY IN 2015, GAVE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ABOUT THE SOCIETY IN AN INTERVIEW: AS OF 2015, THE SOCIETY EXISTS MORE AS A SOCIAL CLUB AND THE SOCIETY HOLDS THREE CELEBRATORY DINNERS EACH YEAR, USUALLY HELD AT THE NEW DYNASTY RESTAURANT. THE SOCIETY ALSO VISITS THE CEMETERY ON A YEARLY BASIS “TO HONOUR THE ANCESTORS, CLEAN THE TOMBS, BRING FOOD, DO THE USUAL THINGS THAT WE USED TO DO – EAT ON GRAVES, BURN THE INCENSE. WE DO THAT EVERY YEAR STILL TO HONOUR OUR ANCESTORS. IT IS USUALLY IN THE SPRING … IN APRIL.” JANICE BRIEFLY DISCUSSED THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIETY, INDICATING THAT THERE IS SOME TALK ABOUT RE-BUILDING “BUT THAT INVOLVES A LOT OF PLANNING, AND MONEY, AND FUNDRAISING” AND SHE QUESTIONS WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS ENOUGH OF A MEMBERSHIP BASE TO GO FORWARD WITH RE-BUILDING. SHE ALSO EXPLAINED THAT PREVIOUS CHINESE IMMIGRANTS HAD TENDED TO COME FROM THE SAME GEOGRAPHIC REGION, BUT THAT PRESENTLY IMMIGRANTS ARE COMING FROM ALL OVER CHINA: “THERE’S A LOT OF INFLUX OF PEOPLE FROM CHINA THAT AREN’T FROM THE SAME AREA, BECAUSE TRADITIONALLY, THE PEOPLE WERE ALL FROM THE SAME AREA AND SPOKE THE SAME DIALECT AND HAD THAT SORT OF THING KEEPING THEM TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY OVERSEAS FROM CHINA.” PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT THE LIVES OF MAY LEE, RICHARD LOO, AND HONG WONG AND THEIR IMMIGRATION TO CANADA ARE BELOW: MAY LEE: MAY WAS ACTUALLY BORN IN CANADA AND IS KNOWN AS A GOLD MOUNTAIN GIRL, BECAUSE SHE IS A CANADIAN-BORN CHINESE WOMAN. MAY EXPLAINS: “I WAS BORN IN CANADA. I WAS BORN IN NANOOSE BAY. WHEN I WAS 4 YEARS OLD, WE MOVED TO VICTORIA. WHEN I WAS 9 YEARS OLD AND THE WHOLE FAMILY, IN 1930, GO BACK TO CHINA.” DURING THE WAR, THE JAPANESE BOMBED THE GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL IN TOCSIN CITY AND MAY’S MOTHER DECIDED TO SEND MAY AND HER BROTHER TO HONG KONG TO START THE PROCESS OF COMING TO CANADA. MAY STARTED ENGLISH SCHOOL IN HONG KONG, BUT OFTEN MISSED CLASSES BECAUSE SHE WAS SICK FROM THE HEAT. SHE SAYS THAT SHE’S LEARNED MOST OF HER ENGLISH FROM HER HUSBAND, HER CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, AND EVEN GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN. SHE WAS MARRIED TO HOM MEN LEE, AKA JIMMY LEE, ON NOVEMBER 16, 1938 IN VICTORIA, BC. JIMMY WAS BORN IN LETHBRIDGE AT THE GALT HOSPITAL, BUT WAS SENT BACK TO CHINA AS A CHILD FOR HIS EDUCATION. JIMMY’S FAMILY HAD COME TO LETHBRIDGE IN 1914 AND OWNED LEE-DUC CLEANERS. THE LEE FAMILY LIVED ABOVE THE SHOP, WHICH WAS ON 13TH STREET NORTH, NEAR HIGA’S JEWELERS. MAY’S MAIN MEMORY OF CHINATOWN: “ALL I REMEMBER IN CHINATOWN, IN SUMMERTIME, LOTS OF OLD GUYS SITTING IN FRONT OF GUOMINDANG. AUNTIE HELEN GREW UP IN CHINATOWN. I THINK SHE KNOWS MORE ABOUT CHINATOWN. IN THE OLDEN DAYS, I HARDLY GO OUT, JUST TO BUY GROCERIES.” JUDY ADDED THAT MAY HAD 8 CHILDREN AND WAS KEPT BUSY AT HOME RAISING THEM. RICHARD LOO: RICHARD ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1953, HAVING LEFT THE MAINLAND OF CHINA IN 1949. RICHARD’S GRANDFATHER HAD MOVED TO CANADA IN EITHER LATE 1800S OR THE EARLY 1900S AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE HEAD TAX. HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED AS A COOK IN RESTAURANTS, EITHER IN LETHBRIDGE OR IN TABER (ACCORDING TO RICHARD, HIS GRANDFATHER WORKED THROUGH THE WAR YEARS IN TABER). RICHARD’S GRANDFATHER HAD PLANNED ON MOVING BACK TO CHINA WHEN HE RETIRED, BUT THEN THE COMMUNISTS TOOK OVER, AND HE ELECTED TO STAY. AT THAT TIME, HE INVITED RICHARD TO MOVE TO LETHBRIDGE AS WELL. RICHARD LEFT HONG KONG, AFTER LIVING THERE FOR 8 MONTHS, ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON AT 2PM LOCAL TIME. HE FINALLY ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE SUNDAY AFTERNOON. HE WAS LUCKY IN THAT HE WAS ABLE TO GET HIS FLIGHTS ON SALE. NORMALLY A TICKET FROM HONG KONG TO VANCOUVER WOULD HAVE COST $700, BUT RICHARD WAS ABLE TO SECURE A FLIGHT FOR ONLY $500. HE ALSO INDICATED THAT HIS FLIGHT TO LETHBRIDGE WAS ONLY $39.95. ON RECALLING HIS FIRST TIME IN LETHBRIDGE, RICHARD RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING STORY: “SO, BY THE TIME I GOT TO THE AIRPORT, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SAY NOTHING. DIDN’T KNOW – MAYBE COULD SAY ‘GOOD MORNING’ – THAT’S ALL YOU COULD SAY, JUST ANYWAYS HOW TO SAY ‘HELLO’ – SO, ANYWAY, SO IN THE MEANTIME, THE FELLOW AT THE AIRPORT MUST HAVE KNOWN ZEKE, YOU KNOW ZEKE QUAN [OWNER OF] THE LOTUS INN [RESTAURANT], AND HE PHONED HIM UP. HE SAYS, ‘ZEKE.’ I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT – NOTHING. AND THEN HE SAYS, ‘HEY, THIS IS A CHINA BOY HERE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH HIM?’ SO, ZEKE SAYS, ‘OH, JUST TAKE HIM TO CHINATOWN AND DUMP HIM.’ NOW, I DIDN’T KNOW THOSE, NOT UNTIL LATER ON. ZEKE’S SON GO TO SAME SCHOOL I DID – CENTRAL SCHOOL.” RICHARD INITIALLY LIVED IN THE SOCIETY BUILDING FOR SEVERAL YEARS, OCCUPYING A ROOM THAT HAD BEEN RECENTLY VACATED BY ANOTHER MAN NAMED LOO WHO HAD GONE TO WORK IN PICTURE BUTTE. RICHARD RECALLED THAT THE SOCIETY WAS A GOOD PLACE TO FEEL A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AND THAT IT WAS A WELCOMING PLACE FOR NEW CHINESE IMMIGRANTS, A PLACE WHERE THEY WEREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. HONG WONG: HONG ARRIVED IN LETHBRIDGE IN 1951 AND WAS INVITED TO THE CITY BY HIS UNCLE SHUEY WONG, WHO WAS ALREADY LIVING HERE. UNCLE SHUEY HAD COME TO CANADA SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE AND HAD HAD TO PAY THE $500 HEAD TAX. HONG TRAVELED WITH HIS BROTHER FROM MAINLAND CHINA TO HONG KONG, IN ORDER TO GO TO THE CANADIAN EMBASSY. ON HIS FERRY RIDE TO HONG KONG, HE WAS SHOT BY BANDITS AND WAS REQUIRED TO STAY IN THE HOSPITAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME TO RECOVER. HIS BROTHER ELECTED TO REMAIN IN HONG KONG, AS HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW LIVED IN THE CITY AND GOT HONG’S BROTHER WORK IN A THEATRE. TO GET TO CANADA, HONG FLEW FROM JAPAN TO GUAM, TO VANCOUVER, AND THEN FINALLY TO LETHBRIDGE. HIS FIRST IMPRESSION OF LETHBRIDGE: COLD. HONG SAID: “’WELL, IN HONG KONG IT WAS AROUND MAYBE 20 SOME 30 ABOVE. AND HERE, AT THAT TIME, MAYBE 20 BELOW, OR 20 SOME BELOW. I DIDN’T HAVE THE EAR MUFFS. I SAID, ‘GEE, I’M NOT SO HAPPY HERE, IT SEEMS SO COLD.’” UNCLE SHUEY TOLD HONG THAT IT WAS ONE OF THE COLDEST WINTERS HE COULD REMEMBER. HONG WORKED FOR HIS UNCLE IN HIS SHOP ON 9TH AVENUE, DOING CHORES AROUND THE STORE, UNTIL HIS ENGLISH HAD IMPROVED ENOUGH SO THAT HE COULD SERVE CUSTOMERS. HE JOINED THE CHINESE NATIONALIST LEAGUE SOCIETY ALMOST AS SOON AS HE ARRIVED: “WHEN I CAME HERE, I JOINED IN THE SAME YEAR BECAUSE MY UNCLE WAS A MEMBER. SO THAT’S WHY HE GOT ME IN TO BE A MEMBER. OH, AT THAT TIME, I BET, 95% OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE THEY BELONG TO THE CHINESE NATIONAL LEAGUE, I BELIEVE.” HE CONTINUED, SAYING THAT YOU COULDN’T BE A MEMBER OF BOTH THE SOCIETY AND THE MASONS, AND HE BELIEVES ABOUT 5% OF THE CITY’S CHINESE POPULATION WOULD HAVE BELONGED TO THE MASONS. HE ADDED: “BUT WE ARE STILL FRIENDS, STILL FRIENDS. WE’RE NOT ENEMY OR ANYTHING BUT, IT’S JUST THAT THE ORGANIZATIONS ARE DIFFERENT. THAT’S ALL.” HONG ENJOYED THE CAMARADERIE OF THE SOCIETY. HE SAID: “I REMEMBER, I LIKE IT BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE PARTY AND SO MANY PEOPLE. AND THEN YOU MEET ALL THE CHINESE PEOPLE THERE IN THE ONE GROUP. WELL, ANYWAY, WHEN YOU SEE SO MANY PEOPLE IN ONE PARTY, AND THEN WHEN THEY COME OUT MOSTLY THE PEOPLE THAT PARTY AND IT FEELS LIKE A LOTS OF FRIENDS OR EVEN LIKE THE FAMILY. SO YOU FEEL GOOD, YOU FEEL BETTER, AND THEN, WELL, MY UNCLE BELONGS THERE TOO AND THEN THE OTHERS BELONG THERE TOO, YEAH, EVERYBODY LIKE IN THE BIG FAMILY. YES, NICE, OTHERWISE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS, YOU DON’T MEET ANYBODY, IF YOU NOT BELONG THERE, I THINK NOT SO FRIENDLY TO YOU.” HONG INDICATED THAT WHEN A SPECIAL MEAL WAS HELD AT THE SOCIETY, IT WAS THE MEN WHO DID THE COOKING: “AT THAT TIME JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW TO COOK BECAUSE MOSTLY WE WORK IN THE KITCHEN WHEN THEY CAME HERE.” HE SAID THAT DINERS WOULD PAY A SMALL FEE TO EAT AT THE LEAGUE WHEN SPECIAL MEALS WERE PUT ON. SEE PERMANENT FILE FOR COPIES OF LETHBRIDGE HERALD ARTICLES AND FOR INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS.
Catalogue Number
P20110031021
Acquisition Date
2011-11
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail
Other Name
KNITTING BAG
Date Range From
1870
Date Range To
1999
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
CANVAS, FABRIC, THREAD
Catalogue Number
P20160003005
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
KNITTING BAG
Date Range From
1870
Date Range To
1999
Materials
CANVAS, FABRIC, THREAD
No. Pieces
1
Length
41
Width
36
Description
HANDMADE BAG MADE OF 3 SECTIONS OF STRIPS OF ABOUT 5 INCHES (APPROX. 13 CM) EACH. IT IS RED WITH BLUE, YELLOW, GREEN, AND RAW MATERIAL ACCENTS. THE TRIM AT THE TOP OF THE BAG IS BLUE WITH A HANDLE OF THE SAME FABRIC ON EITHER SIDE. THERE IS A STRIP OF RAW, NOT PATTERNED FABRIC AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG. BOTH SIDES OF THE BAG HAVE THE SAME ARRANGEMENT OF PATTERNED STRIPS. THERE IS ONE SEAM CONNECTING THE FRONT AND THE BACK OF THE BAG ON BOTH SIDES. THE INSIDE IS UNLINED. GOOD TO VERY GOOD CONDITION. THERE IS SOME STITCHING COMING LOOSE AT VARIOUS POINTS OF THE PATTERNING.
Subjects
CONTAINER
Historical Association
DOMESTIC
ETHNOGRAPHIC
History
THE KONKINS WERE A RUSSIAN-SPEAKING FAMILY FROM THE TOWN OF SHOULDICE, ALBERTA, NEAR CALGARY. THEY AND MANY OTHER RUSSIAN FAMILIES COMPOSED THAT TOWN’S DOUKHOBOR COLONY. IT WAS THERE WILLIAM KONKIN MARRIED ELIZABETH WISHLOW. IN 1928 THEIR DAUGHTER, ELSIE WAS BORN. THEY LATER MOVED TO A FARM IN VAUXHALL, ALBERTA. THE PRECEDING AND FOLLOWING INFORMATION HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM A TWO-PART INTERVIEW WITH DONOR ELSIE MORRIS, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY COLLECTIONS TECHNICIAN KEVIN MACLEAN ON FEBRUARY 17, 2016. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION COMES FROM FAMILY HISTORIES AND TEXTS PROVIDED BY THE DONOR. A FULL HISTORY OF THE KONKIN FAMILY CAN BE FOUND WITH THE RECORD P20160003001. A STATEMENT WRITTEN BY MORRIS ATTACHED TO THE BAG STATES THAT THE MATERIAL OF THE BAG ORIGINATES FROM THE 1870S. THE STATEMENT READS: “THIS BAG WAS HAND WOVEN IN STRIPS [THAT WERE USED] TO SEW ON THE BOTTOM OF PETTICOATS. THE GIRLS AT THAT TIME HAD TO HAVE A TROUSEUA [SIC] TO LAST A LIFETIME BECAUSE AFTER MARRIAGE THERE WOULD BE NO TIME TO MAKE CLOTHES SO WHAT THEY MADE WAS STURDY. THEY STARTED ON THEIR TROUSEUS [SIC] AS SOON AS THEY COULD HOLD A NEEDLE. WHEN IT WAS HAYING TIME THE GIRLS WENT OUT INTO THE FIELD TO RAKE THE HAY. THEY WORE PETTICOATS OF LINEN TO WHICH THESE BANDS WERE SEWN. THE LONG SKIRTS WERE PICKED UP AT THE SIDES AND TUCKED INTO THE WAISTBANDS SO THAT THE BOTTOMS OF THE PETTICOATS WERE ON DISPLAY.” “THESE BANDS WERE ORIGINALLY MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S WHO CAME OUT OF RUSSIA WITH THE DOUKHOBOR SETTLEMENT IN 1899. THEY WERE PASSED ON TO MY MOTHER, ELIZABETH KONKIN, WHO MADE THEM INTO A BAG IN THE 1940S” THE STRIPS THAT MAKE UP THE BAG SERVED A UTILITARIAN PURPOSE WHEN SEWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PETTICOATS. IN THE INTERVIEW, MORRIS EXPLAINS: “… THESE STRIPS ARE VERY STRONG. THEY’RE LIKE CANVAS. THEY WERE SEWN ONTO THE BOTTOM OF THE LADY’S PETTICOATS AND THEY WORE A SKIRT ON TOP OF THE PETTICOATS. THESE STRIPS LASTED A LIFETIME, IN FACT MORE THAN ONE LIFETIME BECAUSE I’VE GOT THEM NOW. THEY WOULD TUCK THE SKIRTS INTO THEIR WAISTBAND ON THE SIDE SO THEIR PETTICOATS SHOWED AND THEY WERE TRYING TO PRESERVE THEIR SKIRTS NOT TO GET CAUGHT IN THE GRAIN. THE GIRLS LIKED TO WEAR THEM TO SHOW OFF BECAUSE THE BOYS WERE THERE AND THEY ALWAYS WORE THEIR VERY BEST SUNDAY CLOTHES WHEN THEY WENT CUTTING WHEAT OR GRAIN." “[THE FABRIC] CAME FROM RUSSIA. WITH THE AREA WHERE THEY CAME FROM IS NOW GEORGIA AND THEY LIVED ABOUT SEVEN MILES NORTH OF THE TURKISH BORDER, THE PRESENT DAY TURKISH BORDER… [THE DOUKHOBORS] CAME TO CANADA IN 1897 AND 1899.” MORRIS EXPLAINS THAT SURPLUS FABRIC WOULD HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO CANADA FROM RUSSIA BY HER MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER FOR FUTURE USE AND TO AID THE GIRLS IN MAKING THEIR TROUSSEAUS: “THE TROUSSEAU THE GIRLS MADE HAD TO LAST THEM A LIFETIME BECAUSE THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TIME BUT RAISING CHILDREN TO SEWING THINGS. SEWING MACHINES WERE UNKNOWN THEN.” THE BANDS OF FABRIC THAT MAKE UP THE BAG WOULD HAVE BEEN REMAINS NEVER USED FROM ELIZABETH KONKIN’S TROUSSEAU. SHE HAND WOVE THE BAG WHILE SHE WAS LIVING IN SHOULDICE. THE BAG WAS USED BY MORRIS’ MOTHER TO STORE HER KNITTING SUPPLIES. WHEN MORRIS ACQUIRED THE BAG IN THE 1990S, IT MAINTAINED A SIMILAR PURPOSE: “WELL I USED TO CARRY MY STUFF FOR THE WEAVER’S GUILD BUT NOW I DON’T USE IT FOR ANYTHING. IT’S VERY HANDY YOU KNOW IT DOESN’T WEAR OUT.” THERE WAS ONLY ONE BAG MADE OUT OF THESE REMNANTS BY MORRIS’ MOTHER. PLEASE SEE THE PERMANENT FILE FOR MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTION, OBITUARIES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AND FAMILY HISTORIES.
Catalogue Number
P20160003005
Acquisition Date
2016-02
Collection
Museum
Images
Less detail