Tag Archive | Cordova Manitoba

Raising a Family

Tom and Mary Wood farmed in Mentmore for eight years. In 1918 they moved to 2-14-17 in Cordova, the farm that became the family home until they retired early in the 1950s.

2-14-17 (2)

The Wood family home (2-14-17) in Cordova district, Manitoba

Before her first wedding anniversary she gave birth to her first son, Arnold Austin Wood. Three more sons, Cecil, Johnny and Arthur, followed in quick succession. Then, in July 1920 she gave birth to twins: George and Gladys, my mother. They arrived prematurely and were born on the farm.

Grandma was very ill afterward, unable to leave her bed for nearly four months. The doctor warned her that another pregnancy could cost her her life and that she should have no more children. He advised an abortion if she got pregnant again. He gave no information about preventing a pregnancy (something that would have been illegal at the time.) Perhaps the doctor assumed she would simply abstain from marital relations. So just a year and a half later, Muriel was born and the doctor warned again that any pregnancy would be very high risk.

It appeared that Grandma had given serious thought to an abortion, but having no means of acquiring good information, thought it should be done fairly late rather than as early as possible in the pregancy. She delayed too long. The following year, armed with better information, she did terminate a pregnancy. She was also told she would likely not have another child for several years, and this also proved to be the case. Her last child, Lucille, was born in 1930. Grandma was now 41 years old.

The Wood family, 1923Only Grandma's oldest (Grace) and youngest (Lucille) daughters are not in this photo.L toR

The Wood family, 1923
Only Grandma’s oldest (Grace) and youngest (Lucille) daughters are not in this photo.
Back row L to R: Cecil, Grandma, Johnny, Arnold, Granddad, Arthur. Standing in front L to R: Gladys, Muriel, George

However, she did participate in raising still one more child: her granddaughter Rosanne, who was born in January 1942. Muriel had been working away from home and had returned, unmarried and pregnant and (perhaps because of her mother’s experience) determined to keep her child. Muriel and Rosanne lived on the farm for eight or nine years until Muriel married a farmer from Invermay, Saskatchewan and they moved there.


Almost an Ontarian

Mum & Dad in Hamilton 1942

I just missed being born in Hamilton, Ontario. My parents moved there in the fall of 1941. Dad found work at Langley Dry Cleaners and I assume Mum “worked out” as they called it then, cleaning house for various clients on a weekly rotation.

It was not lack of work that sent them back to Manitoba, but lack of housing. The landlady from whom they rented a room was dubious about renting to a young couple obviously expecting a child soon. She didn’t include infants among her prospective tenants, but agreed to take them in temporarily until they found suitable family accommodation. But suitable accommodation at a price they could afford was not to be found even with nearly four months of searching. Finally, she gave notice, and with nowhere else to go, my parents returned to Cordova, Manitoba where my maternal grandfather had a small farm currently vacant. (In addition to the farm which he worked himself, Granddad owned several others which he rented to tenants.)

This farm was, frankly, a dump, and not long afterwards they moved to “the Brunskill farm” in the Mentmore district. The delay, perhaps, was due to Granddad needing permission from Mum’s brothers, Arthur and Cecil to let them live there. They had jointly purchased the farm in 1938, but by 1942 both were overseas serving in the Air Force and no one was farming the land. So it came about that my earliest years were spent at Section 17, Township 13, Range 16. We lived on the Brunskill farm from the spring of 1942 until the fall of 1945.