Ernest cannot believe how much his life has changed in the last year since he left the family farm to live in town. Life is very different here. In the countryside, work and daily life change with the seasons, but this is not so much the case in town.

Ernest is the youngest in a family of 11 children. When he was born, his oldest brother was already 20 years old. He was the one who took over the dairy farm when their father died. Several of his brothers live nearby and still work on the farm. But, by the time he turned 17, Ernest had had enough of farm life: he always helped and did what was asked of him, but he had never really liked this work.

When his cousin offered to take him in as a boarder in his house in Montreal and help him find work, Ernest jumped at the chance. His mother was a little nervous, but the fact that Ernest would be living with his cousin, his wife and their children reassured her a little. Their house is in Rosemont, a new neighbourhood of Montreal, and has several amenities that the family home does not: electricity, running water and indoor toilets. Ernest’s cousin found him a job at the new Angus factories where railroad equipment is manufactured and maintained.

Ernest enjoys the city’s entertainment: theatres, amusement parks and concerts. He also likes strolling through Mont-Royal Park. There’s even a funicular he can take to reach the summit and enjoy the view. Ernest can also read newspapers and take the streetcar—things he could not do in the countryside. On the other hand, Ernest has to help his aunt with her shopping. In town, you have to buy the food you eat. In the country, his mother made everything, even her own soap!

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

See also – Traces of the past: