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Lena's Story

Lena's Story

By Ann Sutherland

 

Ninety-year-old Lena still lives in her original MacLachlan & Mitchell home that she and her husband bought in 1951 for $10,000.

 

Back then the young couple entrusted their future with the young but thriving homebuilder who had been in business for nine years by then. That trust grew into a friendship that still carries on today. Like Mac & Mitch, Lena has seen many changes over the years. But it's in her Westmount area home where memories were made and stories told.

 

Lena remembers back in the 1950s when the area west of 149th Street, just kilometers from where West Edmonton Mall now stands, was nothing but endless forest. Parked out front of their home was a Dodge DeSoto ready to take them for drives around the growing city.

 

She raised her two children in this home, but she also wanted to make a difference in the political world too. In early 1963 she campaigned for Lester B. Pearson. She recalls meeting him and still remembers his signature look – his bowtie. The campaign turned out to be a success.

 

Seven months later, the elation of a successful political campaign in Canada, turned to tragic days when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lena's living room became a gathering place for shocked and stunned neighbours as they listened to updates around her radio on November 22, 1963.

 

"Life is precious," Lena says of that tragedy.

 

In 1974 Lena enrolled at Grant MacEwan Community College (now Grant MacEwan University) and graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Development.

One of her best friends was Jarome Iginla's mother. Lena recalls carrying him around when he was little. "Boy, was he a strong baby," she recalls of the little tyke who went on to become a celebrated NHL player and captain of the Calgary Flames.

 

Today, the Dodge DeSoto is no longer around, but Lena still drives. She cooks for herself and is healthier than ever. Her secret?

"I drink a little sip of warm red wine before bedtime!"

 

MacLachlan & Mitchell Homes started in 1942 with a simple handshake between founders Charles (Curly) MacLachlan and Bert Wheeler. Over 70 years later the company is still going strong. Today the handshake continues to be a symbol of integrity, quality and customer service and is part of everyone's work in the office, out at building sites, and at sales centres.

 

Curly passed down the importance of a handshake to his grandson, Micheal Webb who is now the company's president, the third generation to guide Mac & Mitch. That handshake still reaches out and forms the basis of every business decision and commitment from Mac & Mitch.

 

And Lena's home is what Mac & Mitch truly stands for: building quality homes for over 70 years.