Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Laurier Era Optimism.

Edith, Herb, Marion around 1889.

Hmm. I just found this photo. It's of the kids, with Herb wearing a skirt, as was the fashion for young boys. Edith, who was tall for her age, is clearly perched on something,which might account for her wary expression.

I've been reading the Store Accounts, literally 'reading' them, to get a sense of how the Nicholson's lived outside the time frame of the letters. I do have letters from this time period, but only when Margaret is away on a vacaction.

Anyway, I was reading the 1896 book, the year Tighsolas, the house, was built and the year Laurier came to power. Norman bought cigars for the election.

They moved in at the end of the year, I can see. And they bought 64.00 of new furniture, including two new bedroom sets. As it happens, I have the invoice for said purchase from H.A. Wilder and Company (which did not last in to the century) with warehouse on Anne street, in Griffintown, near where Flora would teach at William Lunn on William and an uptown location on St. Catherine.

They bought an oak bedroom set and an elm bedroom set as well as a wool mattress, some cane chairs, a bamboo table and an elm table. I wonder whether this is the elm table I have, that I have inherited from Tighsolas. This one is a livingroom one, about 2 feet square and decorated with ionian flourishes.

All to say, it shows what an optimistic era this was!

Oh there was a huge doctor's bill that year. Norman had typhoid.

My reason for going over the store books, was to see how I might use them to compare 'the carbon footprint' of this family to a family today.

But that will not be an easy task, even if I do have all the info I need.

I know how the house was built, how they heated and cooked. How much wood they burned for fuel. How much coal oil they burned for light.

I know what they ate and when they took trips. But what a task!

I am surprised to see that Margaret had a lot of help in those days. No maid, but someone named Myrtle who was paid 7.00 a month. I wonder if that was the wage of a maid. They also had someone to wash and someone who split the wood for them.