~ Hetty circa 1922 ~
Hetty says: My Own Biography – [Aunt Hetty was born on the 16th February 1901 in Hyde, Derbyshire, England]:
I can remember before I went to school being afraid of a gander we had and also getting potatoes up [from the root cellar] for Mother to roast for the other children to eat when they got home from school in the winter time.
And oh, how long noon hour used to seem when we were huddled in the manger in front of four horses and the boys would make the horses kick in our little old school barn. And how badly I felt when Don Finlayson’s little yallor dog “Sport” tore my nice new pinafore red, Mother had just made me.
When I was in Grade IV (but should have been in grade one for all I knew) the elder pupils did our work and we copied it; we got a new teacher. Our new teacher Miss Lillian lamb from Plumas gave me the only strapping I got in school for not being able to do square measure. I can see to this day the square yard marked off in square feet on the school floor. She couldn’t understand why the rest of us were so dumb and Frances was so clever, she being the only one who didn’t get a strapping that day.
Frances got a good start in England and the rest of us didn’t get a start until that day. From then on we paid attention and I am very thankful to Miss Lamb. She did sewing for Mother for Connie and Jessie for she knew Mother had too much to do. She stayed one year at our school and only received $550.00 I believe.
Mrs. Lamb used to send Mother her daughter’s clothes that they had outgrown and I can remember how glad we used to be to get the bag and sort out what would fit us.
School life went on with its ups and downs changing teachers too often for the good of the pupils. When I wrote my Grade VIII I had a man teacher Mr. Pecover and he was very good. In later years he normalized at Regina taking the same class I took also Arthur Brown from Plumas. The year I wrote Grade VIII was the year I almost died from diphtheria. We were all sick that spring; Beatrice, Edith and I had diphtheria; Jessie, Connie and Fred measles; Sydney double pneumonia; Mother got laid up with rheumatism; Dad I don’t know what.
Frances was teaching and encouraged me to go through school and be a teacher and we would get a town school and I could teach primary and she the higher grades. I was very fond of little children and since Connie and Jessie were still young and didn’t like to go alone I kept on going to school until I had my grade ten and then I had to go to Portage La Prairie for grade eleven. Edith had already quit school so she was at home to help and they said they didn’t need me. But I was very happy at home milking as many as seven cows each end of the day and carrying and splitting the days wood in winter and tending chickens feeding pigs and tie up the cattle in winter time. I lit the school fire and swept the floor and dusted for as little as 5¢ a day and the most I got was 15¢ a day. We did it most of the time we went to school.
When I first went away to school I was lonesome for the rest of the family and would gladly have left the books and gone home to work, but we were brought up to stay with a job so I persevered and from zero on my first exams I came in fifth in my room at Easter. There were over 60 pupils in my room. I was one full year in geometry behind and I had a supplement In Spelling to write and started working for my board, which was all work and no time for study.
Frances came to my rescue and sent me $200.00 and that was all I had for a year’s education. Mr. and Mrs. Wilds where I boarded were a fine couple. She took us to church with her and it was then I first heard John 5:16 and my soul burned within me. I couldn’t wait to tell Fred, Connie and Jessie.
Mr. Wild’s father was a Salvationist and while visiting at their home one Sunday the Army leaders came over and begged May Raincock and I to go to their meetings. We promised and went; I enjoyed the meetings very much but May didn’t; she being English church. Difficulties arose on account of me going alone so my pleasure was short.
I got Grade eleven, having 96% in algebra on my last exam for which I was very pleased.
That fall I applied for Ivanhoe School and taught until Christmas on a permit. I boarded with Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Vesey and they were very good to me.
Well, I remember having to teach Charlie Vesey his grade VIII grammar, set the exam and mark it and then submit it to the department. Before I sent it in I took it into Mildred Lamb for a thorough checking.
From Ivanhoe I went to Tisdale and taught at Sunnybrook some thirty five miles north east.
Frances and Merle met me in Tisdale and we drove out in a cutter and I’m sure I frosted my feet. I taught at Sunnybrook from March 03rd until summer holidays and in that short time put three girls over a year’s work in grade VIII. Irene Buchanan passed with honors and Hilda Scott and Leona Cleveland passed. All were good workers and willing so they deserve the credit not I. I feel sorry for the grade one pupils and I would love to have taught them over again when I knew how.
One morning on our way to school we helped put out a fire in the roof of Cleveland’s house.
When the snow went we waded in water over our knees every morning to get to school and on the road where Paisley’s little boy had to come, the water was up to our waists. I had no permit to teach so had to go to Normal [School].
I went in the fall and while there had my tonsils removed in the doctor’s office (McCutcheon) on Friday evening and he took me back to where I roomed and on Monday I was back at Normal School. During Christmas holidays I had my goiter removed, as it was upsetting my whole system. Dr. Johnstone removed it. And again I could have passed on. I got pleurisy and my temperature was up to 105 and I was delirious. So they called my parents and they came to visit me.
Before my throat was healed up I went to Penzance where I taught for one and a half years. The inspector (Mr. McKechnie) told me I should ask for more wages. So I did but they refused and I went to Golden West, 20 miles north of Stoughton.
I stayed until Christmas and they were very good to me. I didn’t enjoy my boarding place so went back to Normal [school] to get my full Second Class. They begged me to stay but I Normalled and when I got out you couldn’t get a school.
While in Normal I spent my Saturdays painting china so took work at the studio until I got Long Creek Valley School at Parry [Saskatchewan] in July 1922. There I met Sam [Thomas] and we were married on the 25th August 1924.
I taught six weeks at Emerald Hill that fall and drove seven miles, night and morning. Most mornings it was 20 below zero. The weather got so bad and stormy they closed the school. After Christmas they wanted me back at Long Creek so I taught one and a half years more.
We bought the farm we now live on for $2400.00 but still lived on the Clancy farm. Sam lined the upstairs; put a foundation under the house; built a car shed, three granaries and a barn. We worked long days and hard but every year we got more debt as the drought had come. I planted trees and made a good garden spot, and took care of chickens, pigs, cows and turkeys and we managed to get food and a few clothes.
Sam’s health gave out, having had rheumatic fever in England. He had many bad spells of rheumatism and it finally went to his heart.
We moved onto our farm in the spring of 1938. The boys and I spent the winter of 1937 and 1938 in Regina with sissy’s [her sister Frances] three girls and I doctored all that winter. Sam farmed in 1938 and then had to quit; his health was gone. He was in hospital and bed most of that winter and after that he told the boys and I how to do things and when he could he worked in the garden and in the house. The fall of 1941 the boys went to Milestone school and batched in a small room in the hotel. Thanks to Mrs. Kays for the way she helped them. I washed and baked for them as we only had $12.00 a month, “mother’s allowance” to put them to school on. It took $10.00 a month for rent and I gave the boys $1.00 each spending money. And they nearly always brought us a chocolate bar home for a treat.
Sam got so poorly he had to move into a room in the hotel so as to be handy to the Doctor; the roads were getting blocked. Roy Ashton took them [the boys] to Milestone after Christmas for me. Sam was in bed most of the time and finally had to go to Regina [Saskatchewan] hospital. He came home and Ed and Blanche came to see him. But he soon had to go back. And he passed away on the 22nd April 1942.
That winter I was alone for the first time in my life on a farm. The first week was awful but I got used to it. I took care of horses, cattle, pigs and poultry and cleaned Crested Wheat Grass and Grain and farmed from then on with what help the boys could give me and go to school. I hadn’t nerve enough to drive horses so I got a tractor. We had so many run-a-ways on the Clancy farm.
Some of my neighbors laughed at the idea of my buying a tractor and said I’d never pay for it but I had the first tractor in this district and paid for it too.
In the summer of 1942 I bought a small combine which put us on our feet. Again the neighbors advised against it. But we paid for it.
When Sam was sick I had to scrub roads to pay hospital bills and one summer I had to go out and plow for a neighbor to get money to buy gas to do my summer-fallowing. I lost my best milk cow that year with milk fever and the winter of 1939 in March we lost a good milk cow in the bad blizzard. We found her next day and Mr. Ferguson came with his team and we rolled her on the [stone] boat and brought her home. We did everything we could but she died. So I had one milk cow left; “Nellie” who kept us in milk and butter for several years.
In 1942 we had a good crop and each year since we’ve had crops. In the fall of 1942 the boys went to Regina to Balfour Technical School where they got grades eleven and twelve. [Willie was 16 years old; Rae was 15 years old].
Mr. Magzig boarded them at the Bible School until they became overcrowded and then the boys boarded and then batched. They worked hard and were recommended each year so were out to help with the work. Willie came highest in the school the last year so got the medal. Rae was third.
Rae was young for the grades so thought he’d like to stay home, which he did for three years. Willie went on through University and got his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. He is now attending St. Andrew’s college and preaches during summer time. Rae went to Pambrum Bible School last winter and again this winter.
Melvin Lindstrom and I were married on the 22nd November 1944 in Regina by the Baptist Minister (Mr. Bentall). Reception in Novia Café with 25 guests present. We had a short honeymoon in Regina before coming back to the farm where about 50 neighbors and friends schivareed us which we all enjoyed. They gave us a collection of $25.00 and many lovely gifts.
Melvin owned a threshing outfit and was handy with machinery and also at carpenter work. In 1945 we remodeled the homestead shack Jonas Johnson had built in 1905. Melvin head carpentered and the boys and I helped. We worked on it for over two years but we have a comfortable home now, a full basement, furnace and a one and a half story house with bathroom and four bedrooms. Soft and hard water cisterns under the kitchen. Now we need a water system. We have our own electric light plant.
The boys rented a section of land which they farm in the summer time.
The winters of 1947 and 1948 were both bad winters for snow as you will see by these cuttings. But Rae and Melvin worked hard all the winter of 1947 caring for the stock. The winters of 1948 and 1949 Melvin and I were alone on the farm and that brings us up to date. (February 02nd 1949).
When my boys were born I gave them to the Lord. And I tried to do my duty as a mother to bring them up in the way the Lord would want me to. I did my best to get them to Sunday School and when there wasn’t any we had Sunday School at home.
We had Friday evening meetings which we all enjoyed one winter. Ralph and Amy Ashton, Fergusons and us. We studied a correspondence course and the boys and I wrote it that spring and both have their diplomas for same.
They were quite young when Mr. Fosberg was preaching and teaching in Vernie Lindstrom’s barn and Mr. H. Weins held Summer Bible School at the same time. Rae said When I grow up I’m going to be like Mr. Weins. (Rae was six years old I think).
We had a bible school student by the name of Edward Schmidt when Rae was three and Willie four and they each got buttons for reciting fifteen bible verses. He was a great blessing to me and the community. He did much spiritual work visiting in the homes and preaching on Sundays. The “Lean Thirties” when we were all so hard up. He never took a collection yet he lived. We gave him what we had and he broke in a bronco and rode and drove him.
Laurs Rasmussen got saved about this time and he too went about the community, visiting and spreading forth the gospel.
Mrs. Weatherall, Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Fosberg, Laurs Rasmussen and Mr. Beeching were all great helps to me in strengthening my faith and helping me to understand the “Word”.
At the present time Rae is studying under Mr. Schmidt’s teachings at M.M.B.I. at Pambrun. And says he knows his bible better than most teachers, yet when Mr. Schmidt went to Bible school in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he couldn’t write English,. He and his mother were exiled to Siberia during World War I and rode all the way through rain and storm in a wagon. He said it was a miracle that his mother was still alive, what they went through on that trip and after they got there. They had no food and some school teacher had the children each bring a potato to school and she gave them the potatoes for food.
Truly god had work for him to do so he was saved from death. And I’m sure many more would say with me. Thank god for saving him and sending him to Parry.
[There is more religious preaching’s at this conjecture in her story, but I am going to leave them out. She never mentions which organization she was involved in. It may have been Jehovah Witnesses, Seven Day Adventists, or Christian Evengelists. It is worth noting here that she appeared to be more religiously radical in her earlier years – between 1920 and 1945. She didn’t appear to be as religiously aggressive after she married Melvin Lindstrom.
My father, Harold Andrew, called them “Holy- Rollers”. He attended Hetty’s Sunday school and religious meetings as a small child between the ages 5 and 8 years; he indicated that they did some unusual things during their religious gatherings.
My father must have been an incorrigible little brat because he often spoke of being spanked by Aunt Hetty during her classes, both regular school and Sunday school, for not paying attention.
Then she jumps to the following passage, which is not totally dated, but it must have been after her brother Fred was struck by lightning and killed.]
Just received Jessie’s biography yesterday and while it was mother’s prayers that I remain on earth it seems for all concerned that it may have been better otherwise. [Her brother Fred was struck by lightning on the 05th July 1944]. Since I was the cause of Fred’s coming west. That just proves how small our capacities are compared to God’s. We fell we are doing the right thing but find out it was just the worst thing we could do.
However, I saw what the older boys went through and felt Fred should have a chance for himself before he got married and also learn the way of salvation. The company he was with at the dances wasn’t what I thought good for him. We had been having fair crops and I hoped he’d get a start. But without God you can do nothing. The rain ceased; the crops failed. Fred wasn’t happy and none of us had any money but he didn’t seem to care to go back to Manitoba to farm after being on the prairies.
Mother had been with us before Willie was born  and seemed to think she’d like to come out with Fred. But I guess Dad didn’t care to move.
THE END OF HER BIOGRAPHY.
Avis Andrew (Nielsen) writes: “I had written Aunt Hetty for her memories of my mother’s family, the Haywood and Tomes families of Plumas. Her answer not only included her memories of the Haywoods (she spells it Heywood) but of her own life when young.”
~~ January 11th 1983: [Aunt Hetty is now 82 years old]: ~~
Dear Avis, Leif and Kurt, This has been a grand morning writing this out for you. Brought back many memories of by gone days. And I could see the old Hobson house in the bushes east of Connie’s farm. I remember picking fruit there with Mother and looking in the window holes. Now that is a long time ago. About 1906 I’d say. I remember the Buxton house on the west slope of the ridge; a two storey. But I can’t remember too well the Heywood house. I know we went in on the north or west and the ceiling as we went in rather low. Perhaps it was a wood shed over the back door. I rather think there were bedrooms over the front room. It was a large room but I think Mrs. Heywood’s bedroom was off the front room downstairs.
Oh Avis my green thumb is a black thumb because I seldom wear gloves in the garden. Brenda Laurence Camire’s wife gave me a nice pair of gardening gloves and hand lotion for Christmas. I have leather gloves when trimming rose bushes and gooseberries but they are too stiff and awkward for most jobs. My neighbor last fall gave me a soft pair of gloves. It was cold one morning working in the garden gathering in the cabbages, turnips etc. And my hands were cold. He had about six pair so I took one. I put his garden in and took care of it all summer. He had the gloves when in the oil business but lost his driver’s license from drunken driving so had little use for them now. He should get his license back any time now. So after 3 years of no car, 83 will be a wonderful year for him. I’m glad for him. I’m anxiously waiting for him to get it. I’m afraid to drive on these icy streets and I’m sure he could handle the car better than I. And it may happen in 83 that he can arrange a trip to Manitoba. He has a son in Pinawa and if he would; he could drop me off at Plumas. Selah (wait and see).
It was quite cold last night but it is warming up again. Ian Thomas came to Weyburn [Saskatchewan] and took me out to Parry for Christmas in his Datsun truck. He had his little son 6 weeks old out to Grandma and Grandpas for Christmas. Laurie’s three were just dressed so lovely. Coralee and Allison, white lacy dresses with navy spots and navy overskirt and inch shorter than the white dresses and their hair just shining. Their little brother, a grey pair of pants and grey vest and white shirt. His hair shining and his face beaming. They all looked so nice. Rae and Audrey gave the children their outfits and they gave Ian’s wife 3 nice tops. Someone gave Ian a jogging suit and Gloria said little Johnnie Rae had been on the race track. She races some too and some of the trophies were hers. The little girls thought Johnnie Rae a little darling. Audrey made a lovely dinner and I took out two big bunches of grapes, one green and one red, and 2 pounds of shelled peanuts. A box of turtles and another box of turtles for their anniversary December 27th. They all munched on the grapes, nuts and candy until we had dinner about 2 PM. Then came the dishes. I held wee baby before dinner. Then I washed dishes. I always told Audrey if she made the dinner we should do the dishes. I washed and Audrey’s mother dried and Audrey put away. I was almost played out when I got done. Why? Sunday I came down with the flu and I stayed in my own house until January 07th. I was well over it then I went to a neighbor’s birthday party. Today I had baked potatoes and sour cream, a slice of bologna, nice mild beet pickle and lettuce salad for dinner. I was adding to the family tree book. Your letter came at the right time to answer it. So Happy New Year to all.
P.S. Debby Thomas was married right before Christmas. She married a hippy first time. I may go to Morris Drysdale’s wedding June 04th. Are you coming? It is in Brandon [Manitoba].
~ THE GOOD OLD DAYS ~
~By Hetty Lindstrom~
This perhaps I shouldn’t tell but it was funny and yet was it? We had a swing set to the west of the house. And Pete Manning and Frank Heywood were at our place. They had been drinking. Frank got on the swing set standing up and got the swing going high. He said, “Francis B. Heywood the black sheep of the family” and jumped off when the swing was high in the air. Of course all the onlookers had a good laugh and he didn’t get hurt. So it wasn’t so bad. I don’t know how old I was but if Frank was killed in World War I, it was before then so I was probably ten or eleven. I think I was 14 when I worked at Mrs. Browns. She had 5 children the oldest 6 years and she was expecting another that fall and he was in the services. So little Chrissie had sat in the high chair most of his waking time. He hadn’t been diaper broken either. Just too good a baby and neglected. The girls all had to have clean dresses every day. So there was a lot of washing and ironing besides taking care of them all in other ways.
Connie may know more of the relationships. I know or at least I think Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Thoms and Mrs. Mowberry were sisters. They were not alike. Mrs. Mowberry was a very short stout woman with a thin face. I remember the Thoms girls all large big bodied girls but Mrs. Thoms I can’t really recall seeing her. Mrs. Mowberry was godmother to Connie and Jessie, and Harry got her to come look after Mother when Connie and Jessie were born. I remember being at her home when her husband was sick with dropsy. He couldn’t get into his pants so he had her dress on. And as big as a barrel or more. I used to wonder Avis why your mother thought it was so wonderful to be a school teacher. Now I realize her sister Amy was a teacher and Julia was at home walking miles after cattle and sheep if they had any and milking a lot of cows and cooking for a crew all the time.
I remember now I used to admire your Uncle Charlie on the dance floor. I don’t remember ever seeing Harry [Heywood] dance. But he was a good neighbor; he would come and visit and stay for a meal. Just like one of the family. When Beatrice was walking out from Plumas with no overshoes on over her pumps, she froze her feet solid and managed to get to Harry Heywood’s. He had no turpentine so he thawed them out in coal oil and saved her feet. We had no phone. She had been up in Glencairn sewing and came in on the train at 2:30 a.m. I think. She wanted to go to a dance that night with Roger Sanders. How foolish; snow banks and deep snow and no overshoes; to try to walk out in winter time – six miles. If she hadn’t stayed on the road and got to Heywood’s she would have frozen to death. I remember Harry Heywood gave me some cutlery when I got married and I used them every day until I married Melvin. I still have one spoon among my spoons.
I can remember being at Heywood’s and Grandma wasn’t well. She wasn’t out working. Julia had it all to do. I suppose she was in menopause. I think that was while Harry was out in Alberta. One thing I can’t forget in later years was the cats in the house and hair on the cushions.
Editor’s note (Avis Andrew (Nielsen): This is the end of page 2. I don’t know if there was really a 3 or 4 or if they are lost. The sentences stop at the end of the page and start at the beginning of page 5, which starts out on a new day.
~~ March 21st, 1983 First day of Spring ~~
While with Connie I met Frank Tomes. He told me that Harry Heywood’s father and his father were cousins. Frank Tomes father’s name was Thomas Bennett Tomes.
Frank Tomes married Myrtle Walker in 1917 and she died in 1971 and he lives alone in his home in Plumas. Andy Scott is in Third Crossing Manor in Gladstone and he may remember more but roads are so icy Connie and I just get out feed her ten cats on her farm.
The Tomes house was log with two windows and a door on the south side, one storey. I expect the Heywood homestead may have been log too but if I remember rightly the main house was two stories and a wood shed built on the north and you went in at the west end of it to get into the shed and then into the kitchen on the north side of it. I remember Mr. Heywood, a short heavy set man sitting his chair in the living room. Harry Heywood was broad shouldered and not very tall. Amy was a well-built woman while Mrs. Heywood was a thinner woman and just average size. She never was in hospital and fed and bedded the Barnado Home Boys after they left Harry Magills. Harry fed them for three years then they were free to go or stay. John Heywood was tall and heavy set. Charlie heavy set but not as tall as John. Julia was a nice girl of about 110 pounds and Frank the youngest was about the size of Leif or your brother Cecil and looked like his Mom.
Frank Tomes said the Tomes children used to go over to Heywood’s and play and the Heywood’s children came to Tomes and played. They played Anty High Over, Hide and Go Seek, Duck on the Rock, Pum Pum Pull-away, Crack the Whip, Come Home Sheep Come Home, Hoist Your Sail. As we did when we went to school.
Plumas being a wooded area the first homes were log but later boards were used for building. No carpets, only home-made ones; braided or hooked rugs. Most floors just plain boards to be scrubbed and cleaned white each Sunday.
Always cows to bring home, milk and later separators to turn and get the cream from the milk to sell and buy the necessary things for the home and outside. Sheep to take care of and used for meat and wool for carding and spinning for socks , mitts, sweaters, and comforters.
In early days no electricity or fridges. Some had ice wells where they put up ice in winter to be used to keep cream cool and to make ice cream. In early days Jim Singleton said they shot prairie chickens, ducks, geese and kept them in the snow-banks and everyone shot bush rabbits. We girls, quite young, learned to skin and clean rabbits. Two for each meal for 10 or 12 of us. Mother boiled them and thickened the gravy. They were good. I remember Pete Manning and Fred going hunting and Pete would tie 2 rabbits legs together (Pete had twines off the oat sheaves in his pocket) and hang them on Fred’s shoulders when he was 8 or 10 years old and he’d trudge home through deep snow. Pete would follow carrying his gun.
Doors were always open to all who came. One day an Indian came in hungry and Mother had a small late chicken cooked and he ate it for dinner. I always can remember peddlers coming with fancy beads and necklaces to sell them in the neighborhood. Mother called them gypsies. I don’t know if the folks bought anything but we enjoyed looking at them.
Some of the neighbors had wolfhounds to hunt coyotes and one day they got into our flock of sheep and killed several. I remember Harry (John Henry Andrew) took the gun and shot one and brought it into the kitchen. I hadn’t started school so it would have been about 1905. There was trouble, but the dog killed 5 or 6 sheep so the owner of the dog would have to pay for the sheep. So he was satisfied to call it even.
The early settlers had to haul their frozen wheat to Gladstone to the grist mill to get flour. And Harry Madill carried his plow shares to Arden on foot to get them sharpened. No disc plows in those days and more oxen used than horses. Later carloads of Broncos were shipped in and farmers if they could afford them could buy them and break them. Flies, mosquitoes and horse flies were in abundance all summer long. No screens in early days.
Jack Pagan, a man who worked in the neighborhood, often came and visited the boys on Sunday and went rabbit hunting for sport. His motto, “The Better the day, the Better the deed”. He and a Rollings boy were out hunting. His rifle cocked and crawling through the fence the barb caught the trigger. He gun shot him in the thigh and he bled to death. I was at school when we heard of his death and tears ran down my cheeks all day. It was sad. I knew little about heaven then and death seemed so horrible.
In those days there were nice evergreens in the bushes and plenty of wild fruit. I remember Mother going to get fruit, walking, and all we little ones with her, getting scratched in the bushes and crying and thirsty. The good old days eh! She probably had to carry the little one and the fruit home.
I remember she put butter in wooden tubs for winter and wild high bush cranberries in tubs and canned rhubarb in tubs in the pantry. When the butter was gone we used lard on our bread or bacon fryings or jam or molasses. Syrup we ate too much, so molasses went further.
We got one pair of stockings and shoes each fall and when summer came we all went barefoot. Mrs. Lamb in Plumas used to send us a bag of clothes her children had grown out of and that was a real treat trying on clothes to see who they would fit. The highlights of the years were the Florenta picnic in summer and the school concerts at Christmas and Henry Thomas, Pete’s ½ brother had a gramophone and records he left at our place sometimes and we enjoyed it very much. Mother sang as she worked and Glen Smythe, a bachelor, found joy in coming and reading English papers and singing to us children and buying us fruits and candy. Eddy took me on horseback when I was 4 years old to see Glen’s baby lambs. We walked two summers to Florenta School 3 ½ miles to Sunday School. Mother made us nice dresses and hats. I learned God is my heavenly Father and a kind and loving Father.
~~ March 25th; Snow banks 6 feet high off the road; ~~
The neighborhood got together and built the Jordan Church across the road from Bob Tomes. They had hoped it would be a church where they all could worship and call in speakers of different denominations. But Mrs. Boughton, Secretary of the municipality informed them that it couldn’t be done that way and had it become a Methodist Church. Many hardworking neighbors were disappointed and in a short time there was only a handful of people left attending and we didn’t have our teachers in Sunday School we had in Florenta. And I never enjoyed attending. I know I took communion and I didn’t know what I was doing. Mrs. Mowberry was godmother to Fred, Connie and Jessie and she always looked at us in church and it kind of made me more shy. I was so shy anything would hurt me. All I can remember of the sermons. The minister said one day “You see all the weeds in the field”. Yes we knew weeds. Dad had us out in the fields pulling mustard and sow-thistle every summer and carrying them off so they wouldn’t shed seeds on the fields. He wanted to keep his land clean. No doubt the minister was using the weeds as an illustration for sin but I didn’t understand it. So from little Sunday School when I was 5 or 6 years I learned God is a kind and loving Father and until I was 16 years, I didn’t know the Lord as my personal savior. John 3:16 my salvation verse.
My dear little landlady Mrs. Wilds said to me one day, “Do you know John 3:16?” I said , “No what is it?” She quoted it to me and right then I knew what I had been searching for. I was so happy I went down town and bought a bible for Fred for one dollar and a New Testament each for Connie and Jessie. Wrapped each up separately and mailed them to them. Fred got his bible. One of the twins her New Testament and the other must have been lost or stolen in the mail. I didn’t know until years after that the one New Testament hadn’t arrived. You see in those days – 1918 – people didn’t write letters like we do now and postage was 2¢ a letter. I can’t recall receiving a letter from home while I was in Portage for 10 months at high school. I could hardly wait until I got home to tell Connie and Jessie and Fred about Jesus and how He died for everyone that they may have everlasting life after death. I had a New Testament (Mother’s brother) Uncle Edwin had sent to each of us if we would write him a letter. I guess he was older and forgot who he had sent to. Edith got two and I had none so Mother explained he had probably sent it for me. I still have it and it was the only bible I had until 1935.
Dad wrote and said I should be paying my own life insurance. First I knew of it I said. “Send me the policy and I’ll pay it.” I wrote to England and asked what the value was and after 34 years it was worth one pound a few shilling and a few pence. I had taken out life insurance before I had my goiter operation at Penzance. $1000.00 policy so if I died I could bury myself. Since Dad had told me before I went to school in Portage, “You don’t need to ask me for money.” He made sure he didn’t give me any. He came and had dinner where I was boarding and Mrs. Wilds said to him, “Don’t you worry about your daughter here in town alone?” “No, he said, she can take care of herself.” I was sixteen, so you see in Olden days you were expected to do for yourself at an early age.
I had bought my own school books and what clothing I had to have since a girl of 12 years. I lit the fire and swept and dusted the school for 5¢ a morning and later 15¢ a morning and we had to have the fire lit by 8 a.m. so the school would be warm for 9 a.m. Dad gave us a little lamb for taking care of the sheep and lambs during lambing season.
So I wrote to England and drew out the pound, shilling and pence. A neighbor was selling Schoefield Bibles. (He loved the Lord). He had a job scrubbing the highway for a few dollars. I asked him if the money would buy a bible (I call it my life insurance) and truly it is my everlasting life insurance in heaven. “God is a kind and loving Father” who made all these things possible. He still is all powerful and takes care of all those who love Him.
The first time I read my New Testament through I said to a dear saint of God (Mrs. Weatherall) Audrey’s grandmother. She was like a mother to me because she loved the Lord: “I can read the Bible but I can’t understand it.” She said, “Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts as you read and you will understand it.” So I did and I read my New Testament several times before I had my Bible. There was a Bible in the Long Creek School library I used to use before I got my Bible in 1935. I taught Sunday School and daily vacation Bible school for 50 years and I’m still using that same Bible to prepare messages to take to the lonely and shut-ins in nursing homes and hospitals. Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Do you believe this? I do. March 06th 1983. I left Weyburn in a storm to be with my sister Connie for Pat’s [Patterson] funeral. The roads were icy. I prayed to God for his watchful care over me. I prayed for our bus drivers. We landed safely in Regina. From Regina east our driver held the road; many cars, busses, trailers in the ditch but we kept going. At Virden [Manitoba] the police stopped all traffic into Brandon. The trees and roads were covered with thick layers of ice. The bus lines gave us rooms in the hotel in Virden. We had to share rooms. A dear sister in the Lord and I prayed together on the bus. We held hands across the aisle and prayed together for a safe journey to our destinations. She was going home to Winnipeg [Manitoba] and I to Connie’s at Plumas. She helped me make some phone calls and we parted the next day at noon. The bus left for Brandon. I got off at Brandon. Harold Madill met me and advised me to go to Portage and from Portage to Gladstone. I got to Portage and Darlene Miles met me at the bus and took me home for supper. I picked up flowers for Mother Patterson and Connie and after a quick supper Darlene took me to the bus depot. No busses going so she took me home to sleep. Darlene a teacher left for school before the next bus to Gladstone. I phoned the bus depot. Yes the bus was going to Gladstone. I phoned Mrs. Patterson and her grandson would meet me. I phoned a taxi and carried my luggage and flowers through banked snow up to my knees to the taxi. I got my bus to Gladstone. Norman Buchanan met me and took me to his Grandma’s suite. And we all went to Connie’s before the service started and had refreshments. Another good young driver and I had boarded with Mrs. Vesey (she was a Buchanan) when I taught Ivanhoe School on a permit to get money to go to Normal (Teachers College) they call it now. That was 1918. I was 17 years old when teaching Ivanhoe School and teaching Charlie Vesey in grade nine. So you see how God takes care of His own.
Beatrice and I took care of the sheep and lambs before she left home. About every two hours we’d get up and go out and see if there were any signs of lambs to be born and if so we stayed and got them dry and sucking their mothers or if weak we moved the mother to a pen in another barn and carried the lambs and cared for them. We went at 10 p.m., 12 midnight, 2 a.m., and 4 a.m. Then Dad was up at 6 a.m. Beatrice was at home but I was going to school so I could get a little more sleep. If we were milking cows I can’t remember if I had to milk that spring. But I had to be at school for 8 a.m.
When I left for Portage Beatrice had 6 grown sheep she sold and I had one or two. From those grown sheep I got a pair of new slippers and a dress or two to wear for school and a few cents or dollars for books and pencils etc. Anyway I was to work babysitting for Mrs.—-for my board to go to school. I was a year behind in geometry. I had started to study French in grade 10. The teacher left, the next teacher couldn’t teach French or geometry. I had a supplement in spelling. So all in all my marks were zero. The lady went for a holiday and planned to leave her three children under six years with me. She had a man boarder and her husband to be fed and me to go to school. I was 16 years old. Her husband said you take the children. She did and was gone for 2 or 3 weeks. Came home with a two bushel wheat bag stuffed tight with dirty clothes. I was up at five and started washing clothes, had to carry out all the water and other slops in the mush of my school slippers. What I didn’t get done before school was waiting for me after school. I needed time to study and didn’t have it. So I wrote to Frances and told her. I may as well go home and milk cows for Dad as do all her work. So she sent me 200 dollars and I got board at Mrs. Wilds for $20 a month.
At Mrs. Wilds I studied at school until the teachers went home. So I could get help if I needed it. Then I studied until supper time. Then after supper until 10 p.m. bedtime. I went to bed and got up at 6 a.m. and studied until my homework was done. I think I could say I had the poorest marks on our first exams. And on our last tests I came fifth in a room of 40 or so students. I had almost a perfect math paper, lacked 2 ½ of 100. One girl neglected her homework for shows, etc. called me a teacher’s pet because I stayed at school and got help from the teachers. I needed it especially in geometry. I wrote my spelling supplement and got it and my grade 11 and from there to Ivanhoe school for one term till they could get a qualified teacher. I still needed more money. By the way when boarding at Veseys I walked home 5 ½ miles on weekends, one week to Mothers and the next week to Edith’s. I didn’t need to go jogging for exercise. Next spring, March 03rd, I was at Nipawin [Saskatchewan], back in the swamp and bush, 40 miles from Tisdale. Sissy [Frances] and Merle Bushfield met me with team and cutter and it was bitterly cold. We drove 20 miles the first day and stayed overnight at a stopping house. And on to Nipawin where Frances taught and had a two room shack near her school. Then I went further back 5 or 6 miles to Mrs. Scott’s log house, full of life, even bedbugs. We drove in winter. After the sloughs filled up we walked. Three girls promoted from grade 6 at Christmas and no school until I got there on March 03rd. Passed their grade 8. One with honors, the other with real high marks but not honors and the slowest to learn passed. I the teacher with no Normal training and grade 11 education. I believe I had 17 pupils the eldest a boy of 18 years who quit as soon as work started. The grade 8 girls and I stayed after school sometimes until 7 o’clock to catch up on studies not taught and hadn’t had a chance to learn and all grade 7 and 8 to learn in about 3 ½ months.
When there was a shortage of teachers in the fifties they had grade 12 students in the schools and called them sitters. They were not supposed to teach the children. They had their correspondence courses to study from. And some sat so much they didn’t correct the children’s work. So they became discouraged and dropped out of school. Now 1983, all students over 6 [grade]have high schools to attend and are bused to the door and they still complain about having to go by bus. They want their parents to take them back and forth in the car. Some of my little grade one students walked to school through water well over my waist. They undressed and carried their clothes in their hands up over the water to keep them dry. We did the same. I took off my shoes and stockings and lifted up my clothes to get through the slough that was too soft bottomed to drive horses and vehicles through. Some of the roads were corduroy. Do you know what kind of road that was? The ground is so soft you can’t travel over it until you lay poles across to hold up the wheels and the horse’s feet. This is no doubt why they had no qualified teacher. So I got a job for 3 months as teacher there. And 3 girls passed into grade 9 in 3 months with a grade 11 academic standing teacher. The slowest one, Mrs. Lyona Wilson now of Plumas, Manitoba and a dear friend still of mine, raised a big family and educated them. She plays her piano still and one daughter is married to an Anglican minister. Was it worth it? Yes! A thousand times Yes! I enjoyed every minute of it. It helped me get to Normal School and the children got an education.
Here are some more items I gathered while at Plumas and in route to Brandon and while I sat waiting in the depot in Regina. Denis says he can remember when his Mom went to Heywood’s to help Grandma Heywood clean house. There were places on the wall where the plaster had broken off and you could see the laths. So now you know it was a log house lath and plastered on the outside and possibly inside too. And white washed. I remember now when we walked to Sunday School we went east of the house and it was all white. White Wash. How did they make it? They dug a hole in the ground, at home in the bush, east of the house. Fence around the garden and bush to keep the stock out. Put the barrel in it, fit the hole, dumped in a bag of quick lime, poured enough boiling water over it to slack it all. Stirred I guess. After so long the water that gathered on top of the lime was called limewater and used for sickness. I’ve forgotten what. Then when time to whitewash we took so much slacked lime and put it in a pail we used for white washing, mixed it with water to desired thickness, added ultramarine blueing; the kind we used when washing clothes when homemade soap did the family washings. The same soap was used to scrub the floor. I can recall we had a bar of laundry soap bought at the store to wash our hands and faces. (Royal Crown). No such luxury as toilet soap in our early days.
When we came to Canada we had one little Kerosene lamp with a ½ inch wick to light the whole house. Couldn’t afford Kerosene for a lamp with an inch wick. If you had to go to another room you went in the dark.
Denis tells about looking for a toilet at Heywood’s. He found one, it was full and another one that was full. He said there were several before he found one that he could use. Well Harry must have built toilets in place of moving them. Most people dug a hole 6 feet deep and moved the toilet over the new hole. The dirt from digging the new hole went over the old hole where the first toilet had been too deep down the odors in the yard. We had the same kind of toilets at school and in winter sometimes the snow drifted in and blew up the holes and we had to use them. Sometimes it funneled up 10 to 12 inches above the seat. And sometimes we had to shovel snow before we could get in. How would you like that? The good old days.
I’m sure the boys went to the barn many times in place of the toilet but the girls not so lucky eh! I could add a little to that too. It was fun to throw things at the toilet to scare the girls and sometimes they came in numbers and pushed on the door when we went to the toilet. When things come to the worst they commonly mend. I told them I’d tell the teacher. So I did and cried as I told her and the boys all got a strapping after school. After that we could go to the toilet at recess and noon.
Denis tells me that an old man stayed with Harry Heywood after Grandma went and lived with Sydney and Julia. Perhaps no pot to pee in upstairs; would open the window and pee. It left a mark down the wall. “Be sure your sins will find you out.” Bob Madill tells me the same old man died in bed at Heywood’s and when the undertaker came Harry put his hat and mitts on to take the undertaker to the room where he slept and died. Imagine!
Bob tells of going to Plumas with his cream on the stone boat and catching up to this same man. He offered him a ride, so he sat on the cream can. There were drifts of snow across the road and the horses hit the drift on the run. The cream can upset, the old man fell on the ground and the cream can came over his belly. He was groaning and Bob was having a hard time to keep from laughing. But he got the cream can back on the [stone] boat and the old man and they went on their way to Plumas. I know how it feels. I was sitting on a ½ bale on the boat and Melvin changed gears with a jerk and the ½ bale and I rolled off the back.
Heywood’s were not the only ones with toilet mishaps. There was one pot for Mother and Dad and girls upstairs above the front room. One pot in the men’s bedroom above the kitchen and one morning Mother saw a drip coming down. Someone had overfilled the pot. We had no toilet pails in those days. They came later if you could afford to buy them. Veseys had one in 1918 when I boarded there. Mother had to go empty the pot.
There was only a shiplap floor above the kitchen so it had cracks and let the heat go up. Connie and Jessie and Fred liked to play up there as the floor was nice and warm to sit on. One year supply of flour was stored up there too. About 15-100 pound sacks of flour, 2 of bran and 80 pounds of rolled oats.
Harry Heywood was watching [?] or listening to a boxing match and he was laughing.
House cleaning time spring and fall we whitewashed the ceilings and stringers that held up the upstairs floor and the rough old logs on the outer walls. What a job. The dust nearly choked you sweeping off all loose whitewash before you started white washing and getting it nice and white around the beams. When you got down you were like a speckled hen. But Oh it smelled so sweet and clean for the winter, it was worth it. The floor was made of 2×6 rough plank nailed down with spikes and as the floor wore away the spikes and wood around made a lump for Mother to walk on as she moved about. It used to take me 2 hours scrubbing the kitchen floor, 20×30 feet. As they dried, cracks came to be cleaned out.
Yes we had a lot of fun in the old log kitchen with Mother. Dad hibernated to his desk in the front room. But Mother joined in the fun. Sometimes we danced to any kind of music. Sometimes just humming through a comb. Sometimes we played cards. Did all kinds of exercises. We put a sheep bell on a big hook on one of the stringers and kicked to make it ring. Sometimes we took the hook in both hands to see if we could chin it. Or skin the cat.
One day Fred and Pete were wrestling and Fred fell against Mothers legs and she over balanced and fell backward. When she got up she looked over her glasses and said. “You little beggar, I might have killed you.” It all looked so funny and no one was hurt so we had a good laugh. Another time she fell coming down the steps and went head first behind the bottom landing and the hired man helped her out. The steps were just 6 inch boards and about a foot apart so if you fell that was it. Then we teased her about the hired man.
I used to watch for Sydney going up the steps. His legs were hairy and I’d run and pull the hairs as he scampered up the stairs. Sometimes we just sat and watched the wood burning in the stove. There was a damper we could open about a foot long and 6 inches wide and we’d talk and tell stories and riddles.
Cold nights we stayed up longer to keep the fires burning. When all were indoors, Mother pushed paper and rags around the back door to keep out the cold. A big long bench behind the table we sat on to do our homework and I remember how cold my feet used to get. We all put our stockings and socks on the oven door to dry each night.
No coal to keep the fire going so the water pail had ice on each morning. A teacher who boarded at our place took the girls room on the south. No stovepipe up in it. When we slept in it we left the door open so we got some heat from the stovepipe in Mother and Dad’s room. She had to have a pitcher of water to drink in the night. Well it froze solid and broke mother’s nice pitcher. There were no storm windows and she set it on the window ledge by the bed.
Well I can remember when we first moved in and slept upstairs. It wasn’t ceiled in and the nails were white with frost. Mother put a big bottle of hot water at the foot of our beds to keep our feet warm. And we slept three in a bed. Sissy and Beatty and one little one and Edith and I and the other little one between us.
Bath Tubs. We didn’t know what they were. To get a wash we melted snow on the stove in a large round tub and you stood in it and washed. And that was not very often as it was too cold for privacy.
I can remember playing “The light of the world is Jesus” on the organ at Heywood’s so they had an organ.
When we got an organ, Beatrice played the hymns and we all gathered round and sang. Mother and Glen Smythe sang to us and made melody in our hearts in the old log kitchen.