Manuscripts/Mixed Material [French Canadian Textile Worker]
They boarded at first with relatives, if they were lucky enough to have any here, or in some French Canadian family until they could rent a tenement for themselves, mostly in corporation houses, and buy the furniture that was strictly needed.
Money was very precious to us in those days and we spent it carefully, getting along with only the things we couldn't do without, but we were able to make a living and save something besides. You understand that food, clothing, lodging, fuel, everything was much cheaper then than now. For lighting, we used kerosene lamps and the streets were lighted the same way. It was some time later that we had gas.
Our kitchen had to serve also as dining-room and living-room. There was no such thing as a parlor and no place for one, because all the other rooms, including the front one, were bed-rooms and there weren't too many, you can bet on that. We had no draperies or sash-curtains in the windows, just paper shades without roller-springs such as we saw later. A narrow strip of wood, of the same width, was sold with this paper shade and we nailed it across the top to the window frame. In the morning, the shade was rolled by hand and held up by a string fastened to a nail. The floors, not always of hard wood, were bare and had to be scrubbed on hands and knees with lye or some other strong stuff, once a week at least, on Saturdays. The only floor coverings we knew were round braided carpets and catalognes, seven or eight feet long and three wide, all homemade with rags carefully put away for that purpose.