There’s been another interesting twist in the tale of a young Irish lad searching for wooden coins that resulted in a connection between Rimbey and Carrigaline, Ireland.
Regular readers may recall a letter to the editor that appeared in the February 10, 2009 edition in which the father of seven year-old James Atchison wrote asking for information regarding wooden coins issued by the Rimbey Co-op that were issued in or around 1982, with the purpose of adding it to his son’s collection.
Shortly thereafter, Co-op General Manager Caralee Strome contacted the Rimbey Review to advise that longtime member Jim Jaffray had exactly what James and his dad were looking for.
The elder Atchison, who was born and raised in southern Ontario, is the president of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society and has also written a definitive book dealing exclusively with Canadian currency over the past 400 years, as well as wooden coins.
Turn the clock ahead for a few months, and just last week a new wrinkle was introduced to the story in the form of Al Schrader who currently lives in Smithers, BC, but is a former resident of Rimbey who lived here in 1962, and has his cousin Gene Norman of Rimbey, send him weekly copies of the local newspaper where he, like many others, first saw the letter.
As coincidence would have it, Schrader’s son Lawrence who resides in Kamloops, BC had been planning a trip to Ireland for a stay with his brother, and the wheels were set in motion.
“He saw the letter from Darryl Atchison, knew we were going to Ireland and he actually had a Rimbey wooden nickel from the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in 1962,” said the younger Schrader about his father. “My dad Al gave me the coin plus three others he had from the USA. I looked up James’ dad’s name in the phone book when I got to Cork, thanks to the address we had from the Rimbey Review. Darryl was delighted to hear from us and we arranged to meet at the Imperial Hotel in downtown Cork, the next day.” (March 7, 2009).
“I went over to Dublin on Feb 27 and arrived on Feb 28 – my brother’s birthday. My brother was working there for the week as an accountant and was auditing some branches of his company, so he offered to fly me over and stay with him for the 10 days he would be in Ireland,” Schrader said. “Who would turn down a free trip to Ireland eh, especially when we got to celebrate his birthday? After he was done work for the week we drove down to Cork which was where we made contact with the Atchison’s.”
While Schrader’s father did not join him on the trip and the Rimbey Co-op did not issue the coin in question, the fact remains that a deeper connection between the two communities and two families had taken root.
“My dad had the coin since 1962. He was the son of Lawrence and Lillian Schrader who lived in Rimbey for a long time and that should be of interest to the oldtimers there in Rimbey, and there are still many Schrader’s in your area,” the younger said. “My dad thought taking the coins would be a great way to meet people and, you know, break the ice, and he was right.”
Schrader said the Atchison’s were thrilled to meet him, especially James who not only made a new friend, but also made a nice addition to his collection. His younger sister Lindsay was also tickled pink, as she got to increase the size of her American wooden token collection as Schrader presented her with the three US coins compliments of his father.
They were delightful; James is very talkative, funny and engaging. So was his sister Lindsay. Darryl is a really nice guy too,” Schrader said of the Irish family. “We all went to the Imperial Hotel Pub, yes kids are allowed in the pub there, weird eh? Darryl bought my brother and I a beer and at the end of our little meeting they gave us a beautiful silver Christmas ornament as a thank you.”
Schrader said the Atchison’s had no idea they were about to get a visit from a Canadian bearing gifts until he telephoned them the day before they met.
“I talked about the letter my dad had seen in the Feb 10/09 issue and how he had passed on the info and coins to us,” he added. “They thought it was a neat coincidence how it all came together.”
As part of their visit, young James brought out his impressive collection that now numbers more than 2,000 coins/tokens, all of which are Canadian in origin.
As a first-time visitor to the Emerald Isle, Schrader said the scenery of the country was just as spectacular as the architecture on display, some of which was several hundred years old or older.
“Dublin was nice but Cork was really beautiful. The whole sense of history there is amazing and the ancient churches are incredible to visit,” he said. “Just walking around is a feast for the senses and make no mistake, Ireland is a walking country. You never know when you’ll find some charming little shop or a pub full of interesting characters. Also, the Irish food was really good.”
Schrader added while meeting up with the Atchison’s was a real highlight for all involved, he said there hometown of Carrigaline was only a few minutes by car from Cork.