On April 15, 2023, a very special event took place at the Kitchener Public Library in Ontario: a reunion for all farmerettes who worked with the Ontario Women's Land Army between 1941-1952! For some, this was more than 80 years ago, but they showed up and shared their stories with pride and clarity. Almost all of them were now in their 90s, but it almost seemed as if no time had passed at all. Their camaraderie, laughter, and memories tied them all together.
The reminiscence event was hosted by Kim Blackwell, the Managing Artistic Director of 4th Line Theatre. She, and playwright, Alison Lawrence, soaked in their time with these ladies and cherished their stories, which will be used in a play that Lawrence is writing about the Farmerettes and will be put on by 4th Line Theatre.
Farmerettes in attendance were so proud of their contribution to the war effort, and spoke fondly of their time. Even when asked what was hard or disliked about the program, they were hard-pressed to remember anything. Yes, the work was hard, but it was rewarding, and the company of other girls made it fun! Yes, they were homesick, but they were also on an adventure! Yes, the accommodations were not always 5 stars, but it was nothing in comparison to what the "boys overseas were experiencing." Overall, it was the friendships, rewarding work, and adventure that kept many of them coming back, year after year.
The event was live-streamed, accessible by zoom, with news outlets there to cover the reunion. Oast House Brewers was there with a table set up, selling a sampling of their newly released beer, Farmerette Farmhouse Ale. Below, you can see the adorable label and Dawn McClintock, a member of the group, Farmerettes Forever, dressed fabulously. There was even a cake designed with the Ontario Farm Service Force Farmerette Badge in celebration. What a special day!