Sunday, December 6, 2009

Domestic Bliss

I am not 100 percent sure who these people are. The picture was pasted in between pictures of family and the old lady, who died in 1912, so this isn't likely to be Marion in 1917. Must be other people's babies.

Before I finally get to writing the next chapter: A Modern Conundrum of my novel Flo in the City (about a young girl coming of age in the exciting 1908-1913 era, based on my website, I will ponder two little bits from two letters in my collection I just re-read... One is from a young woman announcing her engagement to Margaret in 1907. Another is from an American relation who is giving news of his family in the same era.

In the first letter the woman says 'I always feared I would be left on Father's hands.' But that didn't happen, she went to Shawville, a town in the Eastern Townships, and met a man. "He is a fine young man, clever, good position, I think good-looking, a perfect gentleman.. and so kind..."

A perfect man:) I imagine Margaret smiled when she read this. The young lady goes on to say that "We are going to Ottawa to meet Mother. You see, he can meet her in Ottawa and the curious eyes of the Shawvilleites will not be gazing on him to see how he likes his mother in law." Small town see.

The other letter is most interesting in that it is a man describing his happy home in Boston: "Lizzie is alway busy, housework, sewing for herself and children, helping neighbours, taking painting lessons, painting pictures, doing churchwork, a little of everything."

However, in the same letter he says how his young daughter just got over a serious bout of pneumonia and it appears his older son is lame (polio?) and that his leg needs to be worked and attended to.

From the stationery, it appears this man is in the business of furnishing concerts, lectures, musical and literary entertainment for churches, lodges, clubs,and drawing rooms. (People had no radio and tv. He must have been doing well. They likely had servants, someone to cook and launder, the two major chores, or the wife would not have had time to paint.) Still, I imagine the wife's life isn't so wonderful...what do you think?

And in yet another 1907 letter, a Marion King, from Calgary writes Marion and asks if Edith is married yet and jokes that in Calgary a woman isn't an old maid until 35, so there is hope for her yet.

So, on to my next chapter. Marion and Edith are at home... Marion will tell her about that letter from Miss King...I wonder how Edith will react. She is oldest and there is pressure to get married.

Oh, and I found an odd letter from February 1908, I had missed. It is to Flora from Dr. Henry Watters in Newton Centre Massachusetts, and it is rather flirtatious in tone, even giddy. (Unless it is merely patronizing.)

He started his practice in 1903, so he is likely around 28-30.

A weird line: "It is truly sorrowful about yourself and Montgomery. I can sympathize but cannot really appreciate the situation never having had experience in that line." Did she write him about a boyfriend.. and is he mocking her, as a younger person. And has he never had experience in that line? This man never married, and died young in 1937,(he's buried with the clan in Richmond) after a fairly distinguished career at a Boston hospital, but is it at all possible her visit in August was a set up of sorts.

Edith and Marion went in 1912. Marion mentions at that time that his house is very well appointed and that they have all the latest gadgets. His sister tends house for him. He has a Stanley Steamer in 1908. In 1903, when he first goes to Massachusetts, he writes Norman and says he has only poor patients who pay very little or nothing at all, but that he hopes to get into a good practice - which eventually happens.