CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Friday, February 4, 2011

Goodbye Tabarette

Mum and Dad had lived in Tabarette for about a year when in the early spring of 1947 , Dad noticed Mum knitting socks that were not the usual work socks . They were tiny and white . At his surprised and questioning look , she announced that she was pregnant . "How do you know ? (That was how my Dad told the story. )

"The same way every woman knows ," she answered . What she didn't tell him then , was that her Mother had visited her . Her mother was long dead , but Mum told me how she had seen her one day that February when the missed menstral cycle sent her into a great fear and loneliness that she had only experienced at her Mother's death . She explained how she had cried out for her , something she hadn't done since the sexual abuse by her Father . Then she saw her standing there by the stove smiling . Mum told how a peaceful calm settled in her heart and the fear and lonliness " just disappeared ". " And do you know ? She was there for every one of my children's births ...even the lost ones ."

 Dad was happy that they were going to become a family ( although it led to a period where he and Mum went through some rough water - for another blog not this ). In his style , he quickly let everyone know that Mum was pregnant  and it wasn't long until the news spread along the line . Then the advice started to roll in from family men and 'pie eaters' alike .

The predominant point of view was that Dad should see about transferring in to Mattawa section because a pregnant woman in that kind of isolation was not a good idea . Four hours by train was a long trip , even with two trains a day , timing could not be guarranteed .

Mum was willing to use a midwife , a custom she was familiar with in England . Her oldest sister was a trained midwife and several times she pressed Mum , a young girl , into service for local births when no other woman was available in the home to help . On the farm , she had helped out with the lambing so was familiar with those processes . She felt that she could handle the birthing ...in the sense that she knew what was going to happen and what was needed . But , she was alone , she had no family there to support her , and no one to jump to service when the time came ... other than Dad . He still had to work . He was sure that it would happen while he was out walking the section and became very worried that it could be hours before he found her in the throes of birth .

Dad applied to move into the Mattawa section but there were no positions available to him . He hadn't built up enough senority to be considered . He explained that the situation was serious and would take anything that was closer to Mattawa . Getting his wife to a hospital for the birth was essential , especially since it was her first child . So , when a position came open at Snake Creek , an hour train ride north of Mattawa , the men along the line made sure that Dad was the only one who applied for the transfer ...and it came with a section house .

Mum and Dad packed up their possessions for the freight train to carry .Two small wooden crates , a bed and dresser , two coal oil lamps , a table and two chairs , their secondhand couch and chair , a little oval table that Dad had made from scraps of lumber from a boxcar to hold the lamp , the washtub filled with miscellaneous items , Dad's duffelbag and a steamer trunk waited beside the track . After a thorough house cleaning , including the storm windows left leaning against the back of the house , my parents said a nostalgic goodbye to their 'honeymoon' home . Mum placed the broom right next to the front door with a note welcoming the next family "... and keep the broom handy ."

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