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The Last Resort - Chapter 13|
Arthur got a job unloading freight for the C.N.R. so that would help. He couldn’t afford to be out of work. I went up to see Mary and Sam. They had both been very good to me. Sam had made me a lovely cupboard which I needed so desperately.
He had shot a deer which he had on a rack in his yard. I was absolutely horrified as I had never seen a large dead animal before. In fact, I wrote home and told my parents: “They shoot animals over here.” What a stupid thing to say. I have a friend in England who used to say: “This is the end, the absolute end.”
I had a picture taken holding up the deer’s tail. I had a caption put on it saying: “This is the end, the absolute end.” I am sure Ann had a good laugh when she got the picture.
it was about this time that I really got to know Bill and Ella Foxon. They had a fish camp on Lac Seul so they were away all summer. Bill was English so of course we hit it off right away. Ella, well, she became one of my very best friends. In fact the nurses in the hospital who got to know me very well used to call Ella my guardian angel and indeed she was and still is.
I had another picture taken during the winter in front of Mrs. Starrett’s house which was known as the “big white house on the hill.” I wanted my parents to see how high the snow was. I never did tell them that the house wasn’t mine. I still wasn’t feeling all that well, at least, not as well as I should. I had a large cold sore on my upper lip and before long, it got so large that it was just like a mustache. I was ashamed to go out and when I did, I held a handkerchief to my mouth. We really couldn’t afford a taxi to see the doctor. He was very annoyed that I hadn’t seen him sooner. I had to stay in the hospital for two days to get the sores cleared up. I still had them when I left the hospital but the were somewhat better and eventually did go away.
It would soon be my little girl’s birthday. What a dear little tiny girl she was. She had dark curly hair and eyes like her dad. It seemed so strange to see such a tiny little girl running under the table saying: “Tant tatch me, daddy, tant tatch me.”
The next big thing is Christmas and as I have said, it certainly is a big thing over here. I don’t think the people here are as fussy over Christmas pudding as the English are but I must admit that they do like their fancy desserts. I think of how we used to pinch and save to get enough coupons to make a cake using egg powder and brown flour. There certainly wasn’t a shortage here even though the sugar was rationed to one pound a week which seemed an awful lot to me compared to the two ounces a week we got in England and one egg a month if we were pregnant. Worth getting pregnant for, wasn’t it? One egg!
I did manage to send a Christmas parcel to Mum and Dad. I bought a box of Swans Down flour, a Christmas cake and pudding, sugar, tea and butter, bacon in cans, tobacco for Dad, chocolate and nuts for Mum. Arthur nearly went through the roof when he got the bill and had to pay twenty dollars for postage. My parents were absolutely delighted when they got the parcel so it was worth it. I also managed to send another parcel with the same things in it to a friend of mother’s who had a bakery shop at the end of the street where my parents lived. Mrs. Smith had teasingly asked me to send her a piece of Christmas cake when I got to Canada. Even though she was joking, I sent the parcel anyway. She and her family really appreciated it. I had a letter from her son and after the many thank you’s, he told me that he had just been called up in the army and they had stationed him in the most desolate place he had ever seen. He was five miles from the nearest village. I wonder what he would’ve said if he could’ve seen where I was.
Well, Christmas came and like I said before, I was going to put the lights out and pretend that we had gone to bed as I wasn’t going to have another Christmas like last year. Ella had invited us to her place for supper. What good cooks the Canadian women were. Richard was thrilled with the Christmas tree, the colored lights and especially the presents underneath the tree. He was very happy when he knew that there was one present under the tree for him.
After supper, we played cards. I had never played cards before but I very quickly learned. Card games because a very popular pastime.
It was twelve-thirty when we decided to leave Ella’s. I hated to wake the children up as they were sound asleep on Ella’s bed. When we arrived home, I felt t was quite safe to light the light but it wasn’t very long before we heard a car door slam and a bunch of voices shouting: “Merry christmas, Art and irene. Open up.”
Thank goodness I wasn’t in bed this time and that Christmas comes but once a year.