I initially wasn’t planning to return home this summer. The previous September, I had left home for the first time to attend my second year of university at the University of Victoria. Upon leaving, I had no plans to return home anytime soon. I had left little old Salmon Arm behind me and I was looking at the big city before me. I met new people, took amazing Anthropology courses at UVic and explored the city. Time flew by, the year came to an end and I returned home for a visit with plans to head back to Victoria in the next couple weeks. While scrolling through job postings, I thought about the summer ahead of me and how I didn’t want to end up in the same job as every other summer student. I wanted a job that pertained to my field. As a fluke I took a chance on applying in town even though I didn’t plan on sticking around. Haney Heritage Village Archives was hiring a student as a Collections Registrar and I figured it wouldn't hurt to apply. The more I thought about it the more I wanted this position. I had lived in Salmon Arm my entire life. I had lived in the same house, attended class with the same people, walked the same streets every day. Up until now, I have known very little about Salmon Arm’s history. So why not work in my academic field and learn a little about where I grew up at the same time?

As chance would have it or a little persistence on my part, I got the job and have loved every minute of it. Working in the Archives has been a phenomenal experience. I have had the opportunity to set up exhibits, learn how to catalogue items, how to solve decade old accession number problems… the 1970s sure didn’t describe their artifacts very well, and how to work within an archival database. Deborah has taught me the intrigue of local history as well as valuable skills for my future and my career. Working in the Archives has left a lasting impression of the importance of cultural heritage preservation. While I and many other may view history as just passing time, Deborah understands that it is much more than that. It is the story of where we began. Her extensive knowledge in Salmon Arm history and archival work has made working with her not only educational but inspirational.  

As I prepare to leave on exchange in France I reflect on the amazing time I had in the Archives. Working with Deborah and the volunteer staff has been lots of fun. Even while facing challenges of decade old cataloguing problems I feel as if I am leaving this position well-rounded and ready for my future in the anthropological field. I want to thank Deborah for the incredible opportunity that she has given me and to the wonderful volunteers in the Archives for welcoming me in with open arms; I will miss you all dearly. This return to the past of not only history but to my hometown will be a memory I will cherish forever. As I depart into the future, quite literally as I prepare to catch a flight to France, I’ll think of the lesson that this position has taught me. That while we might want to run away from the smalls towns where we grew up, we were shaped by them as they were shaped by history.

                                                                                                                                             Maia Reynard