After their wedding in 1926, the Reverend I. B. Kaine and his wife Jean W. Kaine, my grandmother, launched their life together in Orangeville, Ontario.  Jean must have enjoyed setting up her new household  for hosting church functions and entertaining out of towners. I still have and cherish the lovely French walnut bedroom set made for them in Orangeville with the elegant dressing table for Jean, and the four poster bed with an extra four inches added to the sideboards to accommodate my tall grandfather whose six foot plus height was unusual for the era. The remnants of the 12 piece French Limoges porcelain china set, white with a gold rim,  is now carefully brought out by me for special occasions even though it is well worn and chipped in places as my grandmother said she used it as every day dishes as folks did not have two sets as far as she knew!

In the ensuing years,  Jean and Irving would move on to the small Ontario towns of Seaforth, Dunnville and Grimsby ending up in London and Toronto as Irving progressed in his career as a Presbyterian minister.  In many ways, a minister’s life is not his (or her) own. Irving was responsible to the Presbyterian Church and his church locations were determined by them. It must have been an interesting time for the couple when they moved to Seaforth, a lovely Victorian town about an hour north of London, where the Reverend Christopher Charles Kaine, Irving’s father, was the minister in the Methodist church across the street from Irving’s Presbyterian one! The job of a minister is definitely not a nine to five occupation and while the religious leaders in small towns, especially in the nineteen thirties and forties,  had status and influence in their communities, they could also be scrutinized and judged by the townspeople. Some children of ministers, commonly known as  Preachers Kids or P.K.s have described their lives as similar to Army Brats, the children of military personnel who are transferred to many different locations necessitating changing schools and quickly establishing new friendships etc. on a regular basis.   All these circumstances place particular demands on family life. Jean’s training and experience as a teacher prepared her well for the duties of a minister’s wife.  Having taught in a number of different schools and communities as outlined in earlier episodes, Jean was used to being in the public eye and with her outgoing personality and gregarious nature was well able to rise to the challenges of her role as hostess, convenor, Sunday school teacher, Ladies Institute member etc. etc…..

Like all young couples, Jean and Irving wanted children  but had to wait five years for their first daughter, Doris Marilyn (my mother) to arrive followed two years later by Helen Jean. The saga continues in future episodes!

The Kaines c 1928
Jean and Irving at home c 1928


3 thoughts on “5. A Minister’s Wife

  1. I let this one pass by and am just getting to read it. What a fascinating yet very ordinary in many ways life. I as always can’t wait for the next chapter…beautiful pictures as well. How fortunate you are to have her precious belongings.

    Liked by 1 person

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