Friday, July 24, 2015

Bio #31 - Letty's late Adolescence and Early Adult Years

Letty's writings change gears here, from anecdotes and tidbits, to a chronological recollection of her late teen and adult years, including meeting her husband and all that came after her marriage.

School was a happy time for me until I was in Grade 10, when at the beginning of that term I had to have my appendix out. So much time I missed, I couldn't make it up and lost interest in school. I was 16 then, and went on to get my Grade 11, then I didn't go any more. My folks felt sorry.

Shortly after that I took up sewing in earnest, and really liked it and kept busy. My Mom showed me all she could and we got along so well. Later, I worked in the tailor shop, for Wally Robinson, for two years. Here also I learned a lot and it was such different sewing, doing mostly men't clothes. It is more satisfying to work with heavier material, mostly woolen.

Charlie left home at eighteen years to join the navy. His first leave home was six years later. My, but he was so mature, we hardly knew him. He was home for two weeks only.
Charlie Laws, age ~18. A passport photo?
Eddie left home at twenty. He was in the army before he got posted to Ontario. We didn't see him for a year, when he came home in 1939, October, because I was ill. After that he didn't come back till he was invalided out from the war, minus his right arm. He and Dad "batched" until Ed married Margret, then she kept house for them.
Eddie, Letty, and their father, Walter. ~1938
Mary taught music and had about thirty five pupils. She also was relief organist at St. Barnabas Church in Medicine Hat.
Mary, Eddie, and their mother, Annie ~1935
In June 1940, my mother died of cancer. She was in hospital only nine days and was gone. We missed her very much, and as the boys were involved in the war, they were unable to come home. After the funeral, I kept house for Mary, Dad and myself. Some of Mom's friends were very good to us, and the boys wrote as often as they could. I felt very sorry for my brothers.
(I recall Letty telling me that her mother died because of a surgical mistake which resulted in peritonitis, which explains the quick death. The doctor told her father that he could sue the hospital, but he said that would not bring his wife back, so the hospital just cancelled his bill.)

Two years after Mom's death, Dad retired from the post office, which pleased him. One of the men phoned me to see if it was fine with me, if they all came and had a surprise party in his honor. Naturally I said yes, and got busy baking. When they all came in, loaded with sandwiches, cake, beer, and cheese, Dad was so shocked. We had lots of music, as there were some who played, and lots of laughs. I made coffee and tea, then they presented Dad with a solid leather Gladstone bag, and a cheque. He just didn't know what to say, he was near tears. so I thanked them all. About midnight the party broke up, so he thanked them before they left.

The new case spurred Dad on to have a holiday, so he took the train to Victoria, BC, to visit Charlie and Ruth for a whole month. He had a very nice holiday and when he got home, he painted and fixed up all that needed doing. Next the back garden came under the hammer, so that left him little to do. One day he came in and said he has a job, morning at J.E. Davies plant, sorting nuts and bolts. Mr. Davies and Dad had lived in the same town in Ontario and had remained good friends all those years.

So he worked there for about six months, then had to stop. He read a lot, smoked his pipe, and we got along fine. But quite often he was sick with his heart.