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Violet McNaughton

Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource.ca and The Famous Five Foundation



Reading: "Some Things a Woman Can Do"

Reading: Violet McNaughton


My aunt had nine children. The spring was down below; they had to carry the water in buckets to the house, and it was uphill. For a family like that it meant a lot of walking. The worst thing of all was the flies. The barn was way down—my uncle had put it there on purpose—but these blessed flies came from somewhere. We used to get willow rods, every kid in the family, open the doors, and shush these flies out. There'd be a black swarm of them. They used to drive my aunt crazy. Years later they had fly paper all over the place, in corners, everywhere.

Things got a little better, and she was able to drive to town when she finally got a horse and buggy. All those years up to that time I can never remember her going to town or anywhere else. She used to make about nine loaves of bread a day, every day of her life. It was set the night before, and raised all night. In winter, she'd wrap it in blankets to keep it from freezing. They had no way of keeping the house warm, just the big, pot-bellied stoves after a while, which they'd fill full of green wood and it would hold pretty well all night. She was too busy to go out. She had sewing to do, and all this cooking, and mending, just everything. I've often thought about it. It's a wonder she kept her sanity.

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