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Topic: The Women of Aspenland
Article: Winnifred (Brunner) Peterson
Date Posted: October 15/2012
Main District: Wetaskiwin
Decades: 1910's to 1990's

Winnifred was born March 22, 1910, on a farm in the Lewisville district, south east of Wetaskiwin. Her parents, George and Mary Brunner, were of German heritage and moved west from Ontario. Her siblings were Velma Rosina, Georgia Mary, Jacob George, August Edwin and Lucy Jean May (all deceased).

Winnifred grew up on a homestead without electricity, central heating, indoor plumbing, refrigeration, telephone or car. The nearest doctor was fifteen miles away in Ferintosh and the nearest hospital was twenty miles away in Wetaskiwin. Transportation was with horse and wagon or sleigh. Supplies were bought from travelling salesmen or ordered from the Eaton's catalogue. To get their mail a family member would walk approximately two miles to the post office in Lewisville until rural delivery was established, around 1915. The family was largely self-sufficient.

She attended Rosebriar School until grade eight and Ferintosh School until the completion of grade ten. Prior to her marriage she worked as a homemaker and caregiver for families with new babies. Winnifred married Edward Peterson on June 15, 1932 and has resided in Wetaskiwin since. They had three children, Rita Jean, Gwendolyn Alma and Arthur Eric. Along with her wifely and motherly duties, Winnifred was a seamstress. Winnifred and her husband moved into Grandpa Peterson's home in 1941. She began taking in boarders in their home around 1951. In 1962, they moved into a new house and converted the old house strictly into a boarding house.

This lasted for about four years and then in 1966 they moved back into the old house on 5218 - 51 Ave. In 1969, Winnifred worked as a clerk for the local Credit Union. She cared for her parents as well as her husband's during their declining years.

During her married life she attended spring sessions for seniors at the University of Alberta for fourteen years specializing in creative writing. In addition to taking creative writing classes, locally, she took art lessons from Professor Wolfarth.

Her daily routine was centered on the care and nurturing of her family. In summer her attention was on gardening, preserving (especially picking and preserving berries) and holidays at Ma-Me-O Beach and Pigeon Lake. Sundays meant a trip to Grandpa and Grandma Brunner's farm. This visit usually included chicken dinner with the finest linen, dishes and cutlery. Included sometimes was a trip to Red Deer Lake, from the farm, for a swim and picnic. Pop and ice cream were available there for purchase. She enjoyed early morning hours and after having completed routine tasks she took an afternoon nap. Before supper she would usually work on some handiwork. She always "dressed up" to go "uptown" but immediately changed her clothes upon returning or prior to preparing the meal. Yet she always donned an apron.

She always managed to have surprise homemade gifts for the family at Christmas. It was never understood how she could keep so many secrets. Visitors were frequent in her home and they usually stayed for dinner. Winnifred's door was always open to family and friends.

Winnifred was a member of many community organizations. She belonged to the ladies "PT" classes in the 1940's and the local bridge club. She became a "life time member" of "The Women of Moose Lodge" during which she held the positions of Senior Reagent for one year and Recorder for approximately 20 years. She belonged to the Co-op Guild and held the positions of president, secretary and treasurer. Additional organizations she belonged to were the Canadian Cooperative Federation and NDP, Womens' Institute (Malmo), Home and School Association, Twilighters, Choralaires, and Moose Choir, Senior Drop - in Centre (was on the original committee that started this), secretary for the Horticultural Society and the Volunteer Visitor Association.

Winnifred was a good sport, always wanting to do something adventurous. She loved to have fun. In her later years, she went canoeing with a group of seniors, and also took an adventurous holiday in Spain. Unfortunately, during the canoeing trip she fell into the water and was hospitalized for a short time and during her excursion to Spain managed to break her arm. Her family never knew what to expect!

However, these mishaps did not deter Winnifred from enjoying her life. Her love of life has been and still is expressed in many ways with her devotion to her family, her hospitality, her kindness and compassion for those less fortunate, her courage in adversity, her determination and her sense of humor and adventure.

Her hobbies include cooking, travelling, gardening, handicrafts, sewing, singing and writing. She discovered her interest in creative writing while attending the University of Alberta's Spring Session for seniors. This reflected her belief in further education. Her writings reflect her life experiences and many travels to various parts of the world.

Several of her stories and poems have received awards. She has had writings published in newspapers including Grainews, Western Producer, Edmonton Journal, and The Wetaskiwin Times.

Information compiled in 2001.


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Blaine Kjorlien
Board Member - Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum
Webmaster - Wetaskiwin Online


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5007 - 50 Avenue
Wetaskiwin, Alberta T9A 0S3


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