Myrtle Rae Forberg Siebert

Myrtle's Biography

Early Years

Home by Steamship

Myrtle was born in Vancouver General Hospital. Only when the staff was assured no further medical attention would be needed, she left the city in the arms of her mother aboard a Union Steamship vessel.

Google Map showing the location of Port Neville. Vancouver is in the lower right corner.

It was a two-day trip home to Port Neville, basically a Postal Office address at the mouth of Port Neville Inlet. It was the ship's last stop before returning south to the Union Dock in Vancouver Harbour.

Essential Services

The Union Steamships served coastal residences of a far flung, sparsely populated, and water-restricted area. With scheduled regularity, every two weeks a ship offloaded passengers, mail, parcels, food supplies and equipment. It then returned to the port of Vancouver with passengers, mail, and written orders for needed supplies to be delivered on the next trip.

Photo of the floathouse in Port Neville

The Floathouse

Myrtle's floathouse home was secured to the shore by a heavy cable. The floathouse was moved to different beach locations in order to access available timber along the Port Neville inlet.

On Dry Land

When the same shake-covered house was pulled by its skids onto land, Myrtle began to experience the freedom of independent movement that highlighted the remainder of her life. Gunhild's Granddaughter and its sequel, Lifelong Learning with friends and family, tell the story.

Becoming a Teacher

At the end of high school Myrtle experienced a very lucky break. Being awarded a five-year scholarship sent her off to the University of British Columbia. That life-altering experience explains why she is so passionate about fund raising for post secondary education, especially for girls and women.

The Teacher Becomes a Writer

After receiving her Bachelor of Home Economics, and gaining a teacher's certificate, Myrtle found she enjoyed high school teaching very much.

When asked, Myrtle served on a text book selection committee with other experienced teachers. Two years later the same Government committee manager chose Myrtle to do the revision of a well-used Government of British Columbia foods text, Management and Foods. That book earned the first metric M in Canada.

Pioneer Working Mom

The concept of "working moms" was relatively new in the 1970s, with serious discussions being held over "quality vs. quantity time." With several different careers open to her, Myrtle became a leader in balancing both.

After much discussion, Myrtle eventually agreed to do a second foods text, Food for Life, for an educational publisher. With three young children in the home and a volunteer position occupying 52 days in one year it was a busy life.

Careers

Myrtle Siebert has been fortunate to experience a wide range of careers, including owner-operator of a small fast food outlet.

Healthy Food

The idea came from organizing concessions for student sports groups and serving healthy food options. By thinking there might be a business opportunity here, Soup and Surprises, serving "wholesome homemade lunches and snacks," was born. It became a successful business for 5 years.

Recipes in Her Blog

You may find some of the best recipes in her blog.

Time Management

Myrtle has always had an ability with time management. She enjoyed advising friends and associates on management of time, energy and resources. That included kitchen design and storage. After retiring as a Registered Professional Home Economist, Myrtle continued with several experiences in house renovation and building design.

The Writer Emerges

Myrtle has five major works to her name and several smaller contributions, with more to come. She currently thinks of herself as a writer. Other more personal interests change with the current season or need: researcher, investor, bookkeeper, kitchen designer, decorator, gardener, mother and grandmother.

Community Volunteer

Through many years of volunteer activities Myrtle has gained a valuable understanding of leadership.

Public Speaking

In 1991, when she moved to North Saanich, Myrtle fulfilled a long-held desire to perfect her public speaking skills. In particular, how to meet a time limit. She joined International Training and Communication (ITC) and was able to hone that ability. Her blog post, "Learning to Speak in Public," describes that process.

As a member of Victoria #90 POWERtalk International, she has spoken to large groups and led beginner's workshops in writing, family history research and life planning. For similar training, Toastmasters is available in most communities.

 

Love of the Water

Myrtle has always been drawn to water and is happiest when she is near the sea. She has been fortunate to be close to water all her life and was lucky to have had a life partner who also loved the ocean. Readers of her books will gain a better understanding of the impact oceans have had on her life, from earliest days to the present.

There's more about Myrtle's life story in her books.

Everyone imagines that they have a past, a place where they can go feel the spirit of their ancestors. Myrtle Siebert is one of the lucky ones who found the spirit of her Norwegian ancestors and wrote about it in this lively and unassuming autobiography of herself and her family. — Mary Leah de Zwart, Ph.D.

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Updated: September 26, 2020