Mary Cook’s Memories of the ’30s

Audrey’s first attempt on the Singer sewing machine

Jul 13th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook The old Singer sewing machine was considered a piece of parlour furniture in our house in the ‘30s. To fold it down into the top leaf we had to pull the strap off the wheel, and it hung there like a huge elastic band when not in use. And when Mother wanted
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The Stone boat

Jun 9th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Father wasn’t much of a talker. If there was a crowd around he would much rather sit and listen.  But when we were alone, like the day I learned all about the stone boat, Father would tell me stories of when he was a little boy, and how his grandparents had come
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Father’s new kimono

May 12th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook We thought Aunt Freda was a little strange. She was the youngest of Father’s sisters and had moved to Chicago when she was young, and no one in Northcote saw or heard of her much after. But once or twice a year a parcel would come, covered with American stamps, wrapped in
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Chrissy’s coat

Mar 10th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Mother thought that it was God’s blessing that Aunt Edith didn’t have any children – they would have gotten short shift. That was because all her attention was lavished on her big orange cat, and a dog the size of a minute by the name of Chrissy. The dog came from a
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Learning the art of making bread

Jan 19th, 2017 | By

By Mary Cook Making bread on the farm was not considered a major chore back in the 30s. Mother turned out loaf after loaf as easily as she did tea biscuits, which were part of just about every meal. Mother was a very organized person, and I can remember so well how the job always
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The Christmas concert at the Northcote school

Dec 9th, 2016 | By

By Mary Cook The school was brightly coloured that year. The normally grey walls were covered with all our Christmas drawings, and a big spruce tree stood in the corner at the front of the room. It was decorated in popcorn balls and tinsel which were carried over year after year, carefully stowed away by
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Using the facilities at the CPR Station

Nov 10th, 2016 | By

By Mary Cook Every trip into Renfrew meant at least one stop at the CPR station. It filled me with both fear and gratitude. I never would have made it back to the farm at Northcote without visiting the washroom, and yet the man at the front, wearing the cap with a green celluloid inset,
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Cousin Terry’s birthday party

Oct 14th, 2016 | By

By Mary Cook Not only did my little cousin Terry look like an angel, he acted like an angel. And when his older brother Ronny got into mischief, as he often did, Terry would stand to the side of the action and take on a look of utter amazement. The year that Terry’s fourth birthday
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A visit with Aunt Nellie

Sep 12th, 2016 | 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 that I found out
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Preparing for the end of the world

Aug 12th, 2016 | By

By Mary Cook The old lady in Renfrew who Mother befriended was an odd one.  Every time we went into town she was sitting on her falling veranda, wrapped in an old tattered sweater with a scarf around her head, even on the hottest day of the summer.   She kept a batch of chickens
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