Washing day on Toronto’s Centre Island.
This picture shows how we did our washing during the war years. My friend Alma Morrow and I were seventeen in 1942, when we first moved to Centre Island in Toronto’s harbour for the summer. After taking the ferry from the island, we walked up to our jobs in the Eaton’s department store’s general office.
This photograph was probably made in 1944. I’m putting the sheets through the wringer, and a friend who stayed with us for a while (her name is Sally, but I’ve forgotten her surname) is catching the sheets so that we can hang them.
Our flat consisted of two rooms. One was a sunroom that was both a living room and the bedroom; the other small room was our kitchen and dining area. We had a two-burner portable stove and orange crates for shelves, and we made curtains to “pretty” them.
We were very proud to be independent and occasionally invited our parents for meals. Other guests included airmen from Little Norway, the training camp for exiled Norwegian forces on Hanlan’s Point. My daughter was shocked when I told her about this, but it was a very innocent time. Yes, we invited men we didn’t know back to our rooms, but if they tried to get fresh they were asked to leave. We had no problems, and the owners of the house were our “parents” for the duration.
We loved living there and would bicycle to and from the ferry. On arriving home, we would put supper on the stove, turn it low, rush out for a fast swim in the cold lake, sunbathe, and then go in for supper.
Some evenings, if sleep eluded us, we would bicycle around Ward’s Island in our pyjamas. On weekends, we walked on the boardwalk or down the main drag, feeling somewhat superior to the “tourists” who came for the day.