Monday, January 31, 2011

Letter 11: Wedding Bells, but for someone else

Norman in Mason Regalia.

July 17, 1911

Dear Father,

Have just come home from Isabel's wedding and since it seems so nice and easy I think I will follow her example - that is providing I get the chance.

The whole Smith family were there and as soon as they found out who I was and who my relations were they were great friends.

They all said they knew you and Peter said he had stayed at the Gore once with Grandfather.

Isabel and Allan and the McCoys are all going to live together and I think they have one of the nicest flats that I was ever in.

Do you remember me telling me of a Mr. Blair from Three Rivers I had met.

Lately he has taken me to the theatre several times and when I was at the wedding he came up to see me and saw me off on the train this morning.

When I told mother a while ago that I was going to invite two girls out for a while she suggested that I had better ask some men. So we have been bothering her and telling her she is anxious to get rid of us.

I supposed mother has given you most of the news so there will be none left for me.

Lovingly, Marion

Tighsolas, Richmond

Marion Nicholson had a wicked sense of humour and she often joked about marriage and about being 'an old maid.' Her sisters, never. But, then, this Hugh guy looks promising.

The McCoys lived on Hutchison. Near St. Viateur. Marion had boarded when first moving to Montreal in 1908. Theirs likely would have been a newish building, because that area, Mile End was booming.

In 1957, St-Viateur Bagel was founded by Myer Lewkowicz and has since become a Montreal institution. Nothing tastes like a Montreal bagel; well, maybe a New York bagel.

In the 1910 era, Montreal smoked meat was born after Ben Kravitz immigrated to the city and started up a delicatessen on St. Laurent, which would have been called St.Lawrence back then.

The 1911 Census does not have Isabel's new hubby living there yet, and the Census person gets Isabel and her Mom mixed up! (The census taker was clearly Francophone, so this might be the the problem.) Isabel gives her 'ethnicity' as Irish, like her Dad and the Mom says she's Scottish. Oh and the McCoys don't have a live-in maid, but many families living on the street do. On this one Census page, there are 'servants' from the West Indies, France, England, Sweden and Quebec, all girls aged 16 -21. Some other servants enumerated on the same street are as young as 12 and 14, while others are in their 30's and 40's.

An article in an era Macleans asks whether American Negroes would make good chefs for Canadians. The answer: No, they are not used to economizing.

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