Mary Cook’s Memories of the ’30s

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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Heading to the Ottawa Exhibition

Oct 13th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Imagine … we were going to the Ottawa Exhibition!  I couldn’t remember ever being so happy.  The biggest fair we had ever been at, of course, was the Renfrew Fair, and I knew this was ever so much more exciting. We were going thanks to Uncle Lou, who sent Mother money all
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Sipping green tea

Sep 14th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook If we had black tea in the house I didn’t know it. I only remember green tea. We bought it loose in brown paper bags from Briscoe’s General Store, or from the Watkin’s or Rawleigh men who came to the house on a regular basis. And we went through pounds of it.
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The gramophone contest

Aug 11th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Imagine, a gramophone!   After being told many times that the cost of such luxury was simply out of the question, there it sat in all its glory.   It was on the top of a cabinet that could hold a large collection of records.  Well, we had the gramophone but, unless
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