She may talk a lot, but that’s only because she remembers everything.
And being 93 years old, that means this woman has a lot of stories.
Ina Wilson of Barwick can remember many of the oldest reeves and clerks of Chapple, as well as multitudes of people from across the district—including who they married, what they did, and who their children are.
“I know a lot of people, even people in Fort Frances,” Wilson noted. “I don’t worry about my memory. I don’t think about my age. I just take things as they come.”
Wilson is one of the oldest women who was born, and is still living, in Chapple Township. She was born on a farm—down the road from where she lives today—on March 26, 1913. She went to school there, worked, and raised her family.
“I’ve lived here all my life,” Wilson noted.
“I’m not one who has likes and dislikes,” she replied when asked if she likes the community. “Every place is different.”
Wilson had two children of her own, but also took in other children. She recalled one girl who dropped out of school in Grade 6 and came to live with her.
“Maybe I was too strict, but we made her go back to school,” she remembered. “The teacher said she was doing so well. That she was so polite and well-mannered.
“And her marks went up.”
Wilson added proudly that the girl still lives in the district and holds a good job.
She also recounted a story from her work as a midwife, where she delivered a baby on her own after the doctor went home to have his dinner.
“He said it wouldn’t come for a few hours, but I was sure [the baby] would come before he even had a chance to get home,” Wilson remarked, adding when the doctor did return, he commented on her good work.
And Wilson is still going strong today. Not only does she possess a vivid memory, but she has never had a drink and doesn’t smoke—getting a clean bill of health each time she visits the clinic.
She lives alone and is able to drive. “I have no trouble getting my licence,” she assured.
Wilson even works seven days a week, beginning each day at 5:30 a.m. She owns and operates the Barwick Café Store out of her home, which she purchased in 1954.
She sells soups, sauces, canned vegetables, candy, etc. to locals, but noted business has decreased since Wal-Mart opened in Fort Frances.
“Everyone goes to Wal-Mart,” Wilson remarked. “Even though it might cost more for them to drive there than to buy a few groceries.
“People don’t come by to visit like they used to,” she added.
She said she’s always been price conscious and reflects her attitude in her prices. “I remember when the wages were $1 a day,” she indicated.
Many Barwick residents adore Wilson and remember heading to her store as children to purchase candy.
When no customers are in the store, Wilson enjoys knitting articles of clothing for others and works on family histories as requested by her relatives.
“With my good memory, I can remember everyone so they asked me to write it down,” she explained.
Being around for the better part of a century, Wilson certainly has seen the community change.
“It’s not quite as friendly as it used to be,” she admitted, recalling how a neighbour might have offered to pick your mail up for you.
“It doesn’t happen anymore.”
But Wilson still is content with her life in the small village and figures she’ll be around for a few more years yet.
(Fort Frances Times)