Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Shoe Confusion -What's in a Name?




As it’s summer reading time, I’ve been amusing myself lately perusing the Eaton’s Catalogues of the 1900 era on the Internet. 300 pages of shirtwaists and sarsaparilla tonics and feathers and flowers and wings to adorn your Easter bonnet. It’s a history lesson, I tell you. Just take the footwear section.

Now, we've all heard of Cinderella's glass slipper. Which was really a shoe. Well, it appears that in 1900, a slipper was a shoe, a shoe was a boot of sorts and a boot was well, also a boot, but not a moccasin.

Although, some slippers looked like real slippers.

What am I talking about? Well, there's a labelling discrepancy between then and now with respect to footwear.

Shoes, I am guessing here, were footwear for outdoor wear, mostly lace-up boot-like things. (Which I notice are all the rage today, except in a much much more sleek and sexy version).

Slippers, were footwear you could 'slip on' so they were sturdy things you wore, indoors. Or like Marion Nicholson, out on the lawn of Tighsolas in summer.

Boots, I am again guessing, were very sturdy items, designed to protect against the elements and rough roads. And to be worn outdoors.

Yes, people walked a lot in those days! And they had to mend their boots a lot! These days, try to find a shoemaker.

Anyway, in the 60's if I recall, right when mini skirts and bright vinyl go go boots were in style with the young, another fashion fad came and went, the Granny fad. There were granny boots and granny glasses and granny skirts. No corsets, though.

This fad didn't last long (well, fads never do) because, franky, the fashion was uncomfortably Edwardian and once you are free you can't go back!!

Basically anything goes with female footwear these days. You can wear flip flops at your high school graduation with some traditional Cinderella style gown (or with some skimpy designer undress that is essentially a corset worn on the outside. I have witnessed this first hand) and you can wear bright pink spike-heeled leather boots under your hijab. (I've seen this too!)

And the market for orthopaedic shoes, I know from personal experience, is booming because the Boomers all have bad backs from wearing unhealthy footwear all their lives, and from living in our cars as adults. We're all out of shape.

A slipper to me has always been a very soft thing you wear with pyjamas. Hence its name, bedroom slipper. A classic bedroom slipper is made of soft leather and has a fringe of soft poodle-fur like material or be shaped whimsically like a Gund kitty cat or Alligator or Garfield.

I don't own slippers, I use socks to keep my feet warm. Some of them have whimsical little adornments, bead eyes and felt ears and such. My dogs will chew to smitherines any rogue sock lying around. A moccasin is a shoe made out of leather or animal skin. I had sealskin moccasins as a young child when I lived in Labrador in 1959. I used them as bedroom slippers until the back part was squished flat like a slip-on-slipper.

From perusing the 1899 Eaton's catalogue, I can see a moccasin is a leather or animal skin boot. (My husband has a pair, from the old days.) Canadians in 1900 bought moccasins. These were serious winter boots worn, I assume, mostly by men. I bet they were much warmer than the other boots they wore. I wonder if the 'the rubbers' people purchased were winter boots, which were worn over shoes –before they were called overshoes.

Even in my day, as children, in the 60's, we wore these rubber boots over our shoes and our FEET FROZE. (We called them boots. 'Rubbers' were the thin pads my father, an accountant, wore under his shoes proving that professionals in winter walked only in well-groomed areas.)I can unhappily still recall the awful ache I endured as I waited for my toes to defrost after each winter outing. And when I was real young, three or four, I'd always get my dark brown rubber boot stuck in the deep snow and have to unbuckle it and pull my shod foot out and leave the thing there, out in the backyard, for Mom to go dig out.

My own kids seldom experienced that: they had those modern multi-coloured insulated boots, more like moccasins, but made of some magical cold-repellent (or is it heat-retaining) space-age material, in the 80's. And they rolled their eyes when I told them 'how lucky they were' because in my day...blah... blah...blah. And then when they became teens, they dropped wearing winter boots all together because it wasn't cool and the thick running shoe sole insulated them from the freezing ground and they didn't spend much time outdoors anyway because video games were around by that time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Veiled Ramblings and Self-Actualization

Marie Claire Cover from late 30's.

A few days ago, when I visited the Acropolis in Athens, I hired a guide who gave me a psychoanalytical deconstruction of the monuments there. The artwork and the buildings, she said, symbolized the archetypal struggle between good and evil, or animal passions and the rational, within EACH man.

It was all right up my alley. She even told me something I didn't know. That the Greeks had a similar belief to the Hindus, that the center of awareness of each man ideally must move out of the stomach area (or third chakra) to the chest area, or fourth chakrah which she called the golden something and related it to the architecture of the Parthenon. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Which reminds me of something I learned back in college (and still retain).. That in the Iliad man's consciousness was located in various parts of the body as in "my arm reached out and slew my opponent" and that by the time of the Odyssey, it was centered within the person. And thus was born the biggest story ever told and retold and retold. Except that it was so male-centered. Odysseus 'internal' journey was made difficult by a series of anima, or female entities. The female side of his psyche.

Actually, I don't think I learned that in school. I learned it in some pop psych book called The Origin of Consciousness in the Something of the Bicameral Mind.. a book not on college reading lists.

So, of course, this leads me to think of veils. :)

Really. My book in progess, Flo in the City, is about a woman coming of age in the 1910 period and there's an awful lot about the 1910 period that is worthy of being studied by today's citizens. Especially when it comes to women's fashion and its relation to power.

I just came from Greece, where the women, however obese or small or shapely or not, wear string bikinis on the beach. Bravo, I say.

I am not a big fan of covering women up head to toe as the Muslims sometimes do. But I'm willing to concede that Western Culture, especially in North America and England, turns women's bodies into consumer products, which is why in North America, women who aren't skinny (and that's about everyone) are ashamed of their bodies.

I am also willing to concede we have nothing much to crow about when it comes to women's rights with respect to dress, since one hundred years ago, women were also shrouded in uncomfortable and confining clothing - and hid their heads under hats. (The fact that women like Marion, Edith and Flora Nicholson, didn't balk at this, and even found a way to enjoy it as a form of expression (as women do today) doesn't detract from the bare truth.

And as for veils, well, I was going through the 1904 Eaton's catalogue and it sold veils, mostly for mourning. (And veils remained a component of hat fashion all through the century as that cover from Marie Claire posted above reminds us.)

And of course there is the wedding veil.

I've never been a fan of the wedding ceremony. (I got married at a Justice of the Peace in a 90 dollar dress after having given birth to my first son, so I had jelly belly, with a long line of brides in various stages of pregnancy.) And that's because the ceremony so many find 'romantic' is a stark reminder of what marriage once was IN OUR WESTERN CULTURE. A man GIVES a woman away to another man (actually sells) and she is wearing VIRGINAL white and she has a veil.

Women in the past were wombs for hire. Love existed, but usually outside of marriage. (The books I have been reading about Edwardian Society reveal that the upper crust had a way around this: the bride had to be faithful until 2 children were produced, after that, she could have all the affairs she wanted. Clementine Churchill, apparently, was well known to be sired by a man not her father. ) The middle class, as usual, was more stodgy. Margaret Nicholson, of Flo in the City, had a very poor view of cheating mates. And the lower classes did whatever they had to to survive.

And even in 1910, a woman, however lovely and smart, couldn't marry without a dowry. Marion Nicholson, one of the heroines of Flo in the City, had no dowry, and so her fiance, Hugh, was forced to marry her against his parents' wishes and his parents didn't even come to the wedding.

In fact, I have a letter from 1913, the year of the marriage, from Hugh's Dad to Hugh, that is in response to some request regarding the marriage, but the dad never once mentions the marriage or Marion's name. The tone of the letter is kind and friendly, otherwise.


Of course, Flo in the City, is all about marriage, or as I put it "the push pull of biology and ambition". Even today, marriage is still a major theme of women's fiction and movies. (My website, http://www.tighsolas.ca/ includes a 1910 article by Gertrude Artherton, that asks why in the age of the 'new women' the quest for love and marriage is still central to women's lives.)

Well there are many reasons, economic and biological, BUT marriage also has an archetypal significance as well as a practical base. (I loved the silly film Mamma Mia because it makes marriage a symbolic act, the act of self-actualization. So. of course, the young woman in not ready yet for marriage, but her mom is. The three goofy men are her animus (is that the proper ending?) of the mom, parts of her psyche that need to be integrated before she can become self actualized - and from the box office take of this poorly crafted (but absolutely delightful) movie, this subtext resonated with women, mostly older ones. Like me. I saw the movie over and over.

And now I've been to Greece, so maybe I'm on the path to self-actualization. Finally...and that's maybe why the men in my life, my brother, my sons, my husband, all seem to be totally irked by everything I say and do, these days. (Unlike Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth and that Swedish guy, my men are not keen on being my animi or aninmusses or whatever.... They have their own psyches to work on.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ear aches, celebrity couples and Ancient Greek Hunks


My son and me, Parthenon and bust of Man, Pius the Hunk or something, in Agora Museum. It's as if the man were still in there.
So, it was a wild ride, but I got to see the Parthenon - and I'm happy I did. It's about the scale. And it's about craftsmanship. (I know, duh, Dorothy) And I don't think pictures capture it, or replicas. You have to fill in the blanks using your imagination, but the frieze (sp?) must have been beyond spectacular to look at before Lord Elgin the Pillager destroyed it. That reconstructed bit with Dionysus, well, so beautiful.
I almost didn't get home because of this side trip to see one of the world's most famous heritage sites. Perhaps the most famous. I took the ferry to Athens, assuming I could just cancel the first leg of my trip, Mytilini to Athens, sans problemes, when I got there... And as I have had an ear infection from beginning of my trip to Greece, I was happy to avoid one plane ride. And I wanted to see the Acropolis, even though my brother said "It's just a ruin, like that old theatre in Montreal, the York, near the forum, the old Montreal Forum that is, another kind of heritage site...but I digress."
But apparently you can't. When I got to Athens I phoned my so called agent, an online agent (I will NEVER use online agents again) to be told that you can't just cancel. It's all a package and if you miss the first flight the other flights are cancelled, too. What? I mean I subscribe to Les Grands Ballets, but if I don't use a ticket, they don't cancel the other shows on me.
Anyway, I had to go to the Athens airport at four in the morning, on no sleep (indeed, I didn't sleep on the overnight ferry to Athens the night before) to book a flight back to Mytilini to take the very same plane back a few minutes later.. . in order to prevent spending thousands on a new ticket home...but between Air France and Delta I managed to avoid both of these two unpleasant scenarios and get on my Air France flight from Athens to Montreal, although the procedure seemed more complicated than mapping the human genome.(and I wasted 200 euro on that Athens-Mytilini emergency flight. A tax on spontaneity.)
As the agents were communicating in Greek, I had no idea WHY this procedure was so difficult. Anyway, I got re-issued a ticket at no charge (I hope!) and I got on the plane to Paris I had been booked on all along. And I like Air France. Nice food and booze and on the overseas leg I had the big seat where I could completely stretch out my feet. and I am tall as you can see. (What you can't see is that my feet were totally swollen, another thing that happened to me in the dry heat of Greece. (Dropsy, the syndrome was once called.) As I was waiting in the line to check in, my son, who was with me for moral support, spied an Academy Award winning actress and her family right in front of me and pointed her out. My son told me her husband was equally successful, but I didn't recognize him. My son had a brain blip from lack of sleep and couldn't remember his name. (I looked them up on IMDB and yes, the father is very busy, as they say. He's just completed a movie with arguably the two most famous actors on the planet and he got third billing.)
Nice to see a 'celebrity couple' that can live a normal life. No one recognized them, it seemed, they sat beside me on the plane. I assume most celebrities get left alone, but I'm sure people gawk.

Anyway, I had an infected ear and no medicine except vinegar drops and paracetamol, and swollen feet, and still I loved Greece. 13 days with not a cloud in the sky. (I suffer from SAD syndrome.) And the great food, and the gentle Greek wines, although I got a little tired of delicious, healthy, cheap food in the end.. Funny. Too much of a great thing. But I can see why Greece is doing so poorly economically: the sales people are so laid back. (Unlike Cairo, where my son had just been and where he had been followed miles by people trying to sell him things, or rob him.)
And I am happy I spent two hours on the Acropolis, although I (rather fittingly) have a fear of heights. Acrophobia! (Now, that's where I should have started my essay..) I paid 100 euro for a guide who gave us a Freudian tour of the site. She told me that she does this because she assumes we North Americans have all learned about Greek Myths in more cartoony terms. But, of course, she was talking to a person long converted to such ideas.
Very happy- and at the end of the day- despite my fatigue and frenzy over the ticket (try talking to people over the phone with blocked ears) we visited the New Museum, a beautiful structure filled with astounding artefacts .. (bits and pieces, my favorite being the Nike taking off her sandals (my son pointed out how her thigh muscles are visible through her gown) which I've seen in books...and awaiting the many more that belong to Greece but are in other museums like the British Museum). It's built over an archeological dig, and you walk over a glass floor, and that scared me too.. although it was intriguing. (My son told me a story about his visit to the CN tower with its glass floor, and how a huge obese man beside him jumped up and down for fun and freaked him out.)
Anyway, if the Parthenon can be said to be like the old York Theatre on St. Catherine, the Acropolis is like Montreal's Mount Royal, with the city down below all around.
And oddly, I was not at all tired during the long trip home, four hours in de Gaulle, where I could understand the language and daydream about my upcoming trip to France and Italy in the spring. I have to work out this ear issue, though. My ears are very blocked today, so it is the plane ride that does it to me.
And I got to Montreal and waited aeons for my bags, I think they were first on last out, and I was in a summer dress which was fine, as we're having a heatwave, of sorts, 29 and 30 and sunny for the rest of the week.... (I would have froze on the plane, but my seat had a blanket and a gift bag with socks and moisturizer and even a toothbrush. Very nice! And I watched A Single Man on the plane, again, for looking at him is comforting to me, and half of the Ghostwriter, but I was too blurry-minded to watch a political thriller, but Pierce Brosnan really is good in that movie, as in the Matador, a movie I just love for his wonderful peformance.)
And today, having slept about 6 hours, so that makes about 8 hours in four days, I suddenly have a small headache. It's all caught up with me. Or maybe it's my smelly animal-dander encrusted wall to wall carpet...hmm.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Greek Comedy

Chios waterfront, August 26 2010

We had arranged for a taxi in Plomari at 6 am to take us to Mytilini and the ferry for Chios at 8 am, but the guy never did show up. We took the bus to Mytilini, and had a leisurely breakfast, went to travel agency. Told her our sad story and asked for other sails. She looked out the window and said, the ferry is still there. She phoned. It had been delayed but was leaving in 10 minutes. She said to take a taxi. We couldn´t get one. We raced around the harbour, dragging our bags. I thought it was a useless proposition, but my son insisted. We finally got a taxi. He raced to boat. We got on at 10:45 and the ferry left, right then.

Sort of like Mamma Mia without Colin Firth. I always thought Julie Waters was saying Dofasto as she takes drink on the ferry, but it is EFFHARISTO,

I must look Greek. Everyone on ferry asking me questions in Greek. My son does look Greek, he is so tanned.


So another nice meal on the waterfront in Chios. More touristy. Our waiter sounded foreign. I asked if he was Australian. He is from New York. Bronx accent via Greece. Very cool.

I would love to see a Greek play in Athens, as I studied all that in Jr. College. I hope I can.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

My son´s photo of the Scottish Highlands 2010

He said he felt as if he were home on this trip. Those Nicholson genes. And Blair genes. The Blairs, Marion´s hubby, came to to Canada in mid 1800s and they settled near Quebec City.

The CBC recently ran a program on the Blairs of Quebec, revealing that the grandmother was Cree, which accounts for my husband and son's bronze tans and lack of a substantial facial hair.

Norman Nicholson of this blog Flo in the City, my novel in progress based on the letters of www.tighsolas.ca was hairy. How do I know? His devoted wife Margaret McLeod once let slip to a grandchild that had she known how hairy he was, she wouldn't have married him.

Hmm. Odd. Maybe she was joking. She loved him. The letters reveal this.

Inter-marriage between French and Native People's was common early on, even encouraged. I am of partial French Canadian heritage and I likely have native genes as well.

Of course, my grandmother was a Roy, perhaps a descendant of Les Filles du Roi, the prostitutes who came to Canada from France to marry. Poor women, like the women in 1910 who worked in factories during the day and worked the streets at night, as their salaries were not enough.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gyros and Dreams



You know you are relaxed when you dream about Steinberg's. A weird dream. Steinberg's is the old Montreal grocery store. I dreamed about the store on Queen Mary, where we shopped. As I enter there are no carts, and a woman is mad. She tells me to go find the manager to complain. I find him, a nice young man (with a Dutch aura) and he explains that he cannot add more or the store would be to crowded. Good explanation. I say thank you. See. weird dream, because it has no dream elements. Well, an old CFCF announcer was walking outside and a giant pig, or man in pig dress, was twitching on a counter, but still, so dull.

The picture above is of a fast food joint basically in my brother's back yard. This is chicken souflaki. I had two. Delicious, with sweet mustard and tsaziki. Last year, my youngest son came to Plomari with his girlfriend and he told me he 'lived on gyros' from this place, to save money. I felt sorry for him then. No more!

This place, the name is there, has a few tables on a balcony overlooking Plomari main drag and Mediterranean.

Pretty nice. I could eat there every day... but you know what would happen.

My husband, who hates the heat, loves souflaki. (He too worked at CFCF 12 in Montreal when it was on Ogilvy in Park Extension and he has carried his love of such fast food to the 'new' Papineau location, in the gay village, where you can get anything to eat.

He would love it here just for this sandwich.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plomari or Los Pallos Verdes?


The views from the third story of my brother's place in Plomari Greece. Being Scandinavian (or a long time resident of Denmark, anyway) he likes to huddle downstairs in the dark during the hot afternoon hours, watching Monty Python or Australian Rules Football, but being a Montrealer, someone who can stand REAL heat, not small time heat like here in Greece ;) I like to open the windows and spread the shutters on top and feel the warm breeze waft or sometimes blow through. And besides, I watch enough media at home.

(It's funny, years ago, when my family would go to Old Orchard Beach, my brother, then a teen, would spend his days inside, watching the American TV Stations and only go out at night to play pinball. He hasn't changed: but whenI remark upon this he denies it. But he's had this house for years and admits he 's never been on a beach. I am going to drag him to the best beach here that is but 1 kilometer away.

It may say 105 outside, but it's fine as far as I am concerned, and great at night, like the very best Montreal summer nights, without the ever-looming thunderstorms, although I'm not too stupid, I don't do anything much in the heat at midday and I'm not going to fry on the beach, despite my Mediterrean colouring.

OK. So these, above, are world class views, it reminds me of Los Pallos Verdes in LA with a little Street Car named Desire ambience thrown in, women yelling at men, men yelling at women, both yelling at kids, mothers in law yelling at everyone, kids crying, kids laughing, kids having profound discussions with each other, their whispers carrying up through the stairwells, kids playing for hours, clippety clack, on same echoey stairwells. If I could understand Greek I would know all the neighbours' business. (Ironically, one night, I started to sing Hallelujah on the porch listening to my iPod and someone slammed a window shut!)

And the food is great of course. And the wine is cheap, but I am not drinking as much as I thought I would. Who needs to drink when the sun is perpetually shining? That's Prozac enough, as everyone knows.

Oh, yes, and with respect to Flo in the City, my book in progress about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era, I've had plenty of time to read The Great Silence by Juliet Nicolson, which is about the post war period through the eyes of ordinary and extraordinary Edwardians. She mentions Coco Chanel of course and says that she used stretchy material in her clothing because that was what the jockeys used and her boyfriend BOY was into the horses.

But I had read she used that material because the established couturiers made sure she couldn't get the typical materials used in haute couture.... so she had to improvise using men's underwear material. Whatever the truth, it proves necessity is the mother of invention and you have to be in the right place at the right time. Nicolson's book beautifully illustrates this...without being blunt.. it's just left there for you to figure out yourself.

My husband, Flo's great nephew, with his Scottish blood hates the heat, and although I'm sure he would like to be here with me, he might find it torture . His favorite weather was my standard poodle's favorite weather, cold and damp. And my dh doesn't mind the extreme cold either. He just suits up like a spaceman and goes out for a long walk. I huddle all winter in the house, and drink wine...and watch Mamma Mia on the big HD screen over and over.

But one thing that might change, when I return, I may go for walks in my area. As it is, there are two hairpin turns on either side of my house and I am reluctant to go out as don't like having to be wary of cars coming my way out of the blue. The schoolbusses are the worst, they careen around the corner, even in icy conditions. Well, here, in Plomari, it's all wariness all the time. It's all narrow passages and crazy scooter and car and sometimes truck traffic and dogs underfoot and an occasional kid on a bike as in velociped.

One day I got a flashback to the sixties: two kids were doubled up on one bicycle and streaking downhill on the bumpy cobblestone road leading from my brother's home to the main square.. a narrow road with shopfronts shared by pedestrians carrying groceries or pushing baby carriages, young men (or couples with child) on motorbikes, dilapidated cars spewing exhaust and even small trucks. (I saw no donkeys but there are memorials at the side of the road, where people met their end.)
This morning, scoping the main drag for a place that serves eggs for breakfast, I found myself automatically stepping out of the way of some vehicle, as if it were second nature. Now I get it! The truth is Greece feels like home. Montreal, after all, is a multicultural place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Pale Imitation



A kitty having a snooze.

Greek Restaurants are a staple of the Montreal Restaurant scene, as I wrote at www.tighsolas.ca/page800.html and that's the way it's been for a long time. The first Greek Restaurants were in Park Extension, the community where CFCF 12's old station was located. 405 Ogilvy Avenue. We often ate at psarotavernas in that place. At the same time,many Greek restaurants opened, especially on Prince Arthur and these became chains, Caverna Grecque, Casa Grecque, offering good value for money. I wrote many ads for such restaurants when I was a radio copywriter from 82 to 84. A joke among copywriters was ..when out of ideas..start the advert.. Step into the sunshine, at Caverna Grecque... Well, I've stepped into the sunshine all right FOR REAL at Plomari Greece, on Lesvos, where it doesn't rain in the summer.

And although I was a bit intimidated by the sound of 104 temperature, I can take it fine.

And the food, well, now I can see that the food they serve at the Montreal restos is a pale imitation of the real stuff.. but what can you do.. You can't get the ingredients in Montreal.

My brother likes a taverna called Hermes on the main drag, and from the look at it, so does everybody else. The Greek Tourists anyway. It's always packed. It's cheap too.

The other night we ate at a more 'upscale resto' which cost all of 53 dollars for the equivalent of 3 main dishes, a bottle of wine and an appetizer of something they don't sell in Montreal, fried zucchini flowers, one of the nicest things I have eaten in a long time...In Montreal they flavour the rice with chicken stock, here you can taste allspice and cumin and such. More middle eastern.

The picture above is of that resto.

Last night, at Hermes, I had fried eggplant, crispy like chips but soft in the middle, and great veggies served by a handsome young man from Albania, Vladimir, who helped me with my phrasebook Greek.

So, were I a copywriter today in Montreal, I might find it hard to conjure words in praise of the Montreal Greek Restos.. but, then, I had to fake it most times, as a copywriter.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mad dogs and Scandinavians ...and me


Plomari Greece center ville and church.

It's over 100, mid afternoon and in Plomari, which is a vacation destination for Greeks and Scandinavians, only a few walk the streets, although plenty are in the cafes.

And the older Greek women shamelessly wear string bikinis on the beach, (giving me courage)and the young girls are super shapely and the men handsome, and always on motorbikes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In Plomari Greece They have Horses as Pets



Plomari. Bottom picture, a very old lady is being brought to church by a younger relative (most likely. In is Sunday, August 15, Assomption Day. My brother took me for a walk. You could hear the priests chanting over a loud speaker system. It was very hot of course, but this crippled up old lady wanted to go.

Plomari, I am told and I have read, is a piece of real Greece, it's on Lesvos, not like the tourist islands. And I realized this right away, last night, as I took a 40 minute taxi from Mitilini, the capital to Plomari, where my brother and his wife, who live in Denmark, have a a summer place.

On the windy way to Plomari, I passed an old old man on a donkey, who appeared non plussed by the crazy drivers passing by him, a small kid ,crunched in the the fetal position, between his parents on a motor bike. (Common, I'm told.) and my favorite, I wish I had had a camera, a beautiful horse standing on a very windy street is a town on the the way, on a windy street with NO sidewalk, and of course crazy traffic and this horse, unsaddled and without a lead or bridle, and beautifully groomed, like Man 0 War, was just standing at the door of his horse. The pose my dog takes when he's ready to come in.

Meanwhile, there are cats everywhere, with infected eyes and bloated.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dating 1912 style. Vaudeville Outing.


Marion Nicholson, in 1912, on the lawn of Tighsolas, in Richmond.

I just read the plot of a play, being performed at Montreal's Orpheum in 1912 as part of a larger bill. In the play, a young man is disinherited by his wealthy parents, so he and his best friend hatch a plan to have him be a millionaire in a year. (And millionaire meant something back then.) He is to "dress well but simply, go to a small town somewhere, get some form of employment, join the church, refrain from drinking and smoking, and soon, he'll be able to have any woman in the town he wants.

The message here is, if you want to marry, impress the parents, not the girl.

I am interested, as in 1912, according to the Nicholson letters on http://www.tighsolas.ca/, Marion and her beau, Hugh Blair, had a favorite entertainment venue, the Orpheum, located not far from the Nickel on Ste. Catherine near Bleury.

Maybe they saw this very show. On the same bill, a magician/spiritualist who conjured the spirits of painters past, a male/female comedy duet with dubious singing ability, some acrobats with a performing dog, some other acrobats who were 'muscular'. In short, typical Vaudeville.

Lately, as I have blogged, I have been watching The Road Movies and The Marx Brothers on Turner Classics. These were acts polished to perfection on the Vaudeville circuit in the next decade. The Orpheum was part of a North American Chain.

Oh, and that day in 1912, there were also two short skits on the bill, one called "Just Married" that, according to the Gazette article I read, was cliche.

It must have been awkward to go out on 'a date' in those days. "Marriage" was such an elephant in the room and so many skits evolved around the Love thing. (As they still do today, an as they always will although today, I imagine, it's the sex and explicit sex talk in popular teen movies that might prove embarrassing. Although I might just be projecting, as young people might be inured to such stuff.

(I say this because last year my husband and I went to see Tropic Thunder, a movie I love and during a certain very funny but well, crude, scene with Jack Black tied to a tree, withdrawing from cocaine, my husband turned to me and through his tears said "There's a young boy sitting beside me." which on some level was weirder than the movie. We're pretty loose here in Quebec, but still.)

The fact was, Hugh Blair, my husband's grand father, was about to be disinherited by his wealthy family, because he insisted on marrying Marion Nicholson, a country bumkin with no dowry, instead of someone else. I have a 1912 letter where he blows off this other woman, saying he thought they were "just good friends."

Marion mesmerized him because she was so independent, I think. The other woman was a Mamma's girl, or as they say in Jane Austen "still under the protection of her mother."

Hugh proposes to Marion in May 1913. I know because I have Marion's letter home where she draws the ring, a piece with three nice diamonds. (I have even seen said ring, which was passed to my mother in law.) She accepts despite the fact that she also wrote in an era letter "sometimes I like him and sometimes I hate him"...(Well, maybe that's proof positive she's in love.)

In courtship Hugh is dashing, funny, helpful "I don't know what I would do without him,"writes the very capable Marion. In marriage, he turns out a bit of a baby.

I guess I can include this scene in Flo in the City, about a girl coming of age in 1912 based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/. Maybe I'll have Marion and Hugh take Flo. I know they took her to Dominion Park.

Here's an aside. When my first son was born, I wanted to name him Hugh, after Hugh in How Green was my Valley. Anyway, my husband, who has dyslexia and can't spell, said NO. I admitted it wasn't an easy name to spell. Well, only much much later did I realize his grandfather was named Hugh. If I had known back then, I would have pressed the case.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Respectable Nickelodeon 1909




There's an advertorial piece in the 1909 Montreal Gazette on the Nickel, a moving picture show house that aspired to respectability.

Well, as it so happens,  in a 1909 Nicholson Family Letter Margaret Nicholson writes to her daughter Marion. "Aren't you gay, going to the Nickel to see Man in the Box.".

Man in the Box, ironically, featured Mack Sennett, a Richmond Quebec native, in its cast.

The Nickel promoted itself as an upper class nickelodeon, with no questionable movies,and no questionable clients.

A good place for a school teacher to go if she must attend a 'photo-play' as movies were sometimes called.

The Nickel was clean and orderly and claimed to be routinely inspected by the Board of Health. (This tells you what problems Nickelodeons had and were perceived to have.)

Oh, and the place had nice leather seats too. (For comfort or for cleanliness?)

All this for the cost of a nickel. It was on Bleury and St. Catherine, near where Marion had a room for a while.

Of course, the movies were considered low-brow by many people, even immoral by some.

 "I do not want to condemn all motion pictures'" says one clergyman in Montreal, "but we cannot be blind to the fact that the highest things are presented in a light and demoralizing fashion."

And if  the motion pictures themselves were not deemed all that bad, the locales were. The buildings and rooms in which these silent films were shown were often dingy and dark, not to to mention frighteningly democratic spaces where anyone of any class or background or age could commingle.




In 1909, in Montreal,  the key controversy around motion picture houses centered on Sunday showings. Some movie houses stayed open on Sunday, despite the newly minted Lord Day's Act, a law the Church and the trade unions pushed through a year before.

The problem is, if you give people the day off they need something to do.

That's exactly what Monsieur Ouimet, proprietor of the huge Ouimetoscope on Ste. Catharine, argued at various hearings into this matter.

Ouimet said Sunday was his most popular day. He said nuns brought their charges to the pictures shows, too.

And since most working people had little spending money, they needed their outings to be inexpensive. The Motion Picture House fit the bill, all right.

According to another 1909 article, one that listed some 25 venues defying the Lord's Day Act, (which  the spiffy Ouimetoscope) there were 75 motion picture venues in Montreal in the era, all clustered on Notre Dame, St. Catherine and St. Lawrence  streets.

Fire was a danger in these places. The film could burn up. (We've all witnessed that, if we are Boomers.)

 In 1927 a terrible fatal fire did occur in a Montreal movie house , the Laurier Palace, at a Sunday Matinee filled with unattended children, mostly boys, that caused the Province to ban children from attending motion pictures, even in the company of a parent.

So, my brothers and I weren't allowed to go to movies as children. Of course, we kids often found ways around the ban. The ban was lifted only in 1967.

Marion Nicholson (bottom) went to the Nickel in Montreal  to see Man in a Box, with Mack Sennett, a local boy, whom she probably didn't recognize. He had changed his same from Sinnott. Norman, her dad, had sold grain to the elder Sinnott in the old days.

My grandfather, Jules Crepeau the Director of City Services, was the first to give testimony at the 1927  inquiry into the infamous fire.

 He said the Laurier Palace was open without a license, but it was all just a formality. They hadn't paid their taxes on time.

(After researching my grandfather's life, I am not entirely sure the fire wasn't started on purpose to get him. Read Milk and Water or other posts on this blog.)

According to one era article, there were 6000 nickels in the US in 1908, where in 1904 there were none and according to another era article, over 6 billion admissions were made to nickels in the US in one year, around that time.

We talk about the incredibly fast rate of change, today, especially with respect to entertainment technology, but REALLY, back then the motion picture changed a whole lot about ordinary life.

With respect to middle class women like Marion, who couldn't go to the low brow places, the honky tonks, or too often to the theatre or opera, it really opened up their lives.

They started going to the 'movies' regularly during WWI. And yes, they started calling the cinema  'the movies' at that time too.

The movies took away from their church time. They still went to church, but just once a week and not twice a day as had been the case back home in Richmond.

No wonder so many clergymen railed against the motion pictures: it was taking away their job. 

In the 1910 era,  group of businessmen was trying to raise public money to start a Montreal Motion Picture Chain, to cash in on the new 'fad'.

United Amusements was soon established and my grandfather's brother, an insurance salesmen, eventually became V.P.

This was very useful for the chain considering my grandfather's key post in Municipal Government.

During a 1925 inquiry into police corruption, the Coderre Inquiry,  a policeman, Constable Trudeau, fingered my grandfather, accusing him of forcing police to look the other way when it came to motion picture houses letting in under age patrons unattended.


It's all  very suspicious too, considering the circumstances surrounding the Laurier Palace Fire.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Embarrassing Bit of History -Eugenics Movement




As I peruse more Montreal Gazette archive articles while researching Flo in the City, my novel about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era in Canada, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/ I am forced to revisit a sketchy topic I touched upon on my website: Eugenics.



Carrie Derick (or Derrick) Canada's first female full-time professor, a botanist, and a President of the Montreal Council of Women 1909-1912 and founder of the  Suffrage Movement was, at least at one time, a proponent of 'unnatural' selection as promoted by the Eugenics Movement.



So, apparently, was Emily Murphy, a famous Canadian suffragist.



Now, how could a person who supported suffrage, in large part because women were seen as better suited to tackle the grave social problems of the city, support sterlizing the feeble-minded and the weak? I mean, that was the argument made by men to keep women down, that women were naturally feeble-minded and gentle-hearted and spiritually fine.



Before we judge, however, we must keep in mind that eugenics was a trendy belief among the educated in 1910. Theodore Roosevelt was a proponent as was Tommy Douglas, our Greatest Canadian, as well as Alexander Graham Bell, whose wife was deaf. So imagine!



In Derick's case, well, in 1909 she presided over a lecture by a gentleman, a Professor Witmore, who was endeavoring to improve the lot of the feeble-minded (I'm just using their term)by understanding them and taking care of them, thereby promoting the "useful citizenship of the imbecile."



Then in 1913, Derick gives a lecture in favour of sterilizing such people. Her argument seems ludicrous, it almost makes you laugh. She's supposedly lecturing on genetics and the nature/nurture debate, something of interest to all who are concerned with 'the improvement of the human race." She gives two real life examples to illustrate her point: A man named Jukes, 'a lazy drunken wastrel' who is the first in a line of thousands of such degenerates. Then she names another man, who is respectable, hardworking and god-fearing, I presume, who begets a huge line of superior "clergymen, physicians, college professors (sic) distinguished army and navy officers and good, pure women (sic again).(No poets, though :)



And, then, the political side of this eugenics issue rears its ugly and predictable head: "In the shipbuilding of Canada, unguarded immigration isone of the greatest dangers. Not only should the health and character of immigrants be known, but the record should also embrace his or her parents and grandparents and should a taint of degeneracy be disclosed, rejection should follow. Remember, Canada was experiencing a huge increase in immigration.



Well, I guess I'm not going to get to be alive: my Yorkshire ancestors were sheep-stealers. My French Canadian ancestors were Filles du Roy (prostitutes and otherwise imprisoned women sent to the New World as breeding stock.)And the Nicholsons, well, they are descended from Norseman, the mother of all pillagers and rapists.


(Which brings to mind something my son likes to say: A low class sociopath ends up in prison. A high class one ends up a CEO of a large corporation or working for Wall Street)...but I digress.


Well, this part of our history has been glossed over, largely because eugenics got associated with the Nazis. But one aspect is still with us and is highly respected. The IQ test. The IQ test was created in 1912, (as a tool of the eugenics movement?...Something to replace the science of phrenology?) Even back then, they tried to give these tests to immigrants, who didn't even know English. So I guess they failed and were deemed imbeciles.


One of the odd things Derick says is that 'alcoholism doesn't cause degeneracy, it's the other way around, degeneracy causes alcoholism.' And although that sounds ridiculous, today alcoholism is considered a disease by some and there is a proven? genetic factor underlying addiction. (Or is there?)



And just yesterday, the news media was abuzz with the story that a spinal fluid test can prove conclusively if a person is going to get Alzheimer's. As a fifty five year old who can't remember anything and whose father died of Alzheimer's I was a little freaked out to hear this. But I was especially concerned with the GIVEN that Alzheimer's Disease was genetic. I mean heavy metals and other environmental issues must be behind the rise in Alzheimer's disease. Or the numbers would be stable.



And my first thought was, yea, find out early and your husband leaves you and you get fired or at least not given tenure,(well no one gets tenure anymore) or your insurance stops covering you... EWWWW.


This genetic testing (for any disease) whatever the rationale, smacks of the eugenics movement.


And if the eugenics movement proves anything, it's that otherwise intelligent, thoughtful, good people, can be terribly WRONG about certain things.

The Story of Flo?


Flo and Friend, waiting for the bus in Richmond circa 1910
Well, I got up at 5 am, which is a good sign. In the good old days, when I was writing a lot, I always did my best work upon rising at 5.
I think I now have all I need, with respect to my novel to get on with writing it.
I had a sense I was missing something, and what I was missing was the Montreal Angle.
Years and years ago, when I tried to access the files of the Montreal Council of Women, unsuccessfully for the most part, I was looking for this angle.
Now, with the Gazette archives online, I have got the info I need to make the Story of Flo (actually Flo in the City, about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/.)
What do I have?
1) I have the life, in letter form, of an over- protected, educated middle class girl from Richmond, Quebec.
2)I have her portfolio from Macdonald and all the background with respect to the Royal Commission on Technical Training and Industrial Education. In 1913, Flora would go to teach in Griffintown. Prim and proper Flo would come face to face with the realities of Montreal style poverty which would dwarf her family's financial problems.. She would in a 1914 letter write saying she feels sorry for these children, they have such tough lives.
She also writes, in the same letter, how popular Parent's Day is at school. How the parents are so very interested in their children's progress... an observation that goes against the grain.. but there it is on the page in blue and white. Marion taught in the inner city since 1909 and her experiences will figure largely in Flo in the City. (Of course, parental involvement has long been a tradition in the Anglo Education Sector but not so much among French Canadians.)
3)I have all the background, from Canadian and US sources, of the era
4)I have other UK background, Edwardian Era
5)And I have the Gazette archived articles which prove 1) that Montreal's child labour, prostitution problem were the worse in NA perhaps. De Bullion Street! And the two things were tied together, as these prostitutes were often workers, trying to make more money.
6) and I have the French Canadian angle, with my grandparents, who were wealthy. Indeed, today, looking up Carrie Derick (which is spelled Derrick back then) and the Montreal Council of Women (often referred to as the "local council of women" I discovered that the Royal Commission met in the Mayor's Chambers in Montreal in 1911. Mederic Martin was mayor. (I didn't know he started that early.)My grandfather was likely in the Greffier's office by then (have to double check, I have all his papers.) I can stick him in the story there, as I have Edith working for his family as a tutor in 1909.
Looking up Montreal Council of Women I pulled an article about Mrs. Snowden (famous for her dazzling wit, as they called it) giving a speech in Montreal in 1909. She also came in 1913, and Edith sees her and is upset that she is not militant. She is being hosted by the Montreal Council of Women and Carrie Derrick (Derick) says that the council has not yet decided whether to support suffrage, as an entity, although many members are suffragists. (No doubt she is too.) She says it is just not in the upbringing of some women to be suffragists, although they want to do good work in the world and maybe suffrage is the only answer. In 1912, Derrick (Derick) would found the Montreal Suffrage Organization, which would be militant...
I also found a good article describing Mrs. Wylie's visit to Montreal in 1912. She is militant and unapologetic about it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Child Labour Problem.

Flora Nicholson of Flo in the City, my work in progress about a girl coming of age in the pivotal 1910 era based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/ A middle class girl... Here she is babysitting, most probably.

Well, I am reading the 1910 era archives of the Montreal Gazette, looking for articles on the child-labour issue and YES, child-labour, was a huge issue and especially with respect to girls.

I knew this from previous articles I'd read, but these first-hand accounts remind me that for all the Nicholson family money problems, the Nicholsons had it easy... and Flo especially easy. She was protected, even pampered.

And, there's my challenge, to make her 'problems' seem real, and still show the context.

One of the articles I found was about a recently published book by a British lady who crossed Canada in 1911 and published a book about her experiences in 1912. (Even today, the Canadian media loves to report on American reviews of things Canadian, especially if they are praiseworthy. It's a national trait.)

Well, this lady, who wrote this book called From Halifax to Vancouver, generally praised Canada but she had harsh criticism for the industrial conditions of Montreal. She quotes a woman on the Juvenile court as saying that the factory owners would hire monkeys to work if they could get away with it and that nowhere in the world, even New York, are there so many young women leading immoral lives. De Bullion Street!

A factory owner says he is appalled to learn that under-age girls are working in his factory. He does not sanction it: why would he? He wants the most efficient labourers to work for him so that he can compete internationally.

In another article about Montreal's girl labour in factories, it is claimed that although the official legal age for working is 14 -if literate- and 16 -if illiterate-, the reporter found girls working in factories who were so young, they didn't know their age. (Of course, this might be that they were told by their parents NOT to tell their age.)According to the article, "one little girl did not know the meaning of the word 'holiday.'"

Another article claims that women immigrants should only be allowed to enter Canada to work as domestics and not as factory workers. Domestic work is good work, they say. The President of the Montreal Suffrage Organization, a Mrs. Bullock, disagrees. She thinks that girls should be trained for trades, like boys, since only then can the young women support themselves and have their nights to themselves. (She writes this in an open letter to the Royal Commission. I intend to write a scene in my story where Flo takes on Mr. Robertson, in a public argument, when he visits Macdonald College in 1911.)

And there's one really prescient man quoted in another article: (Remember, these are all between 1908-1913) It is an Member of Parliament, a Mr. Henry Vivien. He wants suburbs designed and put up outside of cities, where houses are 20 feet apart. (He doesn't want suburbs evolving randomly, as overflow of cities.) He wants roads joining the suburb to the city. It's only 1910, but he says the automobile will take over from the horse, in 50 years time.

This is very prescient, as most people,then, thought the automobile was a 'toy'...a fascinating and desirable toy, but still a toy, and even in the Montreal Gazette, that same year, in the opening paragraph in the article about the Horse Show, it is written that the auto will never replace the horse in man's affections.

Many people quoted who were advocating change, more laws to protect women and children, often brought up examples from the US, which suggests the US was ahead of Canada, and Montreal. And yet they had their child labour horrors too.

Shades of Today in Yesterday's News




1911 article Montreal Gazette

I stumbled upon this article, from June 1911, the Montreal Gazette, declaring that "mixed marriages" were out for Presbyterians.

As if it wasn't hard enough to find a husband in those days, for Edith, Marion or Flo.

Although Herb dated French Canadian girls from what I read, I don't think there ever was a question of either of the girls marrying a Roman Catholic. Or "RC" as they often wrote. Edith's great love, the one she lost in a Cornwall, Ontario fire was named Charlie Gagne, but he probably was an anglo.

That's despite the fact E.W. Tobin, an Irish-Canadian was the Member of Parliament for Richmond Wolfe, and of course a Roman Catholic. (This probably helped him get French Canadian votes.)

On Easter 1908, the Pope came out with a decree declaring that all RC marriages are null and void unless performed by a Parish Priest, and the right Parish Priest, at that, the Priest in the parish the woman was born.

Gee, that sort of keeps women at home, doesn't it?

The Presbyterians responded to this by saying no mixed marriages...Not that there was anything wrong with it ;)

And the points they make in support of their argument are most interesting in the context of gay marriage, today. They say civil marriage takes precedence over religious marriage, and no one religion can decide for the others, who is legally or illegally married. (Sounds like a good argument for separation of church and state.) The church says it is grateful for the state in that the state allows religions to conduct marriage in the way they want.

Hmm.

At the same Presbyterian Meeting, another very interesting thing is stated: Someone complains that the state has 'an insane love of statistics" because it decides how to solve social problems on numbers, whereas evangelicals merely sound the call, rouse their fervour, and get out there and do good. As I wrote earlier, in the 1910 era, evangelicalss were progressive, in many ways. For instance they were all for women's suffrage, although this was primarily in the hope of pushing temperance through.

Hmm. Scrapping the Long Form Census is in the long tradition of Evangelicalism. Except our esteemed leader isn't supposed to be a fanatical religious type. He pretends not to be. Building more prisons when violent crime is going down is also typical of this line of thinking.

That's the problem with emotions, they can be used to do good and do bad, in equal measures. And certain issues always 'incite partisan extremes' - a term I steal from a Lowenthal who writes that 'heritage can incite partisan extremes' (in an essay I am reading for my course.) Because heritage is about ''symbols' and sometimes about "myth" (tangible and intangible heritage) and both symbols and myth motivate mankind more than logic and ideas.

Which is to say, the heritage crusade (the title of the paper) is like a religion and has the potential to do great good and great harm.

Yes, statistics can be interpreted in different ways, but that is a good thing in a democracy. But they tend not to inspire love or hatred, (just yawns). And bored people tend to do little harm to others.

You know, I am a magazine writer, and the 'quote, anecdote, statistic' method of journalism reflects the fact that people cannot identify with numbers, but it is very IMPORTANT to back up anecdotes with numbers - and a range of opinions.


Anecdotal evidence cannot stand alone, for 'an anecdote' can be anything from an astute observation by a sage who has learned to channel his objective observer and check his or her emotions to a blatant fish tale by a madman or sociopath or, ah, someone who has a hidden agenda.


for the full article

Monday, August 9, 2010

1909 Textile Union Demands Montreal





Well, it didn't take me long. I found an article in the 1909 Montreal Gazetteon a Union Protest with respect to the textile industry in Montreal (and Magog in the Eastern Townships) in 1909, the year I am writing about right now in my book Flo in the City, about a young girl coming of age in the 1910 era based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/


The demands were by the union at Dominion Textile. (I remember that their head offices were somewhere near the Montreal Forum.)


They wanted a 10 percent increase in wages, as the workers' wages hard recently been cut by 10 percent despite the fact the company's stock was doing well. Hmm.


They wanted more humane hours for women and children. No start before 7.am. No more than 55 hours a week.


They wanted the company to respect the laws of the land with respect to child labour, which suggests they were employing illegally.


They wanted the men in the factory to be forced to respect the women and children who worked there, which must mean they abused their powers.


And they wanted an end to 'blacklisting',a practice where anyone who complained couldn't get another job with the company and even with another company.


I will have Marion read this out loud to Flo, or Margaret, because she taught in a school near St. Henri and according to the article, blacklisting is having a terrible effect on the standard of living in St. Henri. So no doubt many of her young female students were doomed to leave school and go work for Dominion Textiles at 12 or 13 or 14. And many of the mothers of her students already worked in this particulary factory. I think I'll have Flo fingering the cotton in her blouse, as Marion reads it. "But at least they have work?" she'll say, "that is better than the other." Something like that. I'll have her recite the same arguments we give today for our cheap clothes.


Traduction Google

Eh bien, il ne m'a pas pris longtemps. J'ai trouvé un article sur une manifestation syndicale à l'égard de l'industrie textile à Montréal (et de Magog dans les Cantons de l'Est) en 1909, l'année où je vous écris au sujet en ce moment dans ma Flo livre dans la ville, d'une jeune fille venue de l'âge à l'ère de 1910 sur la base des lettres de http://www.tighsolas.ca/

Les demandes ont été par le syndicat à la Dominion Textile. (Je me souviens que leur siège social ont été à peu près au Forum de Montréal.)


Ils voulaient une augmentation de 10 pour cent dans les salaires, les salaires des travailleurs dur récemment été réduits de 10 pour cent, malgré le fait capital de la société se portait bien. Hmm.


Ils voulaient heures de plus humain pour les femmes et les enfants. Aucun départ avant 7.am. Pas plus de 55 heures par semaine.


Ils voulaient de l'entreprise à respecter les lois du pays en ce qui concerne le travail des enfants, ce qui suggère qu'ils ont été employant illégalement.


Ils voulaient que les hommes dans l'usine d'être forcé de respecter les femmes et les enfants qui y ont travaillé, qui doit vouloir dire qu'ils abusaient de leurs pouvoirs.


Et ils voulaient la fin de «liste noire», une pratique selon laquelle toute personne qui se plaignait ne pouvait pas trouver un autre emploi avec la société et même avec une autre société.


Je vais devoir lire ce Marion à haute voix pour Flo, ou Margaret, car elle a enseigné dans une école près de Saint-Henri et selon l'article, une liste noire a un effet terrible sur le niveau de vie dans Saint-Henri. Donc, sans aucun doute beaucoup de ses jeunes élèves de sexe féminin ont été condamnés à quitter l'école et aller travailler pour la Dominion Textile à 12 ou 13 ou 14. Et la plupart des mères de ses élèves déjà travaillé dans cette usine particulièrement. Je pense que je vais avoir Flo doigté du coton dans son corsage, comme Marion il lit. "Mais au moins ils ont du travail?" elle dira, «c'est mieux que l'autre." Quelque chose comme ça. Je l'ai réciter les mêmes arguments que nous donnons aujourd'hui pour nos vêtements bon marché.

History Repeats Itself -Clothing

Summer Suits 1905 Eaton's Catalogue

I started out this morning wanting to write a blog on the Nicholson camera. The house account says that they purchased a Kodak for 5.00 in 1904. Thanks to the web, I can see what Kodak cameras were available then. a 5.00 camera would have been the very cheapest. Which means they either purchased a camera second hand or they got the least expensive camera available.

Which is why the average Canadian family does not have snapshots from 1910. Cameras were luxuries. Further proving this, the 1904 Eaton's catalogue doesn't carry cameras.

So I merely flipped through the pages of the catalogue on archive.org and then downloaded a Kindle version to amuse me on a trip I taking on Friday to Greece.

A statement from the Nan Enstad paper I downloaded last night haunted me. She wrote that the women working in the textile factories in the US in 1900 were well aware that the clothes they were making were more important than they were. (After all, they worked in horrible conditions, for little money.)

This Eaton's catalogue is full of clothing made by women in the textile industry, I assume in Canada. According to another paper I found, on the Canadian textile industry, 7,500 people worked in the industry in Ontario, and 9,000 in Montreal. 80 percent were women, all working in the lower jobs. Bossed around big time by men. Or treated more benignly like 'little sisters'.

Some women worked from home, at piece work, others in the factories.

The Nicholson women, no doubt, flipped through this very catalogue (they did buy things from Eaton's, I have the bills) and dreamed about being able to buy more of these glorious things Things THINGS it showcased. (After all, that's what I did as a child, when I looked at catalogues. I practically salivated over the toy section.)

(Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they thought these clothes low-brow and that they desired the fantasy outfits in the Delineator or Harper's Bazar. When they purchased a women's suit in the 1908-1913 era, they paid around 12.00 and the suits in this catalogue cost between 8 and 15, so Eaton's was in their price-range.)

Were the politically-aware Nicholson women aware of the connection between the women's rights movement, city poverty, and the clothes they lusted after.

To some extent certainly. I have some of their clippings. One clipping "Away from Nature" is about how factory work hurts people, especially young girls. I have another clipping: A letter to the Editor in answer to another letter complaining about women's expensive clothes habit. The writer says, men only look at women who are dressed up, so women have no choice in the matter. And if women could work at good jobs, the could afford to buy their own clothing.


Yes, they were aware, up to a point. (I mean the city slums scared them silly and the suffrage movement's raison d'etre was to decrease poverty in the cities.) They also sent out some sewing to a local woman who, no doubt, was not living in their elegant neighbourhood in Richmond, Quebec. There were class distinctions in Richmond, too.

The Nicholson women were aware of the social and political repercussions of their clothes-lust in much the same way I am. I sit here typing, wearing a top that I bought in a store in Burlington, Vermont a few weeks ago. I think it cost 3.00. Probably made in Mexico or Vietnam or... I know this cheap item comes with other costs, to humanity - and the environment. I know that history repeats itself.

But it's all so complex.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's all so COMPLEX!

Shirtwaists 1910 Eaton's catalogue.

I have started to read Nan Enstad's paper, Fashioning Political Identities, and because it is an academic paper, written in academic style and not as easily digested as the two Juliet Nicolson histories I have been blogging about, it's going to take me a few readings to figure out exactly what this paper has to do with Tighsolas. An awful lot, actually, I can see that already.

The Nicholsons, middle class women, sewed their own waists. But the Enstad paper claims that the Italian and Jewish working class women (we're talking the US here, but Montreal was not unlike New York) who worked in the clothing factories, paradoxically purchased their clothes as they didn't have time to sew. Not from the Sears catalogue however, but from carts pushed around in their neighbours. And sometimes they dressed up like 'ladies' which upset the apple cart of class distinction.

And Enstad talks of the Shirtwaist Union Protests that I have talked about and mentions the fact that observors were confused, because these women were all gussied up. How could pretty girls be serious political activists? (I just blogged about a report on a suffrage parade where the women's colourful fashions were described in detail: a similar thing, except this was usually done in support of the women: See, these suffragettes aren't all manly women. They aren't so frightening after all.

And there it is: the first connection I can make with http://www.tighsolas.ca/. The Nicholson women loved fashion, but that doesn't mean they weren't politically aware. Or that they didn't want romance in their life. That's a central point of Tighsolas.

Indeed, during the Second World War, Marion became a Teacher's Union Leader and Edith became Commandant of the Red Cross in Quebec.

And still they cared about fashion. And they were quite vain. And they were quite girly.

And it's all very complex... so that's why I'm spending SO MUCH TIME getting background to the Tighsolas letters before I continue writing Flo in the City, my story about a girl coming of age in 1910.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wings and Other Girly Things

Do it yourself millinery page, Eaton's 1899

The 'store books' contain little mention of girly things: probably because any such purchases were incorporated into Margaret's allowance.

A key story in Flo in the City, my book about a Canadian girl coming of age in the pivotal 1910 era, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/ is the story of Margaret's Big Hat. I've written about it for a magazine. A Cautionary Tale

That story took place in 1909, when big hats were 'explosing onto the scene' which is why the story has relevance as an 'historical' essay. Miss Eugenie Hudon, town milliner was losing her best clients, the young, to the city. So she foisted these modern creations on the middle-aged woman who were staying behind. And like all older women, they felt uncomfortable in the latest fashions.

I have three bills from Hudon in 1898 and 1899. In account with Miss E. Hudon, dealer in the lastest novelties of Millinery and Children's white wear. Ross Block (opposite St. Jacob's Hotel) Main Street, Richmond, Quebec. Terms: Strictly cash.

1898..April 9.. 1 flat and veil...3.60

1899..April 22..Wing 35, Ribbon, 45, Work 25, Violets 20. Total 1.25.

June 8... repairing sailor 1.12, flower 45, 2 1/2 inch ribbon 45 work 25. Total 2.32

In 1911, Edith and Marion, both living in Montreal would go hat shopping at Ogilvy. Edith would buy a big black shape for 7.00 and Marion something smaller with pink rosettes, 6.50. Edith was a fashion horse, the big black shapes were all the rage, the Merry Widow Style.



Old Habits are Hard to Break

Electric fixtures: 1920 Eaton's Catalogue

Norman Nicholson, of Richmond, Quebec started keeping track of his expenditures in 1881, two years before he married (with 10 cents spent on phrenology and 10 cents for a peek into a telescope, 25 cents for a bottle of musk and 09 for saltpetre (sic) 10 cents for a straw hat, 40 cents for a pair of drawers, 1.25 for a shirt and 55 for one silk handkerchief and 14.00 for a suit of clothes or soot of clowes as he wrote; 25 cents for a shave and a haircut and 50 cents to Masonic dinner and 2.00 to race pool.) until December 1921, a couple of months before he died.

It's fitting, as the year 1922, the year my own father was born, is considered by some as the birth of the modern age with the publication of Ullysses and The Waste Land.

If I compare the 1915-1921 household lists to the household lists from the 1880's, I don't see a lot of difference in what was purchased to eat. This is proof that housewives like Margaret weren't keen to change their ways. Margaret was so proud of her abilities as a cook and baker, why would she? She had her recipes (neatly locked in her head) and she kept to them.

Now, I must admit, I jumped the gun about Crisco. In an earlier blog I wrote that Margaret received a 1916 advert for a new product, Crisco shortening, but didn't use it, and I had her 1917 butter bill to prove it! True, there are huge butter bills during the war, but in 1918 Norman started making entries for '1 pail of domestic shortening 1.00.' Butter was bought again in 1920, at great expense.

Anyway, the Nicholsons were living in 'genteel poverty' in 1920. Norman was still looking for work, so perhaps that's why there aren't any entries for newfangled things like wax cylinders for the Victrola.

The few 'new' items on the war time list, 2 cans of Campbell's soup, entered once, and can of tomato soup entered once, box of corn flakes (oh oh) toilet paper 10 cents (which makes me wonder what they used before) olive oil! (considered medicinal back then as today) a duster coat, which is a coat to wear over clothes when driving in a car (for a woman) and auto hire, instead of horse hire. Once.

(As it was, Margaret's grandchild, Marion Blair Wells, my late mother-in-law, born 1917, fed her own kids nothing but canned stuff, vegetables, soups, and the other famous fake food brands of the 60's. )

The biggest change, in the Nicholson household lists between 1885 and 1920, is in fruits purchased. In the 1920 period there are purchases of pears, peaches, and grapefruit and grapes to add to the earlier purchases of bananas, oranges, plums and berries up the ying yang. (For preserves). It seems strange to me that bananas were eaten as early as 1885. (And they liked bananas.) This might be a reflection of the fact Jamaica was a British holding.

Yes, of course, there are plenty of 'new' charges: electricity and phone bills including long distance to Montreal, to talk to Marion Blair, their daughter, 35 to 40 cents. Oddly, a phone call to Lingwick, around the corner, cost the same. Tighsolas was electified in 1913, and instead of buying coal oil and lamp chimneys (which must have gotten broken a lot) they bought electric fixtures.

But one thing they continued to buy over and over throughout the decades: whisks. Margaret must spent a lot of time whisking to wear out so many. (They didn't have built-in obsolescence back then) No, you wouldn't have wanted to arm wrestle with Margaret or any Mom in those days! I made a cake 'from scratch' the other day and had to pause 10 times as I beat the batter. And I do weights.

I took the picture above from the 1920 Fall Winter Eaton's catalogue online. It is 600 pages. The similar one for 1889 is 260 pages. But the 1920 one still starts with women's clothes and ends with horse products. No automotive products yet!!

Some things don't change. Furnishings for instance. The fixtures above look no different from ones you see today in stores. Even Ikea didn't change the style too much.

And I have a living room full of furnishings from the turn of the last century. They look OK, although they clash a bit with the Big Screen HD TV -four years old and already a relic, and the various laptops and iPods and now my Kindle which are strewn about.

Anyway, this is nothing new, that older people are loathe to change their buying habits. Advertisers know that TV shows all want to attract young men, 18-35, who, they say, have little brand loyalty. Just show them a gorgeous girl and they'll buy anything :)

Stitching Together another Nicholson 'Story'

An 1885 White Peerless sewing machine, very likely the kind Margaret Nicholson used. How do I know? It's not mentioned in the letters, the brand of the machine. (Although there's plenty of mention of sewing dresses and shirtwaists and the house accounts reveal few (maybe one)dresses were purchased from 1888 to 1920.)

I know because I put two and two together. I found a promotional brochure for White Sewing machines, that had the music for some patriotic American songs. And I know because yesterday I noticed something in the 'store' books that I had previously overlooked.

The Nicholsons bought a sewing machine in 1885 for 30.00. That's a lot of money. And with this, I learned something else, that Margaret probably learned how to sew on machine as a young mother, out of necessity.

In the early years a dress is purchased for Marion. And there are payments to a seamstress. So this woman, who probably learned baking at her mother's elbow, learned a new skill, with a new machine.

A new technology made her life easier and cheaper. Or gave her even more work to do :) And since she had 3 daughters, with the help of this machine, she was able to satisfy their instinct for adornment without breaking the bank. And this happened in parallel with the birth of the clothing industry which gave poorer women work and also helped spur the union movement as their working conditions were, for the most part, appalling. The items in the Eaton's catalogues tell that story.

There are no sewing machines in the 1889 Eaton's catalogue, but there are some in the 1906 Sears Catalogue.

From that moment on, most big purchases for clothes made by the Nicholsons were for men's and boys suits. Yes, the Nicholsons spent a whole lot more on Herb, as a child, than on the girls. I saw a 10,00 entry for "Herb's bank account" when that boy was but two.

Like most family, they put their dreams and aspirations on the shoulders of the only boy. They spoiled him, I imagine. He must have been quite a disappointment (to say the least) although, apparently, they never mentioned it.

Luckily, the Nicholsons were feminists, even Norman, (remember, they bought Flora a book at 2 years old) and they brought up strong women, who weren't spoiled. And this prepared the girls for the tough life ahead, the wars and the Depression, and Marion's early widowhood.


I'm thinking out loud here, but this theme is central to Flo in the City, my book about a girl coming of age in 1910.

In fact, on my website, http://www.tighsolas.ca/ I write "A woman's love of clothing affects her in more ways than the obvious one." It's so true. Clothing is very much a political issue: indeed the Nicholsons knew it: they clipped a letter to the Editor from 1913 where someone is replying to another letter than complains about women's expensive clothes habit. When it comes to fashion women are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

And so it goes, the last 'fabric' stores have now closed in Montreal. Marshall's was the most famous, on St. Catherine. Beauclair and what's that other one, Fabricville. I used to write ads fo them. They may still have a store. When you can buy cheap cheap clothing, (on the back of Third World labour) who needs to sew? My mother was brought up rich and was well-educated in Greek and Latin, but couldn't sew. If she had been able to, it might have made my childhood easier. I was very tall, and no store clothes fit me growing up, and, besides, we had no money for clothes for me.

And yet I didn't help myself in Home Ec, in high school, I deliberately failed sewing. (Home Ec, I have learned, was a left over of the Home Economics movement of 1910. So all things are connected.)

Today, as it happens, I stumbled upon a paper about this very thing: it appears a Nan Enstad at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was covering this territory in 1999. Her paper is Dressed for Adventure: Working women and silent movie serials in 1910 (on Jstor) and this paper:Fashioning Political Identities: Cultural Studies and the Historical Construction of Political Subjects from a book Ladies of Labour..working women, popular culture and labour politics in turn of the century America. Change America to Canada and you have the essence of TIGHSOLAS.
...So now I have more reading....

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Nicholsons, 1 year of expenses 1900

Ladies Jacket from Eaton's Catalogue 1899. Margaret or Edith bought one just like this (for this price) in 1900.


1900 is just another year in the life of the Nicholson family, but the Century Mark has significance, so I transcribed the entire year's accounts. In 1900, Edith was 17, Herb 16, Marion 14 and Flo 8.


The expenses for ‘hairdressing’ were for Norman and Herbert. Women didn’t get their hair done in those days. They tied it up. But what they didn’t spend in hairdressing, they spent on hats, especially towards the end of this decade.

The older children were in Academy, High School, and as you can see, it was expensive to go to school. Not much milk was purchased, because they kept a cow. Milk was a huge expense.

With all the flours and sugar the Nicholsons purchased you’d think they’d all be overweight. But a lot of family baking was for guests, for charity affairs like St. Andrew’s and for various fairs.

And, as you can see, shoes, boots and rubbers and getting footwear repaired was also a huge expense. No wonder. They walked everywhere, so they wore holes in their shoes and wore off the calories.


And if a woman didn’t walk enough, there was always a corset. Margaret and Edith wore corsets and Marion, no doubt, a kind of pre-corset called a waist. This happened to be the year that Norman became a Mason, at the huge expense of 21.00.

Luckily, this was a good year for health, no doctor bills, which could be considerable. It is clear, few women’s clothes were purchased, just a ladies jacket, likely very much like this one above (From Eaton’s catalogue 1899.)

Maggie’s allowance was for material for clothes, no doubt. In fact, I believe I have some invoices. So, most middle class women did without too many outfits, but the pages of the Eaton's catalogue, filled with women's items, predicted the future: that middle class women would propel the consumer age, now that they were working.

And the kids got lots of spending money. I wondered what they spent it on, sodas, no doubt and candies and ribbons for their dresses and feathers for their hats. Herb even gets 25 cents for passing the year at school.

January

1/3 of a beef, 106 pounds 6.35
Skating rink 10
6 lbs pork 25
2 beef tongues 20
Marion for Rink 10
Postage 12
79 lbs pork from Bromfield 4.35
Sunday School 04
Church plate 05
Scribbler for Flora 05
1 lbs sulphur 05
Hairdressing 15
Membership Board of Trade 1.00
Treat of cigars 25
Fare to Sherbrooke and return 1.35
Copy book Flora 08
Scribbler Edith 05
Marion skaing rink 10
½ lb Black tea 18
Sunday school 04
1 Ladies Jacket 8.50
1 pair gents overshoes 2.00
¼ lb candies 05
1 lb frosting sugar 08
1 lbs baking soda 04
¼ lbs peppermint 05
Sunday School 04
Church concert 60
Postage 20
1 paper of pins 05
I pocket handkerchief 08
Herbert 05
Postage 25
1 jar molasses 14
Mending Marion’s boots 25
February
Sunday School 04
Bridge toll 02
¼ pound candies 05
Times for one year 1.00
Maggie 25
½ pound Black tea 18
Marion for rink 10
Sunday School 03
¼ lbs cream of tartar 09
1 lbs currants 10
1 bottle Powell’s medicine 25
Maggie 50
W. Daigle for hauling bark 15
1 writing pad 15
1 pair rubbers Edith 45
1 pair rubbers Marion 45
1 loaf break 05
1 lb crackers 08
1 pint oysters 20
Cough candies 02
Scribbler for Marion 05
Postage 02
Maggie 50
1 loaf bread 05
1 bag fine salt 10
Sunday school 02
Church Collection 10
100 lbs salt 05
1 whisk 15
1 loaf bread 06
¾ pounds walnuts 10
Maggie for Church 2.10
1 lamp chimney 07
1 bottle M. Liniment 25
Maggie 06
½ black tea
1 pair laces 04
4 gallons coal oil 75
10 lbs corn meal 15
10 lbs Graham flour 25
5 gallons Coal Oil 95
1 hockey stick 30
Herbert for Dictionary 15
Maggie 10
½ loaf bread 06
1 lbs ginger snaps 10
¼ pound Ceylon Pepper 10
Postage 06
Flora and Marion 05
1 package Corn Starch 09
¼ lbs cream of tarter
Hair dressing 15
Marion for rink 10
March
1 jar molasses 12
1 doz eggs 20
Maggie 10
Chinaman for laundry 14
Sunday School 04
Patriotic Fund for Hockey 60
1 pair rubbers Herbert 60
Maggie 40
Marion and Flora 10
Sutherland for Miss Wilson 1.00
Postage 20
Mending tins 05
Missionary meeting 05
Skating rink 05
Maggie 25
¼ pounds cream of tarter 10
Sunday School 03
Maggie for concert 10
1 cake shaving soap 07
1 lbs soda 04
½ lbs Black tea
¼ lbs cream of tarter 09
1 bottle vanilla 10
5 pounds sugar 25
Maggie 25
5 lbs butter Mckee 1.00
Marion 05
Herbert for Sharpening skates 05
Maggie 1.00
5 lbs G Flour 10
6 ½ lbs butter 1.45
Mending Herbert’s boots 25
1 loaf bread 10
Cough candies 05
1 quart milk 05
Skating rink 20
Maggie 22
9 ½ lbs butter 2.00
Flora 05
1 bags fine salt 10
Maggie 50
1 bag flour 2.25
49 pounds oats 49
5 lbs sugar 25
Sunday School 04
½ lbs Black tea
Postage 10
Postal notes 05
Subscription to Herald `1.50
Subscription to Westminster
Pady Jim 25
12 ¾ cords wood 35.25
I scrubbing brush 10
April
5 lbs sugar 25
Maggie 10
1 pair of rubbers Flora 35
Sunday School 04
½ gal Coal oil 10
1 bottle ammonia 05
1 lamp burner 10
1 doz herrings 25
20 lbs Graham Flour 50
1 bag rolled oats 25
5 Gal Coal Oil 95
20 pounds corn meal 30
Flora 05
Small writing pad 05
1 box crackers 25
½ pound candies 10
Scrubbing floor 25
Herbert for sugar 10
Maggie 20
Hair dressing 15
1 jar molasses 15
½ lbs Black tea 18
2 lbs tapioca 10
Postage 27
Sunday School 07
Herbert for Birthday 25
Maggie 10
1 Gallon syrup 65
3 lbs sugar maple 24
3 pairs shoe laces 08
2 pair stockings 60
5 lbs sugar 25
Sugar scale 40
Maggie 2.60
1 pair rubbers 60
Maggie 35
To Sunday School 03
2 dozen eggs 30
1 package pop corn 05
F Lyster for milk 95
Fir dressing Herbert 15
5 lbs sugar 25
Maggie 1.00
Hauling manure 20
Postage 10
Sunday School 03
Bill of goods bought by Dan 32
1 box crackers 25
1 spool thread 10
1 can corned __beef? 25
3 ¾ lbs steak 47
Sunday school 04
Candies 04
May
5 lbs sugar 25
½ lbs Black tea 18
¼ pounds ginger 09
1 bag potatoes 45
¼ ream bill paper 05
Daigle for manuring 40
Edith 50
Herbert suit of clothes 4.00
Spading garden 1.00
Mending M and F. Shoes 70
Garden seeds 40
2 pairs shoes Edith and Marion 3.00
1 necktie for funeral 25
Maggie 25
Seeds got by Dr. Cleveland 50
1 package envelopes 07
Post office box 1.00
Sunday School 03
2 scribbers 10
1 bag oatmeal 1.90
1 lb flour 4.50
Mending boots 1.25
Pass Book 10
Postage 09
10 lbs graham flour 30
¼ lbs cream of tarter 25
2 lbs steak 25
3 ½ pounds S. Ham 25
Military dinner 75
3 gallons Maple Syrup 1.95
Flora 05
1 ¾ lbs Grass seed
Sunday school 05
Bridge toll 05
Church Collection 05
Maggie 20
Sawing 6 cords wood 3.90
2 scribblers 10
Hairdressing 15
Postage 10
1 can green paint 25
1 paint brush 10
5 lbs sugar 25
1 pint varnish 25
4 lbs steak 40
1 bunch lettuce 05
2 packages rubarb 10
2 lbs butter 36
½ pound black tea
Mending Edith’s boots 45
Sunday school 04
1 sitting of eggs 25
Box of Royal yeast 05
1 package carrots 05
1 doz screw nails 05
Maggie 5.00
Herbert for Fire Crackers 05
Military demonstration 1.00
Maggie 65
1 package of peas 10
1 package of carrots 05
Fare to Sherbrooke and return 80
Supper at Hoel 40
Initiation fees to Knight_(Masons) 21.00
Waiters at hotel 25
1 can Con. Lye 10
13 lbs veal 18
1 straw hats 12
Postage 20
Carting trees 75
5 lbs sugar 25
Maggie 2.00
Postage and registration 22
Sunday school 04
2 lbs raisins 20
4.1/2 lbs molasses 14
½ pounds cream of tarter 18
1 lbs baking soda 05
1 broom 22
Missionary collection for church 25
Bridge toll 05
1 wash board 25
1 box starch 15
2 lbs steak 25
1 bag fine salt 25
Maggie 1.25
Mending Maggie boots 60
Edith for scribbler 05
1 package powdered borax 10
2 cake cutters 10
June
To Herbert 05
Sunday school 03
Church collection 05
5 pounds sugar 25
½ pound black tea 18
1 loaf of bread 06
Bridge toll 06
1 pair braces 30
Mending Herbert’s boots 10
2 lemons 05
1 ½ lbs bacon 18
½ dozen tomato plans 13
1 ½ pounds steak 18
1 pin holder 05
Sunday school 04
Insoles for boots 20
2 cans paint 30
½ pounds emery powder
5 lbs oatmeal 15
1 bottle sweet oil 10
5 lbs sugar 25
2 lbs steak 25
Cutting H’s hair 15
Bridge Toll 02
Hair dressing 15
Sunday School 03
Sunday School 03
Postage 10
½ pounds Black tea 18
1 ½ pounds bacon 17
Church collection 05
Horse hire (Boast)1.50
Postage 25
5 lbs sugar 28
1 loaf bread 06
Maggie 50
Mending jewellery 05
1 straw hat 25
Present for Dan 1.00
1 ½ lbs bacon 18
2 cakes Sapolio 15
1 cake soap 10
1 bottle ammonia 10
2 lbs steak 25
1 bunch rhubarb 05
Horse hire 1.50
Sunday school 03
Church Collection 05
Fair to Windsor and return 30
Dinner at hotel 35
1 loaf bread 07
1 bottle turpentine 09
½ black tea 18
¼ pounds cream of tarter 09
1 ½ lb steak 18
July
Knitting yarn 03
Sunday school 03
1 box Royal yeast 05
Postage 08
Postage 51
12 lbs strawberries 1.25
Maggie 25
5 pounds bacon 60
2 lbs steak 25
Herbert for pocket money 23
Sunday school 03
Church collection 05
Hair dressing 15
Edith 10
3 lbs steak 30
2 quarts black currants 16
½ lbs black tea 18
Herbert for passing school 25
Maggie 3.00
20 pounds graham flour 50
20 lbs corn meal 30
Subscription to filling road 50
1 set cuff buttons 20
2 quarts black currants 16
Maggie 50
Mending Herbert’s boots 10
½ dozen pins 05
Sunday schools 02
Maggie 10
1 bottle vanilla 25
Note paper 05
I package envelopes 10
½ lbs Black tea 18
Marion 05
3 ½ lbs lamb 44
1 yd elastic 15
August
1 bottle perfume 25
Sunday School 04
Church collection 05
5 bars soap 25
¼ pounds cream of tarter 09
1 jar vinegar 14
1 ½ lbs bacon 18
1 pail berries 36
1 ½ pounds steak 18
2 lemmons 0 6
1 lbs currants 10
1 ½ pounds bacon 18
Edith 20
Sunday Schol 03
Church collection 05
1 lbs starch 06
½ black tea 18
Maggie 25
2 ½ pounds steak 30
2 pairs laces 04
Margaret 25
1 can salmon 15
Mrs. Parker’s Centennial 2.00
1 bushel basket 35
1 ½ pounds bacon 15
1 bushel basket 35
Edith 35
½ bushel potatoes 13
3 ½ pounds steak 35
1 bottle vinegar 14
1 lbs soda 05
8 lbs raspberries 30
4 lbs blueberries 25
Church collection 10
Hair dressing 15
4 dozen clothes pins 10
Bridge toll 10
1 lbs nails 05
1 yeast cake 02
2 lbs beef 1 6
1 ½ pounds bacon 18
1 bottle vinegar 10
1 ½ pounds steak 18
Cartage of valises 10
Mending Herbert’s boots 10
I pair pants for Herbert 90
Sunday school 04
5 lbs soap 25
Herbert 15
2 ½ lbs steak 30
½ lbs tea 13
3 lbs lamp chops 30
5 lead pencils 05
1 school scribbler 05
September
1 ½ pounds steak 15
School book 1.48
Maggie 15
1 can corn beef 25
3 ½ pounds steak 35
½ pounds b tea 18
¼ pound cream of tarter 10
1 package jelly 09
1 pail plums 40
Sunday school 94
Maggie 10
Latin book for edith 50
Postage 10
I scribbler 05
Post cards 10
1 book school edith 85
1 box matches 12
1 peck apples 10
6 ½ lbs steak 65
1 lbs soda 04
50 pounds sugar 2.75
1 bush flour 5.00
5 gallons coal oil 95
1 0 lbs graham flour 35
1 bag rolled oats 25
Scribbler for marion 05
4 fair tickets for children 40
1 membership ticket 1.00 (agricultural fair)
4 cakes bluing 05
1 peck apples 20
½ bushel apples 20
Ticket to fair 25
1 school book Edith 75
1 boot brush 18
1 doz lemons 02
8 preserving jar rubbers 08
Hair dressing 15
1 box boot blacking
Funeral at Gould 3.60
Sunday school 02
Church plate 10
Postage 20
School book Edith 30
2 lbs steak 20
3 ½ pounds steak 35
3 pounds mutton chops 16
1 __jar 10
1 copy book Flora 08
1 scribbler Herbert 05
Bible society 25
Marking at target 15
Missionary society 25
½ lbs Black tea
Postage 02
October
Subscription to Montreal Witness 2.50
5 ½ lbs steak 55
Football match 1.00
1 felt hat gents 1.00
3 __ packages 30
Maggie for C. B fund 1.00
Sunday school 04
Children for anniversary 20
1 peck apples 10
Church collection 10
Church concert 85
2 baskets grapes 18
Postage 15
2 flower pots 32
6 ½ pounds beef 63
1 ½ lbs lard 15
Sunday school 02
Maggie 05
Papers 02
4 ¾ pounds steak 48
½ doz oranges 15
1 basket grapes 25
Mending 2 pairs boots 1.15
Psotage 04
Edith 06
4 Laurier Buttons (Election year!)
Mending M boots 40
1 ½ lbs bacon 24
2 pints vinegar 15
5 lead pencils 05
4 ½ lbs beef 45
1 lbs butter 20
Post staps 10
Fare to Danville 55
Dinner at Danvile 40
Fare to Sherbrooke and Return 50
November
Dinner at Hotel 40
Masonic supper 1.00
1 lbs bacon 15
Hair dressing 15
Sunday school 02
Maggie 25
Ticket to S of E supper 50
10 lbs steak 98
2 lbs butter 40
Postage 08
Sunday School 03
1 Latin Book Herbert 40
Postage 07
Bridge toll 02
Postage 05
½ bushel apples 20
School Paper 05
Mending Herbert’s boots 10
5 ½ lbs steak 53
4 lbs butter 72
1 ½ doz eggs 23
1 scribbler 05
3 note books 03
Mending H. Boots 05
Hair dressing Herbert 15
16 lbs oats for hens 16
Lamp chimney 07
Bridge toll 02
Herbert for scribbler 05
Maggie 10
12 lbs steak 1.25
1 package B. Seed 10
1 sacred history Marion 30
15 lbs oats 15
Postage 10
Edith for Miss Lankin 05
December
6 lbs steak 60
15 lbs oats 15
Herbert 05
Maggie 10
Bridge toll 10
20 lbs oats 30
Foolscap paper 05
2 lbs bacon 23
4 lbs pork and lamb chops 40
Consert in College 25
20 pounds oats 20
½ yard ribbon 04
Postage 10
Postage 10
Pass book 05
Hair dressing 15
5 ½ cheese 65
Aylmers Presentation 50
Marion 10
Flora 05
1 lbs currants 12
7 ¼ lbs steak 72
1 lb suet 10
Sunday school 04
Marion 15
Maggie 5.00
I pair ladies gloves 1.25
Herbert for change 25
Maggie 1.00
1 package tobacoo 10
Peppermints 05
Postage 10
Postage 04
2 tickets to Christmas Tree 20 (event)
Tickest to D and return 55
Flora 05
9 ¾ pounds beef 75
10 lbs salt 10
1 doz eggs 25
1 bottle ammonia 10
Laundry 16
½ pounds candies 10
3 ¼ lbs m. Sugar 28
½ lbs nuts 10
Marion 05
Postage 08
¼ beef 87 pounds 4.78
2 beef tongues 22
Laundry 10
Sunday school 03
Church collection 05
1 yeast cake 02
1 writing pad 06
½ dozen pencils 05
½ doz pins 05
10 lbs oats 10
Scribbler for marion 05
Sunday school 05
Maggie 10
Miss Jessie Kellock 15
Postage 08
Mckee Bill (flour, grain, feed, sugar, salt, oils and provisions) 16.33 (same as on this list but also stove polish, pane of glass, can of beef, cod.)
1 bag flour 2.50
Dentist’s bill 9.75
Children schools fees 11.00
McMorine bill 15.80 (Dry goods, Ready-made clothing, boots, shoes and rubbers)
McRae Bill (groceries, provisions and hardware)6.58
John Bushnel for cie 6.00
Masonic chapter dues 2.00
Municipal tax 18.50
Minister Stipend 5.00
Municipal tax 35.20