Every so often in our work with history and heritage, we come to a personal example that causes us to pause for a moment to think of our time in this business.
A recent promotion for an upcoming Sapperton people cemetery tour we are presenting is just such an example. Comments on this tour noted that the first tour of this type that Archie was involved with was on this theme, and that was about 40 years ago.
Forty years is a long time, and it is fascinating to think back to those times, and the tour, and note how much has changed.
That tour was put together to tell the story of Sapperton as part of a project for a history class at Douglas College, which at that time was where today's Justice Institute is located on McBride Boulevard in New Westminster.
The tour had two sections: one was the actual Fraser Cemetery tour to introduce the people chosen to tell the story, and the second was a slide program that included images of the grave markers along with many photos of sites in Sapperton that were connected to the individuals or to the community's history. The fact that the images in this program are now also 40 years old is in itself important as they show some scenes and items no longer in existence.
Part of the process to determine who to feature and what to look at entailed talking with some old time Sapperton people.
The list included Archie's father along with others who knew the local man with the helicopter, the old Sapperton policeman, the early McBride School connections, the early McBride estate information, stories of the boarding house, the early stores, cafÃ©s and churches, as well as cemetery landscape changes and so on.
All of these wonderful sources are now gone, but their stories and, in some instances, photographs do live on in this and other presentations.
One particular image of the cemetery of that tour stands out, and that is a photo of the grave of Arthur Thomas Bushby. Forty years ago, the marker on the grave was cracked, flaking and badly broken.
The marker was soft stone and had finally started to succumb to the elements. The photo in the program is, as far as is known at this time, the only such image - now very much an archival image of historical value.
With this one simple program we have been able to note many changes over the years in the Sapperton community, with the people who live there, with the buildings and businesses, and within Fraser Cemetery itself.
The program is 40 years old, eons ago, or as some will say, "only 40 years ago." It is important to learn about our past and to treasure it. The upcoming tour is Sunday, Aug. 14, at 3 p.m. at Fraser Cemetery.