Monday, January 31, 2011

Letter 12: Morris Chairs and Motoring

Richmond July 26, 1911

Dear Norman,

Your letter to Edith also one to Marion came in last night's mail. I was glad to see snap shot of you. We all thought you looked very comfortable in a Morris chair.

You seem to have a comfortable looking room and that Mr. McKechnie is quite a nice looking young man.

We were all over at the Skinners as it was raining and he got our mail, so they all had a look at it.

It is just two months today since you left Montreal. Has the time seemed long?

We have been having rather cool weather lately - just as you speak of there. Monday it was so cool in the dining room that we had our meals in the kitchen.

The garden looks well. We have had peas, beans, and beets. The corn looks fine. We have not tasted our potatoes. The Hill's are using theirs. We have plenty of old ones. I like them better.

The weeds in the gravel are almost as bad as when you came home last summer. I got Stanley one day, for a little while, but he finds that harder than the lawn and has not come back in a week. And I don't want the girls to try it as they have sewing to do.

I've taken your plan and we are taking turns about the house work.

Marion and I were on duty in the kitchen last week. This week Edith and Flora have charge of the kitchen and they get up and make the fires. I don't dare go down to breakfast until I am called.

I was telling them I would not go away for this was change enough for me.

I am glad you got Herb's letter. Dr. Skinner will be going west in about six weeks. He will try and see him. Sophia Nicholson (brother Gilbert's daughter) is out in Flodden. I hear she is going to Edmonton in a few weeks.

Last Friday Dr. and Miss Skinner took Edith and Marion to Newport VT. Left here at 8 30 and were there for dinner in Sherbrooke for tea, back home at 10. 30 pm. Going a distance of one hundred forty five miles all in one day! Don't you think that was pretty good motoring? They were back very tired, especially Edith.

I am enclosing a letter Mr. Rothney (Principal, St. Francis College?) wrote. If she has passed with such high marks in all other subjects as Mr. Carmichael (teacher?) seems to think she will put in her application to enter Macdonald and will take the French as Mr. Rothney suggests.

She can go with Marion when she starts. They may have to go a day or two earlier. When the final marks are printed, will send them to you.

I am quite busy trying to get Flora's things into shape. She is not looking very well, but seems to have a good appetite. I got her bottle medicine. At least Edith is taking it; it's what Moffat ordered for Edith last fall.

Hope it will do them both good. Marion is looking well. I hope you are feeling well. Write soon.

Yours with much love,

The Nicholson's were in tight with all the education professionals in Richmond. In 1909, when Flora was failing Composition and Latin, Norman told his wife Margaret to speak to the teacher, to make sure he put more emphasis on the subjects she was failing. Hmm. Failing French wasn't such a huge cloud over Flora's head; in 1921 officials at Macdonald Teachers College were still complaining about the poor French skills of the incoming students, especially those from rural areas.

Edith seems to like her medicine. Many cold medicines at the turn of the last century contained alcohol and/or opiates. In the U.S. they cracked down on these ingredients in 1903, with the Pure Foods Act. In Canada, things were more lax; that's why the patent medicine people moved up to Canada in droves and settled in Brockville, Ontario, across the lake from New York State and shilled their snake oil stateside by mail order.

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