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Margaret (Shannon) Monk Remembers Life in Deloro

Marg Shannon Monk, Theresa Shannon, Anne Paquet, Jack Shannon

I was born in Deloro on January 24th in 1921.  We were a family of six, two older
brothers, Charlie and Jack, and one younger sister, Teresa.  My parents were Ernest and
Dora Shannon. Directly across the street lived my mother's sister and her family of
three boys and three girls. We were together constantly.

We younger children attended Deloro Separate School and I still remember getting the strap in the 'baby' class for a missed spelling while my two brothers watched anxiously and nervously. But I loved school later and always did well and hoped to be a teacher.

In the winter we skated on the open air rink near the plant, Deloro Smelting and Refining Company.  I had weak ankles and needed help. I used Mrs Buskard's old, used skates and one day while endeavouring to 'keep up' all the screws came out and I was left standing in the rink in just the boots.

We had a wonderful toboggan hill, but no toboggan! Deloro families used the hill
and I had countless rides with them by sitting in the front and receiving the huge, iced
blanket of snow in my face during the rides. You can see the Shannon family was not
loaded with dough!

At home, our card table was never down. My parents and two brothers had a few
hands of bridge every noon hour. How I wanted to play! I did learn the rudiments of the
of the game, very young, and that game has given me unbound pleasure during my
whole life, enjoying Bridge clubs for years.

Christmas was a high light to all Deloro families as the Company's Dramatic Society hosted a full fledged party in the Deloro hall on Christmas Eve.  A monstrous tree decorated the centre of the hall and after the excitement of Santa's arrival from the North Pole every child had a ride around the tree on Santa's back. Each of us received a nice gift; my last one at age 12 was a fountain pen.

My mother was a beautiful piano musician and we often heard our favourite piano selections by her after we went to bed. I took lessons from her and after I learned to drive, took some piano lessons from a nun in a Belleville convent. My dad was good with the car (1941 Plymouth).  Every time I asked permission to use it he would say: 'Just bring me home a cigar!'
Another great pleasure were the two tennis courts beside the Deloro Store. I learned how to count on the sidewalk before I ever played on the courts which would be every day if it didn't rain.

Our life at Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Marmora was made important to us by our good parents and teachers and we attended Sunday Masses and Missions. A sad time for our family was when my oldest brother, Charlie, developed MS and was bed ridden four years. One of us was delegated to remain with him at home during Sunday Mass. When it was my turn I never had a breakfast ready but always had the house vacuumed and cleaned! Charlie died at the age of 24.

In grade 8 the top students in the Public and Separate schools had the chance to participate in a writing composition. The subject was 'Canada'. (I was glad it wasn't Algebra or Chemistry). When I came first the judges thought I must have had hep and decided to repeat the competition the next year with the subject, 'How I spent my summer holidays'. It just happened that I knew North America like a book and wrote about a family trip around Canada and the USA, detailing every landmark and manufacturing highlights at important stops. Again I won, (I had to save face.) and received lovely book prizes, one on dogs and the other on Canada which I still have on my shelf.

When I was 16 and in Marmora High School my school friend and I were asked by the Deloro Company to join their work force. I still had the 'teacher' dream in my mind but the officials said they felt that 2 years experience in an office would be more valuable that grades 12 and 13. So we went to work.  Neither of us knew much about office work so we spent every hour each day on practicing typing, and becoming pretty swift on the key board. I also took a course by mail in shorthand and because of this received and extra 50 cents a day when in the Service.

A teacher came once a month to correct and delegate more sessions. My first cousinfrom across the street also worked in the office.  (According to Larry Paquet,  Margaret is referring here to MaryPaquet, a life long friend who passed away in 2014)  We often voiced our thought: 'Do we want to spend our remaining lives working in an office in the small village of Deloro?' Finally, she joined the women's division of the RCAF and I joined the CWAC. She took her basic training at Camp Borden and I went to Quebec.  My training was delayed for some weeks and I spent that time on my hands and knees scrubbing huge barrack floors. My frequent thought as I
was lonely and crying into my soapy pail was: 'How did I ever get into this mess?'.

My cousin and I ended up in the same office in Ottawa and I liked my army work later. I didn't ask to go overseas as my brother died at that time. My second brother went overseas as well as my nursing sister, Teresa. The colonel at the office said it was a terrible place for a woman to be and to not even consider Overseas Service. Two months later he came to the office, happy and excited to tell us that his own daughter was en route overseas!

In Ottawa we were assigned to work for the Canadian Medical Procurement and Assignment Board. On arrival, the first words the officer in charge said were: 'You May Smoke!'. The board consisted of the top medical officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force and the DVA.  Its main purpose was to procure newly graduated medical students for recruitment.  Most graduates specified a preference for the Air Force or Navy but were assigned to the Army where they were greatly needed. Regular meetings were held at the Chateau Laurier (one at the Royal York in Toronto). When the secretary retired because of ill health, I replaced him at the meeting table.

After the war ended Teresa and I had a short holiday in Muskoka where I met my husband, Bill Monk. Later, I accepted work in Toronto promised to me by the Canadian Medical Association then the J. Arthur Rank movie people (free shows).  Bill returned to his old job at the T Eaton College Street store.

We were married in Toronto in 1948 and frequent weekends were spent in Marmora where my parents lived.  An ardent fisherman all his life, Bill was aware of Musky fishing in the Crowe River behind their home on Forsythe Street. About a year following the death of both my parents, we bought their bungalow and relocated to Marmora in 1953.

We had four children, Bernadette, Brian, Jane and Monica. Our two daughters, Jane and Monica, live nearby in Trenton and Deloro. I have lived at Marmora's Senior Residence since 2001.  I have happy memories of my childhood:   good parents, a warm house, good meals by Mom, fun with our 30 cousins, and friendship with the Deloro villagers.