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Growing up in Brandon

Having moved from Poland at such an early age, Irvin did not remember anything of his Polish roots other than his parents. Neither of his parents spoke much English. Shortly after arriving in Canada, his sister Ruth was born.

Close up of old vintage speed skates, no actual shoe attached, just rope and leather straps attached to wood with a blade at the bottom

Irvin Hauser’s Childhood Speed Skates, Circa 1930s

His father did not play a significant role in family life. Irvin enjoyed living in Brandon. He had lots of friends and there was lots for a kid to do. One of Irvin’s favourite things to do was speed skating. He enjoyed it so much he kept a pair of his early speed skates.

A report card, on the left side are grades for behaviour, on the right side are number grades for subjects and an attendance record

Irvin Hauser’s Report Card from Brandon, Manitoba, Circa 1930s

Irvin began working at a very early age to help support his mother and two sisters.

Along with chores around the house we worked odd jobs including a paper route and peeling onions for a woman named Lusk.  He became infatuated with the carnival as it was close to where he lived.

View this video with a transcript: “Crowded Carnival Midway, 1941” (Closed captions available in EN and FR)

Black and white photo of a close up of young boys gathered together at the carnival, part of sign for thrill rides can be seen in the background

Young Boys in Awe of the Carnival, Circa 1940s

He picked up work on the Conklin Midway when it came to town with his friends Sonny Hazelwood and Whitey Judson.

Audio clip with transcript: “What Attracted Irvin Hauser to the Carnival”

Opportunity for employment was limited in Brandon. Men would join the military, the RCMP or leave to work in the mines. In 1942, after the Provincial Exhibition, Irvin hopped on the Conklin Shows train and never looked back.

Black and white photo of a large transport vehicle with a portable generator attached, exterior advertises Conklin Shows, carnival banners can be seen in the distance

World’s Finest, Conklin Shows: Power Generator, Circa 1940s