Lynn's Comments: The alcove in my mother-in-law's house was too small to allow for an organized dropping of outerwear. Likewise the closet in our front hall was a "bin" you dove into head first hoping to find something that, if not matching, at least fit! Along with the jumble of boots, mitts and whatnot came the sand, the pine needles and an omnipresent puddle of gritty, melted snow. If this cache of crud bothered you, it would be a thorn in your side for 8 months! This is how long winter lasted in northern Manitoba. You just had to get used to it. Spring would warm the roof for a few days before summer came and this is when the hall heap of winter wear would be dissected, paired up and thrown into the laundry. More often than not, we discovered things left by friends and friends of friends, which lead to the neighborly tradition of returning stuff and picking stuff up that you had left behind. Last week, I noticed that my daughter Katie, (now 33) had on a pair of mittens she's had since she was little. I wondered how they had lasted for so long - still in a pair, still wearable. Somehow, they'd survived the family "filing system". It goes to show you that favorite things find their way to the surface, no matter how deep the pile!
Lynn's Comments: This little snowsuit, Katie actually wore. It was one of my favourites and when I washed it, I foolishly put it in a hot dryer. It came out looking like a scraggly, matted sheep and I cried when I saw it. Kate didn't seem to notice and happily wore it until it became too small. At the time, my mother's creed was, "If it doesn't go into the washer and dryer, it goes OUT!" After this, I became much more practical. I bought things that could be easily laundered, and I made sure I was aware of her favourite things. My motto was, "If it's cute and she likes it--LOOK AFTER IT!"
Lynn's Comments: Comparing what we got for Christmas with the neighbourhood kids might have been a problem for our folks, except that everyone in our neighbourhood had just about the same stuff. None of us seemed to have more or less than anyone else, and those who were scrimping managed to look clean, healthy, well dressed, and confident. We lived on Fifth and Lonsdale. Folks living on Fourth fit into our "status," and folks on Sixth did, too. Above and below these streets, there seemed to be a marked difference. If we compared our yuletide haul with anyone on Third, for example, we were likely to be called rich. This was easier to take than comparisons with kids who lived on Eighth or Keith Road or the Boulevard. Our stash would be meagre compared to the kids who lived up there! Whenever I go home, I'm drawn to this area of North Vancouver. For the most part, the wartime houses and the tenement buildings have gone. In their places are impossibly priced condos and attached homes--hard for even the most confident buyers to afford, and I wonder if these subtle lines of "status" still exist. If so, it would be interesting to find out what the "poor" kids in this area get for Christmas!
Lynn's Comments: This was another strip that encouraged moms from all over to commiserate.
Lynn's Comments: Whenever I left my family on their own for dinner, I made sure there was a really good meal just waiting to be heated up. It was my way of showing how much I cared (and how guilty I felt as well). I kind of knew they'd take off to a fast food joint in my absence, which didn't hurt too much--it meant I didn't have to prepare a meal the next day!
Lynn's Comments: My brother-in-law, Ralph, was a textile designer. One of the things he would do was to feel the fabric you were wearing and announce what it was made of. He also played the organ and wrote music for the United Church. We called him "a man of the cloth."
Lynn's Comments: My mother was a wonderful seamstress. She could make anything, which was a blessing because we couldn't afford to buy much in the way of clothing. One year, she found several good quality raincoats at the Salvation Army store. She washed and ironed them, took them apart, and remade them into coats for my brother and me. They were attractive, stylish and beautifully finished. Nobody could tell they had been made from second hand fabric. Even though it looked good on me, I refused to wear mine--not because it was second hand, but because it wasn't what the other kids were wearing. My mom was near tears but said nothing as I put on my blue cardigan. I never did wear that coat. This is one of the many nasty little things I did that I still regret. Guilt. Sometimes, it can last forever!
Lynn's Comments: My granddaughter is, at the time of this writing, two and a half years old. She is active and curious and constantly on the go. Her mom, dad and I read to her, play with her, and try to answer all her questions. She is a joy, but still, we look forward to the day she'll be able to go to kindergarten. Not because she is too much to handle; she is just so ready to learn!
Lynn's Comments: I had assisted Rod when he was in dental school. There was a free clinic in the evenings, and students got extra experience if they volunteered to work on patients after class for free. Spouses often accompanied the students--just so they could spend some time together. University took a toll on relationships. With this bit of training under my belt, I believed I could fill in for a while in our new clinic.