Dorene (Dalziel) Packford, VHS class of '46 (with Fred Packford, VHS class of '49)
Interviewed by Maggie Wright
VHS class of 2012
VHS class of 2012
Dorene (Dalziel) Packford was a Victoria High School graduate of 1946. She married fellow Vic High student Fred Packord, who graduated in 1949. Being four years older than Fred, the two did not know each other during their high school years. Fred was a Vic High student in the Shop program who later returned as a Shop and Social Studies teacher at Vic high. Dorene's family had lived in the Fernwood area for many years; her mother had graduated from Vic High in 1920, and her children all went to Vic high as well. Fernwood and Vic high became a big part of Dorene's life. Here are some of her stories.
Family in Fernwood.
Dorene: My dad was born in 1893 in Victoria. My grandmother supposedly had a house on this (Vic high) property and the house was moved over--you know that little store on--I think it became a lawyers office...it was a little store when I was in school--just down the street.(Camosun Street today - ed.) That was where my grandmother lived and it was moved over there when they started building this (Vic High) property. My dad also lived--there’s two brick houses on Gladstone out back of those old shop. He lived in one of those houses. I had an aunt on Fernwood road. It was an area that a lot of my family lived in when I was young.
An Average Date
Dorene: We always went to the Crystal Gardens for the dance on Saturday night, or to McMorran's. The Crystal was really the center of common activity in the city. If you wanted to be fancy you went to the Empress and went to the supper dance. The pool was in the bottom and then there was a dance floor and you sat on balconies around the pool.
Fred: There was a Friday night dance, what we would call a popular dance. Upstairs was a dance and downstairs was an old time dance. Where the Spaghetti Factory is now is where the dance hall was where they square danced and did all the old dancing. We could go swimming, as apprentices we would generally go swimming Friday night and then gather the girls and go dancing Saturday night.
Fred: For 10 dollars you could go out. It was $2.50 for a couple to get into the dance at the Crystal. It was $2.50 for a small whiskey and it was a dollar and a quarter for a mixer and glasses and that left enough to go to China town and get something to eat afterwards. For ten bucks you had an evening of activities. Ten dollars at that time was about two days wages. It's all relative.
Fred and Dorene’s first date.
Dorene: It was a blind date. His girlfriend was on holiday and one of my girlfriend's set it up and we were going sailing. Before I went on my holiday the following year I had a ring on my finger.
Fred and Dorene today
Fred and Dorene founded the Vic high Alumni Association. After being a teacher at Vic High for over 20 years, Fred saw the alumni association and decided that a school with as much history as ours deserved one too. Through their actions thousands of dollars of scholarships have been given to Vic High students, and many events have been organized. I know Dorene hand wrote all the names for the graduation folder; mine included.
My experience with Fred and Dorene
I found my short interview with Fred and Dorene amazing. It was incredible to learn about life back when they were my age. Hearing the stories of two students at the school I love so much, and hearing how much it meant to them was heartwarming. When Fred said coming back to Vic high as a teacher was like coming home it really resonated with me. As a graduating student it was great to know how you can stay connected. Hearing about daily life, and how it has changed made me think about my future, and the future of Victoria. I hope in fifty years when Victoria is celebrating it’s 200th birthday I can share my experiences like Fred and Dorene shared theirs. Since my interview I have felt more connected with my school and my city. This is an experience that I am grateful for having. I would like to thank Fred and Dorene so much for letting me view Victoria through their eyes.
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