THE ANDERSONS OF MA-ME-O BEACH

 Ma-Me-O Beach was one of the first villages to form along the Pigeon Lake's shoreline.  Land obtained from the Pigeon Lake Indian Reserve at the south end of the lake in 1924 was developed into the summer Village of Ma-Me-O Beach, taking its name from the Cree word for ‘white pigeon’.
 Over the next few decades, Ma-Me-O grew as buyers, builders, and businesses settled in the Village, it became a comfortable-size community, some permanent residents, but most, seasonal.  A village of a few businesses and a population of a couple hundred people became a closely connected community with mutual concerns and cares for their village.
 Sometimes there are certain people who stand out for their contributions, through their work, giving of time and community involvement. There will be those of Ma-Me-O Beach and area who remember Ulan and Vada Anderson and their son, Jordy, and daughter, Tym, the two youngest of six children.  In the years that the Andersons spent as residents of Ma-Me-O Beach, from 1952 to 1967, their contributions to the village were as diverse as they were many.
 Ulan Anderson was the Village of Ma-Me-O Beach cop, policing the Village for roughly ten years.  Vada tended to her two children, Jordy and Tym, in the home, but was always making or creating items to sell for extra money, Jordy says - painting, sewing, baking, he remembers, and many other activities.
Vada Anderson was a creative and talented artist and sold many of her paintings.  "For example," says Jordy, "I was just little when the big oil fire happened just outside Ma-Me-O Beach," remembers Jordy, referring to the Ma-Me-O oilwell fire in October of 1954 (www.archivesalberta.org).  "My Dad was there, and I remember my Mom and I driving to the site, we saw the fire.  Later, my mother painted many paintings of the Ma-Me-O oilwell fire, and sold every one."
 The 1950s was the decade that brought us colour television, power steering, polio-vaccine, snowmobiles and launched the Baby Boomer generation.  The '50s were a great era, a time of economic growth and building across the country, from the expanding metropolis centres of the country right to the small rural villages of the nation. 
 Opening his own construction business, Ulan "worked in most of the cabins in Ma-Me-O at the time," said Jordy, going on to explain the many projects he built or created for the Village in addition to individual residents.  Ulan, his father, built the first walk/drive out pier in 1964, and built Ma-Me-O's first wishing well, situated at the entrance to the main beach area.  The 'Welcome to Ma-Me-O Beach' sign was painted by Mrs. Anderson.
 "I remember when there were no refrigerators so the local stores held ice houses - my Dad and other men would take big saws out on the lake and cut out big ice blocks to haul up to the stores and send down a chute to the cold room,” he chuckled at the memory. "He built a lot of the retaining walls along the beach and did a lot of work to stop the erosion of sand," said Jordy, returning to the reportoire of different jobs his father performed.  Mr. Anderson was known as a precision cabinet maker, and built many cupboards and counters for cabin owners.
 The community felt the loss when, in 1967, the Andersons moved to Calgary to continue their construction business.  Many good friendships had evolved over the 15 years of being part of a village that is much like a big family, "it was hard for them to leave, too," said Jordy.
 Ulan and Vada Anderson are both gone now, but the couple's diverse and many contributions to the growing Village of Ma-Me-O Beach in the '50s and '60s are still remembered as a testament and memorial to their indelible community spirit.
 

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