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Title: Account of my girlhood

excerpt from her article: TRAINING IN THE CHRISTIAN HOME IN WARTIME.  

Author: Ruth Bainton
Date: May 03, 1944

The loveliest recollection of my early life includes the life we led in common. There were five children, 'the four R's: Rolland, Ralph, Rhea, Ruth, with only four and a half years' span between us and a baby brother, my birthday present on my sixth anniversary.  


On Sundays we took as a matter of course that we all would go to church, seven strong, as soon as the baby could go. Mother used to look down the long row of seats, not too comfortable ones, and we always knew by her smile or wee scowl, of her approval or disapproval of our behavior. We used to love the singing, and well do I remember the first preacher who gave children's sermons.


After Sunday dinner and a reading from the big red book of Bible stories, we would beg Father to harness up the horses for a family ride. Sometimes we all four had to pull him from his chair before he had quite finished his nap, and then we would all skip merrily to the stable. The span of horses was bay, 'Bud' and 'Queen,' we called them, as handsome as 'Black Beauty.' Their coats had to be curried until they shone, and the manes brushed until they were silky. And then out came the family phaeton with the fringe hanging down from the roof. We seven filled the carriage. The horses trotted along gingerly down the country lane, and we all felt so cosy and peaceful.  


At home again, we gathered around the piano for hymns. Mother used to play with the baby on her lap until he got so tired of watching her fingers he slipped down to her feet to play with the pedals. Later on, as the boys grew older, they had to be urged to join the family sing. Now, they write Mother how they wished their own boys and girls could have kept up the family sing as long as she did. For Sunday suppers we had a huge dishpan of popcorn popped over the red coals of the furnace fire.


We always had breakfast together and then Father, though untrained in the use of the Bible, always planned to read a portion and have prayers before we started to school.


We all learned to work and assume our responsibility in making the household self-sustaining. The boys milked the cow, cared for the horses and chickens. We girls helped with meals, took turns with the dishes, helped with washing and ironing and cleaning the house.


In high school days we had to start from home at early dawn to walk several miles across the prairies. Rain or shine, wind or snow, we always walked; sometimes we arrived with frozen cheeks (our ears were always covered by hoods or fur caps), our high boots covered with mud, but we loved those walks, and we loved the talks along with our friends. In adult years those friends have grown closer to us, especially the friends belonging to our two pastor's families. (i.e. Olive Sarber)


We all joined the church, one after the other, when we were between twelve and thirteen. My Bible I bought with my first earnings. I early acquired the habit of setting aside time for my own Bible reading. I started with the Psalms and marked with an 'x' the ones I liked very much and memorized many of the verses which I considered gems. I kept a file of those verses in a small box.


We each married at about the same age and had our children. Now mother has twenty grandchildren and each one has two or three pals about his or her age.


From my account of my girlhood you can get an idea of my great debt of gratitude to my parents, and the half has not been told.

Updated: 05/03/11