Each section of the diary is preceded by an introduction by Bird that summarizes and explains what life was like for Mary during that time period. Mary's diary entries have been kept intact to preserve her voice, but Bird steps in frequently to give context or supply some missing information. Through this combination, the reader can see how life evolved in a small rural village. We see how her family copes during the Depression and the war years. We see how community rallied around each other in times of need and how they socialized. Much of their socialization revolved around the church and church fundraisers, but they would often visit more than one church, sometimes on the same day. The role the railway played in the community is highlighted because the Morehouse home was right beside the railway stop so passengers often visited while they were waiting for their train. We can see how Mary's housework burden is eased as technological inventions like the wringer-washer are introduced. Mary played an important role in the community as she helped out her neighbours with births, deaths, and illnesses. Towards the end of the diary, we see the community rallying around her as she copes with the looming death of her husband. The diary entries from 1920-1945 are the most complete and they span a time period that many readers find fascinating. However, there aren't as many New Brunswick and Atlantic Canadian books on this time period, so Through the Eyes of Mary should find a market with readers who are looking for Atlantic Canadian sources on this subject.
About the authors
Like Mary Morehouse, Sharon Bird is a former resident of Burtt's Corners and has previously published two books on the history of the village? A Peek Around the Corner and From the Shoebox. Sharon Bird is a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and has written for Saltscapes and Celtic Heritage and has over 40 newspaper and magazine articles to her credit. She has recently returned to her native province from Alberta and now makes her home in Dumphries, NB.
As a young bride, Mary Morehouse moved to a new house by the railway station in Burtt's Corner, NB. Her diaries from the 1920s-1950s have survived and they portray a picture of life in a rural New Brunswick village during this time period.
Mary's journals help us understand what life was like nearly a century ago. From selling butter to making sense of global conflicts, we see a world on the cusp of incredible change. Her observations are like threads that weave together local and global events, creating a tapestry that is truly New Brunswick.
Sharon Bird has gifted her readers with the opportunity to listen in on a generation of New Brunswickers that helped to build the modern foundations of our beautiful province. Her commentary only enhances and enriches the experience of looking through Mary's eyes...
-- Philip Sexsmith, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick
Mary's diaries begin in the aftermath of World War I when trains and steamships linked the people of central New Brunswick and birth was a risky endeavour for both mother and child. From there, Mary carries us through technological and social revolutions in transportation, health care, communications, and lighting and heating.
Sharon Bird's chapter introductions and annotations set Mary's musings in these wider contexts and helps guide our journey through this fascinating and changing world. Anyone who has experienced or would like to learn more about these times will enjoy this book.
--Alan Sears, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick, Editor, Citzenship Teaching and Learning