Packing up a lifetime of memories is never an easy task.
And for most people, work and family memories don’t go in the same box, but that is not the case for Penticton Greyhound franchise owner Lynda Verrier.
She first started on the job with her brother, selling tickets, looking after freight, loading busses and sweeping floors, the same things she was doing Tuesday.
“Lets see, my daughter, son, niece, two brothers and my dad obviously, he was a bus driver for as long as I can remember, and my husband,” said Verrier, unable to hold back the tears as she counted off the relatives. “Really there are too many memories to even think about. All the people that I have loved and the lifelong friendships with customers, I’ll miss all of it. Everybody.”
After 34 years she will be locking up the Ellis Street terminal for the final time today (Wednesday) after the last bus leaves the depot parking lot. She credited her clients for sticking by her “until the bitter end,” adding it was only recently she felt the true hurt of the closing.
“Things were good until last week, I guess I could have walked (away) three months ago (when the announcement was made about ending the service) but why not ride it out?” said Verrier. “My daughter, Krista, and niece, Sam stuck by me until the end too.”
About taking problems at work home, Verrier simply replied: “Not at all, when mama’s happy, everyone is happy. Just be on time.”
Greyhound announced in the summer it was ending passenger bus and freight services in Western Canada, saying the routes were not sustainable.
Meanwhile, Barbara Palmer of Penticton boarded the large dark blue and white bus Monday afternoon, claiming her favourite front row seat en route to the Fraser Valley.
“This will be my last time catching the bus and I’ll have to come back by plane, that’s the only way I can get back next week,” said Palmer. “I’m heading to Chilliwack and then going to Langley, this will be the third year of my daughter’s passing and we let off lanterns, so I guess we won’t be able to do that next year.
“It’s her (daughter) birthday this week and I go down to visit with the grandchildren through the winter, so I’ll just have to wait and see them when they’re a year older I guess.
“It’s going to be very disappointing to lose the service.”
Penticton’s Harv Baessler will be one of those passengers on the final departure from the Penticton terminal.
“The last bus, and the only one on Oct. 31, is at 1:45 in the afternoon and that’ll be it for Greyhound in the south valley,” said Baessler, a regular bus rider for over a decade. “Eighty-eight years Greyhound has been servicing the region, under one name or another, and we’re doing this so it goes down into the records, the archives, like they did with the KVR in the 50’s when the KVR Railroad pulled out.”
Baessler, the treasurer of the Penticton and District Stamp Club, which has, in collaboration with the Penticton Museum and Archives, produced a limited edition “mourning cover” and stamp for the occasion.
He is working on the project with Gary McDougall (a local photographer, historian and museum archival assistant) and former Greyhound driver Ron Wilson.
“It’s just to commemorate. It’s kind of a historic thing that we’re losing it. We’ve had good service for a long time and it’s served the valley well for 88 years,” said Baessler, adding that riding the bus is a “cosmopolitan” experience. “It’s a sad occasion in a lot of ways especially for the people involved like Lynda Verrier.”
This particular mourning cover — a small envelope with the cancelled circa 1930 bus photo stamp — has four photos of the terminals over the years, a Greyhound drawing and etched with the black, Greyhound running dog logo around the outside.
Mourning cover is stationary which dates back centuries, identified by a black edging on the folded letter sheet or envelope, used to send death or other sad announcements.
The Greyhound mourning covers are available for purchase with proceeds going to The Friends of the Penticton Museum Society. Only 100 were printed and the post-event price is $5.
For more information contact Baessler at 250-492-4301 or McDougall at 250-493-4019.
Send Mark Brett an email.
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