Getting to 30

In a few weeks I’ll be 70 years old.

My last post was called, “Being 20”.  It was 1965. I became a teacher that year, went to Alberta for my first teaching assignment, met my future husband, and became engaged before the end of the year.

  • 1966 – I got married, joined CUSO (a volunteer organization), and went to Zambia. I taught Math to High School students.
  • 1967 – I gave birth to my first daughter, Michelle. I wrote a Math text-book for adult literacy during my pregnancy.
  • 1968 – We returned to Canada and lived in Montreal where my husband was working. It was a case of reverse culture shock to be in Canada again.
  • 1969 – I gave birth to my second daughter, Lindiwe.
  • 1970 – I gave birth to my third daughter, Carla.
  • 1971 – We moved to Ottawa. I took my first art class, working on oils.
  • 1972 – Looked after babies. Cooked, cleaned, sewed, knitted, cooked, cleaned.
  • 1973 – More of the same.
  • 1974 – We moved back to Montreal. Two weeks later I gave birth to my fourth daughter, Monica.
  • 1975 – I turned 30.

This was, perhaps, my busiest decade. Five of those years were spent with another human being attached to my body in one way or another. Pregnant or breastfeeding. I loved (and still love) being a mother but that was difficult. However, it had always been my plan to have my children in my twenties and “bring them up” in my thirties and forties. And that’s what I did. Successfully.

Getting to 30 was not always an easy road. We had challenges along the way, but we persevered and with the help of God, we entered our thirties stronger and more committed to each other and our family than ever.

So, good times. Good times!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day. – Maureen




My (Short) Life as a Maid

When I was growing up in a small Nova Scotia town, there were very few summer jobs for a girl with no particular skills.  Babysitting was one of the ones I turned to to make a little extra money.

Between us, I think babysitting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world.  Let me explain.

My first babysitting job was for our neighbour, Mary, who had 5 little girls.  She worked at the local cinema selling tickets.  Her husband would stay with the children in the evenings, but on Wednesday afternoons there was a matinée and I was volunteered by my mother to watch the little darlings.  They were great kids although child number four, a sweetheart named Patrice, was mentally challenged.  It made the job a little more difficult but it wasn’t too bad.

When Mary got home from work, I handed over the little girls and she handed me a quarter.  Yes, $0.25.  I was thrilled.  A quarter could buy a lot in those days in the 1950s.  I ran all the way home with the precious “pay” in my hand and excitedly told my mother about the quarter.  My Mom was shocked and told me that I had to RETURN the money to Mary as I couldn’t accept money for helping out a neighbour!  I can tell you I trudged up the hill to Mary’s house and handed over the quarter with a mumbled explanation that I really couldn’t accept the money.  I learned something about my mother that day.  I didn’t really need the money and Mary and her husband did.

For a few years I occasionally babysat for Mary and never accepted money for the job.  I really liked her and her children and was saddened when I was away at boarding school in my last year of high school when she died at the age of 29 during surgery to correct what was supposed to have been a minor heart defect.

In university, I babysat frequently, mostly for a family of 4 girls.  Their father was a professor at my university and he and his wife were great party goers.  I was there until the wee hours of many a Saturday night and was always paid the same amount – $2.00.  If I was there a couple of hours in the middle of the day, I got $2.00.  Four hours in the middle of the night?  $2.00.  One time I sat for a whole weekend while they went to a conference.  I remember that the youngest child was eating her carrots because I had told her to.  She didn’t speak for the rest of the day and in the evening when I went to help her brush her teeth, I found the carrots still in her mouth!

A little note.  I invited the parents of these little girls to my wedding and said to Mrs. W.,   ” I want to have 4 little girls just like you.”  And I did!

At the end of fourth year university I was asked to babysit another gaggle of kids, this time a family of 6 boys, whose father was my geology professor.  They went away for a few days and I remember that my pay that time was $20.00.  It was 1965 and I felt rich!

I must have done a good job because another professor’s wife called me because she wanted my to be her MAID for the summer.  I was to do ironing, light housework, and babysitting for her group of 5 kids.  The pay was good so I accepted the job, but asked for a day off the first week and was told, “No.”  She needed me because she had to attend the university graduation the next day with her husband.  I told her, “No.”  I also would be attending the university graduation the next day where I would be receiving my teaching degree.  I never went back to work as her maid.

It was a short career!