Fur Coats and Casts (FGK-49)

I had a little giggle at the thought of Grandma writing this letter while at the hairdresser’s. Getting her hair done was one of Grandma’s sacred activities and it was always important to her that her hair was done nicely and she was presentable. In fact right after she died, my aunt in a beautiful act of love and kindness sat down and did her hair properly before the funeral home took her away. I sat with my aunt while she did that, and it has always remained with me as one of the greatest acts of love that I have witnessed. It also was the only time I ever saw Grandma’s hair down.

I remember as a teenager Grandma deciding she needed a new fur coat. I was lucky enough to only be pulled into that process for one day, but trust me- it was not a 10 minute process. It was not even a 10 hour process. It perhaps was a 10 day process, but it felt more like a 10 week process. Aside from my personal ethical issues with fur coats, that experience guaranteed I would never own one! She sure loved it though, and it was certainly the style at the time.

Finally, there have been several mentions in these letters about packs and casts. I did a little bit of research about why these were used And you can read the atricle here. But here is an excerpt from the article “Early treatments for paralyzed muscles advocated the use of splints to prevent muscle tightening and rest for the affected muscles. Many paralyzed polio patients lay in plaster body casts for months at a time. But long periods in a cast often resulted in atrophy of both affected and healthy muscles. Treatment of polio was revolutionised in the 1930s by Elizabeth Kenny, a self-trained nurse from Queensland, Australia. Kenny developed a form of physical therapy that used hot, moist packs and massage and exercise and early activity to maximize the strength of unaffected muscles and stimulate the remaining nerve cells that had not been killed by the virus.” I remember mom talking briefly about how painful the treatment sessions were and this kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Poor mom.

Tues 4:30 pm

Dear Margie

I’m writing this while under the dryer at the hair-dresser’s. We came to town – Dad and I – to buy me a fur coat. Think of that! Aren’t I lucky? Dad said we could easily do it in 10 minutes so I didn’t dare shop around for one but got a very nice one at the Hudson Bay. A Persian Lamb.

Uncle Harry is coming up to visit you with me tomorrow so be prepared for fun and have a few jokes to tell him too if you can – he has wanted to see you for a long time now. I may not wear my new coat in, the car is so hard on it – I’ll keep it till Sunday to wear eh?

Kay Whittle and I are on the refreshment committee for the Eastern Star tonight so I made 2 angel food cakes and a loaf of chicken sandwiches and left them at Aunt Ruth’s. So Dad and I are going to a show now and then go up to Cochrane and not go home till after the Star meeting. Pretty soft life eh? But we’re retired now you know – haha.

It’s sure nice being without a hired man though and Ken likes it too I think. Most of the cattle are over in Grand Valley and down at Springbank so others have the work.

I have been hoping and praying that you will soon have that old cast off, let’s hope soon anyway eh? Maybe tomorrow.

This blouse and skirt are not very expensive but are good enough tor lying in bed don’t you think? Everything is half-price now except the better wool skirts and they cost $20.00 so I just got those. They see you for a long time now. They are rather pretty I think.

We are supposed to go square dancing Wednesday night. Dad has Lodge meeting Thursday night and there is a dance in the Hall Friday night and Winnie and I have to make the sandwiches so I won’t have any dinner parties this week – we’ll be staggering tired by Saturday.

Well I must close now and will see you tomorrow. Sure hope you are well and happy.

Loads and loads of love dear

Mother xxxxx


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