Books: Between Two Women: A Stratford Story now available

Though he now lives in An­caster, retired minister Bruce Woods grew up in a Stratford home with his mother and grandmother, the two women referred to in the title of his book, Between Two Women: A Stratford Story.
Below is a short excerpt from his  287-page memoir.
Christmas 1942 – Christ­mas 1942 is the best ever.
About a week before Noel, a warm wind from the south melted all the snow and Old Man Winter fell asleep.
The only reminder of winter was the icicles outside our kitchen window four feet long. Jack Frost seized the opportunity and sent the temperature to eleven below zero (minus 25 Celsius).
Free to roam as he wished, Jack Frost painted every picture window in town with a prodigious array of cold weather art, and turned the Avon River into a frozen but navigable strip of ice for unimpeded skating – even Santa was laughing.
After school and also at night, we have the thrill of a lifetime skating wherever we wish under the stars until Old man Winter awoke with a snort.
Begrudging what Jack Frost had accomplished while he was sleeping (O.M.W. was always the jealous sort); he promptly dumped six inches of the white stuff before the smiling New year’s baby could do a thing to help, and snow it goes.
But do we care? The kids of Stratford enjoyed a week of exquisite skating fun to match anything that Ottawa could boast with their famed Rideau Canal.
Santa brings me lots of presents, although I can’t remember any of them except one; it is the life of Christ in a cartoon format. It comes in three thick comic books.
Apparently, if I no longer attend Sunday school, mother feels it would be good for me not to forget my Bible lessons.
Uncle Norm and Aunt Jean are home from Tilsonburg. The family sings Christmas carols around the piano. Mother plays the accompaniment. She is a good pianist. Joy to the World is my favourite Christmas carol.
Norman has received his conscription call, but there is hope on the horizon; the German army is defeated on the Russian front. Life magazine publishes a photo that astounds me. Fifty thousand German prisoners of war are marched through the streets of Moscow. How quickly a year can turn things around.
To quote Peter Ustinov, “It is only a little time before many minds have been eased in their wartime tasks by the pleasant prospect of hanging  Adolf Hitler.”
My fascination with the war knows no bounds. I decide to draw a map of Germany and carefully print every city that has been bombed by the Allies. In this way I memorize the names of over 70 cities.
Fifty years later, when I am a tourist in Germany, I recognize many names and am then ashamed of how I depersonalized those I once regarded as enemies…
War makes us into intolerable beasts, and not even children are exempt.
I made my own scrapbook of coloured war prints, which is now in the possession of Nathan, my grandson who has a love of art. I have no desire to see it again, I decided a long time ago, “There is no man anywhere on earth that is not my brother.”
It took me a lifetime to learn that lesson, although I must confess, I still have this inexplicable fascination to follow world events when the News is al about war. Europe is now a far better place since we laid our weapons down.
Alas, this world still has a long way to go.
Between Two Women: A Stratford Story is available at Zellers stores, including the Guelph, Fergus, and Listowel locations; as well as at Roxanne’s Reflections in Fergus. The softcover book sells for $20.