Presentation on wartime scrapbook with Peachland ties

A copy of She Made Them Family, a book by Anne Gafiuk about a scrapbook made by Alice Spackman.

A copy of She Made Them Family, a book by Anne Gafiuk about a scrapbook made by Alice Spackman.

Alice Spackman’s scrapbook, She Made Them Family, is coming full circle back to Peachland.

The grandmother of local historian Richard Smith made the scrapbook in Okotoks during the Second World War, mostly to record to stories surrounding the soldiers who travelled from England to Alberta for training.

But before she moved to Alberta, Spackman was a Peachland teacher in 1910, when local students had to learn out of a yellow school house. Once she moved to Okotoks, she met Richard’s grandfather, and three of their sons served in the war through every division – air force, navy and army – and that was the driving force behind her meticulous archiving.

It was more than just her children though getting featured in the scrapbook. Spackman would document everybody in her community that was training or serving overseas.

One of her accounts was mentioned last year on CBC radio during a Remembrance Day feature. A First Nations Canadian who was serving the country wrote home to his mom, saying how he was said he was sad to be missing the first snowfall of the year, and the nature that’s unique to canada. He was then killed shortly after that letter arrived.

“When they sent letters from overseas, she would put them on a page with an envelope attached with photos and all the clippings relating to them,” Richard said.

“Alice Hackman kept in touch with the families from Great Britain who sent their young ones over,” said Phyllis Papineau, who’s helping to organize the event. “She kept the letters and correspondence from letters who thanks them for helping them keep in touch with their youngsters in Canada.”

The scrapbook will be the subject of author Anne Gafiuk’s address at the Peachland Art Gallery on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.. Gafiuk is travelling from Calgary to share the presentation. Tickets are free, but there is a limit of 50.

Spackman’s daughter is Mary Smith (Richard’s mother), who has the Mary Smith Hall named after her in Peachland.

As a decedent of the scrapbook’s author, Richard, said Gafiuk did very well preserving his grandma’s work.

“Anne did a beautiful job – she’s good at what she does as a family historian.”

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