From the moment I was confirmed for an author signing with McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, I excitedly anticipated my return to the city where I had happily lived for more than a decade and experienced many of the significant milestones of my life.
In September 1966 I arrived in this beautiful prairie city where the Assiniboine and mighty Red rivers converge at a site that has been a meeting place for hundreds of years. It was at this junction that the Aboriginal peoples gathered and were followed by European fur traders, Metis buffalo hunters, riverboat workers, railway pioneers, and tens of thousands of immigrants, including the Werner family in Arriving: 1909-1919. Today, The Forks, where I was hosted for an interview on City TV, is one of Winnipeg’s most attractive destinations.
After graduation from Registered Nurses’ Training, I was offered employment as a Community Health Nurse at the St. Boniface Public Health Unit. Over the subsequent 14 years, I graduated from the University of Manitoba and married my husband Jack, we constructed our first house, and I gave birth to our two children Ruben and Sara. We were content to make Winnipeg our home until we were invited to relocate to Alberta.
During our memorable time in Winnipeg, my family and I frequently travelled from St. Vital to Grant Park to browse the wonderful Children’s Section of McNally Robinson Booksellers. After invariably purchasing an extensive list of reading materials, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in their restaurant, which I think is very appropriately named Prairie Ink.
It is difficult to believe it was only last August that Jack and I had chosen to journey with our recreational vehicle to Winnipeg, where the Understanding Ursula team electronically finalized the cover of Arriving. Seven short months later, I was thrilled to be invited by the well-loved McNally Robinson to sign copies of my first novel.
Thank you to all my family and friends, old and new, and especially to the sprightly 103-year-old gentleman who has become my oldest reader, for making my homecoming everything and more than I could ever have imagined.