Wednesday, February 23, 2011

William Shakebroom

That was the pen name he once signed a note with, sort of a play on words (William Shakespeare) . Today , February 23 marks the birthday of William Ernest Nevard. Or as we always knew him, "Bill". It must have been an adventure for him at age 4 to board ship in Liverpool with his mother
and Uncle Horrie to head for the new land, Canada. His father , Ernest had been in Canada since 1903 getting a start on his homestead in what would later become the province of Saskatchewan.
Bill was a hard worker from an early age yet still found time to write his own version of science fiction and draw fantastic pictures. One example that he drew in 1954 is shown here.

Often the paper was "recycled" before the term became popular. Money was scarce to buy paper so Bill used whatever was handy . Anything from envelopes turned inside out to old cement bags would do for his purposes.
Bill suffered from a hearing impairment and consequently spoke in a loud voice. In fact he had a good singing voice and was a valued member at the church services where he sang. I'm fortunate to have a few recordings of him singing some of the songs that he wrote himself.
After 40 some years working the farm with his Dad he found employment at the Tuberculosis sanatorium at Fort Qu'appelle in 1948 at the age of 46 where he continued working til his retirement. Many times he would walk the 20 odd miles from the "san" to his old home on the farm occasionally getting a ride from a passing vehicle. Never having driven or even a license he finally did so in 1956 when he and his brother bought a new Chevrolet car. I can well remember the many times Bill and the old Chev would stop by for a visit on his way to the farm where after retirement he continued his gardening and firewood cutting.
After enjoying good health most of his life Bill was stricken with a heart attack in 1970 at age 68. Hard work and plenty of fresh air and exercise had not helped him it seemed. He did recover from this first attack and went on to resume some of his activities including a re-visit to the land of his birth, Essex, U.K.  He suffered a final fatal attack in November of 1975. On a fine sunny morning while cutting firewood with his brother on the old homestead at age 73.