Lambton Heritage Museum
Grand Bend, Ontario

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Grand Bend - Our Stories, Our Voice



The task of opening up and cleaning the cottage was all important. We used to string wire clothes lines between the pine trees to air the bedding and curtains; we put the mattresses out in the sun; cleaned out mice-nests from cupboard drawers - once flying squirrels had wintered in the cottage and really made a mess of things - scrubbed the floor with hot water and Sunlight soap (no fancy detergents in those days) and soon had the cottage smelling fresh and inviting after the mustiness had gone out with the cobwebs.

Certainly our own cottage was nothing much to boast about. "The Oaks", as it was called, was a roughly-built, frame bungalow, redeemed only by a wide verandah on two sides. Inside, partitions and curtains hung on wires with curtain-rings formed three small bedrooms. Mother later had carpenters make a corner cupboard and washroom combined.

The verandah at first was completely open, but father had it boarded up part way and the upper part enclosed in wire-screening. The cottage had no city conveniences - no running water, flush toilet or electricity. We had coal-oil lamps, a four-burner Perfection coal-oil stove (replacing the original wood stove) an ice-box, and, of course, an outside privy furnished with a box of sand, a bucket of lime, and an old T. Eaton Co. catalogue (for use in emergencies if toilet paper ran out). From the cottage, which was set well back in the woods, there was no view of the lake, but we were protected from the gales by the sand dunes of the beach, where we could go to watch the sunsets only a stone's throw away.


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