I was headed out the door last Monday night from the City Council meeting when I heard a voice from upstairs shout out ‘Mr. Glanville.’ I thought I’d forgot something but Councilor Rob Goffinet just wanted to introduce himself and ask me a quick question. He wondered if I had any relatives in the Grand Forks area. It turns out my Grandma Alice was Ron’s Grade 5 teacher. When I told him of the connection he said ‘I could tell by looking at you, you were a Glanville.’
One of the luxuries of having a rare last name like Glanville instead of Smith or Jones is people hear the name so seldom that they feel compelled to ask me if I’m related to so and so. I considered how Grand Forks and Kitimat, the two most opposite corners of the province, and then me from Williams Lake, probably smack dab in the center of the two aforementioned communities, somehow have a connection. I had a similar encounter at the golf course when I met a Kitimat resident at the poker table named Derek Downing. When he heard I was from Williams Lake, he asked if I knew John and Linda Dube. Sure enough they looked after my brother and I every day from ages 2-5. Turns out Derek and the Dube family both hail from the same small town in Newfoundland and they all moved to Kitimat back in the seventies.
Getting back to my Grandma Alice, her legend seems to grow every passing year. She is currently is in her 90’s and just last summer she finally left Grand Forks for a seniors home in Salmon Arm to be closer to family. My Grandmother has served as head of the BC Historical Society, a marriage commissioner, wrote over a dozen books and was mayor of Grand Forks for multiple terms. She has done everything from have a library named after her to preside over a Hells Angels wedding.
Usually once a year I run into somebody who knows Alice. A few years back I was filling up for gas in Monte Lake, a little spot between Kamloops and Vernon, when the attendant, I’d say a man in his late 50’s asked if I had family in Grand Forks. I told him Alice was my Grandma and he said she was his teacher and he had that same sort of nostalgic smile on his face as Mr. Goffinet did. Our Kootenay connection may have brought the councilor back to the halcyon days of his youth growing up by the Kettle River in Doukhobor country recalling a former teacher who left a positive impression on him. At least I’d assume Rob enjoyed his time in the school system, as I’ve been told he was a teacher himself here in Kitimat before joining council. After recently completing my teaching degree I too will enter the teaching ranks this fall. I hope when I’m old in my rocking chair that when students think of me I can put a smile on their face just like my Grandma.