Stories from my Grandma

Today was my grandma’s 86th birthday.  She’s been writing down her stories lately, and my mom has been typing them up. Mom e-mailed me a draft to work on.

The two biggest problems I faced last week were finding out that it wasn’t economically feasible right now to change my cell phone contract to get an iPhone and losing $1.75 when the dryer ate my change. Reading these stories of a much harder Canadian life – which was not so long ago, really – kinda puts things in perspective.

I often think of the hardships my parents had. There wasn’t much money in farming and they worked hard. Everything was done by hand. Scrubbing clothes on a washboard; carrying the water some distance and heating it on a wood stove. Ironing was done with a flat iron that was heated on the wood stove. There was no electricity or inside plumbing. Bathing was done in a big laundry tub on the kitchen floor. We certainly had hard working parents. Children helped as they grew old enough. We always had lots to eat, clean clothes to wear and a clean home. We were poor, but we had a good childhood.

One Christmas Eve, my brother Bob and I and Allan Haggert, a young chap from town who helped my Dad, went to cut a Christmas tree. It started to snow and covered our tracks. We got lost and wandered around the bush until it got dark. We were really scared but Allan kept talking to us to keep us from crying. I remember thinking we would never see Mom and Dad again. Finally, at midnight, we came to a side road where Mr. George O’Brien lived. Mrs. O’Brien took us in, put dry clothes on us and fed us. They had a phone, which not everyone did in those days, and she called my Grandpa’s house. Dad had just come in from searching for us so he hitched up the team of horses and came for us with lots of blankets. We were so glad to see each other. Dad always went with us for the tree after that.

– Excerpted from Sybil Rutledge’s memoir.

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