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Town of dreams

HearneHearne sidewalk

Despite Dr. Foth's long-time career success there are hauntings of sorts going on. Ghosts of the past rattle on the Saskatchewan plain. They continue to cling to the imagination of Dr. Foth. He is heading back for a 2004 reunion to the wind swept little village where he once dreamed of being Syl Apps.

Although the old curling rink still sits forlornly at the edge of the hamlet, very little is left of Hearne today. A few buildings still stand, but gone are the community church, blacksmith shop and a country store which his father ran until his death in 1934. The young Dr. Foth was two-years-old.

Main Street in Hearne, Saskatchewan was never a rip-roaring place, but now the ghosts have moved in and the tiny locale in the middle of no-where on the Saskatchewan plain is home to only memories.

Dr. Foth's house is still there along Main Street. If the wind blows just right, one might be able to hear a slight echo of music. Perhaps even a violin.

Dr. Foth's father died when he was two-years-old, and his mother Edna turned the house into the village post office, receiving $35 a month from Ottawa. Edna also gave violin lessons for 50 cents, a tidy sum in the Depression and one which at least half her students couldn't afford. Music was important to Edna, and she let it be known to her children that it was essential to have a bit of musical education.

At first Dr. Foth only had to endure listening to his sisters take piano lessons. In later years, when his family moved to B.C., he then agreed to take his own lessons but only if it was to play guitar.

"My brother and I were always fighting. One day we were on a flatbed truck and got into a fight," said Dr. Foth. "He shoved me off. It was the first day of my guitar lessons, and I broke my wrist. There went my lesson. That ended my musical career." Somewhere in those early years, Dr. Foth was at a career crossroads. There would be no hockey or music in his future. His hands were either too punctured by nails or banged up. However, the Hearne post office brought some answers, even if he was too young to fully realize them.

When the newspapers were delivered from Moose Jaw or Regina, the young Fotheringham was the first to read the news.

He placed each newspaper on the floor and meticulously scanned the stories. After reading each newspaper he carefully folded them back up and placed them back in the proper mail slots.

"My mother claims that I used to look at the newspaper with these things from all over the world. She claimed I said I was going to go there one day, and in fact I did," said Dr. Foth. "I have been to 89 countries, everywhere in the world except New Zealand."

Dr. Foth's mother is now 95. Her son is still writing columns and travelling and is returning to Hearne this summer. There may even be one more newspaper waiting for him at the old house, a stone's throw away from the curling rink. Hearne is still and always a place of dreams.