Celebrating 70 Years…

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Platinum has been used to depict a union of 70 years. Reason, platinum is one of the strongest and most enduring metals in the world. Able to endure time and often times, lends support when needed.

Applying that comparison to our parent’s marriage seems fitting. Charles and Hazel were introduced at a very young age. This was due to young Hazel in the accompaniment of her Mother, would travel from Kenora to visit Hazel’s her sister on Oak Island. A few years had to past with periodical visits to Oak and Hazel completing school before they committed to one another.

On their wedding day, they flew in from Flag Island on a bush plane piloted by “Rudy Billberg”.   The plane was so small it could only accompany the both of them as passengers. Mr. Billberg had to fly back to Flag to retrieve George and Eleanor McKeever as they were selected to witness the marriage.

Their days in the summer were spent running a the small resort, hosting summer fishermen. The winter required putting up ice and staying warm. They were not alone with selected daily life, their neighbors lived a similar lifestyle.

Over the next seventeen years, they built a family and nurtured Flag Island from a small fishing camp, to a full scale business. It seemed like every other year father was building a cabin. And in the mid-60’s the “Blue-Eyed Chief” was built. A building which would offer a service to the now larger commercial groups visiting Flag Island. It was managed by Charles father Joe. This addition to their business ended up attaining many memorable experiences for a number of generations. Those walls were host to large scale business meeting to “The fourth of July picnics and the most noted “Flag Island Frolics”.

In the 60’s Charles built a winter home in Warroad on West Lake St. The small school on Flag Island would only accommodate children to the eighth grade. So earlier plans were laid to have the home finished by the time the eldest child needed to further her education. As the others were not far behind.

Charles and Hazel also were a members of the Warroad Chamber of Commerce. And during their off season liked to participate in various events the Chamber hosted. Here is a photo of them making coleslaw in a minnow tank for the event. I sure father had additional plans for the tank at a later date. I’m fifty percent sure, it was brand new for the event.

These two wonderful people worked at their beloved Flag Island for nearly 5 decades before considering what the latter part of their lives might have to offer.

Never visiting the idea of leaving their home on Flag Island completely; they built a small seasonal cabin facing the west. Which allowed those beautiful sunsets to penetrate their summer home nightly.

The challenges of their life choice were at some- times daunting to most. Their accomplishments were displayed on their sleeves. They persevered through a life that is not available to all, but most dream about.

Today, they are surrounded by family and friends. Currently, the Warroad Senior Living Centre is home. Days are spent enjoying a cup of coffee, keeping up with the latest events and if the summer weather provides, enjoying the outdoor gardens.

Click here to see their story on WDAZ.

Article credit: Kathy (McKeever) Nash

Photos courtesy of: Annie O’Donnell & Kathy Nash

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