Saturday, 2 September 2006

The saga of Kipling and the red paperclip

Kyle Macdonald and Alice CooperKyle MacDonald wanted a house. So he put a red paper clip up for trade.

This is the normal way of going about getting a house, isn't it?

His quirky approach to house ownership attracted international attention, and the whole town of Kipling, Saskatchewan is now throwing him a house-warming party. Because he actually succeeded in trading a paperclip for a house. With more than a dozen intermediate trades along the way and a little help from Alice Cooper along the way, mind you. He chronicled the whole process at his blog, One Red Paperclip.

For such a small town (1200 people), Kipling, Saskatchewan, has attracted a lot of attention over the years, sometimes unwanted. It first attracted my personal attention when my father married a Kipling native, but that didn't exactly make international waves. It didn't even make big waves in Kipling.

The romance novelist Mary Balogh succeeded in raising the town's profile a little more than that. Some townspeople were a little concerned when they found out those steamy scenes were being written by the elementary school principal, but once she retired from teaching, I guess the controversy more or less died down.

Then there was the case of the infamous Dr. John Schneeberger, who sedated his female patients to facilitate rape. That one got a lot of attention, I'm afraid, and still can provoke a lot of feeling in Kipling. The first victim was not believed for a good number of years, because the very popular doctor was uncommonly good at covering his tracks.

And you now know more about Kipling than you ever thought to ask.

Really, you don't have to thank me.

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