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> Issue 30 > Page 21 - With Mabel Louise Dubbin, V.O.N

Page 21 - With Mabel Louise Dubbin, V.O.N

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/12/1 (336 reads)

tor. (Laughs.) But I think, when they didn't have so much, that the parents--I don't know--they did more, they were al? ways with their children--now, they're hardly ever home. And it was wonderful how they helped one another. I tell you, during the Depression I felt very sorry for a lot of them. There was no work, and some of them really were star? ving . I had a grocery where I used to get my groceries, and I used to go out now and again and send in a grocery order. You know, there was no baby bonus, no mother's allowance, no welfare--nothing like that when I came to Sydney. There was nobody that you could appeal to to help you out. And if I saw a family starving, I couldn't leave it at that. I used to go and put a grocery order in. I had to do that. I couldn't leave anybody be hungry. As I say, there were no organizations then to appeal to--it was an awful time. And yet, I don't think I heard so much grumbling then as I do now. It was wonderful how good the peo? ple were. They didn't seem to complain. They just seemed to take it as a matter of course, that's all. I'd only been here 5 days when I was there for the birth of the baby, and the mother said, "Would you mind. Miss Dubbin, if we called the baby after you?" Oh, I thought that was quite an honour, just out to Cana? da and they want to name a baby Mabel Lou? ise. And how I got my name--my mother was reading a book and the heroine was Mabel, and Louise was one of Queen Victoria's daughters, Princess Louise. So after a few days, the baby was taken to be baptized, just young parents, you know. And Father Maclnnis was there in those days, and he said, "Mabel Louise--that's no name--Mary Louise." So he christened the baby Mary Louise. And there was already a Mary in the home. Well, the interesting part about that family--it was a poor family, and they all helped one another. And from that family came 5 or 6 trained nurses. Mabel Louise took a course in Montreal for chil? dren. The other girls went to the States. And that's how they did: they all helped one another. In those days, there wasn't t,the money. And if one got started out, !-,then that one would help the other. They f'were all pretty well educated. It was mar? vellous. The only thing I'm sorry for, I've often said that if I'd only had a book and kept track of all those babies, and then put what those children did when they grew up. And there were so many went in for the priesthood, and the sisterhood, and teach- ers--it was marvellous--from a small com? munity like Whitney Pier. I don't like when it's called "The Pier." I think that's a slur. It's Whitney Pier. And there's some pretty fine people lived at Whitney Pier, pretty fine parents. And there's pretty fine men and women out in the world that were born and brought up at Whitney Pier. Down at the coke ovens, that was cosmopol? itan. And the coloured people, when I used to go in, they used to take their apron, wipe the seat. I was from England, and she seemed to think that was wonderful. Then there were the Italians, they used to sit down on the doorstep and do this beautiful work, crocheting all the time, wide lace for the bedspreads. When I went in, there was always a trunk full of bedclothes. But these bedspreads were so heavy, and in the hot weather I used to plead with them, take them off. Oh no, they had to have all these bedspreads with all this lace. And then the babies used to have tight binders. They'd start them under the arms and wind right down. I wouldn't put them on, but I knew as soon as I left the house that their neighbour would come and put them on. And there was an awful lot of rickets there, children were bandy-legged, and curved backs. I wondered how I could help that. And with the doctor's help, more or? ange juice and cod liver oil--it was amaz? ing, by the time I left, how beautiful those children were. The new ones growing up were straight-limbed and really healthy. They were getting more fresh milk. But to? day, I don't think the children are as ro? bust as they were in the latter years of my years at the Pier, When I retired, I felt that, oh, I was get? ting tired. And another thing, the mothers were going to the hospitals, and I wasn't interested in that baby like I was when I made the prenatal visit and followed that baby up for the 7 or 8 months. When I was with that birth of the baby, that was mine. I never had a sister, and I must have said one time, "Oh, I love baby girls." And once I had a baby in my arms. And this mother said, "Miss Dubbin, you dio like boys, don't you?" "Oh, a baby boy, who wouldn't?" "Well, I thought somebody said you didn't like baby boys." I said, "I love all babies." But when they came home from the hospital, it wasn't the same, that wasn't m' baby. (In all these years you were taking care of other people, who was taking care of you?) Well, I seemed to be well. There didn't seem to be very much wrong with me. 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