| || Notes for Martha Jane Brown:|
Martha Jane Brown Powers was a great mother.She was also a silly person who often let us eat dessert first when Dad was traveling.The kids thought that was great.I remember she was a fantatic about remodeling the old houses that we owned.At a moment's notice, we would be armed with hammers to bring down the old plaster -- it's a miracle that one beam in the Dexter-Chelsea road family room didn't move or else the second floor house would be only one story.There were many times that Dad just "wasn't pleased".
She grew up in Niagara Falls, New York and had a tin-can telephone between her house and the neighbor boy, Leonard Green.
She was the apple of her father's eye.He often commented that she was "his son and her mother's daughter." Wilfred taught Martha the game of golf while Mildred sewed little pockets on her panties for her handkerchiefs.
Wilfred also taught Mom how to ice-skate on hockey skate.They were very good sports about hauling a bunch of kids along with Marty.
Jane Chapman Brydges moved into the Niagara Falls house a couple of times.The first time she came was 1938 after Mother's eldest sister, Eva died.During the second World War, she bought a house in St. Catherines so the McHardy children would have a home base.And do you think that Cousin Jean was appreciative?Never.
John was in the Canadian Army - Jean joined the Wrens and Robert was in the Air Force (Bell Telephone).
Jane gave up the house after the war.During her high school years, Martha often would take the bus from Niagara Falls to the bridge; ran across the bridge and then took the street car to Granny'sand then walked to church.
Martha's childhood was spent exploring the gorge on bicycle, and riding all over the countryside. They would ride to Lake Wilson, about 20 miles away and St. Catherines.She always had to carry her birth certificate because of the Canadian Border.
"I remember having to get ice-cream at the last minute before dessert and would have to hop on my bike and ride to the store, about 3 miles away -- and get home before it melted.You could only get a little brick at a time because there wasn't any room in the old refrigerators to keep a big carton.
They would cut it in slices. . .very different than what we do now."
"I had a black cocker spaniel which Dad got me and Mom scared it half to death because she didn't want a dog in the house . . . I was about 12 years old and his name was Buddy."
She carried the newspapers for Leonard Green.
He grew up and was in the Air Force and his plane went down over the everglades and was never seen again.He married a Polish lady from Niagara Falls. I didn't like her very much.
When we were kids we went to Muskoka and I lost one of his fishing poles.
Leonard and I would go out in the rowboat after dinner so that we wouldn't have to do dishes.You just couldn't hear on the middle of that lake!
We also saw the Dionne Quintuplets behind the one way glass mirror.
Jane liked Charley after we were engaged.They would often be found in bed together reading the Sunday paper while Martha made dinner with Mildred.
Grandpa smoked alot and ultimately died of emphysema in 1966.He was the favorite of the grandchildren because he would play cards endlessly on the front porch and sleep downstairs with us during the visits.We knew that he was just avoiding Grandma. And so were we.
Everything was great until we got into his jeweler's tools in the green painted basement. We were in big trouble.
Martha had brown eyes, and threatened us with her sorority paddle when we didn't take naps.I don't think anyone got spanked.She was a City girl who loved the farm and learned "by doing".Often times she was the one out trying to rescue cold lambs and matching them with their moms with salt licks on the lambs backs.
She was very patient, at least until she stomped her feet in frustration and yelled "you kids!!"That was when Rod would lift her off her feet and say, "oh, Mom . . . which would only make her madder until she laughed when she realized that her little boy was big enough to lift her around.
Our life was somewhat bohemian.Mom often had to fend for herself since Dad spent a majority of our young years traveling and leaving her alone on a farm with five little children and a barn full of animals.Weekends were spent baling hay, cleaning barns or handling 4-H projects.
Sundays were church days when we were little.Grandma Brown would always send us matching dresses, purses, gloves and hats which hardly fit the rural atmosphere.Bonnie was the angry one when she realized that she had to wear that matched outfit through two additional hand-me-downs.
Starched petticoats were the rule on Saturday night with that blue liquid starch. Ouch!
Christmas was Mom's favorite holiday!Gifts, cookies, Christmas caroling and snowmen.Lining up on the stairway was Mom's trick to make sure that Santa had actually arrived.Christmas stockings were handknit treasures, always with peanuts on the bottom and crazy treasures that were specifically collected for the kids.