Dad delivered the mail three days a week. He would harness his horse and be on the road through rain or shine. In the wintertime, he had a horse drawn cutter. Even if there were big snowstorms Dad was out all day to do his job.
It was a hard job, for in those days, they had snowstorms like we don’t have today. He warmed bricks on the stove to warm his feet. Other times, he would heat a bag of wheat in the oven to put his feet on. He wore a fur coat so he was well covered. But his cold feet were always a problem.
After two years, he was told by his brother, Maxime, the job was going to be taken over by his son, Ernest. Dad then found a job working on road maintenance with the Municipality of Casselman.
My parents lose their daughter
Years passed, and every day they worried about Desneiges, who was getting weaker as she was growing older. From day to day, they never knew if it was to be her last. Mom’s heart was breaking to see her in that condition.
She was hospitalized for almost three months and the doctors could do nothing to relieve her heart problem. Mom had Dad move a bed from upstairs into the dining room so she could keep an eye on her daughter all the time.
Desneiges would swell up, and could hardly breathe. Not too long after she came out of the hospital in 1937, she died in Dad’s arms. She was fifteen. It was such a shock for Mom and Dad to have their daughter die so young.
Mom recruits her boys
Mom always made a big garden. She grew white northern beans, potatoes, and other vegetables that were put aside in the cellar for the winter, along with a bag of flour, a bag of sugar, and a bag of yellow peas.
The boys were now teenagers and could trap wild hares. They would eviscerate them and Mom would make a good stew with the meat. The boys also caught pigeons at night. They climbed the haymow and caught the pigeons that roosted on the carriage. The next day, they were butchered and made into a delicious stew in a white sauce and dumplings. That was the only fresh meat they had during the winter. The salted pork disappeared very fast with our large family.
Even in the 1930’s, Mom trained her boys to help in her time of need. When she was slowly getting back on her feet from childbirth, she needed help to do the washing and to have the floors scrubbed with a big brush. Mom was a clean person and there were no dirty floors in her home. She was advanced for the time, for boys were not supposed to do house work.