Louisa was so proud of her little house on Grand Ave in London, spending hours in her garden or crocheting in her sun room. She made beautiful crocheted doilies and tablecloths. She knitted slippers for all her grandchildren each year for Christmas. She continued doing housework a couple days a week until she was 75 years of age. Louisa kept her English ways for a long time, eating her big meal at noon and never eating watermelon with her hands. She never drove a car. Instead, she would walk half an hour to the Covent Garden Market to buy her groceries, carrying home what she had purchased. Milk and meat were delivered weekly by the milk man.
As a very independent woman, Louisa was able to look after herself until 95 years of age, when she had caregivers come in to help her out. She always said she wanted to live in her little home until she was 100 years old, “if it be thy will” and she did it. She lived there until she was 100 and 7 months.
In the last year of her life, Louisa kept saying she wanted to go home to see her mother again. By June 1990, she stopped eating and became very withdrawn. Like everything else in her life, Louisa decided when it was time to go. She passed away on July 15, 1990 just a few weeks short of her 102nd birthday.
I learned so much from this incredibly hard-working and independent woman.
Louisa was a wonderful example of how to rise above challenges through faith, a sense of humor and with the love and support of family. She had the strength to stand up for what was right during a time when women were expected to be submissive and were not considered “persons” in the British North America Act created by the Dominion of Canada.
Louisa’s favorite Bible passage was Psalm 23 and she would repeat it often. It gave her strength to get through the worst of times and hope that better times would prevail. She had the perseverance, strength of resolve and the ability to make her own way despite her circumstances.
Her life story gives me strength to endure hardships and hope for a better life.
Excerpts from Louisa’s Journey written by Sue Methuen:
“At the age of 12 I was told I had enough education for a girl and was sent to work in a hotel. I missed my sisters so much that I used to sneak home sometimes, late at night, just to see them. While working at the hotel I met a young man named Frederick Benjamin Boorman. Fred was trained as a barber from a young age and he was working at the same hotel. He was a couple years older than me and so handsome!
By 1913 times were very hard for Fred and me. We had been married for just over three years and we now felt like our luck had run out. Both Fred and I were fed up with everything. Then one day while Fred was delivering some fish to a customer, she mentioned that her nephew in London, Ontario, Canada may be able to help us. The three of us set sail from Southampton, England on July 4, 1913. I was 25 years old, Fred 27 and Ellen nearly three. We suffered terribly that first winter. The temperature went down to -35°F at times, and we had no boots or warm clothes for this weather. Poor Ellen’s feet froze twice that winter. Even though it was cold, I worked every day doing laundry.
In October 1916, at the age of 30, Fred left with the 142nd Overseas Battalion, traveled across the ocean on the S.S. Southland arriving in England on November 11, 1916. I got a lot of jobs while the war was on. Sometimes I went to three different places in one day, cleaning houses for $1.25 to $1.50 a day.
In 1918, after spending two years overseas, Fred came home. Unfortunately, he was very sick with tuberculosis and had to spend a year in the Queen Alexandria Sanatorium in Byron, just outside of London. In late 1949 Fred became very sick and was moved to Westminster Hospital. He passed away on April 1, 1950 and was laid to rest in the soldier’s plot in Woodland Cemetery in London.
Times may have been very hard and sometimes unbearable, but God has been good. I’ve always been blessed with good health, a wonderful family and have been well-rewarded in my life.”
~ Sue Methuen
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +