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Date Range
1931-2009
Description Level
Fonds
Accession No.
20191038
Physical Description
26 cm of textual records; 57 photographs; 1 digital audio recording
Scope and Content
An oral history interview (20191038/024) was conducted with Carol Darmody. The content centered around family photographs and family history. Below is a brief summary, for more details see item 20191038024 Oral History Interview - Carol Darmody. During the interview that was conducted in 2019 with…
Date Range
1931-2009
Description Level
Fonds
Creator
Frouws Family
Physical Description
26 cm of textual records; 57 photographs; 1 digital audio recording
History / Biographical
John Jr. Frouws and Irene Nagy both grew up in Southern Alberta. The Frouws family moved from the Netherlands in 1925 and eventually settled Lethbridge in 1928. The Nagy family moved from Hungary to Taber in 1905, and settled in Diamond City in 1908. John Jr. Frouws and Irene Nagy met in Lethbridge as teenagers and began a 70+ year love affair, with each other and their community. Irene Nagy worked as a hairdresser during the 1930s in Calgary, Lethbridge, Chicago, and Windsor. Meanwhile, John Jr. Frouws stayed in Lethbridge working in the Galt Gardens for the City of Lethbridge. Keeping in touch throughout this time, Irene and John reunited in Lethbridge just before WWII. John Jr. enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces and served in WWII from 1941-1945, while Irene stayed in Southern Alberta. Throughout their separation, the couple exchanged letters. While John was on military leave in 1943, they married, and he returned to England days later to receive demolition training. After the war, Irene and John Jr. Frouws were reunited and settled in Lethbridge, where John worked for the City of Lethbridge as a streetcar motorman and bus driver. In the same year, the Frouws’ purchased a new veteran’s home at 134 Dieppe Blvd in Parkdale, and started a family with two daughters, Carol and Diane. John Jr. retired from the City in 1977. Throughout their lives, John and Irene Frouws enjoyed tending their garden, which won multiple Lethbridge and District Horticultural Society awards through the 1950s. Dedicated to their family, their community, and to each other, John Jr. and Irene Frouws donated generously to local and overseas organizations.
Scope and Content
An oral history interview (20191038/024) was conducted with Carol Darmody. The content centered around family photographs and family history. Below is a brief summary, for more details see item 20191038024 Oral History Interview - Carol Darmody. During the interview that was conducted in 2019 with Carol Darmody, daughter of Irene and John Jr. Frouws, Carol spoke about the importance of the strength of John and Irene’s bond. She described how both of her parents came from poor Southern Alberta families, and that it was their modest upbringings that united the couple. Their family experiences and similar lifestyles provided the foundation of their relationship and their own family values. Carol stated that a central element of their relationship was their mutual love of gardening and the Southern Alberta landscape. After purchasing their 134 Dieppe Blvd home in Lethbridge in 1945, John Jr. and Irene Frouws tended their prized garden. The garden won numerous awards during the 1950s, and Carol emphasized that it brought their whole family, and community, together. During the summer months as the girls were growing up, all of the neighborhood kids from Parkdale would come to play, and tend, the Frouws’ garden; endearing the Frouws’ to their community. 2019.1038/001: Frouws Family History, background information on the Nagy’s, the Frouws’, and Irene and John Jr.’s lives. 2019.1038/002: Photographs of the Frouws family home, 134 Dieppe Blvd, 3 photographs, ca.1947. 2019.1038/003: Newspaper articles about 134 Dieppe Blvd, including the Frouws’ Horticultural award winnings, and John Jr.’s canning winnings, 1950-1951. 2019.1038/004: Frouws family photographs Part 1/3, Irene and John Jr., 16 photographs, 1850-2003? 2019.1038/005: Frouws family photographs Part 2/3, John Jr. at War, 9 photographs, 1940-1943? 2019.1038/006: Frouws family photographs Part 3/3, John, Irene, Carol and Diane, 21 photographs, 1949-1980? 2019.1038/007: Nagy family photographs, 6 photographs, ca. 1921 -1942 2019.1038/008: Miscellaneous Articles on Frouws family members; includes the Lethbridge Herald John Jr. Transit Superintendent, Your Foundation John and Irene Frouws, Lethbridge Herald 60th Wedding Anniversary Announcement, War reflections articles from John Jr. 1945-2006? 2019.1038/009: Irene Frouws’ Diary and Autograph book, 1931-1938. 2019.1038/010: Irene Nagy’s Hairdressing Notebook, 1938. 2019.1038/011: John Jr.’s Miscellaneous Wartime Handbooks; including Soldier’s Pay Book, Standard Tests of Elementary Training, Clothing and Equipment Statement, Dependents’ Allowance and Assigned Pay slip, 1942-1945? 2019.1038/012: Irene Nagy’s Hairdressing Manual, 1955? 2019.1038/013: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 1/8, 1940-1941. 2019.1038/014: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 2/8, 1942. 2019.1038/015: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 3/8, 1942-1944? 2019.1038/016: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 4/8, 1943. 2019.1038/017: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 5/8, 1943-1944. 2019.1038/018: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 6/8, 1944. 2019.1038/019: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 7/8, 1944-1945? 2019.1038/020: Letters from Johnny to Irene during WWII Part 8/8, 1945? 2019.1038/021: Miscellaneous Letters; Letter to Irene Frouws from Vera Reesor, 1945. 2019.1038/022: Letters from John to Irene, Carol, and Diane at Peace River, 1951. 2019.1038/023: War Diary Presented to John Jr. Frouws 1942-1945. 2019.1038/024: Oral history interview with Carol Darmody 2019. 1038/025: Agreements for Sale of Land, and Live Stock and Equipment, 1947.
Accession No.
20191038
Collection
Archive
Less detail

Oral History Interview - Carol Darmody

https://collections.galtmuseum.com/en/permalink/descriptions95995
Date Range
2019
Description Level
Item
Accession No.
20191038024
Physical Description
digital audio recording - 49 min
Scope and Content
Photographs 20191038002/001-20191038002/003, John and Irene Frouws won awards for their garden in 1947, 1948 and 1949, the photographs likely date back to this period. Absence of sidewalks is another giveaway – the sidewalks [in the neighbourhood] were not built until the 1950s. The photographs wer…
Date Range
2019
Description Level
Item
Creator
Frouws Family
Physical Description
digital audio recording - 49 min
History / Biographical
John Jr. Frouws and Irene Nagy both grew up in Southern Alberta. The Frouws family moved from the Netherlands in 1925 and eventually settled Lethbridge in 1928. The Nagy family moved from Hungary to Taber in 1905, and settled in Diamond City in 1908. John Jr. Frouws and Irene Nagy met in Lethbridge as teenagers and began a 70+ year love affair, with each other and their community. Irene Nagy worked as a hairdresser during the 1930s in Calgary, Lethbridge, Chicago, and Windsor. Meanwhile, John Jr. Frouws stayed in Lethbridge working in the Galt Gardens for the City of Lethbridge. Keeping in touch throughout this time, Irene and John reunited in Lethbridge just before WWII. John Jr. enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces and served in WWII from 1941-1945, while Irene stayed in Southern Alberta. Throughout their separation, the couple exchanged letters. While John was on military leave in 1943, they married, and he returned to England days later to receive demolition training. After the war, Irene and John Jr. Frouws were reunited and settled in Lethbridge, where John worked for the City of Lethbridge as a streetcar motorman and bus driver. In the same year, the Frouws’ purchased a new veteran’s home at 134 Dieppe Blvd in Parkdale, and started a family with two daughters, Carol and Diane. John Jr. retired from the City in 1977. Throughout their lives, John and Irene Frouws enjoyed tending their garden, which won multiple Lethbridge and District Horticultural Society awards through the 1950s. Dedicated to their family, their community, and to each other, John Jr. and Irene Frouws donated generously to local and overseas organizations.
Custodial History
Interview conducted on May 23, 2019 at the Galt Museum & Archives by Hannah Yuzwa, Galt Archives Assistant
Scope and Content
Photographs 20191038002/001-20191038002/003, John and Irene Frouws won awards for their garden in 1947, 1948 and 1949, the photographs likely date back to this period. Absence of sidewalks is another giveaway – the sidewalks [in the neighbourhood] were not built until the 1950s. The photographs were most probably done by a professional photographer. Photographs of Irene Nagy 20191038004/004-20191038004/005, were probably from the late 1930s at the time she took her course in hairdressing in Calgary (1938), similar to the photo John carried with him during the WWII service. Irene was four years older than John. John used to be a playmate of Irene’s younger brother, Mitch, and visited the Nagy house in Diamond City regularly. Irene probably didn’t pay much attention to him at the time, but years after they fell in love. The picture 2019.1038/004008, shows John and Irene camping in the coulees in what is now Alexander Wilderness Park; they often went for an outdoor picnic in the beginning of their relationship. Photograph 20191038004/010 shows John Jr. standing next to his prized car. It was taken just before he enlisted with the Canadian Armed Forces and went off to war. He loved his car and did not want to sell it, so instead loaned it to his older sister and her husband. They pair eventually sold the car before John returned home, without his consent or knowledge. Photograph 20191038004/011 shows John Jr. pushing a wheelbarrow, while he was working for the City of Lethbridge. John Jr.’s family had fallen on hard times. His father had died trying to save a young boy from drowning in the Old Man River, which required John Jr., the eldest son, to be taken out of school in Grade 11 in order to provide for the large Frouws family of seven children. He ended up getting a job, thanks to Bill Hope, with the City of Lethbridge Parks Department working in the Galt Gardens. This was the job that John Jr. found real happiness in, and fueled his passion for gardening and plants. Photograph 2019103800/4012 shows a young Irene riding to the Six Mile School with the Nagy family horse, Old Judy, in Diamond City. Photograph 20191038004/007 was the photo that Irene sent to John Jr. during the war, and it was the only photograph that he kept with him during his time overseas. Photograph 20191038004/006 shows the time that John met his youngest brother for a final goodbye before he went off to war. During his time at demolition training in Petawawa, ON, John got a brief leave and went to Peace River to see Irene. It was during this brief leave, around 1942-43, that John proposed to Irene and asked her to stay in Lethbridge for him. The photograph 20191038004/013 is of John Jr.’s father’s family in the Netherlands. John’s father came over to Canada alone, around the time the photo was taken in order to make a better life for himself, and settled in the Lethbridge area. He was a teenager at the time, and struggled during his first several years in Lethbridge. Eventually, he built a life and a family in Lethbridge, despite the hardships that they endured as John Jr. was growing up. The 20191038/005 photograph collection was taken around 1941, in England before the invasion of Normandy. John Jr. worked his way up the ranks to Staff Sergeant. Throughout this time of the war, his troops would go out drinking during their breaks; but because John did not drink, he stayed at their camp in Ontario and instead wrote the letters to Irene during these times. Photographs 20191038005/002 and 20191038005/003 shows the second group that John was stationed with. John and another soldier ended up missing the train and the boat that was supposed to take them overseas to their next station, and instead John and this Unknown Soldier stayed and received extra training with this second group of soldiers, shown in the photographs. It was during this second round of training that John got highly specialized training in defusing bombs and other electrical engineering work, and it was this group of soldiers that John Jr. went overseas with. The 20191038/006 collection of photographs shows the entire Frouws family tending and spending time in their garden. Everyone in the family enjoyed taking care of the flowers and the vegetables, especially during the summer months, where all the neighborhood children would come over to their home to shell peas and pick flowers. All the children in the neighborhood were born after WWII and came from military families, so they all grew up together and the neighborhood was a very close group that became similar to an extended family. The photograph 20191038007/003 shows the Nagy family in Diamond City. Irene’s older brother, Steve on the far right in the hat and suit, moved to Chicago around 1933. He became a taxi driver there who drove around the infamous Al Capone on a few occasions. Photographs 20191038007/004 and 2019.1038/007006 show Irene with John’s family at the time of their engagement. File 20191038/010 contains Irene’s hairdressing notebook from her class in Calgary in 1938. Irene loved her hairdresser profession and throughout her life, she styled and cut the hair of many of her friends and family. The “autograph” notebook in File 20191038/009 is signed by some of Irene’s friends who got their hair done by Irene in the 1930s. It was one of Irene greatest passions in life, along with her family and their garden.
Accession No.
20191038024
Collection
Archive
Less detail