When I hit the Yukon in 1987, things were booming. In my first three weeks there, I was offered interviews on 15 different jobs. No one wanted to work way up north with 8 or 9 months of winter, no matter how good the pay.
I had just said ‘screw you’ to Edson, Alberta where I lost everything I had worked for and ever owned due to an accident in a Coal Mine I was working in so the North sounded pretty good to me.
I wanted the job that was the most interesting and with the highest pay. I had a lot to make up for…minus one home, one truck, one motor cycle, and everything else inside said house. gone…….
That meant focusing my attention on The Women’s Directorate which was offering the highest pay and sounded the most interesting. Women’s issues, what were they???
After the initial interview and subsequent job offer, and my acceptance, I asked my Director what had ‘cinched’ the job for me. There were a lot of applicants. She laughed and said they were curious why some woman who had been operating equipment in a coal mine would be looking for office work, and that once they had met me they liked my attitude and my smile. OK, whatever works, right?
I loved my job. It was a new department, in it’s embryo stages and I was fortunate to be a part of that time. It was exciting and different and something new to look forward to everyday.
One of my tasks outside of general admin was to liaise with the various Non Government Organizations, along with the various Women’s Transition Homes to get a feel for what their needs were and how we could help them. That meant going to a lot of meetings after hours. I spent a lot of time that first year doing a lot of volunteer work with the various groups and I met many strong, independent women. I’m talking about women who lived alone in small cabins out in the bush, heated by old wood stoves, hauling water from a near by creek or in Jerry cans from the nearest garage with a water tap.
Women that spent eight or nine months in cold winter conditions, bedding down beside their trusty dogs for warmth and companionship. I was in awe of these women and I couldn’t wait to get to know them.
The next year got real busy. My previous partner from Edson showed up and we applied for a land lottery through the Government that was going on at the time. We got lucky and ended up with 15.5 acres of bush for real cheap about 25 miles out-of-town. Pure homestead land…raw.
All of a sudden I was juggling work, a relationship, clearing land and building while still trying to form relationships with all the cool women I was meeting. Friends came out on weekends to help us burn and clear the land, to get ready for building.
Whitehorse at that time was a very Spiritual place. I had never been religious, other than wanting to stamp my feet and sing in the Church when I was young, but all of a sudden I was being inspired and invited to ‘events’. Things I had never even been aware of, and a bit scary at first.
There was a core group of us that participated in these events and we got together regularly to delve into the mysteries of life. We studied A Course of Miracles on Sundays, talked about the latest self-help books and knew all about ‘the Secret’ before it became the Secret. We took courses in massage therapy and practiced on each other once or twice a week at the local school gymnasium. It went hand in hand with what was going on at the Women’s Directorate. I was preparing for our first ‘Women’s Conference and we were busy trying to maintain a ‘well rounded’ experience. The Directorate’s mandate at that time was to raise awareness about Violence Against Women, but this conference was full of alternative experiences. There were workshops on relationships, crystals and stones, body work and massage, tarot card readings, hands on healing, single parenting, native american teachings, needs of the community as well as the more traditional philosophies. It was a wonderful gathering of women from all walks of life and one of the best conferences I’ve ever been involved in. Out of this conference the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues was born. One of the members of this group and I became very good friends and remain so to this day. She had recently married a Rasta from Barbados, West Indies and I was honored to have stood up for them at the simple ceremony they had in Whitehorse. I couldn’t wait to get an invitation to visit.
These years were fun and enlightening times and I continued to learn more and more about personal development and spiritual connection. My library grew and time flew by. Those days were very special times and bonds were made and continue on to this day, 20 years later.
Fast forward to 1992, my relationship is rocky and I’m feeling restless. My dear friend finally invites me to visit with her in Barbados for a month. I thought ‘why not’….I’ve never traveled. So, the arrangements were made and off I went to Bathsheba, Barbados, West Indies. A brand new adventure about to begin and a ‘voice from God or the Goddess’….that really freaked me out….Winter 1992….to be continued