Dearest Douglas...

The Story of Us

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August, 1914

When I saw all the other woman proudly sending their sons off to fight in the war, I remember I couldn't help but think about what Dumb Doras (stupid women) they all were for giving up their sons to risks their precious lives. When you sat me down to tell me you intended to enlist as well, I remember calling you an absolute sap (fool) and feeling all balled up (confused). I could have thought up a million and one reasons as to why you should've stayed home with me and your sister Dorothy, but it took me a while to realize that it'd take a million and two to get my stubborn 19 year old boy to listen.


So, to make sure you don't miss a thing, I'll document my life here. To share with you, Douglas, the stories that I might never get to tell you, the memories that should be remembered & the struggles we have overcame - together.

Dearest Douglas,

When your father died, you were more than willing to step up as the man of the house. Dorothy looked up to you, and to be quite honest, as did I. Losing a husband was hard, but I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to lose a father - at such a young age, too. But as the family fell apart, you were the one to hold it together. There are not enough words in the English language to explain how proud your father must be of you. And as you fight for us in the war, his proudness will do nothing but continue to grow.


I must admit, however, it is hard to not have you here. My days prior to your enlisting were very routined. I'd wake up, prepare Dorothy for her day, cook, clean, cook, clean s'more, and that's about it. Now, I work. I work. Can you believe it? When I'm not sitting around praying that you aren't taking any wooden nickels (doing anything stupid), I'm working- and does it sure feel like the absolute bee's knees! (the best). If I still have the job by the time you're back, know that with your soldiers' salary combined with mine, we'll sure have an earful (quite enough).


After taking over mens' roles here at home, women couldn't have been expected to have been held back from the political world for much longer. As the number of casualties rose and the number of men volunteering to become a soldier at war dropped, Prime Minister Borden put the idea of conscription into act, giving me the chance to vote due to the fact that, as a mother of a soldier, I'd most likely be in favour of conscription. Between you and me, I think you chaps need all the help you can get.


Income Tax was introduced during this time, as well. Knowing for a fact that I make more than $1,000 annually, I was affected by said act. Dorothy still doesn't quite understand the reason why we ration our food, or give away some of the money I earn when we clearly need it at home, but I wouldn't either at such a young age of 8. She misses you and asks of you frequently. She keeps every letter you write and if she could she'd write her own back. Until she is literate, I'll write to you in her honor.


When you return home, I assume everything would go back to normal. Little did I know, that our lives will never be the same. Question is: will our lives changed for better or for worse?

Dearest Douglas,

At last, you were home. It was months overdue, but I couldn't care less. My boy was home. My boy was healthy (for the most part. Nothing good couple bowls of of grandma's vitamin porridge recipe couldn't fix), he had all his body parts, and once you got a bit of rest and got used to the whole new urbanization of Ontario, it was like you never left. Dorothy never did get over how big you've gotten, though - and to be quite fair, neither will I. You used to be quite a skinny fellow, to be frank.


But with the return of the soldiers, a flu was introduced to our community. It affected tens of thousands. I prayed every night for our family. I had just got you back, and I was not prepared to lose any more children for the rest of my life time.


Jobs were quite hard to find these days. With all the women working in the factories for a lower wage than men, jobs that wee once occupied by men who volunteered to go to war were no longer theirs. The competition for jobs is getting harder, and you, being a veteran who lost his job as well, are quite stressed.


The twenties were roaring, ignoring all their worries for a while, everyone was celebrating the end of the war and the coming home of our soldiers. Although, celebrating was quite hard when liquor is much harder to find due to the Prohibition put into place by the government. This didn't stop us Brits from having our fun, nonetheless!


The twenties were quite the commemoration. Between having you home and gaining a new identity as a woman, I'd say this time period was a well-deserved result of the hard work both you and I went through during the war. I only hope for our lives to get better as you continue on.

Dearest Douglas,

Everything is going copacetic (wonderful). The women of Ontario are blooming - whether it's due to the change of style or the improvident of treatment we are receiving, I don't know. Dorothy is sporting (wearing) her new dresses almost everyday, and although it took me a while to get used to things, I feel like these new dresses are growing on me. Might even purchase one myself!


Your fascination with car, Douglas, has finally had its perks. You found a job open at a automobile factory where you get to stare at cars for as long as your heart desires. It warms my heart that you've found something you love doing, and the income also helps out the family. With the money you and I make, we can probably afford to send Dorothy to a good school; like the one you attended when you were her age.


My job as a factory worker is hard, but thankfully I have a boss who isn't as cruel as the others. Some women in my sewing club (Yes, that's still going on. A mother can have friends too, you know!), say that their bosses make them work 12 hours a day! That is ridiculous. Women are willing to work very hard for their families, which is why I don't quite understand why we were not yet thought of as equals to men.


No one saw Black Tuesday coming. It took everyone by surprise and the damage it caused will last for what I imagine will feel like a lifetime. No matter what, however, we will over come this obstacle as we have overcame all the other ones in the past - together.