A stork (so I was told) brought me to my grand-parents house in Rimbach i/O Germany, on March 15, 1931. In 1933 when I was two years old we moved to Weinheim an der Bergstrasse. There I went to school and I still wonder today how we managed to learn anything. Most of the time we were sitting in the basement because of air-raids. In 1945 when the war was still going on, I started my apprenticeship as an industrial electrician. I had a few hair-raising moments during the war including the time when we found an unexploded bomb. Foolishly we put the darn thing on four heavy branches and made a fire under it. The height of stupidity was that we danced around it singing African war songs. I suppose my time wasn't up otherwise I wouldn't be writing this.
In 1951 I decided to seek greener pastures in Canada. We arrived in Halifax in November and took the train to Winnipeg. During that train ride we got a glimmer of the vastness of the country. We had only summer clothing and were very cold; therefore our first purchases were heavy underwear and a Russian fur hat. Luckily we didn't have to stay in Winnipeg very long because we got a job in a logging camp west of Calgary. We worked there for six weeks before we got fired. Altogether we had four jobs in Alberta. In the summer of 1951 we decided to follow that old saying: go West young man. We had several jobs in Vancouver before I split up with my partner and headed for Alta Lake. A sawmill needed men and I helped them out. They shut down for the winter and when I returned to Vancouver, a sawmill in Youbou, Vancouver Island was looking for workers and they accepted my application.
And this is how I found myself on Vancouver Island one of the nicest places on the Planet. I started out as a labourer, became a fireman in the powerhouse and finally I could work as an electrician again. In 1957 the girls in the hen-house, as it was called, put on a birthday party for me and invited some of their friends. Among them was a cute redhead; it was love at first sight and eight weeks later we were married. Things happened so fast that I forgot to tell my parents. I wrote a letter but didn't know how to approach the subject, at the very end I wrote "By the way I got married too in the meantime." This didn't sit very well with my Mother; my Dad told me that she cried for a couple of weeks. We decided to have our honeymoon in Germany in order to introduce my lovely wife and see my family. It was a lot of fun visiting my parents and relatives. Some had vineyards and wine cellars and it was very enjoyable to sample their produce. After Carol learned a bit of German we visited other parts of Germany too.
Back home again I found a new job in Honeymoon Bay and I worked there till the mill shut down in 1981. In the meantime we bought some lakefront property and built a small cabin. Later on I saw some acreage for sale, Carol and I went over it and decided to buy it. This land became our home-stead, we cleared the land, built a small sawmill and raised three children there. We also raised rabbits, chickens, geese and ducks. We had some funny moments with our animals. Nadine, our oldest daughter was learning to play the tuba in school and brought the instrument home occasionally. We had free ranging chickens at the time and she would play for them near the chicken house. The chickens would stand around her in a circle and listened with full attention.
In 1981 the mill shut down and the company arranged for a welding course for any employee that wanted to participate. I did and found that I really enjoyed welding. This allowed me to build all kinds of machines, some of which can be seen in the picture section of this book. I included the recipe for OSM organic soil microbes in this edition.
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- Werner Rettig, February 2010
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