Louie Emmeline Ould (C.1907-1991): Life and Labour

            Louie’s memoir does not in any way centre around the theme of work. We never find out if she ever had a job or worked nor do we ever find out her husband Thomas’ occupation. Looking through archives such as the national archive and find my past there are no records held in relation to work on either Louie or Thomas. The only mention of work is in the part about her parents and her Father being a farmer when she was younger. Louie was born in 1907 meaning she was alive through both WWI (1914-1918) and WWII (1939-1945) however, neither of the wars are mentioned in her memoir so we are unsure as to whether she lived in more rural parts of Cornwall and therefore was not as affected by the wars or if she worked while the war was taking place such as working in the factories as there is no mention of her working life. ‘During the Second World War, many women had two roles – one traditional and one brought about by the needs of the war. The former was dedicated to the domestic- caring for the family, managing the rations, ‘making do’ and ‘waiting’ at home for loved-ones fighting abroad.’ [1] these notions can be echoed in Louie’s memoir as many of her hobbies and interests centre around being at home.

            Before the wars it was a woman’s role in life to be a stay at home Mum/Wife which could reflect Louie’s attitudes towards work.  She tells us that her parents were born in the late 1800’s making them Edwardians. At this time it was very much a woman’s role in life to be a “housewife.”

She tells us that her two sisters and herself were brought up in the same manner as her parents had been brought up this could once again affect Louie’s attitudes towards being a wage earner as she may have been influenced by her Mothers role in life. Although there is an absence of work present in the memoir I do not think that the lack of work in the memoir affects her identity as throughout the whole memoir she expresses her hobbies such as crochet ‘I have lost count of the number of berets, shoulder bags and cushions I have made’ (Ould 9) her hobbies do however tie in with the expected skills a woman should have in the 19th Century (when her Mother was born) and I feel that through her use of poetry and photographs we feel a sense of familiarity towards her and her engaging background.

Therefore, although the theme of work is not a central theme to the life of Louie it suggests that she perhaps was a stay at home Mum as she often talks about her children and their achievements rather than she own in particular her son Jonathan whom she boasts about at several points of her memoir. The fact that Louie does not talk about work in her memoir suggests that is it not of significance to her, the relationship between her home and family is the constant theme present throughout the whole of her memoir.


1, From www.movinghistory.co.uk

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