Never a season changes, never an important event in my life occurs, that I do not think of Island Falls. Even writing the words Island Falls carries me back to that very special place. I so loved it there, and I love the memory of it still now. I guess I could say the memories of Island Falls still haunt me and always will.
There are times in the fall when the leaves are changing and I remember Divers Inlet. I used to sit by the rapids on the rocks watching the smooth water slide quickly over the dark green stones, then erupting into white rapids. The river narrowed there, and directly across from where I sat, yellow poplars grew among dark spruce with clumps of red shrubs. I was mesmerized by the beauty of it all. The scent of fall, the sounds of the river are as real to me today as it was then. Divers Inlet was a special private place and it always will be.
Winter-hard, cold, clean white snow and the sound of high heels squeaking on the snow packed paths as people went from house to house at Christmas. Christmas made the village into a fairy tale with every house lit up by outside lights in the trees. As a child, I was so proud of the very large tree on the baseball grounds because my Dad, Charlie VerWilghen, was in charge of the raising and decorating of the tree. Of course there was the wonderful excitement of the Christmas Concert at the Big Hall! On other winter days I walked in the sunrise. We had some beautiful mornings with everything covered in hoar frost that in turn reflected the path of the rising sun.
Spring was the time when the ice broke in long shards on the water and often the plane could not land for weeks, but it was exciting knowing summer was coming.
Summers were lovely. I was the first person to swim in the pool made for us. I was six years old! My world growing up was a peaceful, beautiful, friendly world. I was devastated when I had to leave with My Mother.
I will always love Island Falls. I will always feel so very lucky to have lived there. Island Falls will always be my true home....
Yvonne is the daughter of Charlie and Ada VerWilghen. She has lived in Toronto for the past 25 years.
[The following was submitted by Blair Costello, son of Yvonne's sister, Trudy]
"Yvonne was born in 1931. Her Mom, Ada, took a three day canoe trip to the hospital in Flin Flon to give birth, spending two nights along the way in trapper shacks, and returning to Island Falls again by canoe. Accompanying Ada on the trip was her brother, Bill Jonasson, and a fellow from Sandy Bay.
"The photo above was taken near A Dam around 1948, when Yvonne was 17 years old.
"Charlie died in Flin Flon in 1954 and Ada had to leave Island Falls, something that Yvonne has never really come to terms with.
"Yvonne and myself drove to Island Falls three or four years ago and spent a night at Jim Woods's cabins. We toured the plant and wandered about, but as you know, there isn't a lot left to see.... A highlight of our trip was going to Sandy Bay, where Yvonne visited with Leonard Ray, a friend from long ago. Then, we had lunch at Sandy Bay in a Chinese restaurant!!"