Bertha was one of the best remembered of country store clerks. She was part of the Seven Persons Trading Store for so many years. She was born in the hamlet and had grown up there. She knew the people and respected them.
Everyone thought she was the prettiest, most amiable of storekeepers. They enjoyed going into her shop. Her cheerfulness, efficiency and eagerness to serve endeared her to the whole community; her hearty laughter and her optimism was most contagious.
At times she had many patrons and they kept her busy; in her spare time she kept books, filled shelves, made up orders for supplies, kept the store clean and orderly and tended to the coal heater. Where necessary she carried groceries out to waiting vehicles, often helping women and children with over-anxious horses until they could be on their way. She gave advice on business matters and delivered messages. Her store was a haven in this new settlement. She was synonymous with it.
"Hello Carl! What can I sell you to-day?" "Snooze - I mean Copenhagen snuff. My wife forgot to buy me some yesterday." "Ha Ha! How could she forget that?" "I didn't tell her, but she should know I'd be wanting a box."
"She did say that she needed a hundred pound sack of flour but couldn't carry it. It is fortunate a strong man, like you, came in. You can carry it from the storeroom. Hey! Don't forget your snuff."
A short time later Bertha was saying, "Why Douglas McDonald, what would you like to buy?"
"Candy. Here's my money. Got it for my birthday," said five year old Doug. "I'll take the money. You choose the candy. Shall I put it in a paper bag for you?"
Then in came Bob Rice, saying: "Bertha can you cash my wheat cheque?"
"I'll try, if it isn't too large'.
"It's thirty-nine dollars and ninety-six cents," said Bob. "I wish it were more."
"Here are your forty dollars. Never mind the pennies. I'll get mine next time."
When the economy became such that the hardware department was unprofitable to operate, Bertha and her husband, Eric Holmberg, converted that portion of the Seven Persons Trading Store into living quarters. By 1947, Bertha's parents wished to retire, so the Holmbergs undertook that business. After a few years, they too retired, taking part of the old restaurant to another lot and making it into a house. In this they lived until they purchased a new home in Medicine Hat.
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