I’ve written before (that post is here) about how amazing it is that my mother survived our family’s Queensborough years, when my three siblings and I were growing up at the Manse in the 1960s and early ’70s. What with having four very young children, combined with the demands of being a minister’s wife (including having company for Sunday dinner almost every week), combined with the fact that my dad was away for a couple of days every week working at the family farm up in Haliburton County, combined with the fact that we didn’t have potable drinking water and it had to be fetched from a pump up the street, combined with the fact that she had a full-time job as a high-school teacher – well, I think you’ll have to agree that my mum pretty much defined the term “resilient.” (She herself tends to wonder how she ever made it through.)
But I was even more starkly reminded of what she had to put up with when, last weekend at a collectibles/antiques/junk shop in tiny Kaladar, Ont., I came across the wringer-washer that you see in the accompanying photo. That, my friends, is the kind of machine that my mum had to use to do our family’s washing for the first five or six years (and it may have been more) that we lived at the Manse. And you know what else? The wringer-washer in the antique store is in way better condition than our wringer-washer at the Manse was. For one thing, that sucker leaked all over the floor every time it was used, so my poor mum was constantly mopping up even as she was washing and wringing out all the dirty clothes that a family of six – including four young children, some in cloth diapers – generated.
The memories that came flooding (speaking of leaky washing machines) back when I saw that ancient beast in the Kaladar antique store pretty much solidified something in my mind: that my mother, Lorna Jane Sedgwick (née Keay) was, and is, a saint.