Exert from Chapter 1 - Introduction
Today’s world is, of course, as perfect as anyone could ever hope for. We all know where we are and what we are to do, and we are very satisfied. It is interesting how a new extraordinary scientific discovery has led to situations similar in some ways to how things were a hundred or so years ago, while at the same time being a tremendous step forward. I thought of how there are such similarities to the 1950’s, where I noted in my thesis how my great-grandfather described the farming community of Ejax. Here, in the following passage, is how my ancestor Doug recounts what he remembered from when he was 7 years old.
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“Daddy, I’m ready to go.”
“Okay, Dougy. Good. We can all walk over together.”
And off we went. Mommy, Daddy, my 3 small sisters and myself. It would soon be time for church. Daddy was the minister and Mommy was in the choir.
We arrived at church and went in. Daddy and Mommy went ‘round to the back while me and my sisters went in the front door to sit in our usual places. There inside the door were the ushers, David and Harold, who escorted us to our places.
Sitting in our usual pews in the small church, I could clearly see the communion table, the two rows of chairs where the choir would sit, and the pulpit where my father would stand. The stained-glass windows had beautiful pictures of Jesus and his disciples and I wondered how they made them.
A short time later the choir, including Mommy, filed in through the back door and took their places. I heard the church bells start to chime and with the last stroke, Daddy walked in and took his place in the pulpit. It was so great to know just when everything was going to happen… and recognizing everybody that was there and knowing where they would sit. It was really great.
Yes, this was a great place to live even though we weren’t related to anybody. All the other people here were related and had grown up here in the neighbourhood. The Eatons up the east road had 3 kids, one in my grade. Just up the road from them were the Evertons and their 2 kids, one of which was old enough to babysit us. Then up the west road were the Svensons and the Woods. Andy and Greg, the Svensons’ kids, and I had great times swinging on the ropes from the rafters in their barn. The piles of hay, that we landed in when we jumped, were quite soft, at least most of the year. Of course, by spring most of the hay had been used to feed the cows, so there wasn’t so much left. But it sure was fun up in the lofts swinging from one rope to the next.
Yes, so wrote my ancestor, Doug, when describing his young years (6-7 years old) in Ejax. When one reads the whole piece he wrote, you see how well structured the local society seemed to be (1950's).
It was a farming community where everyone knew their place and was happy with it. The adult males had clear roles, being responsible for getting the livestock watered and fed, as well as getting the cows milked. Of course, this also entailed plowing the fields, planting the crops and harvesting them. Most males were quite content with these physical activities and the corresponding responsibilities.
The women also had their clear roles. They were mothers and wives who performed all the tasks prescribed to the women’s role at that time. They were basically masters in the cooking and childrearing areas and were mostly happy with these activities. They, of course, also helped with some of the “farming” chores when they had time, but basically they stayed in the house and in the kitchen.
One sees again how well this worked when my ancestor described visiting the area when he returned just a couple of years older (10 years old).
It was such fun to visit Ejax in the late summer. The thrashing machine, which moved from one farm to the next, was quite large and very noisy. It stood beside the barn.
“Mornin’ Mr. James, do I get a tractor today?”
“Yes, Doug, you can take the little Ford today. It’s over to the left of the barn. You think you can start it yourself today?”