Mission’s Madeleine ‘Maddy’ Engh has lived an eventful life.
That life is the highlight of a new book of memoirs that will be released to raise funds for the Mission Hospice Society.
“Once a Farmer” will describe Engh’s journey from a high school dropout to real estate entrepreneur to farmer to musician.
Engh chose to support the Mission Hospice Society with the proceeds of her book because of recent experiences with her daughter.
“I lost my daughter Valerie four years ago and they took excellent care of her,” Engh said. “I wanted to do what I could to help them.”
She says Valerie was a wonderful daughter with a hard life that saw her overcome substance abuse issues.
Engh grew up in Southern Saskatchewan near the United States border. She says she grew up poor, but so did most people around her.
When she arrived in B.C., her father struggled to find work. She worked picking berries and any other jobs she could find to help the family with groceries, school clothing and other needs.
“I was doing whatever I could do to help the family make a few dollars,” Engh said. “I would cut wood, worked in a bake shop for a little while, cut hair, hunted moose and deer —which was very helpful to the grocery bill.”
Engh was drawn to real estate after speaking to a friend whose husband retired early due to his success in the business. She had skills in woodworking and working outdoors, but it was a good time to start in real estate.
“I began to study real estate markets and the opportunities were absolutely incredible,” she said. “In the mid-1960s, properties were escalating so fast it was actually unbelievable.”
In writing the book, Engh says it was challenging to get her life events in the right order but pouring through old photographs and memories was a great adventure.
In addition to the memoir, Engh has also worked towards a career as a musician. She has been songwriting since she was 10 years old and music has always been central to her life. In 2013, she released the album, ‘Babe of Her Own’.
Engh is retired and currently lives on a farm in Hatzic Prairie with her animals where she continues to write.
“I love it,” Engh said. “I don’t want to leave here. I have a small Christmas tree operation and it’s just great for us.”
Her book can be purchased at Abstract Glass and Sue’s Copy for $40 with cash purchases preferred