May 29, 2005
Fisherman's Daughters - Part II

Last night was the surprise party for my 75 year old Aunt. We took the pic above after about 15 as everyone was laughing so hard. When my Mom (with her new nickname of 'WeMe' after last night) turns 70 next month, the 4 girls will all be in their 8th decade.

The Sisters, as we've always called them, were in rare form. Telling stories from the old days that shocked us all.

"Remember when Mom wouldn't let us stop wearing our bloomers until after May 24th?"
"Oh yes, those damned things were made of flannel!"
"No wonder we have varicose veins. Remember the elastic bands we had to wear to keep our stockings up under those bloomers?"

One recalled walking home the 4 miles from school crying the whole way because the boys had been teasing her. She was around 10 or 11 and had been skipping rope, when she suddenly realized a group of boys had assembled and were snickering and staring. Finally one of the girls took her aside and said 'It's because your baps are jiggling'. She was mortified! No one had told her what that was, and sex ed was certainly not on the curriculum in those days. So she came home, but couldn't tell her mom so she grabbed her older sister who only had one bra herself. They decided to share it and wear one every other day.

'We were poor, you must remember. So poor. It was only the year before we got the indoor bathroom!'

A few years later, the confidence had come along and my Aunt had become a lot bolder. They laughed as they remembered learning how to put lipstick on without a mirror.

'Oh, Daddy wouldn't have allowed that. He wouldn't let us have a mirror even for the longest time!'

So they'd leave for school each morning, their flannel bloomers, their wool stockings with the elastic band in which they'd fold a lipstick in the cuff, long skirts and Sloppy Joe sweaters. During the hike to school, the bloomers and stockings ripped off, neatly folded and tucked under a tree. The lipstick on, the skirt hiked up and rolled at the waist and the sweater's sleeves rolled up as high as they could.

No wonder as teenagers we couldn't get away with anything. They'd done it all, already.

'Remember when Daddy brought that sailor back from the ship downtown?'

'Oh, yes, he was so drunk he fell off our toilet in the night'

'His name was Stan. Well, you all thought I went to school the next day. I actually took Stan back to his ship.'

He would write her for months after, even promising to marry her when he returned home, but she was already engaged to my Uncle.

They were all married women by their 17th year. Such different times long ago. I always love it when they're in nostalgia mode and tell us these gems. It had us all spell bound, sitting around listening. Sadly, I think more than ever, we are all starting to realize how precious this is and how it's becoming more precious every day.

One aunt has a degenerative nerve disease similar to Parkinson's. Another had a stroke last November. My own mother has emphysema and osteoporosis. There is no question that they are aging greatly.

The Sisters are most definitely our most beloved family treasure.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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