Monday, February 7, 2011

Letter 10 : All the Town News

Flora Nicholson.



July 12, 1911

Dear Norman,

Your letter of July 10th received tonight and as you are not getting your mail regular I thought I'd better write at once. Hope

I had a long letter from Herb last night. He said he was writing you. He had a very pleasant visit with Mr. Neilson he had been acting manager for 15 days while the manager was having holidays so said that was the reason he was so long in writing.

I mailed you papers that Gilbert sent from Edmonton. Too bad they cannot put the mail in at Cochran. They always save money at the expense of the working class.

I see where the Government has or is talking of voting seven thousand for a reception to be given this Duke of Connaught the 12th of October. (Governor General)

Sir Wilfrid was given quite a reception at Montreal. (Upon return from Coronation.)

We had very hot weather just as hot as in Montreal. I see by your letter that you did not escape. Was in hopes that you'd have it cooler being so far north.

We are badly in need of rain have but for a few days it has been much cooler and we are able to get our rest at night. The garden is looking fairly well, the lawn is quite brown in some places, and this week thought I would not have it cut. I'm letting it go until the middle of the week I think. I told you that Stanley Hill was doing it.

Billie Hill cut the hedge when I went to pay him he said Mr. Montgomery settled for the whole thing.

The Montgomery's seem to be getting on well with the house. Have it all boarded in.

We have been reading the accounts of the dreadful fires at Porcupine and Cochran. There was a sketch of a map in the Witness. Thankful that you were farther East.

Monday July 17th

The sick people are some better. Mrs. Beiber has gone down to the sea side with one of her sisters from Quebec. Marjory is keeping a little better.

Old Mr. Smilie was buried Wednesday from our church.

Grandma was no feeling well for a few days. She is up at Bella's.

They had the auto painted just got it Saturday night. So yesterday they went out to Kingsbury.

Sutherland has not had an offer for his house yet.

It was sad Earnest Hall losing their only child little girl aged six years. She was buried same day. Mrs. Craik went to her funeral and Mr. Hepburn met them at church.

Marion went to Miss McCoy's wedding she returned this morning she had a very nice time. I think now she will settle down.

The Skinners went to Weedon Saturday by Auto. Last Wednesday they took Flora to Sherbrooke, left at one o'clock returned at 7 pm. Friday they took Edith to Nicollette Lake. They are very kind to this family.

Dr. and Mrs. Moffatt came up one evening and took us for a ride in his auto, he runs very nicely, not too fast. Beiber is the talk of the town.

Dr. was asking for you. He thought when you were on the rail the sit was not so bad as the walk. Mc Morine was asking for you also.

In regard to Flora's exams, you will see that she failed in French. Her name did not come out in the paper and she is feeling pretty badly about it. However, she can enter Macdonald. Had a talk with Mr. Carmichael. So you better make light of it for she did study hard. She just gets nervous at examinations times. When I hear about the marks, which will be a few days, will write you.

Just at time of writing it is raining hard. I hope you will take good care of yourself. This heat is very trying. We have all kept well.

Hoping to hear from you soon,
Your loving wife

As Flora failed her final French exam her name was not printed in the Richmond Times Guardian with the names of all the other graduates. There were few secrets in this town of 2,500, as Margaret's letter makes clear.

It is no surprise that Flora's failure did not keep her from entering Macdonald. They were in dire need of teachers in 1911. Flora would go to Macdonald on a scholarship for rural students, who it was hoped would graduate and then go work in rural schools. But the need for teachers in the big city were even greater.

The relentless heat in 1911 caused forest fires in Northern Ontario, not far from where Norman was working. The Montreal Gazette blared a front page headline: Fires Sweep Northern Ontario. South Porcupine, Cochrane Wiped Out. Fires were always a concern for these workers building the railroad. But railroad work, in general, was very dangerous.

The reception Laurier and the Coronation Contingent got was in Quebec City. A large crowd on the dock let out three cheers as a band played O Canada. Laurier returned from this trip abroad a SIR.