Marianna and Theresa are Bessie Lashin‘s daughters. One of their earliest memories is witnessing a flood in Richmond in 1948.
Bruce MacDonald: You’re saying you remember 1948?
Marianna: I remember in 1948 when the Fraser River flooded in Richmond and they sent big green vans with big speakers on top asking people to come forward to fill sacks of sand. If they had to bring sacks of any kind to come and ask them for help. I was terrified as a child; the thought of something coming and flooding and taking away my home was scary, very frightening as a child.
B. M.: That’s where all the farms were of course, and they all got flooded.
Marianna: The delta… the water just came in. I guess there was pictures in the paper. They talked about it on the radio all the time… the speakers coming up and down the road. It was not a nice time.
Teresa: This house was always very fascinating. I remember going up the street—I went up to the park every single day, numerous times per day, maybe all day.
B. M.: Grandview Park.
Teresa: I remember it was a very warm day, because I wasn’t wearing much—just a little kid, maybe elementary school. It always seemed like a really grand house there; the window was open, and you could see a grand piano in the window. An elegant-looking gentleman in the window turned the chair around, he straddled the chair, and put his hands on top of the chair looking out the window with the grand piano off to the side. It seemed very contemplative, even at that time. I just remember that picture in my mind. Soon after that, the house was torn down. They didn’t believe in saving different items from it; I remember the front lawn being torn off, and the banister being exposed and everything was gone. An apartment was put up in its place.
B. M.: Still there. Cotton and William.
Teresa: Yeah it was very quite unique. It was a very much a contrast: that home on the side—how large it was, and grand—and all the little houses down around this side that were really smooshed close together and everybody sitting on their front stairs in their—they’d call them “wife beater t-shirts”, trying to keep cool.
B. M.: Working class.
Teresa: And everything. And that house used to seem so elegant. It was very nice.
B. M.: So talking about the newel post in that house. This house… I’ve never seen one quite so ornate in this neighbourhood.
Teresa: You know more about the house… Who built it? Was it a boxer or a wrestler…?
B. M.: Jimmy McLarnin.
Teresa: Pardon me?
B. M.: Jimmy McLarnin?
Teresa: I don’t know the name.
B. M.: A very famous boxer in the 1930s. And he lived right about here. Doesn’t ring a bell?
Marianna: At our 50th they had the 100th here. Time passes by…
B. M.: They’re counting from 1909?
Marianna: Was it 1909?
B. M.: It really started in 1908, but they opened at Admiral Seymour, so it doesn’t really count. They built the first part of the school in 1910.
Teresa: I think the brick part that you see is 1909; it says above one of the doors. But I always thought it was 1911.
B. M.: That’s what it says above the main part, but the north wing was built in 1909/10. And the center and the south were build in 1911, that’s why it says 1911. But it is the oldest high school in Vancouver.
Teresa: It is? Wow.
B. M.: Oldest high school building. Let’s just take a look at it.
Teresa: Older than King Ed?
B. M.: Yeah, it’s older than all of them. Well, King Ed was torn down. There you go: Britannia High School.
Editing and subtitles by Jade McGregor