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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Margaret (Jevne) Mullin
Date Posted: November 26/2009
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1910's to 2010's
I was born in that house, and my aunt Martha Hallgren was with my mother. And my grandma Kjos was the doctor of course, she helped everybody that had babies. And my Aunt Martha came in with me wrapped up in a blanket, and she sat down in front of the oven to dry me off, I was just born, and my dad comes in the house holding his arm. "Oh Thorvald, Thorvald, Thorvald", she says, "What did you do?" ‘I broke my arm’ he says, ‘the horse kicked me.’ She says "you know, I just about dropped Margie in the oven."
Margaret Lorraine Jevne was born at her parents’ home in the Wang district March 30, 1919, on S.W. 28-47-23-W4th. Her parents were Ida Dahms and Thorvald Jevne, son of T.R. Jevne who settled in the area in 1896. Ida and Thorvald had four children: Lillian, Mary, Margaret and Isabel. The church was always an important part of their lives, providing them with an opportunity to socialize, and a center for music and friendship. With 16 families having settled in the area by 1900, there was a need for a church. The Vang Lutheran Church was founded in 1899, with a solid basis in music and education. It was the first church built west of Winnipeg that had a bell. Margaret was taught music from a young age, opting to take violin lessons rather than piano as her sisters had done.
As the community expanded, so did the sense of camaraderie and closeness. Whenever there was a birthday or an anniversary, the whole community would get together to listen to music, play baseball, and eat ice cream. Baseball became an incredibly important part of the district’s friendly atmosphere, and teams would meet from all over the area to play each other. Some of the district’s families had upwards of 10 children. However, Margaret and her three sisters had no brother to help with the daily chores. Margaret’s father raised his own horses, and the four girls were responsible for milking 15 cows each day before school.
To bring in more money, Margaret’s father would have the girls pick noxious weed seeds that the summer fair would then purchase. Their mother also sold cream from the cattle, and their cream was so high in butter fat that they made extra money when it was sold. Her secret, she said, was to let the cream sour slightly. Another interesting opportunity arose when Ida read an ad asking for dried caragana seeds to be sent to Saskatchewan; it then became the girls’ duty to pick the seeds, dry them, and shell them so that they could be shipped.
Margaret went on to attend the Olds Home Economic School of Agriculture in 1936, and she learned many different types of cooking and sewing. In 1939 she married John Mullin and they had three children: Rodney, Wesley, and Michael. After her marriage Margaret and her family moved to another section of the family’s land across the road just a quarter mile east from her grandparents and parents land to N.E.21-47-23-W4th. Margaret’s grandfather’s land still remains in the family as her son Rodney now lives there.
"I’ll tell you one year, we had 7000 eggs and cages. And we sent them to Calgary for hatching eggs. Well my husband would go out there with the little tractor and pick all these things to put these eggs in, to gather them. But who had to clean them? Me! I went out after breakfast and having done my dishes, and was out there every morning washing and packing eggs. Then the price of eggs dropped to 35 cents a dozen. So by the end of that year the chickens went out, the Hutterites came and bought everything."
Margaret volunteered constantly, with many different organizations. She was president of the Vang Ladies Aid Group for 25 years and a member for over 60 years, knitting and organizing raffles to raise money for church maintenance. Margaret also canvassed for the Red Cross and received the Red Cross Certificate of Merit for Community Service.
In recent years, Margaret has been donating her memories and photographs to the Millet Museum, serving as a valuable historical resource for the area. Margaret remains a member of the Women of the Moose Lodge from which she received the Academy of Friendship degree, as well as a dedicated member of the Vang Lutheran Church. In 1989, Margaret’s Lake Bend Farm won the Family Farm Award. Despite the constant bustle of farm life, as well as an outstanding list of volunteer projects, Margaret also worked as a matron for the Wetaskiwin R.C.M.P for 13 years.
Today, at over 90 years of age, Margaret remains a vibrant and outstanding contributor to our community. In 2007 she contributed the written history of the Vang Lutheran Church to a Scandinavian book that was being published, and even now still lives on her very own farm, cooks for herself, and maintains a garden.
"I mean we never had holidays, we never knew what a holiday was. You had a garden to pick, and a lot of the time my mother would can a lot of chickens or stuff you know, and we’d help with that. We were always busy. I guess that’s what makes the world go around."
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Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3
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