Friday, December 4, 2009

Organized in my disorganization

Margaret and a tired looking Marion. Possibly from 1912, when it is mentioned in the letters that Marion looks thin. Her 1907 diary, her first year of teaching in Sherbrooke, has her at 5 foot 2 and 137 pounds! (But she is weighed with her clothing on, and clothing was heavy.)Teaching was a tiring profession back then too. Marion, who was fiercely independent, was frustrated by the lack of freedom afforded unmarried women back then.

OK. So I had to go back and revise my story, as I got mixed up as to exactly when Marion went to teach in the city. It was in September 1908. So she taught two years at Sherbrooke. I have to find those 1907 letters. I put them in a separate shoebox.

I also cannot find the book that lists, in detail, expenses of building Tighsolas in 1896. I want to see exactly what kind of heating stoves they had. I know they had a kitchen stove and a furnace. The furnace was likely in the middle of the house.

These were all fired with wood, although coal ovens were for sale. In September, 1908 Norman asks Herb to buy 8 cords of wood - and to get a good price for it. Tighsolas was solidly built, but it was cold (the relations remember)in the house in the winter. And especially cold in the morning.

Little Flo was often the one who had to get up to feed the furnace.

Oh, I am disorganized! I found the newsclippings I had put aside for future use. I alread posted some intersting ones on Tighsolas.

All very interesting; they include sappy poems about motherhood and feisty articles about feminism. See, the push pull of biology and ambition.

And two articles debating 'women and their dress habit.' Anti-feminists liked to take women to task for being such clothes-horses.So narcissistic.

"You want to be like men, but you have this obsession with clothes" which indicated a weakness of spirit or something. There was a debate going on the in press and Marg clipped articles.

Anyway, I've tried to organize or re-organize my letters. I want to re-read them for interesting observations and turns of phrase. The first letter I grab is from 1904, someone who lives on Drummond in Montreal, a Lyster.

He describes a young mother, whom he meets as she walks her new baby in a perambulator on the street. The woman, Emma, 'talks quite learnedly about child care" says the correspondent, a man, and the woman appears very devoted to 'the little bundle of charms'. She has ideas, says the writer,that seem better suited to a person with an income of 20,000 rather than the wife of a book keeper in a dry goods store....
ONE LETTER with so much good stuff to copy in my story. So imagine the 700 others!

And that's not all. The person, who has a milk company says, that the Montreal streets (in March) are awful and no one who owns a milk business would ever write spring poetry as they would not have time.

This is the letter that explains the relationship of the Clevelands to the Nicholsons. (Marion stays with them in Montreal later on.) Cleveland, a dentist, moves to Montreal and marries a cousin. This Lyster is also a cousin. I must dig out that genealogy I have.