When they drove their 1940’s car along that snowy road in blizzard conditions from Brampton, Ontario back home to Lakeview, Ontario; there were few vehicles on what is now a very busy highway. Stretched out before them on both sides were farmers fields and numerous horse farms and as I clearly remember as a young child the farm fields were all enclosed in white wooden fences with horses grazing in the distance. It is a lost piece of a once beautiful landscape.
That was when I was a young child.
On this day I was a bundle, newly born and as mom would say I was a bundle of “joy”, her joy and my father’s.
It was 1955 and I the third born; eventually we would become a family of four children. I had two brothers and mom desperately wanted a girl. From the stories my brothers and mother would tell I now understand why she prayed for a girl. Although I would disappoint mom as a rebellious teenager it did out weigh the many years of love that she lavished on me and I on her.
This story was told to me every single year near or on my birthday by my mom. Both my parents repeated many stories of their young lives to us children (must admit we would all roll our eyes when Dad began one of his stories) but Dad was the best story teller of all and it would take years for me to really appreciate this oral history.
The nurses informed my dad that he had a baby boy. In those days’ fathers did not usually see their wife let alone their newborn child until the next day and during very strict visiting hours. I am sure he felt disappointment for my mom for she must have expressed over and over that she hoped it was a girl. After having two boys only eighteen months apart, living in a place far from her home in New Brunswick, in a house where ice was still delivered to the door, heat was by coal fire, house half built, wringer washer, no dryer for the clothes and mud so thick and sticky in the yard you would sink and come out of your boots.
Surely, surely, she would be rewarded with a girl!
Dad went home and sent my two brothers who were by then aged seven and eight over to the neighbours next to us, across and up the street to announce that we had “another boy” and as the story goes, some laughed and some cried. Dad then called the relations down home in New Brunswick and in Toronto to tell them the news, some laughed and some cried.
When Dad was allowed to visit mom the next day he said “well we have another boy”, to which my mom promptly corrected him and said “we do not! we have a girl!” My Dad said “no, we have a boy” and again mom repeated “we have a girl!” Hat in hand Dad confirmed with the nurses that I was a girl.
Dad returned home and sent my brothers back to the neighbours next to us, across and up the street, some laughed and some cried. He then called down home and to Toronto, some laughed and some cried.
When it came the day to bring me home, Dad asked his supervisor for a half day off to bring his wife and little girl home from the hospital. He responded “Charlie! Take the whole day off!”
First a boy and then a girl.
And so, the story goes,