Vera (Walters) Barritt
Life and Work
After living in the Tees and Clive areas as a young girl and living in Washington State for five years, Vera Walters moved back to Mirror in 1931.
After graduating from school, she joined the United Church Choir and Young People's Club. There she met Ward Barrett. They married and were involved in the Young Married Club in the Ripley area, where they farmed for 58 years. They worked with the Home and School Association and supported drama in the community.
In 1963, the Vera wrote the local history Ripley Your Heritage marking 60 years of agricultural settlement. She served as president of the Mirror Hall Board and as a den mother for the Scouts.
In 1968, Vera completed a health survey for the University of Alberta. She researched and wrote poetry for the book Pioneers and Progress and painted the picture of the Grand Trunk Railway Station hanging in the Mirror Museum. She lives at the Pine Creek Lodge in Red Deer and is President of the resident council.
"Her intense desire to ensure that the many details and stories of the hardships and joys of both the pioneers and the present population were recorded accurately for the enjoyment and use of the present and future generations resulted in a stirring in me of that same need to know what my roots are and to do my part in preserving that."
- Connie Barritt
Poems About Vera Barritt
When today is done
Leave to the past,
After you have stripped it of knowledge that will last.
These gems of wisdom
Errors will allay
When you make that journey
Each knew adventurous day.
I'm picking berries alone to-day.
My friends are gone but memories stay.
Memories of times when both were here,
Another day and another year.
We talked and joked, our laughter free.
They'll never again pick fruit with me.
One into hospital more than a year,
She cannot smile or shed a tear.
The other is home with her defeat,
She gets around on wooden feet.
The two of us will weep for three,
While sharing fruit and memory.
Time has past, it's a week or two,
Since I first wrote this poem for you.
Today we heard, Beth passed away.
No more her smile will brighten day.
Many her friends, who will shed their tears.
They've mourned for her these past few years.
Gone forever, her laughter and song,
As church bell rings with mournful gong.
Letter of Appreciation
Letter of Appreciation by Connie Barritt
It is with a great sense of privilege that I write about the contribution that Vera Barritt has made in the development of community and family spirit in the Mirror area.
My first acquaintance with the dedication of this lady came when she was contributing to the compiling of the Ripley Community history for inclusion in the Pioneers and Progress book. My initial interest was simply in helping out by doing some typing, but the effect of this was much deeper and long term. Her intense desire to ensure that the many details and stories of the hardships and joys of both the pioneers and the present population were recorded accurately for the enjoyment and use of present and future generations resulted in a stirring in me of that same need to know what my roots are and to do my part in preserving that. I know that this same effect has been generated in many others.
Vera was also very active in the Ripley Community Society, believing that providing a sense of caring to both old-timers and newcomers alike was a responsibility of all. This was to be done by preservation of traditions like the community Christmas concert where she always willingly but humbly accepted the task of contributing an item herself. When things went wrong, Vera would see the humour in the situation and heartily laugh about it; when they went well, Vera would be heard saying, "That sure was nice."
It is hard to give enough credit in such a short space, but for me the effect of Vera's spirit can best be expressed by the fact I still actively seek and enjoy whatever time I spend in conversation with her, always enjoy the exhilaration for life I feel when with her, and carry these memories warmly as I anticipate the next visit we will have.