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Glenys James speaks to John Thomas who emigrated to Canada in 1926 from Wales. He had originally intended to move on to Australia but met his future wife Megan, in the Welsh Chapel in Calgary. Now happily settled on the family farm in Saskatchewan, the Thomas family conserve the past both literally and figuratively, by continuing to speak and write in Welsh, attending Chapel and refusing to renovate the farmstead from its original form! His wife Megan recalls her Welsh upbringing in Calgary. He discusses the differences and similarities between themselves as emigrants from Wales, and those from Patagonia, as well as the traditions from the settlement that have been assimilated into the Canadian-Welsh community. He also expresses his sadness at the loss of the language amongst the new generation. His son Ken, describes his impressions of the old country, and his efforts to keep the language.

Full Summary:

John M. Thomas, aged 71, arrival in Canada in 1926; original intention of travelling through to Australia; working in Ontario, Alberta and Calgary; meeting his wife Megan in Calgary; married in 1932; two children in Calgary, 1933, 1934; lack of work prompting a moving to Bangor, Saskatchewan to the farm 'Angorfa' in 1936. Talks of farming life: good times and bad; breakout of war; poor crops and plague on the horses. Remarks on his time in the army: enlisting in Calgary; sent oversees in 1940 to Britain; Welsh Club in London; returning in Christmas 1944; discharged February/March 1945.

Expanding the farm: nine quarters, fourteen hundred acers; specializing in growing seeds before moving to dairy farming; keeping the farm of a thousand acers as a family farm; son, Ken Thomas, expanding and buying agricultural machines. Talks of the family home: owned by Megan Thomas' father, built in 1918, plastered by Dafydd Morris from Pontrobert with help from Dave Lewis of Bangor; wife Megan born there; house kept in its original state except for electricity and updated water system; no place like home 'Wedi teithio mynyddoedd, llechweddi a chymoedd' (After traveling mountains, hills and dales).

Megan Thomas talks of how she learnt Welsh: spoken at home; her and her siblings understanding English when starting school; reciting Welsh verses every Sunday in chapel. John Thomas talks of use of Welsh at home - 'not letting it go to the wall'; both sons with enough of the language to hold a conversation; including a page of Welsh in letters to their son; fondness of the old language and traditions; competing in the Eisteddfod; singing in choirs in different churches in Calgary - First Baptist Church with Madam Chapman, Wesley United Church with Glyndwr Jones and Excelsior Green Choir in English. Welsh choir with J. R. Jones, supposedly from Aberystwyth; comments on writing letters in Welsh to his sibling and father when alive.

Talks of the Welsh literature: Welsh encyclopaedia brought from Patagonia; works of Eifion Wyn; thoughts on the works of Dylan Thomas; Oswestry Advertiser, Y Cadwyn (The Chain) from St. David's Chapel; newspapers in Toronto - Enfys (Rainbow) and Country Quest. Relationship with the Patagonian-Welsh: tendency of feeling apart but has built a good relationship; knowing as much about Patagonia as those who emigrated from the settlement – phrases like 'drofa gabbage' (cabbage turn), the story of John Evan's murder; reading Bryn Williams' tales 'Bandit yr Andes'; the warmness in the way Patagonian-Welsh spoke. Welsh dialect used by his grandmother differing from his. Remarks on his grandfather, William Thomas of Porthmadog hardly able to converse in English, preferring to use Welsh.

The weakening of the colony as youth left the area: end to the Eisteddfod in Bangor in 1945-46; decline in literary meetings and other traditions. Remarks that one thing they used to do was sing 'O Fryniau Caersalem ceir gweled' (From the hills of Jerusalem we can see). The end to Welsh chapel service; talks of the difficulty in arranging Welsh hymns in funerals and his efforts to please the family.

Traditions that were brought from Patagonia; remarks on the use of the word 'che' (pal) coming with the Welsh no longer being used due to the scattering of the Patagonian-Welsh; names those he can remember from 'Y Wladfa' that lived in the Bangor area - Mrs. Evans, Mrs D.T. Evans, Mrs. Humphreys, Bill Morris, Hughie and Emma (his sister), Dan Owen, Hugh Owen, Mary Lewis, Mrs M. A. Lewis, Mrs Kyme, Mag and Mrs Richards, Miss Pugh, Mrs Seth Rees. Talks of Welsh speakers born Canadian settlement - Megan and Griff Pugh, Glyn and Arthur Evans. Bob Richards, Bill Richards, Ken Thomas, George and Bill Morris; remarks on the Welsh that were born in the United States that lived in the settlement. Comment on an individual who works with him from Welsh, Hungarian and German ancestry; his disinterest and lack of knowledge of his family's background - indication of how the language is dying.

Remarks on his visit to Wales with Megan: visiting the National Eisteddfod in Ruthin; interest in seeing young children speaking Welsh and English speakers learning; quotes from 'Ynys wen' (Holy Island) 'whilst daffodil grows in the land and whilst we still talk of St. David, we will continue to love the language of the county we loved when we were children'. Ken Thomas talks of his understanding of the language: understanding more than he can speak; the use of the language with his parents; his pride of the Welsh he has retained.

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