Yesterday was Best Friend’s Day and it got me thinking about my mother’s friends. In the past week I have gone by the former homes of some of my mother’s friends and I recalled some of the fun and some of the stories of her friends.
The home in the picture I remember well. I was never in it but every time we drove down that road toward Dunnville Mom would tell me about her wonderful friend Georgina who lived there. I have a picture of Georgina somewhere in the collection of old photos that survived my fire. She was a beauty. I don’t recall much of what my Mom said about her but I remember the feeling I had about her.
My Mom grew up in a house full of men on a farm and they didn’t have a great deal. Her own mother was in hospital with TB for most of my mother’s growing up years and died when Mom was in her final year of high school at 16. Mom and her brothers travelled on the train every day going to high school in Hagersville. Mom and Georginia met on the train and I think Mom felt lucky if she got to go home once in a while with Georgina to her lovely home with her normal family. I have no idea what happened to her and I don’t ever think I met her but I remember the warmth of my mother’s voice when she spoke of that house.
Her other friend Joan, was someone she also knew from high school. They attended Normal School together and then boarded together in Port Dover for the first couple of years they taught. Miss McConachie and Miss Williamson were both only 17 when they started teaching. They stayed fast friends for a long time and I remember going to the Iionson farm and playing in the barn. Sweet memories of summer evenings lying on our backs in the grass, watching bats in the yard and the funny taste of boiled milk are strong in my memory bank. Joan was always so sweet. They lost touch over the years.
There were others. Many of the friends my mother had over the years were people she taught with. Some were neighbours. Aunt Betty lived next door and until they moved away to Montreal when I was about seven, there were many happy hours in that house. Verna lived across the road and she was the party girl. She and a small band of other friends went with my parents to all the big dances at the Summer Garden and our house was often the place to gear up with some drinks before they went off to the dance where no booze was allowed (except in the those little silver flasks that fit in the ladies hand bags).
Now I wish I had known my mother’s friends better. Mom died when she was only 49 and I was 24. I wish I had known them well enough to visit with them now and find out more about who my mother really was. My impressions of her I’m sure were distorted because we had a rather rocky relationship. I wonder who my mother’s friends would say she was.