Life in Arrowhead revisited through two women’s vivid memories

By David F. Rooney

Life in Arrowhead was recreated by Sherrian VanGoor and her sister Judy Vigue for a rapt audience of about 40 people at the Revelstoke Museum’s Memories of Arrowhead event on Wednesday evening.

The two sisters (nee Tillen) didn’t talk about the things some might consider important, but the simple memories they share of their childhood in that now-vanished town 50 years ago: the size of the house, the dances and parties, the games people played in the days before TV and the Internet.

“These are simple things, good things,” Vigue said later. “We didn’t want to dwell on the bad things, the tragedies and so on. Lord knows there were enough of them.”

Some members of the audience were from Arrowhead themselves and occasionally talked back and forth with the sisters. Others were people who have visited the overgrown ruins of the town, ruins that somehow manage to fascinate people a generation after those buildings that didn’t vanish beneath Arrow Lake were burned.

Museum Curator Cathy English was visibly pleased by the turnout to the event, which is kicking off a series of Memories of events. The next one, Memories of Sports, is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 7 pm. On March 17, the Museum will hold Memories of Sidmouth at 7 pm, followed on April 23 by Memories of the Mount Cartier Community. People who lived in Sidmouth or Mount Cartier are encouraged to bring photographs and their own stories to those events.

Here are a few photos from Memories of Arrowhead and a short video of Judy and Sherrian talking about the past:

Sherrian VanGoor (left) and her sister Judy Vigue share a laugh over this photo of a stubbornly pouting Sherrian when she was very young. "She looks like she wants to run away!" Judy laughed. David F. Rooney photo
Back in the 1950s kids made their own fun. Here are Judy, Susan, Sherrian, Peter and Dianne Tillen playing on the road to Trout Lake. Photo courtesy of Judy Vigue and Sherrian VanGoor
Among the photos Judy and Sherrian shared with the audience is this photo of the house their family lived in Arrowhead for 16 years until they, like the rest of Arrowhead's residents, were forced to leave in 1968. Photo courtesy of Sherrian VanGoor and Judy Vigue