Every Saturday for two years, 1976 and 1977, I forced myself to awake at 4:00 am, eat a breakfast of oven-heated overnight porridge, and then father or mother would drive me from just south of Duncan to downtown Nanaimo for the six-o’clock CP Rail ferry, the MV Princess of Vancouver, arriving at the looming black steel arch dock and ramp, situated several blocks west of the former site of CPR Pier D that burned down on July 27, 1938 and was never replaced, west of the Convention Centre, Canada Place with its famous sails construction and cruise ship berths, and the Seabus terminal near the north foot of Granville Street. I walked up to West Hastings and over to Granville, boarding one of the beloved, classic CCF (Canadian Car & Foundry) Brill model T-44, T-48, or T-48A trolley buses, operated by BC Hydro, stepping down near Woodland Drive, usually at Commercial, for the few blocks south to The Christian Community’s house on Frances Street.
Here we participated in our Confirmation classes, led with warmth and intelligence by Rev. Werner Hegg. The others in the group were Marius Krack, Andrew Rachel, Anna Driehuyzen, Celina Gold, Florette Snijders, and a Shields’ daughter. I alone would be invited for lunch prepared with love by Alsten Hegg, many of the in-season vegetables from their small garden plot behind the early-1900s three-storey house—my favourite, the swiss chard in a bechamel sauce and the grated carrot salad with organic Thompson raisins. Sometimes I stayed overnight for the Sunday service, and on these occasions at times even riding the bus back to White Rock with Marius, to return with the Krack’s the following morning.
On the more frequent occasions that I returned home the same day, I would often stop at Famous Foods on East Hastings for one or more items that mother needed, or further along at Woodward’s with its famous red neon sign, the rotating W. I then continued on a trolley for the Greyhound bus depot occupying a full block bound by Georgia, Dunsmuir, Beatty, and Hamilton. From here I rode the coach for a late afternoon or early evening BC Ferry sailing, Horseshoe Bay–Departure Bay. The route was code-shared between PSL (Pacific Stage Lines) and VICL (Vancouver Island Coach Lines). Father or mother would await my return at the bus depot at the edge of downtown Nanaimo, close by the CP Rail ferry dock.