CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Red Cap Service

The months passed as usual in a section house : lots of scrubbing and cleaning , working the garden ( although with less wildlife to chase) , picking berries and pie making and preserving ...and evenings filled with knitting .

Mom was asked by the storekeeper if she would make men's dress socks because there was a need . Men heading into town (Mattawa) on weekends were looking to him to carry socks that weren't worksocks . Going to town was an escape from their hard , spirit-breaking work  and just changing your style of sock was a lift to their mental health . Besides , they looked a lot better with their one and only suit for going to town , church , weddings and funerals . So it was arranged that he would bring in several colours of  fine wool for her to produce argyle-patterned dress socks for 75 cents a pair .  They were extremely popular and Mum continued this little home industry for the duration of life in Snake Creek .

 With her earnings , she purchased wool to make baby items like bonnets , dresses , leggings and booties for her baby's birth . On one trip to Mattawa , she bought what she could in the way of diaper flannelette , fabric dye and others needs with the money she had saved .
 She used dye to colour the sugarbag cloth and sewed them into pretty little dresses which she embroidered delicately . Dad was puzzled that everything was for a girl .  "What if it's a boy?"he asked . "It's a girl ...at least it feels like a girl ", she responded .

In early November , Mum was nine months pregnant , hauling buckets of water out of the creek to the house for laundry , when her water broke . At first she thought she had doused herself with the bucket . But the warmth of this water made her realize that her time had come .

Dad was at work , but she and Dad had rehearsed this scenario often as time grew nearer . She would catch the next train into Mattawa and Dad would hop the next one to join her later . A little packed bag waited by the front door for a month . She was then to walk to the store to get the storekeeper to flag down the next train .

 Mum calmly changed , took the bag and headed down the track to the store . The storekeeper was beside himself  saying it would be hours before the next passenger train . By that point , Mum was feeling contractions regularly . "I don't care what kind of train it is ...as long as it has wheels and can get me to Mattawa . " So, a freight train it was . A half hour later amid a few panicky railroad men , Mum was lifted into the locomotive , where it was warm and where she sat through an rocking trip down to Mattawa . A motorcar had been sent back to inform Dad ...and the race was on . Who would arrive first- the baby or the CPR ?

  When the train pulled into Mattawa station , a taxi was waiting , as was always the case , for a passenger train due on the mainline . So Mum was whisked away to the hosptial not more than a half hour before the birth .

By the time Dad had received the message and made his way by hopping a freight to town , Mum was holding their baby girl in her arms to greet him when he arrived . "Meet your Father ." She was named for his Mother and looked like her ...Anne with an 'e' .

6 months later on visit
to Mattawa
 The next day , Mum and Dad returned to Snake Creek on the first passenger train out of town . The baby 's birth and all vital statistics were known along the line , and a suitable reception committee was standing at the Store waiting for their return and get their first look at Mum and Dad's first child , November 4 ,1947 .  

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