It’s coming up to the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death. It’s taken me this long to allow myself the luxury of thinking about her. Before now, anytime she moved into my thoughts, I quickly pushed her away. It was still too hard to think about her.
|Grace and Rose|
|Front - Rose and Grace (1936?)|
One Sunday morning when Rose was seven and Grace five, they were left alone at the farm to do chores while the rest of the family attended church. Rose was cleaning out the wood stove and had given Grace a bucket of ashes to discard behind the house. Instead, Grace threw them behind the chicken shed. The resulting fire destroyed both farmhouse and barn. Clouds of black billowing smoke could be seen for miles but nothing could be done. Rose and Grace sat weeping at the end of the lane, terrified of the punishment their strict father would deal them. Luckily, Rose was wearing the black rubber boots.
After the fire, the family was split up and sent to different farms to live with relatives. Rose and Grace lived and worked on their uncle’s farm. Often they’d hear the train whistle blow in the distance, stop their field work and run the half mile to the track to wave to the engineer on his way to Ottawa. Each time he passed he would blow a special whistle just for them. Rose wanted nothing more than to take that train. Ottawa was only thirty miles away, but it may as well have been on the other side of the planet.
When Rose was sixteen she took that train into Ottawa and left Grace in possession of the old black boots. Grace never got rid of them.