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At thirteen, Munro herself shouldered most of the housework and supervised her two younger siblings. “My mother objected to things, but in a way I had the upper hand of her,” the narrator of “Winter Wind” remarks.“After all, it was I who heated tubs of water on the stove and hauled the washing machine from the porch and did the washing, once a week; I who scrubbed the floor, and with an ill grace made her endless cups of tea.” Robert’s mother, Sadie Laidlaw, moved to Wingham with her sister to offer a measure of help.
Anne Laidlaw (née Chamney) was a powerful, agitating force in the Laidlaw household.
During the 1930s and ‘40s, when Munro was growing up, Wingham was primarily an industrial town.
Most of its jobs were provided by the glove factory, the door factory, the furniture factory, and the foundry, but there were other jobs as well.
And for a long time, her Canadian fans have sensed a deeper truth.
In Robert Thacker’s biography of Munro, (Douglas Gibson Books, 2005), he tells us that for years now Canadians have referred to Huron County as “Alice Munro County” and that the North Huron District Museum has abetted their “Munroviana” scavenger hunts by providing neat little pamphlets that outline a self-guided “Alice Munro Tour” of Wingham.