Locken, Gladys (Yates)

(1914 - )

On June 28, 1914, Gladys was born in the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary to Edith and William Yates who had come from England to make their home in Canada. While her father was overseas in WWI, Gladys and her mother lived in Glenbow, southwest of Calgary. After the war, the Yates moved to a farm where the Bearspaw Dam is now. In 1921, a younger sister, Edna joined the family.

Gladys enjoyed her studies and reading was her greatest pleasure. She soon devoured everything in the school's book cupboard, Anne of Green Gables being her favourite book. Her love of reading continues to this day. She likes authors Phyllis Whitney and Agatha Christie but not Danielle Steel or Stephen King.

Although Gladys had always dreamed of being a nurse, she seized the opportunity to become a teacher, when a family friend loaned her $450, which paid her room and board in Calgary for three years at $15 per month. She entered Normal School, located in what is now Heritage Hall on the SAIT campus. The Berrydale School Board paid her tuition because she was the first person from the district to enter the teaching profession. Gladys graduated in 1935, but had to wait a year for her first teaching job due to a teacher surplus brought about by affordable training and readily available financial help.

Gladys accepted her first teaching assignment in 1936 at Esther, north of Sibbald, on the eastern side of Alberta in a school called Rush Centre. She did get frustrated with the School Inspectors, who visited twice a year and expected her to teach every child, even those who couldn't learn, the same thing.

In 1937, Gladys came to teach in Bearberry. Hans Locken's sister, Gerta Wayant, who had moved to the farm next to the Yates in Berrydale, thought Gladys would be a good teacher for Bearberry. Without ever meeting her, she asked the Bearberry school trustees to send Gladys an application. When she was hired, her friends were aghast that she was going to a place where there was nothing but "jackpine and savages."

While teaching in Bearberry, Gladys lived in a comfortable teacherage close to the store which she felt very lucky to have, since her friend Margaret lived in a drafty old granary full of mice. Gladys met Hans Locken two years after she came to Bearberry. She went to a dance with him in January and he proposed on February 14, Valentine's Day. They were married on July 11, 1940 in Olds and moved into their first home on a farm near Cremona. Six children, Denise (Bredin), Raymond, Karen (Leacock) John, Joan and Earl were born to Gladys and Hans. They raised five children, since Raymond died when he was 5 1/2 years old from asthma which was misdiagnosed as diphtheria.

After a few years of working for different farmers in the Cremona area, the Lockens bought the quarter-section in Bearberry where Gladys lives now, for $500.

Today, she spends much of her time reading, visiting with family, keeping up with her grand- and great-grandchildren's lives, and attending family get-togethers for birthdays and Christmas celebrations.

Category: Olds