I (Cathy) attended a very interesting book launch recently at the Different Drummer Book Store in Burlington, Ontario. Author, Gisela Tobien Sherman, (top left in photo) released her new book The Farmerettes. The book was inspired by storyteller, poet, Sonja Dunn (bottom right of photo) who was a Farmerette. At the book launch, the story of the inspiration for the book was shared. Gisela, Sonja and a few other members of the Canadian Society for Childrens’ Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP) were having lunch together. Sonja, now 84, (yeah, doesn’t look it!) shared one of her experiences as a Canadian Farmerette during the Second World War. Apparently during the war, with all the young men away fighting, there was not enough labor to work the farms, so teenage girls were rounded up and sent off to live on farms throughout the province. Sonja, was one of these young women, boarded in a barn with five others. They were taught and expected to carry out all the heavy farm work on a daily basis. Sonja talked about how the experience changed them. Sonja’s story struck a chord with Gisela and she began to research this fascinating part of our history.
At the book launch were three other Farmerettes (all in their 80’s), who looked quite pleased to have their stories told. Plus, a fascinating collection of photographs, depicting their lives during this era of Canadian history were displayed. I was intrigued by the stories shared at the launch and deeply touched by the pride of the Farmerettes. I bought several copies of the book to give away, and of course, one copy for myself. Today, I will lay on my chaise lounge and treat myself to reading The Farmerettes, Second Story Press, by Gisela Tobien Sherman. Can’t wait.