Walter summarises his working life in Canada
INT:So when you were in Canada and people said, “Who are you? Are you German, Scottish – what were you?
W.G: They just assumed that I was Scottish.
Well I got a job. I got a job within a couple of days, not doing what I wanted, but after 3 months I did.
I was right into the feed business. I was posted to a place called Dauphin, Manitoba, for Canada Packers. They were the biggest in Canada. It was a nice company. Being accepted never came up. It was never a topic of conversation for sure.
INT: Because everybody is an immigrant.
W.G:Yes. There was one man in town, Mr Oliphant. He owned the hardware store. He came from Glasgow when he was six years old. He was an orphan.
When I got to Dauphin I was told to go and see old man Oliphant. He was an older man by then. Nobody could understand him.
So I went to the store, saw Mr Oliphant and spoke to him. He first greeted me. I could not understand a word he said.
I said I was from Glasgow. He spoke quite normal Canadian. He said “That is the reputation I have. Nobody can understand a word I say, except the price!” He was popular; he was a good guy.
He knew his stuff.
He spoke something that was not Glaswegian. It was just something. Anyone from Glasgow would realise this – he made it up on his own.
INT:So you had your job. Later on, was it when you retired that you started working for UNESCO?
W.G:Yea. I worked out of Winnipeg, then Dauphin for 3 years and Northern Manitoba for 3 years and then I moved to Saskatchewan on 19thNovember 1962 and then worked for International Packers for 25 years and then I did International Consulting for United Nations International Culture Organisation, for the World Bank, CIDA – Canadian International Development Agency –
and they farmed me out to different people. I worked in six continents but I missed one.
INT: Which one was that?
W.G. Antarctica. There you go.