Overshadowing all the grim news from Europe - Paris had fallen - our son Brian James McKenzie was born Aug. 10th 1940. Birth is always a miracle and we were so grateful for this little bit of humanity entrusted to us. Our whole lives revolved around this baby - I don't know what we talked about before he was born. We moved from our small cottage to a larger house on 4th avenue. There was a pump right in the kitchen so we were in heaven. And Kleenex had just come on the market which was a godsend to a new mother.
Just at that time the government started building a Navigational Air Training School three miles west of town and everyone was employed. All of a sudden there was plenty of money. How sad that it took a war to make the country prosperous again. Winston Churchill had been warning England for years about Hitler's stockpiling weapons for war, but neither England nor Canada would listen. Now we started building factories to produce guns and ships and planes, and women became a large part of the war effort. The Chinese women in Ontario threw themselves whole-heartedly into selling war bonds and helping any way they could, even though they were not Canadian citizens, nor were they even allowed to apply for citizenship. It was 1947 before they even had the right to vote. Today we have a Chinese Governor-General!
As soon as the first barracks were ready for trainees the men arrived to fill them. Many brought their wives with them and at one of our weekly Red Cross meetings we were asked if anyone could take a young couple for the night as the hotel was full. And so Helen and Bill Fetherstone came to live with us for the next six weeks while Bill was in training. This was their honeymoon. They were a delightful pair and we hated to see them go as Bill was sent directly overseas. Nine months later, back in Toronto, Helen gave birth to Betsy, who never saw her father. He was killed in a bombing raid over Germany. Years later Betsy and her husband came back to Rivers "to see where she got started". She and Sue (our daughter) became good friends and see each other as often as distance permits. Until permanent married quarters were built we had several more couples living with us, but none as great as Helen and Bill.