Sandy Foubister Grunow:
a short biography

If you look up "Foubister" with "Orkney" on the internet, you will find a veritable covey of Foubisters. And, you will note, one of those Orkney Islands is called "Sanday". Thus, Sandy came by her 6 feet of height and her blonde hair honestly: The Orkneys were settled by Norsemen, tall and blonde Norsemen. She told me once that she saw a 19th century photo of an Orkney woman with a little girl, and... the woman looked just like Sandy, and the little girl was the spitting image of Sandy's niece, Lisa.

The Orkneys exported tough, hard working people who wanted to see the world, every bit of it. Sandy's mother was born off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, and one of her grandmothers lived in Australia. Sandy herself was born in Victoria, BC, Canada, and spent time in the Caribbean as well as the wilderness of central British Columbia. About the time she graduated from high school, her parents left to teach school in Africa. Sandy joined the Royal Canadian Navy to see the world.

While in the Navy, she was trained in long range underwater detection of nuclear submarines. This pursuit required a mathematical mind, and Sandy had one of those. She always liked mathematical puzzles, and she took a correspondence course in math for the fun of it. One of her ancestors (she was proud to tell you) was John Napier, the Scottish matematician who invented logarithms.

After her time in the navy, she worked in Toronto and Calgary for various insurance companies. Until... she saw a help wanted ad for a 'housekeeper' in a 'wilderness lodge' way up in the Yukon. Consider that another branch of Sandy's ancestors were actors. Her grandfather, Douglas Herald (born in Argentina; member of the Royal Navy in WWI), was an actor who toured with Charlie Chaplin and Harry Lauder and performed in every major country in the world. He was known as the "Rich Vagabond." Is it so surprising, then, that when Sandy saw that ad, she saw Romance! Drama! Glamour!

She dressed her best for the plane trip north to Watson Lake, Yukon. Off that airplane she floated, all 6 feet of her, her hair up in a fashionable back-combed chignon, miniskirt, gloves, nylon stockings, little fur jacket and high spike heels. Sandy definitely knew how to make an entrance. And into her new employer's truck she climbed, and down the gravel highway they drove (this was 1969), to Iron Creek Lodge. The truck drivers took one look out the window at this tall apparition, and bet she would (maybe) last a couple of days. But she stayed in Canada's North for the rest of her life.

Sandy worked as a chambermaid, a cook, a barmaid, a waitress and a bookkeeper. She worked in the Watson Lake Sawmill, she staked mining claims in the wilderness, she managed the Watson Lake Hotel, and later, in Skagway, the Sgt Preston's Motel.

But getting to the basics: why Sandy left so many friends on this earth after she died in 2003. She was a "Story Teller." By transforming our own doings, our quirks and our tics into those stories and poems of hers, Sandy lent Romance! Drama! Glamour! to OUR lives. That was her rare and magic talent.