Sunday, January 30, 2011

Letter 10: Town Gossip

Flora Nicholson.



July 12, 1911

Dear Norman,

Your letter of July 10th received tonight and as you are not getting your mail regular I thought I'd better write at once.

I had a long letter from Herb last night. He said he was writing you. He had a very pleasant visit with Mr. Neilson he had been acting manager for 15 days while the manager was having holidays so said that was the reason he was so long in writing.

In regard to Flora's exams, you will see that she failed in French. Her name did not come out in the paper and she is feeling pretty badly about it. However, she can enter Macdonald. Had a talk with Mr. Carmichael. So you better make light of it for she did study hard. She just gets nervous at examination time. When I hear about the marks, which will be a few days, will write you.

We had very hot weather just as hot as in Montreal.It is very trying.

I see by your letter that you did not escape. Was in hopes that you'd have it cooler being so far north.

We have been reading the accounts of the dreadful fires at Porcupine and Cochran. There was a sketch of a map in the Witness. Thankful that you were farther East.
Billie Hill cut the hedge when I went to pay him he said Mr. Montgomery settled for the whole thing.

Last Wednesday the Skinners took Flora to Sherbrooke, left at one o'clock returned at 7 pm. Friday they took Edith to Nicollette Lake. They are very kind to this family.
Monday July 17th

Grandma was not feeling well for a few days. She is up at Bella's and Clayton's.

Clayton had the auto painted. Just got it Saturday night. So yesterday they went out to Kingsbury.

Marion went to Miss McCoy's wedding. She returned this morning she had a very nice time. I think now she will settle down.

Mr. Bieber is the talk of the town. Mrs.Bieber has gone down to the seaside with her sisters from Quebec. (Likely Maine.) Dr. and Mrs. Moffatt came up one evening and took us for a ride in his auto. He runs very nicely, not too fast.
Dr. was asking for you.

Sir Wilfrid was given quite a reception at Montreal. (Upon return from Coronation.)

I see where the Government has or is talking of voting seven thousand for a reception to be given this Duke of Connaught the 12th of October. (Governor General)

. Too bad they cannot put the mail in at Cochran. They always save money at the expense of the working class.

I hope you will take good care of yourself. We have all kept well.

Hoping to hear from you soon,
Your loving wife

As Flora failed her final French exam her name was not printed in the Richmond Times Guardian with the names of all the other graduates. There were few secrets in this town of 2,500, as Margaret's letter makes clear.

It is no surprise that Flora's failure did not keep her from entering Macdonald. They were in dire need of teachers in 1911. Flora would go to Macdonald on a scholarship for rural women, who it was hoped would graduate and then go work in rural schools. But the need for teachers in the big city were even greater.

The relentless heat in 1911 caused forest fires in Northern Ontario, not far from where Norman was working. The Gazette for this day blared a headline: North Ontario Swept by Fire. South Porcupine, Cochrane Wiped Out! Fires were always a concern for these workers building the railroad. But railroad work, in general, was very dangerous.

The Reception for Laurier and the Coronation Contingent was in Quebec City. The large crowd on the dock let out three cheers as a band played "O Canada." Laurier returned from this trip a SIR.

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