12 - Early Years in Ontario - Mary Faulkner (Mp3)

Mary Faulkner and my mother, as a child

My mother, Phyllis Fricker, wrote:
My grandmother, Mary Faulkner was a twin. She married my grandfather, Captain Brock. He was captain of a three-masted sailing vessel at Port Dover. Captain Brock was robbed of his money one pay night and was thrown overboard and drowned. Like many sailors in his day he could not swim.

Grandmother had three children by him: Kenneth, Clara, & Percy. She eventually married again to Frank Faulkner and had one child by him – Hilda. Mary and Frank Faulkner lived in Port Dover in a little stucco cottage. They had about an acre of land with a couple of barns and a large chicken yard - fenced in. They had two horses, a Jersey cow, lots of chickens and geese and a few ducks. They had a strawberry patch, a raspberry patch, and a very large garden.

My mother told of her Grandma on their large front veranda - sitting in an old rocking chair with a large two-quart jar full of milk and cream. She would rock and shake and rock and shake and eventually the result was buttermilk and butter. The buttermilk was the best my mother had ever tasted. Then, Grandma Faulkner would put the liquid into a big wooden bowl and use a butter sieve to draw out the pieces of butter.

Frank Faulkner
Frank Faulkner was a kind and friendly man. I don't remember ever seeing him in a suit, although I suppose he had one. He always wore bright flannel shirts and overalls and work boots. He worked hard. He had a horse and wagon with which he would go down to the beach at Lake Erie and take a shovel and fill the wagon up with gravel. I suppose he sold the gravel to contractors and builders. He and Grandma never seemed to have much money to throw around - but I don't remember ever hearing a harsh word from them. They just made do with what they had.

He always had a healthy appetite. After lunch he always laid down on the couch by the window in the kitchen and had a nap for an hour or two. The window sill always had geraniums on it. After hauling all that gravel he was, no doubt, tired and had sense enough to rest awhile."

On the Farm
"Grandpa had a plough and would work up his acre of ground. I can remember helping him to plant potatoes, He always kidded me and said I was putting them upside down and that they would grow down to China. As a child I thought this was a wondrous thing and visualized Chinese children finding potatoes in their garden and wondering where they came from. Grandpa would take sides of pork and hams and smoke them in the smokehouse out by the barn. He married Grandma when she was a widow with three children - Percy, Kenneth, & Clara. He fathered two more children - Bill & Hilda."

The Root Cellar
"Sometimes Grandpa would disappear down into the cellar. This was a dark pit dug out of the ground with a dirt floor and a narrow little stairway leading down to it. I suspect he had a little cache of home-made brew or hard cider or corn whiskey. However, I never saw him the worse for liquor.

He would go out to the barn and milk the cow. He tried to show me how to milk - but squeeze the teats anyway I could - I could never produce a drop of milk.

Grandpa's son, Bill Faulkner, joined the Services during the First World War. He was sent overseas and died during the terrible influenza epidemic."

My Mother's Paternal Grandmother - MARY FAULKNER


Mary & Frank were almost self-sufficient, though not rich. They had fresh eggs from their hens, also chickens to eat. They had jersey milk from the cow, also butter and cream. The had vegetables from their garden - Potatoes, carrots, beets, and squash & onions stored in the root- cellar for the winter. They had berries from the garden - Grandma made jams and jellies.

Grandma cooked on a huge iron cook stove which was fueled with wood. It had an oven and a water reservoir. She was a good cook. Breakfast was always a hearty meal. Bacon & eggs and fried potatoes, toast and coffee and usually a pie of some description which was served up on a beautiful glass pedestal dish.

Grandma wore cotton print dresses every day, very long, and usually covered with a voluminous apron with large pockets. When she went out to work in the garden she always wore a sun- bonnet. It was not stylish in those days to be tanned. She was a tall, gaunt woman with thick, beautiful white hair. She had false teeth which must have been uncomfortable because she usually put them in her apron pocket. I can remember starting out to Church with her. People said that we walked exactly the same - toes out & fast. We would get partly along the way and she'd say "Oh shaw, we have to go back." I would asked why and she would say "I forgot my teeth, I left them in my apron pocket."

Grandma was an avid quilter. Sometimes she would have a quilting bee at her home; inviting 5 or 6 other ladies. They all sewed like mad and never stopped talking and gossiping. Then tea or cake and cookies would be served. It was a very pleasant social event and the results were lovely quilts in various patterns - Log Cabin, Wedding Ring, Goose Tracks, etc. Every scrap of material would be saved - cotton & wool & linen. There were no synthetics then. She must have had a sewing machine because she made most of her clothes and dresses, and also made them for Hilda and Clara.

Grandma was a great one for visiting. She had many relatives and friends in Dover. We would walk out almost every day and call on someone - Pete & Eva Brock, many of the Lowe family, 2 old-maid sisters who lived together and many others whose names I can't remember.




© Sonia Brock 2005
http://www.soniabrock.com

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