Audrey Wood

My Kids, My Life A Young Mother's Struggle for Justice By: Audrey Wood

A Cabbagetown kid writes a book and tells her story of poverty, broken marriages and having a dozen kids.

I used to live a few doors around the corner from Audrey Hayes in the fifties. At the time I didn't know her but I did hang around with some members of her rather large family. Her name is now Audrey Wood and she's written a book about growing up in Cabbagetown and her life after she got married and left the area.

Wanting to escape the grips of poverty she ran off at fifteen and got married to an abusive husband. She got rid of him and married another guy that would turn out to be not one bit better. Along the way she managed to have ten kids.

The book chronicles her ups and downs with her husbands and her fights with various social agencies, like mother's allowance and Childrens Aid. Back then when any of these agencies got their hooks into somebody, they were cooked. Those on social assistance had very few rights.

Not only did these agencies dictate the lifestyle that one must live, they could also walk into any household for an inspection at anytime without giving prior notice. If they found anything they didn't like they could crash down like a ton of bricks on the poor victim.

Written almost like a diary it gives us little snapshots of Audrey and her family throughout the years. Although a lot of it doesn't take place in Cabbagetown, it really tells the tale of what it was like back then for those of us that were known as the underprivileged.

Audrey finally got married to a good guy with whom she had two more kids for a grand total of twelve. Wow! She and her hubby, Randy, now live northeast of Toronto and keep themselves busy by breeding Bichon Frise puppies.

You can learn more or purchase the book by contacting Audrey directly by email bichon@primus.ca.