That's Life September 15, 2010

Every once in a while I have reason to head downstairs to the newspaper morgue. That's where we keep the archives. You know, copies of all the old Capitals right back to 1918. The Capital started in 1916 but a couple of years slipped through our fingers. Those copies are on file at the Provincial Archives in Edmonton.
We thought it would be fun to introduce a new weekly column entitled "From the Archives."
It's not a new idea, it's a stolen idea. After all, the best ideas are stolen.
We'll feature news tidbits from the 1920's to present day. We'll publish something from each decade, each week. It's amazing what's taken place over the past 90 years.
We got talking about this the other day and I remembered an incident that took place about 15 or more years ago.
I received a letter from a lady in California. She said her grandfather had worked in the local coal mines. He had died at a young age in 1922 and she had heard that he could have been buried at the Three Hills Cemetery but she wasn't sure. She asked if we had any record of his death in The Capital.
I headed down to the morgue and researched the 1922 archives. Before long I discovered a paragraph announcing the death of her grandfather. He died in a Calgary hospital. Off I went to the Three Hills Cemetery with camera in hand. I checked the cemetery guide and their he was.
His tombstone had stood the test of time. It was large and clearly engraved. I knelt down and focussed my camera on the stone when I heard something to my right.
I looked up and there was a young man on an old bicycle with a large front basket. He had thick, curly hair sticking out from under his cap. He wore round, dark rimmed glasses and an old checkered shirt, like a jack shirt. I said "Hello", he just nodded and carried on. I turned back to the tombstone and shot two frames. I don't like people being behind me so I turned around to see where he was. He was gone. How could that be?
I was alone until he showed up. I checked my truck, nobody. I checked the storage shed with the jimmied door, nobody. I stood on a pile of back fill and looked out at the surrounding crops, nobody. I even raced back to the highway to hopefully see him peddling back to town, nobody.
When I arrived back at the office I was still shaking.
My dear friend Betty Kaiser came by to get a few photocopies done. I told her about my experience. I had to tell her. I had to tell somebody.
To this day I don't know what took place.
I mailed the photos and photocopies of the news clip to that lady in California. She was amazed that we were able to help her, the way we did.
It's just unfortunate that I didn't get a picture of that young man before he vanished. I've always wondered what her grandfather looked like because he too was a young man when he died. I had never seen that man before and I've never seen him since.
It's amazing what you can discover or uncover "From the Archives". That's Life.