Ann Elmore Haig-Brown. 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of
both Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown. To celebrate this Centenary year, the
Courier Islander, in partnership with the Museum at Campbell River, is
publishing a series of personal accounts of Ann Elmore Haig-Brown submitted
by members of the community. These articles aim to raise awareness of Ann's
contributions to Campbell River, leading up to her birthday on May 3rd, Ann
Elmore Haig-Brown Day.
The first memory has been submitted by Diana Hudson Kretz of Hudson's Farm.
The province of B.C. has issued a proclamation acknowledging that 2008 is
The Haig-Brown Centenary. Both Rod and Ann Haig-Brown were born one hundred
years ago. Through the newspaper and our museum, we wish to celebrate Ann
Elmore Haig-Brown's many and varied contributions to our community.. We felt
that our citizens would have an interest in Ann being the wife of a well
known conservationist and author.
I volunteered to start the memories because the Haig-Browns were family
friends. I grew up with their children Valerie, Mary, Alan and Celia. My
memories of Ann, and these are from childhood thoughts, are that she was
constantly busy. Ann's rule for visiting children while Roddy was writing
was there were certain areas not to play and not to distract Rod.
Each day Ann was active. She annually planted and weeded and watered a huge
vegetable garden that fed the family. She milked and cared for the cow in
their barn and field across the road. Ann typed all of Rod's handwritten
work which meant she spent hours in the evenings on the typewriter. When I
stayed overnight in their daughters bedroom one could hear the ding of the
typewriter as it completed each line. There were always people visiting
either wanting her advice or Rod's. She made sure that he was not
interrupted in his work and would tell them when to return.
I remember different women quietly weeding the rose garden and other flower
beds that were either side of their huge lawn. I never knew until I was
older that these women were given a shelter by Ann and Rod when a serious
domestic problem had arisen. In return, to give them something to do the
gardening gave privacy and was a good mental escape from personal fear and
thoughts. From this history the Ann Elmore House came into being.
Ann was amazing in her abilities to cook and bake. She always made birthday
cakes for her children and homemade ice-cream in metal ice trays in the
refrigerator. I marveled at this because we did not have a refrigerator.
Special occasion cakes were baked in a metal lamb form which she decorated
beautifully with fluffy icing.
She was very well read and had a photographic memory. She read the New
Yorker pages in a flash, the speed amazed me as a child. The family had many
books and magazines of educational value that were read and then shared with
other families. She also helped children with specific learning problems.
Her kitchen was a place of learning and I remember having grammar lessons
Years later when her family had grown she taught in the library at Carihi.
One respected her energy, outspokenness, and her caring for the growth of
our then village that had anything to do with people, and the natural
environment around us. Valerie's comment years later, "When you think of my
mother, plant a tree."