Monday, September 30, 2013

Hot tub, Cold tub, Old Tub, New Tub

You can't complain about Quebec in the autumn: about the weather anyway.

There was a protest in town because Hydro Quebec wants to raise costs 5 percent. To justify this, they claim that Ontario Hydro is much more expensive and New York Hydro double the price.

Sure, but it's OUR Hydro and low hydro is the one perk of living here.

Taxes are way lower in Ontario and New York.

In Ontario and New York  they don't have as many houses ENTIRELY run by electricity just because it is cheaper.

Like our house.

Here's the USED Hot tub my husband got and fixed and it's ready to be hooked up.

He has always wanted to buy a hot tub for me.. he thinks it will save on hot water. I take so many hot baths in the winter.  I doubt it.

Especially since we are in the process of renovating our bathroom and my husband found a second hand jacuzzi that is MUCH bigger than the old bathtub.

I love this bath.

The electrician came by and it's going to cost about 1,000 to hook up the tubs and the generator we bought two years case of a power failure, but we couldn't find an electrician who would do the work.. They don't like little jobs apparently.

We bought the generator during Hurrican Sandy, or the week before when I saw the storm bearing down on New York and the models said it would hit Burlington Vermont.

"That's us," I told my husband and we aren't prepared, even after the ice storm of 1998...

Well, we had an old generator, but it wore out from DISUSE "We're going to freeze in the dark," I complained.

And I have two dogs and two cats.

So we went out and  bought a generator and cleaned our fireplaces in case of emergency.

(In our district we can own a woodstove, but they are forbidden in the city, making citizens ever more reliant on electricity for heat )

Last year we did lose our electricity in the depths of February, only for  a day.  I huddled downstairs with a propane heater and a propane light for a few hours. It wasn't fun.

The cats were not happy. But the electricity soon came back.

We lost our power, too,  on July 19 at 4.00 this summer.

There was a huge storm that downed trees in Montreal. Someone I know in the North End got pinned under a tree for a couple of hours.

As it happens,  that was the exact hour of  the  wedding Rehearsal Dinner we were hosting for my son's wedding.

All my decorations blew away. But I saw it coming on the radar.

The guests all huddled in the dark in our dining room where

I put candles in champagne glasses and  my husband got out the generator out and plugged it in through the kitchen to keep the food in the fridge from going bad.

It all turned out  OK. The huge storm blew out the hot wet weather and the next afternoon was lovely for the wedding.

That's what counted.

Here I am playing tennis yesterday afternoon. I have this urge to take advantage of every beautiful day remaining.

I've written a lot about Public baths on this blog.

Montreal had about 20 public baths in 1910. They were there to wash the industrial masses. England had had them since the 1850's. They copied the Romans.

Most Montrealers didn't have baths, and the Protestants thought, no BELIEVED, that Cleanliness was next to Godliness. And they didn't want boys bathing naked in the St. Lawrence River...

Read Milk and Water.

The Art Deco Entrance to Les Bains Genereux, opened in 1927, the era of my play Milk and Water.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Rise of the Consumer Age in Black and White pencil scratches

This is a 1901 invoice from a Richmond, Quebec general store. K. McRae, Groceries, Provisions and Hardware.

See: GENERAL store.
Like Walmart :)

I have plenty of info: Norman Nicholson keep household accounts from 1882 (his bachelorhood) to 1921 when he died.

From plunk in the middle of the Victorian Age until the cusp of the Modern Age.. and through the entire BIRTH of the CONSUMER AGE.

I'm glad I have this bill because in his accounts, Norman just writes McCrae details.. but it seems this general store provided canned goods and packaged good, canned beef and cod and black tea and molasses. Ah, the Empire! They bought their meat at Pope's Butchers. I have that bill too.

I also have the bill for 1914, just before WWI. I'm glad, because I can compare. Lots of bananas on that list! Still has molasses. But they are buying bacon there. Could it be that this was packaged bacon from far away as opposed to local? I must check if they are buying more at this general store in 1914... I think they are from the size of the bill.

A lot of changes happened between 1900 and 1914 and the War would serve to speed things up.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Birds! The Birds Sept 23 2013


The Birds. The Birds. Nature can be creepy sometimes. It's that time of year again. Fall. Ick.

I woke up this morning and decided to take the many public domain articles from the 1910 era from my defunct website and put them into a book to complement Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.

From Food and Cookery Magazine 1911. Woman's Proper Sphere Jean Wheaton(Pic from Ivory Soap Advertisement 1910)

It is quite pertinent to ask, What is woman's proper sphere? Every true woman instinctively feels, and she may profess it or not, that a woman's happiest place is, as Mrs. Browning says, " in the sweet safe corner of the household fire, behind the heads of the children." Such a home is the ideal of almost every girlish heart.  But there are some who never have it. To enter upon life with the desire to get such a home is to defeat that very purpose, or to obtain in its place a miserable substitute; for, like very other gracious gift, it comes not by seeking, but in its own natural way. With some, a bright vision of married life faded in its realization into cruel mockery. With others the black pall of bereavement has shut the very sunshine out of the heavens. In other homes, the woman's heart yearns for little ones, but she looks forward to a future of childlessness. What shall these women do? Because the heart is desolate and the hands are empty should the head be empty too? Let us not deceive ourselves. Whether a woman works in the shelter of her own home or outside of it, she has duties to society and an influence over it, which she cannot avoid. How good or how broad that influence may be depends upon her intellectual and moral nature.

Whatever the past may have been, we know that the future woman can and will take any place she is competent to fill. She ought to wish for no other. It is of little use for women to whine over their wrongs or to storm or scold at man's tyranny. Men are quite willing to give us a place in the ranks of the world's workers as we are to earn it. Still, it is well to remember that whatever has helped to elevate women to her present position has been done by those brave spirits who have resolutely wrought at their chosen labour, ignoring the petty ostracism of their next door neighbors, who called them "singular" 'eccentric'  or "strong-minded."  We must not judge harshly those who are called to work outside of the beaten paths. When a woman has exceptional gifts, she has probably exceptional work in the world to do, and she ought to do it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and Couple Cliches and E-book Marketing

The entry for my grandparents in the 1911 census.  They lived on St. Hubert. He writes he is a city employee (in the Greffier's Office) making 2, 500 a year.

Many of the people in the area were city employees, but making much much less. Like 500 a year.  My grandfather would soon rise to be Director of City Services making 8,000 and then 10,000 a year.

I write about the family in Milk and Water, available on Amazon Kindle.

The 1921 census is online, but it is not indexed. It will take me some time to find him and my newborn mother.

My mother's family may have moved to 72 Sherbrooke Street West by then, and adopted Florida, a waif whose Dad, Onesime St-Martin (city employee) was making 600 a year with 5 kids under 7.

 St Jean Baptiste Parade 1929l, taken from 72 Sherbrooke West. My grandparent's place that is still around.
My grandfather, grandmother, aunts and my mother, the youngest in around 1927. Atlantic City. Boardwalk Empire indeed. My grandfather was Director of City Services and visited Atlantic City during American Prohibition. My book is about that.

I watched a bit of the Emmy's last might. My husband and son insisted on watching the second to last (is it?) episode of Breaking Bad, airing against the Emmy's  even though the show was nominated for Best Drama and WON. My husband said they announced it in the middle of Breaking Bad.

I am not surprised Michael Douglas won for Behind the Candelabra. He was very very good. That show won a slew of awards. I do believe I read a criticism when it aired, that it made gay couples seem like hetero couples? Too cliche.

Are they?

There certainly is a pattern to the heterosexual marriage. I was listening to a BBC Radio Four adaptation of Private Lives by Noel Coward and heard Helena Bonham Carter say something |rather nastyI had recently said to my husband.

We are all cliches, aren't we?

I just received an email from Amazon, the Kindle Newsletter.  I don't bother to read them? Should I? Over ten years ago I was responsible for writing a newsletter for an e-book concern that I worked for. I was in charge of members' happiness, I think.

I wrote good newsletters, although I can't find one because my computer crashed and all I have left is a disembodied hard drive. (My husband warned me this would happen.) Bios corruption or something.

Anyway, the place I worked for was, how might I say, a bit bogus, but I can't say how because I signed a 100000 page confidentiality agreement.

Is Kindle a bit Bogus?  I just posted the Nicholson Family Letters and noticed that they no longer offer 70 percent Royalties on as a matter of course.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front (1901)


This British Film Institute film is one of my favourite Edwardian Films on YouTube. I even bought their DVD, lending it to someone, but who uses DVD's anymore anyway.

It takes too much effort to pop them in... and all those commercials on movies you purchase. And they get scratched.

As I have written on this blog, there exists virtually no footage of Edwardian Montreal. Plenty of postcards, but these postcards focus on places, not people.

It's sad. Very sad.

I may have relations in this photo. Too bad Edison didn't go to Helmsley, where my ancestors lived.

Morecambe is a sea side resort. Like Atlantic City the place is not what it used to be, but like Atlantic City they were all prepared to restore the locale's former glory and then the 2006 economic downturn!

I still want to go visit the place, though.

So, no video of 1910 era Montreal, but there are letters. Plenty of letters.

The Nicholson Family letters.

 I once had posted all three hundred online in raw form, but now they are on Amazon Kindle, in lightly edited and annotated form.

Part of the School Marms and Suffragettes series.

 Just like Nella Last's War, these letters reveal the hearts and minds of people living in a pivotal era.

Perfect for use in schools, Canadian or otherwise. So, I think. All the Laurier Era themes are contained in them: Westward Ho; the New Woman; the Problems of the City.

I notice that is no longer offering 70 percent royalties as a rule., the Canadian Amazon still is though.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Montreal Suffrage Association 100 years ago TODAY

There's brave and there's brave and today I was brave.

I went down to the local farmer's market to buy some maple syrup and bought some wild mushroom soup instead.

Made with, let's see if I can remember, Lobster Mushrooms, Bolete Mushrooms from Hudson and Rigaud areas and Mitsutaki, a rare one, from the Eastern Townships.

And I just ate the Mushroom Soup and I'm still alive.

I wonder if the Nicholsons of Richmond, subject of my story Threshold Girl, an e-book on Kindle, ate these wild mushrooms. I imagine they did. They were free food so not mentioned in the 'store books' and Margaret didn't leave behind any of her 'famous' recipes.

Today is the last day of summer. Not officially, but it's going to be sunny and 27. And then, from the forecasts, it is all downhill from here. (as per usuaal) with snow on Halloween.

And no sign of one of those crazy hot late autumn days. It doesn't seem right for the air to be hot when there are no leaves on the trees.

I wonder what the temperature was 100 years ago? I ask because in September-October 1913, the Montreal Suffrage Movement was getting moving, a slow chugging start that would sputter out before gaining any momentum and then hit smack into WWI.

The Montreal Suffrage Association was busy printing posters in both English and French and handing them out in Montreal and the E.T.

Signs such as this posted at the Edinburgh Cafe. "Women Suffrage equals Lower Infant Mortality."

For the Montreal Suffragettes, equal suffrage was all about 'saving babies.'

They were selling Christobel's Pankhurst's book about VD, the Hidden Scourge, in Chapman's Bookstore on Peel. It was a best-seller.

The MSA had a booth at the Montreal Auto Show. That says a lot. These people spent most of their time lobbying men, not women. They did not want young, impressionable Quebec women on their side. These women tended to admire the suffragettes, and the older society matrons of the Montreal Suffrage Association didn't want to be associated with the Militant Suffragettes under Mrs. Pankhurst who were really stirring the soup pot in England, getting into big trouble and going to jail for it.

And exactly 100 years ago, one Caroline Kenney, sister of high-ranking militant suffragette Annie Kenney was chairing a suffrage meeting at the Montreal Y, on behalf of the Equal Suffrage League. She was here because her eldest sister, Nell, had moved to Montreal in 1908 with her husband, Frank Randall Clarke, a former Daily Mail journalist who was working as a copy editor at the Montreal Witness in 1913. The newspapers claimed Caroline was a Montreal Resident, but she didn't stay here for long.

The Montreal Equal Suffrage League was the rival Montreal suffrage organization that has been TOTALLY forgotten by history, although Carol Bacchi does mention the organization in her thesis Liberation Deferred, which was turned into the definitive book on Canadian Women Suffrage. That book was published around 1970.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Skeletons in the Family Closet - and the Internet

My hazy dark living room. When we bought the house there were four spotlights above the fireplace near the ceiling. I soon discovered why. 

 There's a fireplace we never use, although it is ready to be used in a pinch during a winter blackout. My husband gets migraines from the smoke. He investigated getting a fireplace insert, but there's no suitable one. Any insert would over heat the living room.

Well, anyway. When I don't know where to put a picture, I put it against the fireplace. My two Van Gogh details and on the right a cover of a 1906 Ladies Home Journal.

You can't see it, but it's of a lovely girl in pink bonnet sitting on a rocker on a porch.

And there's a little frame on the left with a water colour in it. I bought it in 2006 on Harrow on the Hill, in a little antique shop and gave it to my Mother who had lots of cat stuff.

Harrow on the Hill has many quaint Harry Potteresque shops. I think they filmed some Potter there.

I notice today that the watercolour was made in 2006.  It was new! Things are not always as they appear.

The Fong McConnell biography is on the coffee table because I took it out to look up stuff about the Allisons, Hudson who died on the Titanic and his brother George, who benefited from the 1927 Montreal Water and Power flip that cost my grandfather Jules Crepeau his job in 1930.

 Milk and Water, my story of 1927 Montreal, is related.  It's not a flabberghasting story, unless, of course, the Laurier Palace Theatre Fire was started on purpose by people out to get my grandfather. A possibility, but I will never have any definitive proof.

The Fong bio  of McConnell reveals that business back then in the early part of the twentieth century  was a COMPLICATED business.

I re-read the 4th chapter, about McConnell's first partnership with Allison, about the roots of the so called Methodist Mafia.

They started a financial business based on selling insurance and real estate out West in 1907.

It's a story that strikes me as familiar. The Nicholson family letters are full of such stuff, insurance schemes and real-estate schemes, especially Herbert Nicholson's story.

He wanted to make it out West, but he claimed you have to have money to make money.

Herbert at a Qu'Appelle boarding house in 1911, during the census. McConnell's story is the story of success, Herbert's not so much.

Qu'appelle Sask.

July 10, 1911

Dear Father,

Sorry I have not been able to write you before.

I have tried ever day for the last three weeks but for 15 days I was managing the branch and was short a man all the time.

I had to work Saturday afternoon and Sunday as well as work on Coronation Day and Dominion Day.

The manager only got back from his holidays two or three days before the end of the month. It was the end of our half year and with so many balances and reports to send away, I only finished the last of them Thursday.

I had a visit from William Neilson about two weeks ago. He is taking a fine trip and said he is enjoying himself fine and was sorry you were not with him.

He had his whiskers cut off and when he spoke to me at first I did not know him.

Flynn who worked with you on the NTR called for a few minutes at the office to see me.

He is traveling for some wire fence company from the States.

Do not think you will have any trouble with the cement. It will surely be more pleasant where you are now than it was around la Tuque.

I do not like this place and hope they will not keep me here much longer.

I have just been stealing a look through the Manager's correspondence and in reply to a letter from head office asking if he had found things in order upon his return after spending his holidays, he replied that he had found everything in perfect order.

Now I have not any more news so will have to close. I was at church with the Masons a week ago today.

Will remember what you said about staying where I am.

Do not want you to ever think that you should not advise me what to do. Any time that you want me to do anything or suggest anything just tell me without making any bones about it.

Now you may have some trouble getting any sense of this letter as this is a new typewriter for me and I have to go so slow that before I finish a sentence I have forgotten how I started it.

Hope this will find you well as it leaves me. I am writing Mother today and hope it will find them all very well.

Your son,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Photo Essay about Flies and Blue Skies

See this bunch of boxes? Not very well, right. Well, that's the point. I'm moving my 'office' downstairs because come the late fall and winter the downstairs 'family room' is the only room in the house with direct sunlight.

This is mostly material related to the Nicholsons and my e-books Threshold Girl, Diary of a CONFIRMED Spinster, Biology and Ambition and Not Bonne Over Here (all available on Amazon kindle.)

My house gets no direct sun, except in the winter when the trees have been denuded. Yesterday,  it was a GORGEOUS day so after cleaning out my office I went outside to write and think about my next book, a book of  essays from this blog, and watched Pride and Prejudice instead, the 2005 version in Italian on my Samsung Note.

(It's hard to watch a screen in the bright sunlight.) In Canada, in Quebec we have to take advantage of all beautiful weather, especially in the Autumn as we know what is coming. UGH!

Blue Skies, coming my way!

I stopped Pride and Prejudice to take this picture. Of a fly! Now flies are normally DISGUSTING and when I see one up this close I think I'm gonna see Jeff Goldblum's head, but this fly was lovely, an art-deco pin in appearance, with perfect angular symmetry and silver highlights on his body that the Note II camera didn't capture, unfortunately.

As I gathered my materials I re-discovered a few documents one of them my grandmother's birth certificate. Her middle names was Georgiana. I wonder if her mother, Melina Gagnon, had read Pride and Prejudice. I doubt it, she being French Canadian.

Georgiana is an old fashioned name (great for grandmothers) but I wonder if it will come back. I just listened to Georgy Girl on BBC Radio 4 and I imagine Margaret Forster gave her quirky main character that name because it was so out of fashion in the 1960's (and because it is maleish.)

Now, with the latest Royal and perhaps future King being named George, maybe Georgiana and George will come back into fashion as names. Very likely. Every second girl was named Elizabeth in the 1960's.

And I found this crisp letter from 1917, on Molson Bank Letterhead signed the Manager, Mr. Bieber..  Not Bonne Over Here comprises  the WWI letters of the Nicholsons.

Mr. Bieber is asking Mr. Norman Nicholson to send Mrs. Wales' money to him to be deposited in Mr. Wales' account.

Norman was the executor on Mrs. Wales estate! (He was a leading citizen who everyone trusted with money although he had none himself.)

Now, two weeks ago a woman residing at the Wales Home in Richmond (founded by Mr. Wales) asked for a hardcopy of Threshold Girl! Mr. Bieber is in the story, but I changed his name to Bittle.

And I found this document, that I had found before, but didn't think about. It shows the years Mr. Norman Nicholson was associated with the Richmond Masons. And it reveals that between 1889 and 1906 he was DEMIT.. I guess he dropped the Masons because Presbyterians were not supposed to be Masons. (They kept secrets from their wives.)

He had paid out a small fortune to join, paying 50 dollars for the regalia alone in 1879.

So he didn't belong to the Masons all the time his business thrived. He re-joined when his business fell to bits in 1906.

The Nicholson Narrative is largely a story of a respectable family with NO Money and lots of daughters to marry off. Just like the Bennetts of Pride and Prejudice.

And I found this photo of Edith and Flora Nicholson and her neices Marion (my mother in law) and Stella (who is still around living in Dorval.)

The Samsung Note took a hazy picture, but I have left it. For that Wonder Years feel.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gone With the Windows, Dorothy Nixon

The other day, I had trouble accessing Photoshop through our home network. The program itself was on my other computer so I had to whip downstairs to see what was the problem.

I discovered that my back-up computer was in pieces. My 18-year-old had pulled its hard-drive apart, no doubt for some mischievous reason, and left the cannibalized carcass to air in the middle of the room.

When I asked "What's up?" he said he needed a component to be able to play a computer game in his room with his friends -- and some other people in Japan.

Of course, my son has the most advanced computer in the house, by far. My son also visits all the usual websites so popular with teens and gets a lot of viruses on his computer. So he is always "wiping his hard drive" as he puts it.

I know because he and his dad like to discuss such things. (That's definitely a good thing.) I seldom butt in on these conversations, but the other day I overheard a remark that distressed me. My son was oh-so-casually explaining to my husband how he had inadvertently erased all his photographs from his Grade 11 trip to Europe. Evaporated into the ether. All gone. Not to worry, he said, "lots of other kids still have theirs."

Now, he had taken hundreds of pictures of Baroque fountains and messy hotel rooms and bleary-eyed teens -- and shown me the snapshots just once upon his return. I had intended to print out the best ones and mail them to his grandmother. Now she will never see that picture of her grandson Mark with that "gladiator" in front of the Roman Coliseum, the one I call "Marcus Inebreius."

Yes, it's 2006. Digital technology makes it all just so easy. We can instantly capture our most intimate and spontaneous moments and effortlessly pass these images on to friends and family by e-mail or snail mail or post them on web sites for all the wired world to see. And, still, my son's record of his once-in-a-lifetime experience is lost forever.

I have a different perspective on things: About two years ago, I found some old letters written by my husband's ancestors from Richmond, Que., in a trunk in my father-in-law's basement.
Hundreds of letters, dating as far back as 1874. Other kinds of paper documents, too: a direct-mail ad for Crisco Shortening from 1915, when butter was getting costly: "Do you feel that breakfast seems incomplete without a hot bread of some sort?"

A Na-Dr-Co (National Drug Company) promotional brochure from census year 1911 with 1901 census data and ads for bizarre remedies such as sarspadilla, sabadilla, white liniment for ailments like "brain worry" and "fag" (what we might refer to as chronic-fatigue) and impotency.

A flyer for the American Presbyterian Church in Old Montreal from 1880, as crisp and clean as the day it was printed.

Family documents, too: Great Uncle Herb's Temperance Pledge. (The letters reveal he was always in debt so it is likely didn't adhere.)

A newspaper clipping describing British militant suffragette Barbara Wylie's arrival in Montreal in 1912. (Reporters couldn't believe how attractive a feminist could be!)
 Barbara Wylie

And booklets containing household accounts for the entire Laurier era (these were Scots, after all). 1883: Love and marriage, $5 for a lady's ring and 50 cents for a frying pan; 1884, baby arrives, toy 5 cents, blocks 10 cents, doctor's bill $51! In 1896, a house is built in pseudo-Scottish Baronial style for $2,712: $100 for bricks and $89 for nails.

Family expenses for the era averaged between $300 and $500 a year: Wood for heating and dentist and medical bills (outside of childbirth) were the big expenses. Masonic dues could be considerable, too.

Meat was cheap (pork was 13 cents a pound) but flour expensive (at $3 to $4 a barrel).

We're talking a lot of Canadiana here, of interest to family, as well as to historians. I posted my findings on the Web and it has been very well received by the academic community and educators. Some scholars have actually thanked me for making the effort. It was just luck, I tell them. Just luck that I one day while waiting for the washing machine to end its spin cycle, my gaze rested on an old Victorian trunk in a basement where I'd been hundreds of times before, and I got curious.
But will future amateur historians be as lucky as I was?

With all the runaway digital documentation going on in homes today, will today's family history be available or accessible to future inquiring minds like mine? I mean, new platforms are arising every month; we just recently transferred our baby-videos to CD but it's possible that in a few years the CD format will be as impenetrable as a cuneiform tablet. My son's experience with his high-school pictures suggests that a lot of 21st family history could be, well, gone with the Windows.
And that will indeed be ironic -- and a great big shame.


I wrote Gone with the Windows 7 years ago, but it is often read, because it is included in college textbooks.

And it is still online at the Globe and Mail.

Since I wrote Gone with the Windows I have published a few e-books, four about the same family, the Nicholsons of Richmond, mentioned in the essay.

Threshold Girl - about Flora Nicholson and her year at Macdonald Teachers College in 1911, when the education system was undergoing a revolution;

Diary of a Confirmed Spinster: about Edith Nicholson and the death of her fiance in the Rossmore Hotel Fire;

Biology and Ambition: about Marion Nicholson and her careers as a wife, mother and union leader;

And Not Bonne Over Here, the Nicholson letters from WWI.

And right now I am compiling the best essays from this blog that compare the 1910 era with today. I think I should start with Gone with the Windows.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pizza Rant Redux

My husband and I collaborated on a home-made pizza. How hard is that? I made the dough, rolled it and he chopper the veggies. He's a good chopper.

I've ranted about this before.

I have the Guardian App on my Samsung Smartphone and with it I can scan articles and reader comments at the same time.

It seems in Britain they are starting to charge for plastic bags at groceries.

A few comments point out how POINTLESS this is, and disingenuous.

The problem isn't the bag you bring your groceries home in, it's the groceries. I've written this a few times here on this blog.

The modern grocery store makes its profits by over-packaging products.  I'm guessing the higher the ratio of packaging to food product, the greater the profit.

Ready-made pizzas are a case in point. They are a huge seller in the modern supermarket. But what is a pizza? A handful of flour and a few veggies. Put that handful of flour and a few veggies in a great big box and voila! Huge money-maker for the grocery.

All because we are too lazy to roll out some dough and chop our own veggies.

I've been making my own because lately the box has been getting bigger and bigger and the pizza in it smaller and smaller and the price is staying the same, a ridiculous 6 dollars. I guess you pay a premium for all those preservatives.

So. I will re-iterate: Plastic bags are NOT the problem. They are sanitary, for one. When I did buy my own bag I DID NOT WASH IT after each visit to the grocer. (How would that be helping the environment?) I dragged it from the car, covered in cat and dog hair and what not, to the grocer and it got dragged across the counter where everyone's food is deposited at checkout.

I even grossed myself out. I started paying the 5 cents for a plastic bag even though it annoyed me.

 I use these evil plastic bags for garbage, or for picking up dog poop, (another stupid counter-intuitive thing to do to Save the Environment)  so I now have to buy MORE garbage bags, or kitchen catchers as they are called. That makes Dow Chemical happy, I'm sure.

In fact, all this packaging in the grocery store, that has increased exponentially over the decades, has made Dow Chemical happy.

(The fatter the child, apparently, the more plastic chemical she has in her blood...I think this is because the fatter the child, the more packaged food she lives on, but I could be wrong.)

I'm a fairly clean person despite my pets! (They've had all their shots.) I hate to think what microbes are dragged across that counter by other clients, to mix with the filthy juices from the industrial chicken and pesticide laden veggies.etc. and I hate to think of what microbes lurk at the bottom of these re-usable bags, all the germs from the baggers' hands, who have touched everyone else's bags (that have been whoknowswhere -now touching your lettuce, which is why you put the lettuce in a plastic bag or buy it already boxed in a sturdy plastic container.

I repeat: Plastic grocery bags aren't the problem, it's what you put into them.

At my grocer I can buy two loaves of bread together. Each loaf is wrapped in plastic, and those two loaves are wrapped in a much larger PLASTIC bag. HOW IS THAT SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT?

I can buy a quiche of 6 oz in a tin foil plate, vacuumed packed in industrial strength plastic that I could play tug of war with a terrier with, and in a cardboard box. How is that saving the environment?

I can buy two peas and a carrot on a styrofoam plate and wrapped in plastic. How is that..?

Or 1 oz of salmon in a styrofoam plate on a slab of that  that absorbent diaper stuff that is bigger than the piece of fish, wrapped in plastic.

In modern grocery stores, the portions are getting tinier and tinier (because the prices are getting higher and higher) and the packaging more and more extensive.

I have no doubt there's more packaging in a modern grocery  store than there is food product.

Bottled water, of course, is the most egregious example.

But THAT makes huge money for corporations..and the plastic from these ubiquitous bottles may be leaching into our blood and promoting breast cancer in women, who've been told they need to hydrate themselves all day long, although this NEVER was claimed before the era of bottled water.

Women drew the water from wells or streams, carried the water home on their heads or in pails, cooked with the water, washed in the water, bathed in the water, but they were never told to drink it all day long.

In Montreal, the only place to get around this is in the 'ethnic stores.' They've been around for a century wrapping great gobs of fish in wax paper. But wait, all the ethnic stores have been bought up.. by the big grocery chains, who promise to keep the character and low prices of the original store.

I sure believe that.

Rant over.  Our pizza tasted fine, even if made with medium strong cheddar and parmesan.

The dough was too thick, because I had trouble rolling it thin. It stuck to the table and then broke up when I peeled it off. (Everything takes technique.) Yes,  I used ready made sauce. Sauce takes time and skill to make.

I recall hearing a while back on a BBC Radio Four program that the first Italian restaurant in England was in the 50's, in London, and that they had trouble getting oregano.

I knew that Montreal must have had an earlier restaurant and I was right. Frank de Rice had a few restaurants which kept burning down. He was into sports like horse racing and children's charities too.

His first stand, I believe, was in Cartierville, where there was a beach resort and amusement park.

He also had a resto on Decarie, which became Montreal's restaurant strip, due to the proximity of the race track.

I wonder if he served pizzas and if they tasted like mine. He served Italian Spaghetti, my mother said. The newspaper accounts say he sold steaks and hot dogs.

Let me check for the word pizza in the news archives for the Gazette..  Not any mentions of pizzeria or pizza parlour before 1970.

But I doubt there was any trouble getting oregano in the 1950's in Montreal. We had a large Italian community.

Our next door neighbour was Italian, Mrs. Rossetti. She used to baby sit me as an infant. I think I can remember her huge soft bosom.

In the sixties we made Kraft Instant Pizzas at home. My mother was a crack baker, but she didn't think to make her own pizza.

You remember the boxes? They came with a bit of dough, a tin of spicy sauce and a package of herbs, heavy on the thyme and a sprinkling of Kraft cheese Parmesan, the only kind we ate.

We had fun making these pizzas which were more like a toy than food. Lots of packaging for two little pizzas...but hey, this was the 60's and 'fake food' was fun.

I have a 1960's magazine with an advertisement for a new product, genuine Italian thin crust pizza in a little box.

Now that took decades to catch on in North America!
Pizzas are a New York invention, I think. But that's easily looked up.

Yes, Pizza, originating in Naples as flatbread, were made in New York in Little Italy in 1905. Now Montreal's and New York's Italian immigration patterns were identical, I think. At Ellis Island, one brother would go to Montreal, one stay in New York. Something like that.

Italians worked as laborers in Montreal. Italian Labourers helped build Macdonald College, in 1905 ish,where Flora Nicholson went to Macdonald Teachers' College. That school opened in 1907.

I write about that in Threshold Girl

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Heatwave 1911!

Emmaline Pankhurst 1913

I've read the first four chapters of The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicolson, about 1911 in England and it's a lot of fun. But I also went back and read the forward. Nicolson says she chose 1911 randomly. She was re-reading The Go Between, (one of my favorite novels) that takes place sometimes at the turn of the century during a hot summer, which inspired Atonement, and decided to write about a hot summer. So she researched and discovered that 1911 was very hot indeed. Seems a bit weird. But I think that's how creative people work.

1911 was also a hot year in Quebec. Margaret writes in July: We have had awful heat. We slept out on the verandah. Took the mattresses. The Skinners (neighbours) did as well." There were terrible forest fires in Ontario where Norman was posted on the railroad.

The next chapter is on the Ballets Russes. I've read a lot about them, in other contexts... biographies of Belle Epoque characters.

Cucumbers and Wildflowers

When I want to take a trip down memory lane, I go to YouTube and watch advertisments from the 60's.

Vintage television shows do not evoke 1960's for me. (Sure, I watched Star Trek back then, but I saw an episode of the original just the other day, as my husband had tuned in to it.)

But vintage commercials do. Especially commercials for cosmetics and hair products.

I watched a batch yesterday, and, boy, when you see these ads all in a row, it's blatantly obvious. It was all about sex, sex, sex, and the mating game. Kind of cruel, exploiting our sex drives to sell mostly useless stuff. (I have a suspicion that using shampoos and soaps increases the need for them.)

But enough cynicism..

Nothing brings me back to where I was emotionally in 1966 than ads for makeup and body lotions.

I was too young to lust after real-live boys in earnest so I lusted after the products that would eventually get me a boy. Garden of earthly delights, indeed!

I bought 17 magazine, long before I was 17, I can distinctly recall the feel of the big, glossy magazine in my hands and the look of the pages, filled with stunning, pungeant-looking ads. (I don't recall the articles at all. They were classic "how to please boys" stories.)

Yesterday, I found this advertisement for The California Look line of cosmetics and the brown and red and yellow design hit my psyche like a tonne of lipsticks I recall using that brand and I recall the feeling (of hope and quiet desperation ) I felt buying it. Cornsilk, the face powder, was the promise of a pimple free complexion. Wildflowers, by whom I can't recall, was my very favorite brand. I wanted to be just like that golden-haired girl holding the giant bouquet of daisies and asters out in the sunny field. (I wanted to be a fertility goddess, or my DNA did.)

Yardley ads, especially, appealed to me.

Me, in 66. I think I was trying to pose like a fashion model.
Yesterday, I ventured onto Flickr and found some sets of Yardley ads from the mid 60's. My gosh, what a show.

Twiggy was 'the face of 66' and no wonder. She looked like a little girl. And the make-up ads from Yardley were clearly aimed at tweenage girls.

These splendid advertisements were sensual, but in a non-lascivious way (is that the word?). Some ads feature a young model with an approving 'boyfriend', who appears to be a few years away from acquiring a five o'clock shadow or even a 10 o'clock shadow. (Clive Owen wouldn't have got the gig.)

The colours and scents were all based on nature, fruits and rainbows and such.

The company Sunkist, that sells orange juice and grapefruits, apparently tried to exploit this by putting out a line of lemony hair and body washes and even an elbow scrub.

So, in the mid 60's, they tarted you up without making you a tart, while retaining your innocence. (After all, makeup essentially is 'sexual colouring' as it makes a woman look aroused which, in turn, arouses men.)

In one of my first chapters of Flo in the City, I have Flo and May visit Sutherlands and talk about 'rouge de theatre.' Sutherland's doesn't sell it, but I have May say pharmacies in Boston do.

In the 1906 Sears there is a listing for rouge de theatre. But not in the 1906 Eaton's catalogue.

That catalogue has preparations for the teeth, hair, skin, etc, but no rouge, per se, although one product suggests it is to be used as a cheek reddener: Madame Rupert's red rose paste. She also sells face bleach. (Purity, purity.)

Funny, the toilet waters and soaps are little different from what is sold today, especially in stores specializing in natural products. In the catalogue there is a cucumber and glycerine toilet soap. Gee, I just made myself up some of that yesterday. (I like to make my own facials.)

Now, in my story, I suggest that Edith uses rouge de theatre, but rather secretively. Rouge, in those days, was generally considered what only prostitutes used. (So once again the Social Evil informs the life of the Good Girl.)

I guess they called it rouge de theatre to imply only actresses used it. Actresses, it seems, in those days, bridged the gap between disrespectful and respectful women, much as they do today, with respect to ordinary sexually active women and women of porn. (I just thought of that.)

But whatever is good for business is 'good' and makeup is very very very good for business. It's illusion, in so so many ways. One of the key illusions is that you are actually getting your money's worth!

Today, the ads on TV are still aimed at us Boomers, all for huge-expensive anti-aging creams of dubious effectiveness.

The Servant Problem


Right now, I am performing the second edit of the May 27 1911-December 18 1911 Nicholson Family Letters, which will likely be volume 1.

It's a trick, deciding how to annotate these letters so that the 'story of the Laurier Era' unfolds in understandable fashion.

But I'm having fun.

And thanks to the Census of 1901 and 1911 online, I'm getting a clearer picture of THIS SERVANT PROBLEM, which is key to the story of Canadian women in the era....

In 1911, as I have written, only 2 families in the Tighsolas neighbourhood have domestics, or servants, or maids. Live in ones anyway.

In the 1901 era, almost all families have a live in maid, including the Nicholsons, who have a 58 year old maid called Maggie Mclean (yet another relation) but this CAN'T POSSIBLY be the same Maggie Mclean who died in 1907, and left the Nicholsons out of her will. She was wealthy. (Still, I have to check... I'm sure I have her age on the WILL that I have.)

So by the 2nd letter only, I am annotating a great deal about servants. Readers might wonder why this is so important. But then Flora goes to Macdonald, which is a school founded to teach science to farmers and domestic science to women... so that the middle class girls can become better housewives and so that lower class girls can become better domestics.

The Powers that Be In Canada were all for poor girls getting work as domestics, which they described as honorable work, as opposed to, say, factory work. (The Montreal Council of Women did not agree. They thought women should also get technical training in the trades, which would give unmarried women independence.)

But really, they were trying to fix that irksome servant problem for themselves and their posh friend

Crooked Cops and Montreal circa 1927

Jules Crepeau

Well, as I write my story, Milk and Water, about Montreal in 1927, I found a bit from a Senate Hearing on Prohibition in 1926, where my own grandpapa is accused of controlling the Chief of Police - and of penalizing constables who try to close down movie theatres and clubs that have broken the by-laws.

This bit, I just figured, out was from the report Coderre Inquiry into Police Corruption in 1925.

The focus was disorderly houses, not alcohol.

Under a chapter entitled TOO MANY MASTERS it is written:

There is still more. Not only must the superintendent of police submit to the constant and narrow direction of the executive, but he is also placed under the jurisdiction of another functionary whose positions and powers are ill-explained to me, so that I can find nothing regarding them in the charter.

I am referring to the Director of Services, placed there as an intermediary, I have been led to understand, between the different departments and between people outside and any one department.

The superintendent of police tells me that Mr. Crepeau is over him, and what proves it beyond doubt is the liberty the latter takes in ordering the suspension and even the withdrawal  of proceedings taken against theatres that were based on cases made and instituted by the superintendent of police.

What proves it betters still is the liberty, too great, that he took during the inquiry for suspending Constable Trudeau for reasons entirely foreign to the accomplishment of his duties and just at the point where Mr. Trudeau had revealed  in this testimony, the strange actions of Mr. Crepeau.

There's a lot more of course, that was repeated to the Americans in 1926, by W.E. Raney, a former attorney general of Ontario (described to the Senators as "attorney general of Canada".. and reprinted in a couple of Pro Temperance Volumes in the early thirties. Raney was anti drink and anti gambling. He told the Senators that crime bosses worked out of Montreal, controlling their American operations from there.


My grandfather had a vague job description. Oddly, in 1925, the City Clerk died, and it was reported that the job would be given to Jules, in addition to this position. That did not happen and I wonder if this report had anything to do with it. In 1924 and 25, Charles Duquette was Mayor of Montreal and not Mederic Martin, who was Mayor before and after that time.

Jules was forced to retire in 1930, supposedly over his part in the Montreal Water and Power Scandal, Michele Dagenais, an historian who studies the Montreal Administration, says that his successor, Honore Parent, had even more powers than he.


It sounds very much that Jules was acting on behalf of others on the Council. Certain Alderman were extremely upset when he was forced to retire, under Camillien Houde, and they were likely his friends.

But with respect to the theatre business, well, his brother, Isadore, was Vice President of a Motion Picture Company, United Amusements. He fell out of his office window in 1932. That company lobbied in the mid twenties to keep motion picture houses open on Sunday, despite the Lord's Day Act.


This happens after the time of my play, which is September 2, 1927. That's when David, the Prince of Wales, returns to Montreal after a month long trip to Canada, to decompress and recreate.

My this time the Laurier Theater fire would have happened, and it already has been recommended that theatres close to children under 16.

My grandfather will comment on this.

Also that year, the opening of a fancy art deco public bath, (that is now an eco-museum.) In early August someone suggests that the baths of Montreal stay open on Sunday, regardless of the law.

Public baths, yet another angle to my Milk and Water story. Laurentian had the first swimming pool (or bath) in Montreal, opened 1882. It was not seen as a public service for the welfare of poorer citizens. Just a business.

I have to figure out what Thomas Wells would have said to Mr. Crepeau on this subject. It's all very complicated.

My gran and the War

My grandmother's signature on the affidavit she gave to the Double Tenth War Crimes Trial of Sumida Haruzo and other Kempeitai Operatives in WWII.

This is not the first time I've seen her signature. I found it online a few years ago on a Changi Autograph book.

Back then I was shocked at how similar our signatures were. I am also Dorothy Nixon. I kept my maiden name. Dorothy was born a Forster but married Robert Nixon, a Yorkshireman, who was also interned at Changi and worked on the Thai Burma Railway.

Robert was born in Helmsley North Yorkshire and worked as a footman before going to Malaya. Eventually, I guess, he went back home to find a respectable European wife. That's how it generally happened.In this case Robert still had his Asian mistress when Dorothy arrived.
My dad told me that he was sent over there because the daughter of the Earl who employed him fell in love with him and the Earl sent him far away.

I thought this probably was a lot of hoo ha, but you know, Footman were good looking, tall and such, and Robert, the son of a delver, a rock digger, hardly had the money to go to Malaya.

Only the sons of well off men were sent over there. It was considered a terrific chance to make money. (Not true, as it happens)

My play, Looking For Mrs. Peel, uses Dorothy's war crimes testimony as a narrative device.
The play also has a fair bit about rubber farming, as I conducted a lot of research.

This is not the first time I saw the affidavit, or, at least, the words it contains. The book The Trial of Sumida Haruzo has a copy or it, although it may be abridged.
I lent the book to a Canadian researcher, so can't say for sure.
But I don't recall the part where Dorothy says she witnessed a Japanese prisoner being brutally tortured.
I may add this to my play... because it is important.
A member of the Malayan Volunteers Group in the UK sent me this pic.
The original papers are in the National Archives.

McGill and the Suffragettes

Here's the list of Canadian suffragists and suffragettes on Wikipedia. Pretty pathetic, eh?

And The Famous Five are famous for a 'persons' case held in 1927-28 (the era of my story Milk and Water - about Montreal City Hall in the era of US Prohibition. I'm guessing the Famous Five were all for Prohibition, temperance types.

Emily Stowe was an Equal Rights Suffragist, that I know and was her daughter Augusta-Stowe Gullen.

I never learned much about these suffragists, being schooled in Quebec. And I learned nothing about the Canadian suffrage movement or any suffrage movement in school. Odd, since I went to school in the era of "Women's Lib" and we had lots of debates in class.

My information was restricted back then to 'bra-burning' issues from the media and what I could find in the school library.

 (I guess I could have gone out and asked any old lady on the street, but how was I to know under those thick surgical stockings and mound of grey hair rolled up into a motherly bun, there once was a young social activist with big dreams.)

Still, I knew what a suffragette was from TV and movies. A silly person in silly costume waving a placard and (in newsreels)walking about jerkily, like a giant chicken in a big big hat. Or a pretty girl like Natalie Wood in The Great Race, who was all talk about women's rights but who really wanted love.

So when I found the Nicholson letters from the 1908-1913 era and read them and transcribed them and posted the online at Tighsolas, a site I later took down, I was intrigued by the many references to the suffragettes and the many press clippings of suffragette stories.

(The Letters of Tighsolas are available here, on Amazon.)

These were Canadian women, Montreal women,  my husband's great grandmother, grandmother and great aunts.

I had a copy of Pierre Berton's Marching As to War about the Great War  and saw the book contained only a few sentences about the Canadian Suffrage Movement. Berton says the movement peaked in 1910 and was propelled by temperance types. (Very boring.)

So I dug out from the McGill Library the only two books on the Canadian Suffrage Movement, one a Master's Thesis by an American and read them. (That was 8 years ago, and as I had no context, I can't say I recall much about them.)

Over the next few years, while researching the background to the Tighsolas letters from my story Threshold Girl, I learned a lot more from primary and secondary sources and right now I think I know enough to start on my documentary, Sister Salvation.

Emmeline Pankhurst being rushed away from some demonstration (Hyde Park?) in the 1913 era. Canadian suffragists distanced themselves from the British militants, at least 'officially.'

I also think I've figured out why our Canadian Suffrage Narrative has little to do with women who actually campaigned for the vote.

(Women in Canada (and the British Suffragettes) pressured Borden to give women the vote but he passed the buck and claimed this was in provincial jurisdiction.

He gave women with military connections the vote for the 1917 conscription election and after that all women with exception of recently naturalized foreign women from outside North America. (I think that's how it went..)

The Montreal Suffrage Association, founded in 1913, disbanded in 1919 - and a 1919 letter to the editor in the Gazette at the time of its dissolution suggests the group lost all its members when the President sent a letter to Borden opposing conscription.

So the organization probably had little influence on women getting the vote in Canada although they had input into a collective effort to give married women in Quebec more rights.

The same 1919 letter to the editor claimed only 9 members (out of original 300) were present at the meeting to disband.

 It is clear from press clippings, however, that the Montreal Suffrage Association spent a great deal of time on War Work and fundraising efforts  in the 1914-18 period. At the start of war in 1914 they pledged to divert all their efforts to the cause. They held weekly meetings on University Street. A Mrs. Scott, English born, took over the leadership from Miss Derick. She had two boys at the front and was a Temperance Advocate. The Montreal Suffrage Association also had booths at country fairs, Dominion Park and the Automobile Show.

A news clipping from December 1912 before inauguration  reveals that there is friction between the new members and a small but active group of would be militants, but also admits that Mrs. Pankhurst and Miss Barbara Wiley (British militants) inspired the Montreal Council to spin off the Suffrage Group. (It's hard to guess what exactly is going on with these people. They appear all over the map, perhaps even floating trial balloons in the newspapers.)

In one article The Montreal Suffrage Association says  it is neither militant or anti-militant as that issue is irrelevant in Montreal.

Toronto Suffragettes too probably had little influence. They got into trouble in the 1913-1914 era supporting the Militant British Suffragettes or by opposing the war effort entirely (something the Militant British Suffragettes didn't do. Mrs. Pankhurst was no fool.)

(We are told differently now, but as Pierre Berton shows, not everyone in English Canada was for the war effort, . Indeed, I have a letter from a doctor relation of the Nicholsons in BC in 1917 who claims the only men signing up are British men hoping for a cheap ride home as the jobs have dried up for them. In a 1916 letter, Marion Nicholson says her mother in law rails against conscription "as if her sons are the only ones to go." Family friends, the Tuckers, lose a son in the War just before Armistice. First they hear he is dead, then alive, then dead. Flora writes about it in a letter, but the story makes the Montreal Gazette. Flora's beau is the brother, Herb, who is also overseas and writes Flora letters. "Don't come over here to work as a nurse," he writes from the Belgian front. "It is not bonne over here.")

So NO CANADIAN SUFFRAGE MYTH. History Forgotten if not Effaced.

Edith Nicholson as Commandant of the Canadian Red Cross in WWII. In the WWI era I suspect she was involved with the Montreal Suffrage Association as she knew Carrie Derick, the organization's first president, and as she later worked under Mrs. Hurlbatt, the Warden of the Royal Victoria College, who was also a suffragist/suffragette.

And there's probably another reason for this  'cover-up': the movement's murky relationship with eugenics, especially in Montreal, especially with respect to  McGill professors and students.

And since most social history in Canada is Toronto-centric and little is done concerning the history of Anglo Quebec that doesn't come out of McGill, well,....

Now, I assumed that the suffrage movement in Canada has been sort of censored because its narrative threatened that delicate balance between English and French Canada.

Quebec did not give the vote to women until the 1940's, with Therese Casgrain (a relation of mine, I think) doing the work.

But the real story of our suffragist/suffragette movement actually explains a lot about why French Canada didn't want any part of the movement.

Anyway, I'm off to write the script for my documentary.

Who is this Mr. Greenshields?

It's just too much fun. I got busy writing the next chapter of Threshold Girl, where she messes up the French Oral Exam and the Victor Hugo Poem Melancholia.

She's in the classroom at St. Francis College High School, so I look up an article I have posted on about St. Francis College (written by Edith for the McGill Daily) for a little background for the preamble to the scene. Edith writes, in the 1930's article, that one of the many illustrious graduates of St. Francis College is J. N Greenshields, industrialist.

A name I saw on a 1910 list of Montreal millionaires and elsewhere.

Well!! I look up J. N. Greenshields to see that he was also a prominent lawyer who defended Donald Morrison and Louis Riel! Donald Morrison successfully and Louis Riel, well, we all know what happened there.

Also was involved in some infamous Grand Trunk Rail Robbery....And who, at least after the war, was President of Wabasso Cotton and Shawinigan Cotton among many other concerns. How perfect!!! Big Shot. Now Forgotten for some reason. (He is mentioned but three times in the recent book about J. W. McConnel by William Fong, mentioned with my ancestors, the Forgets.)

Donald Morrison was the Megantic Outlaw and Flora's Dad, Norman, was involved in a citizen's committee for his defense. I wrote about it here. I even have a paper that has the lawyer's costs on it.. Somewhere.

Then I found an article from 1911, from the Montreal Gazette, claiming that Mr. Greenshields, in the 1911 Free Trade Election, was coming to Richmond to support Dr. Hayes, the Conservative Candidate, despite being a Liberal. He obviously did not like Mr. Tobin.

So this will fit in perfectly in an upcoming scene in Flora in the City, for she attends the Liberal meeting with Tobin. I'll have to find a way...

All very interesting, once again.

A blub from a Post war Who's Who of the E.T. claims Greenshields lived on McGregor in Montreal, (now Dr. Penfield) and summered in Danville. Dr. Wilder Penfield, the legendary neurosurgeon from McGill, after whom McGregor Street was renamed, summered in Magog, where the Dominion Textile Plant was located, which makes for nice symmetry.

I have not seen any indication that his wife, an American, was a 'Society Woman" who did good works, although the couple did give money to causes, so I am not sure if I can put her with the Montreal Council of Women. Must double check.

(Added: And I just noticed that Greenshields ran for MP in Richmond Wolfe in the 1887 election as a Liberal. He lost.And get this, in the 1891 election the Liberal candidate was Wilfrid Laurier. He ran both in RW and in Quebec East and became head of the opposition. Weird. Anyway, Greenshields is oft mentioned in my ebook Threshold Girl

A picture of Mr. Hayes. So I can describe him. Hmmm.

Car Trip E.T. to Montreal 1911

Near Racine. The E.T. is a hilly place.

This scene is in Threshold Girl a ebook on kindle...

"As you will see by the address, I am in Montreal. I came in with Dr. and Mrs. Skinner in the motor Friday. Left home at 10 am and got to Waterloo at 12.30 had dinner. Saw all we could of the town and left at 2 for Montreal, got here at quarter past six. Without one break down. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute of it.

I will name the places we passed through so you will know the country we passed through. Melbourne, Flodden, Racine, Sawyerville, Warden, Waterloo, Granby, Abbotsford, St Caesar, Rougemont, Marieville, Chambly, Longueil, St. Lambert, Pointe St Charles.
Don't you think I was a very fortunate girl to have such a trip?

We are taking Grace Cross home with us. Have not yet decided whether we shall all go Monday or Tuesday.

Marion Samson was out at Hudson with the Fields' for the week end so I am staying with Marion. We have had a fine time. Sat morning we went shopping. Had lunch in town.

Went to the theatre in the afternoon. Then to tea at Dr. Cleveland's. Got home here about eight and then Dr. S took us out for a ride. Were out until 10. It is beautiful riding on the paved streets. "

The Route Edith took in June, 1911 from Waterloo. Richmond is top right corner.

Well, as I have written, the speed limit in the city was 8 miles an hour and in the country 15 miles an hour. They were 6 and 3/4 hours on the road.

Norman wrote in an earlier letter that it was 73 miles to Montreal, but I wonder if he means by rail. I traced the route on Google Maps and I think it's 151 kilometers or 94 miles.

Now, if you take 6 hours and 45 minutes to go 94 miles your average speed is, let me figure it out...about 14 miles an hour, about the speed limit!!

I think I will re-trace that route in the Spring. The E.T. is one hilly place, so they went up and down hills, that's for sure.

44 letters from 100 years ago, and the 'car' or the auto as they called it back then, is the definite star.

This is definitely Marion with a couple. I think the Montgomerys. Why? Well, Marion wrote in a letter that she met the couple on the street in Montreal and that they were buying a car. Margaret also wrote about that Mr's decision to buy a car. And, according to the 1911 Census, Mr. Montgomery is around 40. Looks right.

This means the white haired buy with the whiskers driving the car in the other picture I have is Dr. Skinner! So I can see what car they used to drive to Montreal. Not steam and not electric; well, I could have guessed that.

See Marion's caperon?.. that dead rodent hanging on her shoulders. Very fashionable in 1910. Kind of disgusting when you found one that belonged to an ancient aunt in the closet, all mangy, smelly with dessicated eyeballs.
The Canadian Motor Company was on Atwater Street, in the place where the Old Forum was, and that now houses AMC Cinemas.