Flash Back Fridays

ANNE RUETER and JOHN GREGG 1971

John Gregg

Anne & John left Portland on October 25th, 1971, and made their way to Ralph River campsite in Strathcona Park. The driveway to their campsite had a hump in the middle as well as a ditch on both sides. Anne had backed up the car and it slipped into the ditch causing the car to get hung up in the middle. Along came Jim Boulding and a bus full of teachers on a field trip. He offered to drive while the others pushed, but Anne wanted to continue driving so Jim helped push.  Jim asked what they were doing, and found out that they were on holiday. They were not too comfortable camping at that time of year because all they had was Anne’s uncle’s World War II canvas lean-to. Not only was it cold, there was no privacy. Jim suggested they come back to the Lodge where they could have a hot bath. He later talked them into staying, saying that John, who had attended Yale and spent a year in the Amazon working on a US AID project, could help winterize the buildings. He suggested that Anne, who had graduated from the University of Oregon in Portland, and had been a teacher and a stewardess, tended bar and managed a pizza parlor, would be a natural in our dining room.

That year Upper Campbell Lake froze all the way across. This has happened only twice in all the years I have been here. My dad took a power saw, walked across the lake and cut off the tops of any trees that were caught in the ice. There was an unusual snowfall as well. Anne said that they measured 21-22 feet of packed snow. She remembers because she and John and Pam and Roland Locke, who also spent that winter at the Lodge, had to take turns digging out the driveway as far as the septic field south of the Lodge so that the septic truck could get in to pump the tank.

Winter at Strathcona Park Lodge

Anne and John stayed for a year at the Lodge. John became an excellent outdoor instructor. They left in November 1972 and moved to Quadra Island where Anne worked for the Courier/Upper Island newspaper in Campbell River. The next month, on December 20th, they got married at a surprise wedding (at least for Anne). Jim and I were invited. It was at the manse (the preacher’s house) on the Native reserve on Quadra Island. John got Anne to the manse on the pretext that they had to go there to pick up some books, which they had done many times before. Anne was dressed in wide bellbottoms and a sports jacket. The next week a notice was printed on the front page of the newspaper which asked: “What would you have done Gregg if she had said no?”