Mary Cook’s Memories of the ’30s

The best of friends

Oct 19th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook There was no doubt about it, I was very blessed indeed. I had two very special friends … not just school chums, but real honest-to-goodness friends. Velma lived on the farm next to me, and so we saw each other just about every day. We walked to school together, and even on
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Praying for a flush toilet and a light switch

Sep 14th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook I always thought my Aunt Nellie Wagonblass was the wealthiest person in Arnprior.  Didn’t she live in a big brick house and have a flush toilet and glass doors between her parlour and dining room? I used to think Uncle Henry owned Kenwood Mills. It was years later when I found out
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Laundry and baking for a Chev truck

Aug 17th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook Old Charlie was a bachelor.  And he looked every inch the man who didn’t have a woman around to look after him. He was a big man, overweight by about 70 pounds, most of it around his middle. He only shaved when the spirit moved him, which wasn’t too often, and he
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Harry with the heaves

Jul 19th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook My favourite horse on the farm was a sway-backed old nag called Harry. Everyone but me called him “Harry with the heaves,” because just about every breathe he took was a gasp for air. Of course, he could no longer do any work and Father just let him be … bidding his
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An island in the St. Lawrence

Jun 22nd, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook How could anyone possibly own an island? It was simply beyond my comprehension. But we grew up believing Aunt Edith and Uncle George, who lived in Gananoque, owned their very own island in the St. Lawrence River. Father thought they were both a bit odd. They had no children, but they had
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New shoes

May 11th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook I was sick and tired of always having to wear boys shoes to the Northcote School. I had just turned seven, and thought it was high time I had store-bought shoes like my little friend Joyce. The boys’ shoes were handed down from the biggest of my three brothers to young Earl,
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April Fools’ day

Apr 13th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook It was that time of year again … and I knew that I was going to be tricked.  I could never catch anyone in the family, but I was easy game when it came to April Fools’ Day. Because I was so easily fooled, and I never seemed to be able to
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The Bobcat in the privy

Jan 26th, 2018 | By

By Mary Cook Emerson knew I was terrified of going out to the privy alone at night.  Especially if it was cold in the bargain.  Often my sister Audrey could be persuaded to go with me, but sometimes she was busy with something else, and I was left to my own devices … to shudder
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The Christmas hand-me-down box

Dec 14th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook For weeks Mother had been telling us not to look for any extras that year for Christmas. She didn’t expect that our fowl at Turkey Fair Day would bring in enough money to buy much more than the bare necessities, like sugar, flour and inner soles, and maybe a new set of
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Delicate Aunt Lena

Nov 15th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Everyone said Aunt Lena was delicate. We all knew my little cousin Terry, Ronny’s brother, was considered delicate, but the first time I ever heard of a full-grown adult being termed delicate was one day when Mother defended her against Father. He said her condition was manufactured by an over-active mind, and
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