Looking back with Rita Fortier

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In 1929, Leonida and Oswald Beauchamp along with their children Therese, Oswald, Henry, Raymond, John, Delores and Marcel arrived from Quebec via Pine Falls to settle in Flin Flon. Oswald got a job working at HBMS. Shortly thereafter, Paul was born and in 1933 Rita came along. As the youngest, Rita doesn't recall much of the family life with the older siblings as many of them were away at school or had left home. In 1937, tragedy struck the Beauchamp family when Marcel Beauchamp, aged nine, drowned in Phantom Lake along with Louis Joncas, aged 30 years. The canoe in which they and five other people were riding capsized for some unknown reason. John Beauchamp and his sister Delores (Dodie) managed to make it to shore. Two people in another boat, Les Gawley and Rutley (first name unknown), rescued Joseph Campagne, Berrengers Jervais and Rene Floch. Rita remembers going to Main School which was then known as "the little blue school" for grades 3 and 4. It was located where Ruth Betts School is today. Then, she went to Hapnot for grade 6. Dodie, Rita's older sister, was finished at Main School by the time Rita started school. The family home was on Hapnot Street and Rita recalls cutting through the Legion property to go to school. See 'Milt's' P.# Con't from P.# "I'd stop at Swick's (where the Central Meat and Grocery was, and now is Colour Your World) or go to Milt's for a treat," recalls Rita. "Dodie worked at the Salisbury House where the post office was (and is now the fire hall). The trains coming and going were a big deal in those days. I remember a circus coming to town and watching as the animals were unloaded off the train." "My brothers used to hunt squirrels where the Rotary Park is now," she said. "Later they built a skating rink there and we also had a huge ice slide made on the rocks. We would spend hours under the stairs on the rocks looking for 'treasures'. "We went to shows at either of the two theatres, Northland or the Rex, on Saturday afternoons and the shows would be a continuous series. "In those days, penny candy was a big deal. We'd often get three candies for one penny. "I remember the Club News and that Red Donaldson had Shamrock Meats and Doni Donaldson sold shoes. I also remember the May Jayne Shoppe, and the Singer Sewing Machine Shop. "Going to the Golden Gate was a big night out for our family. We would go there for Sunday suppers. "Also, the old community hall had lots of stairs," remembers Rita. The Beauchamp family often had meals with the Floch family in those days. "I went to Wauchope in southern Saskatchewan along with about 20 other kids to school in 1947-48, then on to Forget, Saskatchewan for two years and then I spent another year in school in Saskatoon. All were private Catholic schools. "I returned to Flin Flon in 1950 and worked at Burkett's Drug Store and then at the HBMS cafeteria along with June Bowes. "We went to dances at the Lobstick, just before I went into the military service. "I also curled with June Bowes and Genieve Hudon, who later became my bridesmaid. "In 1951 I joined the air force along with June Bowes. I was stationed at St. John, Quebec for basic training, then on to Aylmer, Ontario and took a course as a supply technician. Then I was transferred back to St. John, Quebec." Later, Rita received a transfer that was going to change her life, to Clinton, Ontario where she met the love of her life, Robert "Bob" Fortier. Rita got out of the forces in June of 1953 and married Bob in September. The couple came to Flin Flon to get married and Bob got to meet all of Rita's brothers! Rita laughs, "Bob thought he had come to the end of the world when he got off the train. He never had any brothers and all of a sudden he had five!" The couple made their home in Clinton, Ontario and were then transferred to Winnipeg for five years, then to Edmonton, and Vancouver Island. Bob retired from the military in 1973 and the couple came back to Flin Flon in 1974 because they both liked the area. Bob got a job at HBMS in the warehouse in 1974. He retired in 1993. Rita worked at the liquor store for 17.5 years, retiring in 1992. The Beauchamp family members have over 150 years of service at HBMS. Oswald, who was in the army, came back to HBMS and worked as a dinky driver. Henry was in the air force and came back for a short time and worked at HBMS, only to return to the service. See 'Members' P.# Con't from P.# Raymond, John (who was in the air force) and Paul all worked at HBMS. Raymond and John were very involved with the St. John's Ambulance. Therese, the eldest sister, married Leo Pelletier (who passed away) and then she married Tony Pelletier, no relation. They had six children, Leona, Gene, Marcel, Antoinette, Bob and Jean Claude. The family moved away in 1948 to live in St. Vital, Manitoba, later moving to Laurette where they ran a grocery store. Oswald married Mary and they had three boys, all raised in Flin Flon. Jerry (who works at Konuto) and Terry (who works for CBC) both still live here. Bob lives in Alberta. Henry married Marion and they had four sons and one daughter, Michael, Armand, David, Noel and Simone. Raymond married Victoria and they had five daughters and one son. They were squatters at Hook Lake for awhile. Their children were Leon, Yvanne, Georgette, Colette, Paula and Michelle. None of them live in Flin Flon. John married Mary Anderson and they had three boys and two girls, Maurice (works at HBMS) and Sharon (works at HBMS). Doreen, David and Robbie don't live here. Delores "Dodie" went to school in Ste. Rose, Manitoba with the Floch sisters. She married Ross Stewart and they had four boys and one daughter ? Jim, Frank, Gary, Harvey and Brenda. None live here. Paul married Carmel Trudeau and they had three sons and a daughter, Sylvan, Rene (works at HBMS), Mario and Louise. Rita married Bob Fortier and they have four children, Robert, Catherine, Karen and David (works at HBMS). Robert did get his boilermaker certificate at HBMS before moving on. See 'Volunteer' P.# Con't from P.# In 1992 the family had a reunion and there were 150 people there, now the number of members in the family have doubled. However, today, only Paul and Rita are left in the original Beauchamp family. Rita and Bob have 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Rita volunteers her time at the Manor, PCH, with Meals on Wheels, and she does lots of tagging and canvassing. She also loves to travel and has been to Spain, Florida (three times), Las Vegas (three times), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Great Britain, Russia, Arizona and Denver. Rita is very active in her church. As for Bob, you can usually find him at the Recycling Centre. Bob was probably one of the first people in Flin Flon to recycle. The people that he worked with at HBMS can tell you he was saving and sorting things long before it became the thing to do! Rita and Bob Fortier are very happy here in Flin Flon and have no plans on leaving. Thanks so much for the great story! I am certain many people will find it very interesting!

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