A life as free as Beulah’s
Any girl named Beulah Remona is bound to lead as interesting a life as that name and perhaps that’s what Beulah Limber’s maternal grandmother intended when she insisted that her daughter’s tenth child be given that designation.
Beulah was born on the farm of “Township 43 Rangeline 16 west of the Second Meridian” in Saskatchewan to parents Agnes and Edward Thompson who were born in Minnesota, USA.
Her paternal grandparents had emigrated from Norway but, on hearing that they could buy a piece of land for a dollar in Saskatchewan, they came north. Beulah says that her maternal grandparents, who were Swedish, built a huge house on the farm so when her parents married they lived on a homestead on the property.
“Two of the 13 kids were born there, eventually mom inherited the farm,” said Beulah.
No electricity, no running water and lots of chores. “By the time we were 10 we had become capable of doing all kind of things - canning, running the tractor, milking, fixing what needed to be done, all the farm chores. This life experience teaches you to cope, to learn, we didn’t think it unusual to work - it was part of being a family.
“But we had lots of fun too. My parents didn’t believe in working Sundays, so we would go to the lake in summer and we celebrated all birthdays and anniversaries. All holidays were very special. We had lots of fun within the family.
“December meant no school all month. Instead we spent time in the auditorium learning to sing, decorating and making paper dresses, and we learned to put on concerts, dancing quadrilles, plays, skits, recitations, then the concert hall would fill up with people who came to see.
“My teacher always said that I was a big help, that I was very creative. I liked helping the kids in the younger grades.
“Being close together like that all month taught us how to get along together, it was good for everyone.”
That school was to eighth grade, so the following year Beulah took by correspondence. She moved to Arpsville to a two-room school for the higher grades that were taught by a husband and wife team.
“I learned Latin and that helped me with English.” She attended school in Saskatoon for a while but found the kids who were from professional families tended to look down on a farm girl, so in 1950 she enrolled in the Composite Lutheran College, a Bible school where she enjoyed tennis, javelin, shot put, ball and hockey.
Next was sewing and design school, but she suffered bleeding ulcers so severe that she needed blood transfusions from her brother. Her weight dropped to 87 pounds and it was thought she would die.
In an effort to save his daughter her dad scooped her out of the hospital and took her to the Mayo Clinic where she was fed through nose tubes. After a month of treatment she was transferred to a teaching clinic in Iowa for surgery to remove bowel for an Ileostomy. “I lost four years of life, I had to learn to walk again, and lost all muscle power,” she says.
With siblings living in Vancouver, on their encouragement, Beulah moved and found work as a trouble shooter for the Toronto Dominion Bank. It was there she was introduced to Ken Limber. After a three-year courtship they married in 1970 and moved to Montreal where Ken was employed as an engineer for seven years. With three children, and homesick for family, they moved to Washington State where Ken worked for Boeing on the Supersonic Transport.
When Congress turned that down thousands lost jobs and although Ken was kept on, months later he also lost his position and the family returned to Montreal.