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Friday, 10 January 2014

Week 1 - Aunt Dodie

Doris Ellen Simms Henry (1921-2010)


Where else to start with my year of blogging about my family than with Aunt Dodie?  When I saw the challenge  started by No Story Too Small , I knew it was where my interest in genealogy could go next.  It also didn't take long to decide to start with Aunt Dodie, Doris Ellen Simms Henry.
As a child, I remember sitting around the table after the supper or "lunch" before they went home and talking about people who used to live in the area, how many siblings were in the family and each ones name, where they are now, etc etc.  My parents and my dad's sister Doris and her husband Sam were the main ones I remember and although I had no clue who they were talking about, the fact that those people were left in the memory and minds of others was what stayed with me. 
Aunt Dodie talked more about her family with me as the years went on, and as I expressed an interest in the family tree, she shared everything she had collected with me and made sure it was well labelled and passed on to me when she died.
Dodie was born on April 12, 1921.  Her mom was of Scottish heritage and her dad was Irish.  They farmed on the next section to her grandparents James and Elizabeth Sinclair. 

Dodie had one older brother Bob, and two younger sets of twin siblings.  Gwen and Glen are in the middle in this photo and Donald (my dad) and Dorothy.  With so many younger siblings, she learned early to help with them and all the household chores that needed to be done.
In this picture, Dodie is riding the horse that her brother Bobby is holding.  Dodie said this was Bobby's horse named Billy that their Grandpa Sinclair had got for him for his birthday and he only let her on it occasionally! 
Dodie graduated from Normal School in Brandon in 1941 and became a teacher until she was married.  The above picture of her was taken in 1942 on the steps of Lavina School, north of Hamiota, MB.  She also taught in one room schools at Penrith and White Bank Lea, in Strathclair and she often talked about the "Surplus" Grade 1 and 2 class at Neepawa that was all the children that the other teachers didn't want!  She knew where many of her former pupils were living and kept in touch with their lives.  I have many of her diaries and the ones from her teaching days have many chuckles in them about such incidents as kids getting the strap and chronicles of her long tiring days at school.

Although they had dated for many years, Dodie and Sam Henry were married on July 17, 1950 in Brandon. She kept all the receipts for everything that day and they remain in the bottom drawer of the cedar chest of hers that I have. The Vogue sold her a dress for $15.50, Christie Grant's Department Store at 816 Rosser had shoes for $5.75,and  Bonnie's Bonnet Shop at 222 Tenth Street sold the hat for $4.95. The big purchase was at Wright and Wightman Jewellers on 904 Rosser Avenue on July 14, 1950 for a wedding ring for $13, a license for $5, and pearls for $12 for a grand total of $30!  Wow - priceless!

Dodie'd cedar chest
The cedar chest came with Moth Insurance!

This picture must have a story - Sam dressed up in a too big suit and Dodie with her ever-present apron, house dress, and pumps on grinning at him!
They lived on the homestead of John and Jessie Henry until they retired to Oak River, first just for the winters and later permanently.  They decided to donate this land to the Manitoba Habitat Foundation when they were gone to let it go back to its natural state.  This truck with the cap was their mode of transportation in the 70's.  I remember making many trips sitting between them to get water or go to town for groceries.
Although Dodie could never imagine being the subject of my first blog post, I think she would be glad to have the family history recorded and shared.

1 comment:

  1. Awww! Great idea Sharon! The pic of the 4 kids doesn't have Dad and Dorothy though, babies are Gwen and Glen.