Our instructor was originally from Saskatchewan. As he was around my age we got along quite well. I met the others in class and some stick out in my mind. James and Preston were from the James Bay area (a very isolated community) of Hudson’s Bay. Not used to the modern conveniences, and barely out of their teens, they couldn’t get enough food it seemed. Besides piling their plates in the buffet cafeteria they would go out to McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s every night for that fast food fix. It was hilarious and their enjoyment was fun to watch. Preston reminded me of my son as he was obsessed with sports and especially hockey. James, who is the only one who got a consistent 100%, told me a story, native legend that they used to believe. He said that Natives didn’t like their pictures being taken because they believed the camera stole their souls. But they both agreed to let me take their picture.
We learned how to ‘clean-up’ after a thermometer broke and my instructor said ‘Hey Mary, remember when we rolled the mercury around in our hands in Science class’. I did remember, although the young ones looked at us in disbelief. When it was my turn to decide the Sea Level for a plane landing my instructor said ‘And Mary just crashed a plane’ when I got it wrong. It was funny at the time but upon thinking I can safely say I don’t think Weather Observers are given enough money for that. The pay in Princeton was minimum wage.
Another two people were going to work up in Eureka, one going in as the other came out. There is an army base there. When I found out Sarah’s turn would be over Christmas I asked if she minded. She was a young, sweet girl, also from the west. She said ‘No, Eureka is only about 30 miles from the North Pole. Santa will find me first.’