LETTER: Old woman had a surprising history

When I was 18 years old back in 1972 my first job was working with my Dad in the local building supply store.

I drove truck doing deliveries around town and one of my least favourite tasks was delivering Presto-Logs. They came in lots of 250 and it took some time to unload them in armloads of 6 and stack them in the clients woodshed.

One particular customer who relied on these fire-logs to heat her little cottage was an older lady named Ruth Radford.

She lived on Soule Road just off Sooke River Road and would often be seen walking between her home and the grocery store in Sooke with her shopping bags clutched firmly in both hands.

I didn’t know her story, but found her to be someone of few words and always cheery despite her very basic living conditions.

One day she came into the store and dropped off a sketch she had done. It was a drawing of someone, obviously me,during a hurricane, fighting a losing battle with an inundation of Presto-Logs! It was called The Nightmare!

I have always appreciated her kind gesture, as I knew that she was an artist, but more than that, I did not know.

The other day I retrieved the drawing from my suitcase full of pictures and decided to scan it and see if I could find out a bit more about Ruth Radford. It seems that she was born in 1896 and died in 1982 and she was a student of Emily Carr!

If you look at the sketch the influence is there to see. I wish in hindsight that I had taken the time to get to know her better, but to my loss, I was young and had other interests to pursue.

Clifford Welsh


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