Reader sees 16-year-old self, old car on Casual Country cover

Tatlayoko Valley resident Joe Rettberg was surprised to see an image of his teenage self

It may not have been the cover of the Rolling Stone, but Tatlayoko Valley resident Joe Rettberg was still surprised to see an image of his teenage self on the cover of the 50th edition of the Tribune’s Casual Country.

The shot was of Rettberg driving his 1952 Plymouth down Oliver street in the 1960s.

“Just a couple of days before it came out I was saying I wish I had a picture of that car,” Rettberg said recently, while stopping by the Tribune to order a copy.

“Then I opened up the computer and there is was.”

Rettberg was just nine months old when he moved with his parents, Francis and Alfred Yoxall, to Puntzi Lake where they purchased the Kokanee Bay Lodge in the late 1940s.

Rettberg’s father passed away young, at the age of 45 in 1955, and his mother remarried George Rettberg and the family lived at Tatlayoko Lake.

Related: High school dormitory reunion spurred on by former Riske Creek student, Lorne Buckle

As a teen, Rettberg spread his wings and travelled to the Yukon for work.

He was just 16 years old and driving with an expired drivers licence when the photograph was taken in Williams Lake that ended up on the cover of Casual Country.

“You didn’t have to have insurance when you were 21 and I lied about my age,” Rettberg laughed. “That’s the way Williams Lake was in those days. It was pretty loose.”

Rettberg recalls he had the prized car for about a year.

“It was my favourite — it went through a lot.”

Rettberg said the car’s engine “blew up” just before a Stampede. Rettberg explained he had two bottles of whiskey on hand at the time; one was filled with oil for his car and the other with whiskey. He mixed them up, and poured in the whiskey instead of the oil.

“That was the end of my car — it didn’t like the whiskey and we didn’t like the oil.”

Rettberg went on to marry and raise a family in Edson, Alberta.

Nine years ago he moved back to the Tatlayoko Valley to retire and lives with his wife Doris Hicks. Both his first and second wife passed away but Rettberg still manages to have a big smile and sunny personality.

“You just carry on,” he said.

Rettberg said he tries to only come into town every two months or so and relies on being self-sufficient with a garden and canning and storing foods, as well as buying from local green houses and stores out west.

He describes Tatlayoko as a very peaceful place with the Potato Mountain Range on one side of his property and Niut Mountain Range on the other.


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