I also remember cutting, what I think were quilt blocks, for Mother to take there. She would wait patiently for an item of our clothing to wear out so she could cut it up and get a few blocks. She would use corners and lengths of material from blouses, shirts, bedding and aprons to create a colourful pile. Sometimes it would wait for the quilt frames in the upstairs bedroom and other times, she’d put it in a paper grocery bag for other places. She’d visit The House of Industry and enter at the barn side of the big house with a box. When I was with her, I'd remain in the car. This was the second memory of the mystery.
The third part of the triad was equally unsolved. Mother would drive to The House and bring several women down to our farm for the afternoon. I often wondered if she had some friends who moved there for better living conditions. Although I was in school, I don't remember meeting them, but I heard her tell her friends. Seriously, at times, I wondered if this snippet of memory for just a figment of my imagination.
Only recently a historian friend shared that following the WWII ‘the vegetable gardens at the Poor House were scaled back and local residents were then asked to donate what extra farm produce they had to feed the residents.’ This fit for my mother’s character, as she often shared her garden produce with neighbours who didn’t have a garden.
Aggie’s Voice, the third and last of the Agnes Macphail trilogy, coming early fall (Brucedale Press).