When Ernie and I were married in 1960, we received The Western Producer for free because Ernie shipped grain to the pool.
We already received the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, but I hadn’t seen a weekly paper since growing up on the farm where my family received the Free Press Prairie Farmer.
Anyway, here we were with the WP arriving in our home each week, and I liked it. It was an arrangement that became more comfortable with the passing of years, so when we had to pay for it, we bought it.
I think it began costing $5 for two years. Then it went gradually up and up until it was as now, 53 years later, about $90 per year including taxes.
One of the big features in the WP for me was Emmie Oddie’s I’d Like to Know page. Here were recipes submitted by prairie people that Emmie tested in her own kitchen. Here were household hints, letters from readers with requests for information and hints of their own.
In the pre-television days, this was the where-to-go page for canning, sewing, gardening, care of house plants and more.
Emmie was powerful and amazing in the life of prairie folk. She always started her page with a chatty essay about how her week went with those personal glimpses into the lives of her husband and children, Langford, Bill, Rosemary, and later, grandchildren. How eagerly I read her page. It is sadly ironic but perhaps fitting that the WP would celebrate 90 years of publication at the same time that Emmie would pass into eternity three years short of 100.
Emmie encouraged people to push on and have dreams and goals. She cited people like Nellie McClung, Violet McNaughton and others as role models. The women’s movement was important. To improve the role of women was to improve the role of human kind.
There are many other appealing features in the WP. Ernie always enjoyed the classifieds and had a special interest in stationary engines and all retired machinery that might be parked in the trees in some remote part of a farm site.
Western People was popular in our house with the bird watcher page and the pictures and biographies of talented and interesting people.
These are some of the ways that the WP has worked its way into our lives over 50 plus years.
In 2012 at the Saskatoon Exhibition, we stopped at The Western Producer booth.
The person in charge said, “have you ever thought of subscribing to The Western Producer?”
We said, “we have had a subscription for 52 years.”
“That’s a long time,” was the reply.
We agreed and said, “and I don’t suppose we’ll be cancelling anytime soon. You see, the old Western Producer just might be the glue that’s holding this very satisfactory marriage together.”