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Ellen Davignon
Ellen Davignon

Ellen Davignon was interviewed on November 6, 2008 by Stacey Carkhuff Baldridge at Ellen's home in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. In this interview, Ellen talks about the construction of the Alaska Highway and changes this brought to the region. She discusses growing up in the area, how things changed with the construction of the highway and airstrips, interacting with the soldiers who worked on the road, and improvements to transportation and purchasing of supplies. Ellen also talks about her father and family, running a lodge and later a campground, and the effects of tourism and the highway on the local economy.

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The Porsild family moves to Whitehorse

Building a highway lodge

Father knew the people were coming

A change in transportation in Whitehorse

Treasure hunting along the train tracks

Welcoming lonely soldiers into their home

Meeting with an old friend

Accepting the highway

The long drive for materials

Communities were very friendly

Ellen's parents' sense of adventure

Father was a stickler for table manners

Hard work at the lodge

Closing the lodge, opening the campground

Selling the business

The new owners kept the spirit of the lodge

Staying busy and enjoying life

Father liked to sleep cold

A hilarious incident with the heating vent

Living in a mobile home

Building a carport

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This is not a word-for-word transcript, so some pieces of the spoken conversation do not appear in the following transcript.

STACEY CARKHUFF: This is Stacey Carkhuff interviewing Ellen Davignon in Whitehorse. It is November 6th, 2008. Alright, so, can you tell me where you were born, and how you ended up here in this area of Whitehorse? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh, sure. I was born in Dawson City. My parents had come down from the Northwest Territories and my dad mined and trapped in that area and when the war came along, he got sort of sucked up into the war effort and went to work building the infrastructure for the highways and the airstrips for the lend-lease aircraft that were being shipped to Russia. And when he came back from that, there was no work in Dawson, so, and he hadn't done all that well mining and trapping, so he moved to Whitehorse, moved us all into Whitehorse and got work there. And so we were there for two or three years, while dad did odd jobs, he did, he worked on the Canol project for a while as a carpenter. And then he had three jobs; he went in 1945 he went to Marsh Lake and built a cabin (cruiser for the ?) at Marsh Lake it launched there. And then in '46 he went to Burwash and he built the Burwash Lodge and then in 1947 he took a job for the War Asset Corporation to destruct a number of buildings at Johnson's Crossing that were going to be removed to Teslin to build a residential school. And when we were in Johnson's Crossing he discovered this great camp on the west side of the river and, which was for sale, and he bought it for the War Asset Corporation for $500.00. Which was kind of ...STACEY CARKHUFF: Only $500.00. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Well, that was a lot of, that his summer's wages. STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, oh yeah. ELLEN DAVIGNON: So it was...and the plan of course was, there there was a gigantic mess hall there, and he was going to remove that to Whitehorse and, to build a home for us, we were renting.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: But, while he spent that summer there, he got a better idea that they would like to maybe build a highway lodge. The highway had just opened to, to public traffic. And so he thought that there was going to be some kind of future, having a building, having a business on the highway. And it turns out he was right. He had quite a time getting financing, you know the, the bank manager of the, at that time the only bank in Whitehorse just couldn't see any future in it, and ah. But there was the Bank of Montreal, it was just beginning, and the fellow there took a great interest. And made an advanced. We never looked back.

STACEY CARKHUFF: So you mentioned in your book that your dad thought that there would be traffic coming up the highway, that it would be did he know that? ELLEN DAVIGNON: I think, I think you know, the writing was on the wall. There was this highway, and people in a lather to go up and see Alaska, you know people from the 48, the southern 48. And were just, it was their highway, they had built it, and of course the Canadian government had by that time taken possession of it, but you know, they were, people were hell bent to go and see Alaska. The Last Frontier. STACEY CARKHUFF: Yea, that's cool. ELLEN DAVIGNON: And my dad was kind of forward thinking anyway. Yeah.

STACEY CARKHUFF: So then when you came to Whitehorse, um, then, compared to now, what are some of the major differences? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh man! STACEY CARKHUFF: I mean, besides the obvious like transportation and everything. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Whitehorse was just you know, so it wasn't the capital at that time, it was the transportation center of the Yukon. Everything came in by boat, by plane by that time, but by boat to Skagway and then up on the railway to Whitehorse where it went out to all the mining companies and to Dawson and to Mayo. And so Whitehorse was just the transportation; it was kind of the hub of the Yukon. It wasn't the capital. It didn't become the capital until 1952. But, it was just a little collection of shacks, and army buildings you know that had been put up or that were being put up. There was the US Army hospital, it was built then, and all the headquarters. It was, I'll tell you the main difference, of course aside from the wooden sidewalks which were wonderful. You know I used to lie my, we had a house that was right on the edge of the sidewalk it was practically you step from your front door right onto the sidewalk, and my bedroom was right around the corner, and the sound of people walking at night, that hollow sound of people walking on the wooden sidewalks because they were raised somewhat from the ground. So they really echoed. But the biggest thing were the dust clouds that used to sweep the, sweep through the town just on a daily basis. Whitehorse is built right on that silty bank of the river and there's southerly prevailing winds that just ...Whitehorse has always been a windy town, and that wind would just sweep along that river bank. And coming home from school, I can remember, you know, walking into dust clouds, you just, you know, you were covered. You were literally just covered with dust. And it makes me think of later on when we lived on the highway before they paved the highway, when the, you were traveling on the highway in a convoy or with another vehicle in front of you, or something it was the same thing. We followed a, one of the big transport trucks on a still day, and no kidding, the dirt used to roll down the, you used the windshield wipers to wipe the dirt off your windshields. It was...and that’s kind of what it always reminded me of. There was dust clouds that used to kind of just dance through town.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: But yea, those are the...and you know it was little; it was just little. We were very little ourselves, when we came to town. I was 5 and and my brother had just turned 8, and my little sister was younger, my older sister was several years older than us. But we, we just...the whole of Whitehorse was our playground, it was just...we knew everybody, you know before we lived here for very long, everybody knew who we were and you just, you knew. You know it was just so familiar to us. We knew every little back alley, and we played down under the wharves where the sewer came out. I still can't believe that. And one of the best things, you know they were hauling ore from Keno Hill Mines then and they would bring them upriver on the barges with the boats. And then they would load it onto the flatbeds on the train and take them off. And of course it was sacks, big heavy, heavy gunny sacks. There were always a few that had holes in them and we would walk along the tracks and pick up these big chunks of galena that had fallen out you know the silver bits and silver lead anyway, I don't know if that's zinc. But big shiny gobs. You know we would come home every night with our pockets just full of that stuff. Like we had treasure. After we moved to town in 1992, one of the first things that I did, of course the highway, the railroad had already stopped running then but one of the first things that I did was to go down and walk along the, along the railroad track up to the bend of the river just to looking for bits of galena. I couldn't find any. It had already been primed away. Anything that had been left had been picked up long since. STACEY CARKHUFF: They ruined it. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Mmm, yeah. STACEY CARKHUFF: That's fun. Cool.

STACEY CARKHUFF: So do you remember sitting with your parents, and chatting, and having them talk about the highway? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh yea, oh yea. STACEY CARKHUFF: Did they have good things to say about it? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yeah. Well, you know I don't know that they that they actually're talking about when they were building, it or afterward? STACEY CARKHUFF: During, after, results, everything. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Well, when we lived in Whitehorse, we moved to Johnson's Crossing in 1947, but we lived on the highway for those summers that I mentioned, '45, '46 and '47. And when we lived in Whitehorse, the big thing for us were the soldiers. And they were, they came into our homes, and you know they came home with my mom from church and she would feed them and for a time we lived across the river in Whitehorse, and went back and forth by boat to go to school. And one night, we were all in bed, but there was a knock at the door, and five men who had been cutting wood down on one of the islands out here for the American Army, my dad was working as a wood cutter and hauling wood up to the air- airport for the fellow that had the contract. But I don't know where this wood was going to, maybe just to keep their, I don't know. They had the wall tents maybe they were heated with, heated with wood. Anyway, these guys had been cutting wood over there, and, at a camp and they had seen our lights so they came over and they had a bottle of something, rum or something. And wanted to know if they could just come and visit. And I mean they were just, you know these people were just lonesome, they were so far away from home, and had seen the lights, of course my mom and father just being enormously hospitable and invited them in, and of course we kids all had to get up and come down. And they came back often, and I remember the first time in my life I'd ever seen somebody play with a cat with the knitting needle. It had never occurred to us that...

ELLEN DAVIGNON: It was very very interesting because in 19, that was, that would be in 1940, the winter of '43. And in 19, about 1968 we, my husband and I had already bought the lodge from my folks at Johnson's Crossing, and this fellow came in, in a great big motor home and he said, "Are there any Porsilds around here? I heard there were some Porsilds." And I said, "Oh, I used to be a Porsild." And he said, he said, "You probably wouldn't remember, but" he said, "My buddies and I came to your house one night when you were living across the"...and here it was one of those fellows that had. And he invited me out to the motor home, and I went out there and met his wife, and we sat there and we talked for literally for hours. STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, that's awesome. ELLEN DAVIGNON: He remembered it so well and because I remembered it as well, it just meant a lot to him you know that we were able to sit there and talk about things. It was very neat.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: But for talking about the highway, you know it was just, we it was just kind of accepted in our lives that that highway had been built. And I guess my mom and dad recognized that it was going to be, that there was going to be an affect from it. We kids didn't, you know to us it was one of these, one more wonder after living out in the bush for so long, one more wonder to have this big road. And my dad bought a big old white truck that got about 10 mpg, and we were able to run back and forth on this road with it.

STACEY CARKHUFF: So you had to drive from Johnson's Crossing all the way to Whitehorse to get your supplies for your lodge? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yes. Yep. We did all the years that we were there; we were there 45 years. Nothing ever changed. For some, a couple of enterprising companies did bring some supplies along the highway, you'd put in an order and they would bring it, but mostly we depended on ourselves to get back and forth and it was, you know we were only 80 miles out of town, so back in the day, as they say, you know it was a couple of hours trip two ways every day, or once a week or however often they did it. But you know, towards the end I used to go over in an hour and fifteen minutes or so. You know they paved the highway, it was wonderful. STACEY CARKHUFF: When was it, was it in the '70's mid '70's when the pave the highway? ELLEN DAVIGNON: When they started to yea. I believe it was probably. Yea, by the middle 80's certainly everything was paved. Ours was not one of the first sections to get paved, they paved it in patches. STACEY CARKHUFF: Yea, just like only did part of it. Interesting.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: But it was, it was the highway years were really pretty special. You know, every community, we were, there were so few of us you know, that everybody was so friendly and every community was like a little town unto itself. Yeah, people, people were generous with each other, you know we kind of lived in each other's pockets and you know there were little problems from time to time, but mostly it was just a very cohesive ...Somebody said it was the longest main street in the world. STACEY CARKHUFF: A lot of people say a linear town. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yeah, and it was true. Like when we moved to Whitehorse, people said, "Oh, that must be so different." But you know it wasn't. We, our, we moved back and forth to Whitehorse, it was just like moving you know, down the block a bit for us. Really it wasn't very different. We did our high school here in town.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yeah, but it was ...because there were so few- I think people were so friendly on the highway because there were so few of us and so glad to see anybody at all. And you know there's a lot to be said. My mother came to the, came to the lodge with no prior knowledge at all of running a business, you know. She fed the traveling public the way she fed her family. If she was fixing eggs for them and she broke an egg, well, too bad, it broke. And she, yeah, my mom was...she was an intrepid lady, my dad. She came from Denmark to marry my father in the Northwest Territories. She had only known him about three weeks, and it was a year later that she came over, they were engaged when he went back to Denmark, he was involved in the in the reindeer drive, when the took that herd of reindeer from Nome Alaska over to the west side of the Mackenzie Delta. He and my uncle were involved in that. And he had gone home to Denmark for a little holiday and met my mom there. And so she had never traveled anywhere in her life, and they had...but, and she was not a young woman, she was about 27 I think, about 26 when they married. And but she just accepted everything that dad wanted to do, you know, it was just an adventure for her, whether it was living up on the Mackenzie Delta and you know, with absolutely nothing. And having her babies in a little hospital that was not equipped to deal with...My first brother died, just at four days because there was not the facilities to deal with this. But she was just prepared to go anywhere with him, absolutely and when he said "Lets build a lodge." You know what she probably said? "Hey bubbie why not?" STACEY CARKHUFF: That's so awesome. ELLEN DAVIGNON: I know. I know. I'm afraid that I would not have that same spirit. But in fact when my husband suggested that we, we worked for my mom and dad after we got married and stayed there, boy I just wanted to be anywhere but at Johnson's Crossing. I was done with it, and when he said that we should buy it, I said "You're out of your mind, I'm not running a lodge, I want to get a white little farm..." But in fact. But my mom just embraced everything you know, she was just intrepid. And ah, she, she ran a good place, people liked her. STACEY CARKHUFF: Good. ELLEN DAVIGNON: My dad didn't have the temperament to be in, in a public business you know, he really didn't. My mom made up for it. She kind of.

STACEY CARKHUFF: Your dad was raised in Greenland, wasn't he? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yes, born in Denmark raised in Greenland. My dad, no I shouldn't say that he...he was a great story teller, and he loved an audience. He could keep people enthralled for hours. But boy if you didn't ? his big worst thing was if somebody came in and didn't take their, they sat down to order their lunch and didn't take their hat off. He'd go over and say "This is my house, take your hat off." STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, geeze. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Exactly. We just cringed. STACEY CARKHUFF: He probably made quite an impact on a lot of travelers. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh I'm sure he did. Both good and bad. STACEY CARKHUFF: Well. Well you had nowhere else to stay, that's any good. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Well you didn't have a whole lot of choice back in those days either. You know, when nighttime came down, you stayed wherever there was a place because there weren't that many places. STACEY CARKHUFF: No. And now there's none. ELLEN DAVIGNON: I know, a lot of the places have shut down, and it's sad. But you know, the highway has gotten so good, and you know you can just get from point A to point B, you know without having to stop at along these little places, and so they just weren't able to sustain themselves.

STACEY CARKHUFF: Do you think maybe the highway made Canada, made Alaska, seem a lot smaller? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh, definitely. Certainly opened up the Yukon, before that we always had to depend on the boats or you know, increasingly planes. But you know once you got a road, man there's just no stopping it. But it was very interesting living at Johnson's Crossing. We were just kids when we got there, for us it was just one huge adventure, you know. But it was tough for my folks to start with, you know. The traffic was coming but it wasn't there yet. But boy we sure learned to work. STACEY CARKHUFF: I bet. ELLEN DAVIGNON: You just, you know everybody had to help, and when we took over, we bought it from my folks in '65, and you know we raised our kids in the business. I just wish I'd taken, gotten some of my grand kids in there. They could have learned a few things about, about working. My kids worked from the time they could open a door for a tour bus. Yeah, they could make a hospital corner on the bed by the time they were 10 years old. Yeah. STACEY CARKHUFF: You trained them well. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Oh, well you know, they didn't even have a choice, they didn't even, they never questioned. It was just the way it was; everybody worked. And at 9 o'clock, when, after we closed the lodge, we would close the lodge. When we had the lodge we were open 356 days a year, 7 in the morning until 11 at night. It was tough. It was really tough for the women. Then men, they got to stand around and BS, and you know serve some gas and fix a tire, not that it was all that easy but, you know, lots of times Phil was up in the middle of the night fixing tires for the trucks, and so on. But by and large it was the women. It was just that everlasting sameness, it didn't matter whether it was busy or not, you still had to get up and make the pies, and make the soup, and make the specials and you know, it was just, you were on from 7 in the morning until 11 at night, literally, especially in the winter. In the summer you had a little more help, you know because it was busier but there too, especially a place like ours was pretty much family run. If anybody wanted to take a day off, well I just worked a double shift, or cooked and served you know, whatever I was able to do. It was really, a hard, hard life. And sometimes I would see these motor homes come in and be just sick with the idea that I would want to be going somewhere too you know. And of course our summers were totally, you were just chained to that store.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: But once we went with the campground, I really got so I hated the lodge. We ran it from '65 to '78 as a lodge. '77. And then we closed that, no it was '78, after my dad died. Anyway we closed the lodge, and we opened the next summer as a campground and I changed, we put in a little convenience store, and I was just going to bake bread and cinnamon buns, you know to have along with the store, and everything else was going to be a little part of...The campground was supposed to be the business, the gas pumps, it's own little part of the business. But the convenience store was just going to be that; a few groceries, and I wasn't going to cook anything, you know to order. And it wasn't very long before, you know because our restaurant had been pretty good, people still came in expecting to find you know, home cooked stuff, and so at first I just made the bread, and then it got to be cinnamon buns and then it got to be any line of stuff, and at the end ...I still wasn't making, you know, if you ordered your own birthday cake or something, but I was cooking 7 tons of flour in a season, in bread, and donuts and tarts and turnovers and cakes and donuts and pizzas and meat pies. Just, it was just an enormously good business, but you know what? I used to get up at 3 o'clock in the morning, and I just loved it. I loved it, I didn't ever want to sell. Phil, Phil was quite a bit older than I, and he got, he got tired. He really didn't want to be there anymore, and I just said, "Oh, come on Phil, you know, we've got things to do." But at the end, I just dragged my feet until I just, I just thought ...I was pretty much carrying the whole boat. Phil had just had kind of given up, he wanted , wanted out. And finally I just thought, you know I can't do this anymore. I had, you know he's not keeping up his part, we didn't have a proper water system, you know the water tanker for supplying people with water and we'd get down, and he wouldn't get it filled.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: Finally I said "Ok, lets sell." Well then I agreed to sell it, and he didn't want to sell it anymore, and the people, the people, it sold almost right away, the people that bought it came up to work on the bridge, they were a construction company from Fort Nelson. And they saw it, and they spent 2 months there in the fall, and they knew right away that one of the first things the fellow said to me when he came, he said, "I heard this place is for sale." And I said, "Yeah, it is." And he said, "Oh, well we were kind of looking for a place to buy." They wanted some business they could run in the summer, the did construction and oil, oil field work in the winter, but they wanted a place for the summer. So before they left they kind of wanted to talk to Phil about it. Well he would not be collared. And finally one day we had, we had a corner bench that went around two ways and he got one on either side of him so he couldn't get out of it. STACEY CARKHUFF: They cornered him. ELLEN DAVIGNON: Yeah, they cornered him. And they said, "Come on Phil, we've been wanting to talk about this." He said, "We've been watching, we can see what a good business you have." Well, he says, "That doesn't mean that you'd help." I thought, oh good Phil, if you don't want to sell it, you're going about it the right way. But boy they just persevered, and they made us an offer, and Phil said, "No not enough." And they countered and they said, "Yeah, Ok." And it was just as simple as that. So, we stayed there that winter, and they just came in May, end of April and took it over. And I stayed, it was pretty good. Because I, I, you know as I said I really love that business, and you know I had spent 45 years of my life there, it would have been hard to leave. But I stayed for three months after we sold it to help Caroline get her feet under her, figure out how it's all done, and by the time those three months were up, you know the place was just absolutely wasn't mine anymore. The prices had gone way up, and, and everything was different. They had done a lot of work, they put in, boy before they'd been there for two months, or two weeks they put in a whole new sewer system, and a water system, they put in a dump station, put in some more ...Because they were a construction company, they had all the equipment. And knew about places.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: Phil, Phil and I were, we were kind of like my mom and dad. We knew what we could do, but we didn't know what we couldn't do. We didn't know what could be done. So it was pretty interesting when they took over. And so when I left there, I just packed up you know what I had left, and my cat, and I left and I never even shed a tear, and I'm pretty emotional and for me to just pick and go. But you know, people used to come and sit in the kitchen and have coffee and 9 times out of 10 I'd say, "Oh, have it on the house today, I'll get you double next time" that sort of thing. And of course once it wasn't mine anymore I couldn't do that. And quite often I'd have people come over and have supper with us, you know just because they were, just because I wanted them to come have supper, and, I just, it just wasn't my place anymore. And so when I left there it was...It was good, it was probably the best thing I could have done is to stay there for that period of time. But they got a good job of it, and I like to go back and have a look. They tore down the old lodge after a few years, it was, the didn't' get much when the bought the lodge, you know they got a really good business, nice property, wonderful location, but in fact you know that building was pretty...It had been built from second hand lumber in 1947 and '48 and it was not, not a wonderful place. Dad was, dad was a pretty good carpenter, but he wasn't all that careful you know. And I don't think there was a square corner in the whole place. And then, they left it empty during the winter for three or four years, and that just hastened it's demise. You know, you can't leave a big old wooden building without heat. It just, you just can't. It just, things start going wrong right away. And so they tore it down and build a new place. And they set up the front just like the old place was, so that you walk into the bit of the store and the counter on the side. And they just, they kept the spirit of it. When I walk in there, I feel like I'm walking into our old lodge sometimes. STACEY CARKHUFF: Mmm, that's nice.

STACEY CARKHUFF: So you think they did a pretty good job? ELLEN DAVIGNON: They did, and they run it well. They did a lot of, a lot of nice things. Things that I would have wanted done while I was, while I was doing it, know know that we never, we never could see our way to do it. Phil just didn't have the know-how to put in a whole new plumbing system. And you know and we didn't have the equipment and it would have been so expensive. But yeah, it was, it was a great place. I hated the lodge, I really didn't like the lodge. Never did, not even when I was a kid, you know like, it was great, it was great when we were kids, you know we helped my mom, but the business wasn't as busy as when we took it over. Once we took it over, it was you know, you were just absolutely tied to it, you know it was just so busy. But we always, my mom, every night after, after the people were fed and the dishes were done, she would get in and play the piano for the whole evening, and that was a big, big, big part of our kid-hood. You know we were standing around the piano singing, my dad sang all the customers would either sit in the living room and listen, or come and join us, and, it was just a different time, and we didn't, we didn't' have locks on our doors. STACEY CARKHUFF: Oh, yea.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: You know? And dad never, dad liked to sleep cold, so he just assumed that everybody did, so he never had made any arrangements to have heat in the rooms, and he would just, he would take them up and show them the room, and then he'd say "When you're ready to go to bed, just leave your door open a little bit, you know, it gets heat in the hall, but not in the room." And people did. You know it was just that time. And, and you know, quite often before my mom went to bed, she'd go and see if everybody had enough covers, she'd tuck a hot whiskey bottle full of hot water, and you know under their blankets. I'm sure she even tucked them, I bet she even kissed them goodnight! Because she was just that kind of person, you know, she was just that motherly, you know she was short, stout little woman, little round woman. You know.

ELLEN DAVIGNON: It was funny. Dad, after you know, in the later years, just before we took over, he had, he had realized you know that a lot of people wanted to have warmer rooms, and of course with the old barrel stove down in the living room under the, in the dining, right at the corner of the dining room, actually. He thought you know, he got so much heat there, if he put registers in the ceiling, going to these rooms. Well, he put them in, but his heart really wasn't in it. And he just put a few screws to hold these registers in place, and they were under the bed, this one, especially number three which was right over the, over the first table, the main table in the dining room. And not too long after we'd bought the lodge there was a huge, well the Anvil Mine was starting up, up in Faro, and our little business really got a shot in the arm, we had just bought it, and all of the sudden we were getting all this business because people were going back and forth and Canol road is open, and people are driving, that would be the second year I guess in '66. Anyway, one night I was just, just getting ready to close, I was just getting ready to cash out the till and I thought I'd locked the door, and I hadn't and the place was packed. We were filled to the brim. Didn't have, we only had 10 rooms, but we were filled, and I heard the door open, and I thought, "I'll be damned, I thought I had locked it, and this guy came in really fast, and he said, "Oh, I gotta see, I gotta see so-and-so, I think he's staying here tonight." And so we looked at the registry, and I said, yeah, he's here, but I said, "The place is, the place full and the rooms, you know, you could like hear from one end of the hallway to the other it was..." And he said, "Please, I just have to see this guy." And I said, "Well, Ok" I said, "He's in number three, but you go quietly, and you don't stay any longer than you need to" and I said "Be quiet going and coming." So he went upstairs, and I could hear then, I could hear their voices and they were kind of laughing and scuffling, and all the sudden, I don't know what happened, moved the bed some, all of the sudden, the leg, the leg of the bed dropped through the floor, because he just had a piece of wire over the top. Or kind of a bettle mesh, and all the sudden, the whole register fell down on the table, knocked over the sugar and the, and the, napkin holder, and just went "crash." And here's this leg projecting through that far. There was just dead silence up there. Then all of the sudden, just as noiselessly, I just saw that leg just rise up out of the floor and disappear and then pretty soon "chuk chuk chuk" the guy left. STACEY CARKHUFF: He probably thought he was going to get busted! ELLEN DAVIGNON: It was one of the funniest things of my life; I just I, every time I think of that, I just about have a fit. I can just see that leg lifting, just as noiselessly, just as if there is nothing on the other end, just raise up out of the floor, out of the ceiling. STACEY CARKHUFF: How did it fall through in the first place? ELLEN DAVIGNON: Well, I don't know whether he had dropped something behind the bed; when we were making the beds, we had to be careful, because that reg, that hole was right there, even with a piece of mesh over it, it was not going to keep it...And I don't know whether it had got pulled out from the wall, or, I don't know, I didn't ask.