Mother had to go to the hospital to have tumors removed. It was not known whether they were benign or cancerous but in those days surgery was the only way to determine that. In addition to the worry about the surgery, Mother had the added concern about who would watch the children while she was in the hospital. Father was living with his Mother and had been for some time now. None of us wanted him to be staying with us even if he was willing to do so.
So Mother was racking her brain to see who she could come up with to do the job. Finally, it was determined that we would stay with Mother’s sisters, Alice, Wynne and Anna. They were still single and living in the big house that their Mother had left them a few years ago when she passed away. They all had jobs but since we were all in school most of the day and Anna was twelve and I was ten, everyone thought that we were old enough to take care of ourselves for a few hours between school and work.
Now Alice seemed to be in charge of everything at the house they shared. She decided how much each one would pay for all expenses for the house which included food, electricity and coal. Coal of course was a necessity as it heated the house and also supplied the heat in the stove for cooking and baking. So they all chipped in from their salaries for these necessities and since Alice was a professional woman, being a teacher and all, she gave the most. She always took care of her Mother in her old age, administering her insulin shots when necessary and helping her Mother control her diet for the diabetes.
Wynne and Anna worked in the Silk Mill doing manual labor and certainly did not make as much as Alice did. So they all agreed that Alice was to be in charge, and when we went to live with them, she of course was in charge of us kids. We were well-behaved even more than the average child because of going to Catholic school. The nuns had seen to it that we had respect for all adults and never uttered any swear words or sarcastic remarks. But of course when we were at home, the rules were a bit more relaxed than they were in school. But Alice being a teacher, expected us to be seen and not heard while we were living under her roof.
And for a seven-year old, I did have a bit of a sarcastic mouth when the occasion demanded and I got away with it at home especially when Father was not there. Mother was pretty easy-going as she thought we had enough strictness at school. And mostly we were pretty shy in public, so she never had to worry about us at those times. But Alice was a bit much especially for Anna and myself.
To be continued.