It is a special day for the onetime Manse châtelaine: my mum

Lorna Sedgwick, February 1971

My mum outside the Manse, 43 years ago: February 1971. Look at that pile of snow! Rather a lot like the pile of snow outside the Manse in February 2014, as a matter of fact.

She probably wouldn’t want you to know this, but today is quite a Significant Birthday for my mum, Lorna (Keay) Sedgwick. In honour of that – but without revealing the actual numerical value of the Significant Birthday – I thought I’d say a few words.

I’ve mentioned my mum many times before here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, and devoted a few posts (here and here and here and here and here, for instance) specifically to her and the kinds of things she had to deal with as a minister’s wife, mother of four and, later on in my family’s years here at the Manse (1964 to 1975), full-time high-school teacher. I have to tell you, though, that it is only since Raymond and I moved to the Manse a few months ago, in October 2013, and I took up a teaching position, that I have fully grown to appreciate, respect and in fact be in awe of what my mum accomplished back in those years of my childhood.

(We interrupt this reflection for a little gallery of photos of my mum at the Manse. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge:)

When I come home tired after a long day of teaching, I am fortunate enough, if Raymond is here, to have a warm reception, a tidy house, and plans for dinner already made. When my mum would come home after her long day of teaching (followed by grocery shopping for dinner at Kincaid Bros. IGA), she would find four kids asking her what was for dinner, and in all likelihood the breakfast dishes still waiting to be done. She would then make dinner (only to have us kids complain about it, as often as not, despite my father’s non-stop attempts to get us to appreciate what was put in front of us and the work my mum had put into making it), organize school lunches for the following day, wash and iron clothes, and dive into a mountain of school marking. And those were the evenings when she didn’t have to attend – or, dear lord, host here at the Manse – some church meeting or other.

I absolutely do not know how she did it. (Neither, I should add, does she.) But Mum: I salute you. And: happy birthday!

13 thoughts on “It is a special day for the onetime Manse châtelaine: my mum

  1. To your mother, Lorna, a very special birthday wish! How did she cope? I think the answer lies somewhere in that weird concept of falling in love and later the phrase, “for better or worse, til death do us part”. Every time I think of your family not having a proper well at the manse, I see red and think, not one of those blank blank members of the manse committee would put up with those conditions for a holy minute! Anyway, Happy Birthday Lorna, you raised some damn good kids!

    • Thank you so much, gng! I read this aloud to Mum and my siblings last night at a celebratory dinner in her honour, and she (and they) were touched – and had a good laugh at your comments about our long-ago water situation!

  2. Happy Birthday Aunt Lorna!
    I’m guessing making dinner was much more of a chore when you had me to feed as well.
    But thank you, I really did appreciate it. Even though I probably never said so.

  3. I think I might have an idea what the Significant Birthday is, and she wears it well! Please convey my happiest birthday wishes, too. And if you’re hitting the shops in Lindsay, let me know!

  4. Great hearing your news. Hope to see you at either the St.A & St.P or one day perhaps in Ont. News from here scant at the moment, will send a letter later.

    • Lovely to hear from you, Elspeth, and welcome to Meanwhile, at the Manse! It has been ages since we’ve been able to be at a service at the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, but we hope to rectify that soon. Meantime, there is much work to do here at our own little St. Andrew’s in Queensborough – the annual meeting is coming up this week, and I am the secretary!

  5. Happy belated birthday Aunt Lorna! I don’t remember any dinners at the manse, but lots from Campbellford and Welcome, and I enjoyed them all. Especially the olives.

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