Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Through the Years

One of my clearest memories of my mother-in-law, Lynda, is seeing her write in her diary.  She was either writing about her day or catching up on the last week -- creating a record of her life and family.  Though we never read them, she was anxious to have us do so.  Yesterday we spent some time reading a few entries.

She started journaling early -- the first book we found started on New Year's Eve, 1929, when she was 11 years old!  Here's what she said: Wed, cloudy in a.m. fair in p.m.  I skated down towards Prestons.  The mail man came along.  I took a hold of the back of his little sleigh and rode along on my skates.  Had a nice time.

Her journals span her lifetime.  She didn't write every day -- there are many gaps -- but they talk of the joys and sorrows of life (she had four children and lost her own mom when she was just 21), cross-country moves, her faith in Christ.  Tom has spoken often of going fishing in High Hume in the heart of British Columbia.  Mom's journal entries for June 22-28 and again August 9-13, 1980, tell of those two trips!  On June 24 she says: This morning about 9:30, after Harold and Tom had been gone over an hour fishing, I stepped out on the porch -- looked over at the next cabin -- 100 feet away or more, and there by the woodpile stood a huge brown bear!  He was sniffing about -- went toward that cabin.  Then some one slammed a door, he began getting nervous -- another bang from one of their noisy screen doors and off he trotted or loped into the woods.  I went over to the cabin and seeing the lady outside, told her about it and before long a flock of children gathered to hear all about it.

We discovered journals and ledgers from her dad as well.  Grampa Mills was a chicken farmer who also sold maple syrup, apples, and other products from the farm.  In 1914 his ledger records that they bought two yards of cloth for 50 cents, drugs at Cole's for 30 cents and paid $1.60 for horse shoeing.  His biggest expense in February seems to have been feed at the local mill -- $15.00.  He sold his eggs for about 20 cents a dozen.

Tom's folks were married in October of 1938.  Their ledger of accounts dated January, 1939 record the following prices: Corn flakes, 7 cents; 5 pounds brown sugar, 28 cents; half-pound of cheese, 13 cents; wind shield wiper, 35 cents; and a loaf of bread, 8 cents.  They paid 25 cents for Listerine.  I guess Dad thought that was too much because he added this note -- (a swindle) -- to his ledger.  As a carpenter making $25-30 a week, that would be a lot of money.

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