Have you ever felt like an impostor ?

I felt like one when I typed ‘Newfoundland Housewife’ into Google search the other day, and my photo appeared ! How presumptuous of me, I thought, as I blushed.

I became a housewife only in retirement, and I do not have the skills and strength to do even a tenth of the work that rural housewives historically did.

My neighbour, Gertie, over a cup of tea, used to tell me what her days were like in the summers.

She would get up at 4:30 a.m. to make breakfast for her husband Edgar, a fisherman, who left for sea in his small wooden boat while it was just getting light.

Gertie knew, each day, that his work was so dangerous that there was a chance that he would not return.

Then Gertie looked after her five children. She cooked and cleaned, and baked homemade bread in her oven.

She was responsible for fetching water from the well, and making sure that there was ample wood for her cook stove. She maintained her vegetable garden and her chickens, and picked blueberries.

When Edgar arrived home with a load of fish, Gertie’s job was to help unload the boat.

She was responsible for splitting, cleaning, and salting the fish.

Then she would place the salted cod on wooden platforms, called Fish Flakes made of Spruce wood. This was called Making the Fish. Her older son Jacob helped her, but she knew that at age 12 , he would head out to sea with her husband.

The dried fish were then traded to merchants, who shipped them, for great profits, to markets in Europe and the Caribbean.

What a surprise I had this morning when I walked over to Gertie’s Fish Flake and found it covered with pale blue gauzy fabric !

This was done by artist Robyn Love. Robin found the names of all the Newfoundland housewives listed in the 1935 census, and lovingly embroidered them on the blue cloth, as a remembrance to the housewives of rural Newfoundland, whose labour was significant in the development of this part of Canada.

Like much of women’s work globally, the full extent of housewives’ contributions to society was never adequately recognized.

Thanks to Robyn for her generous work.

Gertie and Edgar were honest, simple villagers. Their work was challenging, but they knew the value of honest labour, and they slept soundly, with a clear conscience, at night.

God gives us all different tasks and assignments, but, regarding work, Paul gives good guidance in Colossians 3: 23 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Photo of Fish Flake by Sally

41 thoughts on “Impostor

  1. Thank you Sally for sharing Edgar and Gertie’s story with us today. We owe and can learn much from such hardworking folks. In the past the Fife coast (The East Neuk) was a thriving fishing community with folk like your neighbours. The fish lassies/wives played a huge part in the processing of the Herring that was landed at the harbour; gutting, salting and packing the barrels for transport all over the country.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks to your post I did a wee search of my own on “Devotional Treasures” and found that I am now listed on Feedspot in the top 60 devotional blogs! Now I feel like an imposter. 😯

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Rachel. So often, globally, the unpaid work of women goes unrecognized, but it is so valuable in maintaining societies. πŸŒ·πŸŒΌπŸ€—


  2. What a beautiful tribute to honest, underappreciated work, and how interesting as well! I think it is common to feel like an imposter, and which of us sees ourselves as we really are? We are best when our eyes are on our Lord (and working as unto Him as you said) and not on ourselves. Certainly you are you, Sally, and are not pretending to be another, so blush not. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Sally. 😊
    Great point- often, seems housewife has been unrecognized work by the public, and seemingly underappreciated, but God sees it. This topic is I have been working on in an upcoming post. Being the wife and mother without a corporate job seems to be undervalued in society.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true, Petrina. This attitude started when I was a young woman, in the 1960s, when women were told by the ‘Women’s Liberation’ movement that women needed to have a paid job . This philosophy, of course, was destructive in many ways, but also gave opportunities for women as well.
      As you say, God sees and values greatly the contributions made by wives and mothers who choose this as their full time vocation. . Thanks for your comment. πŸŒ·πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True…definitely 2 sides to it. I think it gave women opportunity, for example, in event of abuse and infidelity. Also, has the bad side to it, for sure. Thank YOU. Great post. πŸ’œ

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Petrina – As a Sociologist , I worked a lot with Affirmative Action issues. And I think our Lord is pleased when we advocate for the rights of women, and anyone who is vulnerable.

        Ideally, within Christian marriage it would be good if husbands lovingly provided for their families, and women were free to nurture their families full time, but, of course not everyone has the vocation to be married, and increasingly, fewer men within society want to accept the responsibility of being sole provider to families.
        I do regret having to live my life at a frantic pace as wife, mother, and professional person, but I believe that the contributions of women from my generation, and subsequent generations made life easier for women in many ways.
        Blessings, always. πŸŒ·πŸ€—πŸŒΌ

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like Gertie and Edgar were a good team. They both worked hard together to make their life what it was. There is no work that is beneath anyoneβ€”so long as it’s God’s work. I’m sure there are plenty of house husbands out there doing their part as well.

    I agree with Craig. You are no imposter, Sally. Your life simply followed a different path before your current situation. Calling yourself a housewife takes nothing away from ladies like Gertie. I bet she would be proud of all you’ve accomplished as an educator! Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I believe the same. Amen. πŸ™πŸΎ Agreed. I pray you are taking it more easy these days. I belive (and hope) you are. πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Sally. What a great post this is. The people of the past who worked so hard at life and did such an excellent job are rarely remembered or honored by the world at large. I appreciate you honoring the memory of this family and so many like them. The stories of hard working people successfully surviving and thriving in an often hostile environment are greatly inspiring. I thank the Lord that He has His own methods of characterizing lives lived. He sees all and knows all. Excellent Scripture. Excellent advice. Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, RJ for your kind words.
      I never thought, living and working in Ontario, that I’d live in a little fishing village one day, but the Lord seems to place each of us where He can teach us, and also where we can help others. Gertie and Edgar were also very devout believers, as were most rural Newfoundlanders. Gertie passed away before Edgar, who lived to be 95. I miss them both.
      Yes, as you say, God sees, and knows all. He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. πŸŒ·πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for this post. It is enlightening to remember how hard the generations worked before us. Our parents and grandparents had an entirely different life just getting the day started. Gertie and Edgar’s story is humbling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how I felt about Gertie’s jobs too. And I didn’t mention heating water on the stove to do laundry, or mending, and sewing, and knitting mitts and hats for winter. Oh, and making jams and relishes too…
      Thanks, Georgetta, for your comment. πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “This was done by artist Robyn Love. Robin found the names of all the Newfoundland housewives listed in the 1935 census, and lovingly embroidered them on the blue cloth, as a remembrance to the housewives of rural Newfoundland, whose labour was significant in the development of this part of Canada.” Cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark. I also thought it was a kind way to honour the women who worked so hard. God, of course, who honours all honest labour, saw their sacrificial work. πŸ€—πŸŒ·

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! What an amazing story Sally! They are inspirational people for this generation, a much needed reminder of such sacrificial love and commitment. May God help us all to fulfill our rules and reach the destiny he has for us. God bless πŸ₯°

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Deano. Yes, may God help us all to work cheerfully and diligently in the assignments that he gives us.
      Blessings to you and your lovely wife. πŸŒ·πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

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