Every red dot on the map indicates a location the Coles have travelled. Also shown are some of the items they’ve collected over the years. photo submitted

Every red dot on the map indicates a location the Coles have travelled. Also shown are some of the items they’ve collected over the years. photo submitted

Local couple shows off clothing collection after decades worth of travel

Paintearth Lodge resident Myrtle Cole displayed her collection of dresses accrued from her many adventures abroad

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

The residents of Castor’s Paintearth Lodge were treated to a fashion show on Feb. 17th, curated by one of their own.

Lodge resident Myrtle Cole, who has been quite the travel bug over the years, was given permission by Paintearth Lodge management to show off her collection of dresses accrued from her many adventures abroad.

Myrtle and her husband Art began travelling in 1970, with one of their first trips being to Western Samoa, in the South Pacific. Locals there made Myrtle a dress, beginning her collection.

“In Western Samoa they made a dress for her,” said Art Cole.

“Every place we got to go (after that) she got a dress.”

Eventually, Myrtle’s clothing collection grew to over 40 pieces.

“I worked in the Coronation home,” said Myrtle. “They always wanted something from a different country. I let them wear (the items).”

Myrtle’s travel bug began when she worked for as a telephone operator in Wetaskiwin, while she was training to be a police officer.

Someone recommended to her that in order to be a good police officer, she needed more experience in dealing with people, and recommended her to volunteer with ‘God’s Invasion Army,’ a Christian outreach group that travelled the United States. She travelled with the group for a year, before returning home.

After returning, Myrtle, then married to Art, spent four winters in Hawaii working with her sister-in-law at the Salvation Army.

During the rest of the year, the Coles lived at the family farm in Brownfield, and Myrtle continued working in Coronation.

“We always had three months off while we were farming,” said Myrtle. Other trips the couple have taken have included Japan, Chine, New Zealand, Europe, and Myrtle’s favourite, Israel.

“We saw the scriptures from the mountain,” said Myrtle. “They were the original Bible scrolls.”

After retiring in 1989, Art and Myrtle’s travel did not slow down. They bought a motorhome and proceeded to travel through most of the continental United States, missing just five states.

After retirement, the couple relocated to Camrose, where Myrtle served as a member of the Red Hats, where the idea was first floated to host a fashion show, showcasing her clothing collection from all over the world.

When relocating to Paintearth Lodge three years ago, Myrtle’s collection ended up in a lodge storage room. Recently Myrtle made the decision to pass all the items on to her granddaughter.

When she requested the items to be removed from storage, Paintearth Lodge staff asked if she would be willing to put on a fashion show here.

“It took them three years to let me do it,” laughed Myrtle.

“I said to Brenda (Kneller), you’re storing those dresses downstairs. She asked me to do the fashion show. We were going to try and get the high school kids to do the show, but due to the lockdown we couldn’t.”

It took two weeks to organize the successful event, with several volunteers stepping in to show off the items. With the show done, the items are now safely in the hands of the Cole’s granddaughter.

The final trip Art and Myrtle Cole took together was 13 years ago, for their 50th anniversary, a cruise around South America.