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Five Plus Five Makes Fifteen cover

Book Details:
  • 348 pages
  • Black & White
  • 6.0 x 9.0 inches

Memoir, life story, rural Saskatchewan, 40s and 50s, siblings, twins, large family

Five Plus Five Makes Fifteen
by Barb Gonie

While big families were commonplace a few decades ago, not many can boast of having five sets of twins and five single births. However, the Burge family from Pierceland, Saskatchewan could. In Five Plus Five Makes Fifteen, Barbara Gonie, the fourth child in the family, shares how her farming family managed to survive in a two-bedroom house without running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing. With honesty and humour, she describes the trials and tribulations of having to share a bed with several siblings, eating tinned Spork “meat”, and never worrying about having a playmate.

In addition to providing details about life in the Prairies in the forties and fifties, Barbara offers insight into how growing up in a loving, hardworking family can shape an individual to make good life choices and pass on strong values to the next generation. A consummate storyteller, she takes her readers from the days when clothing was sometimes made from flour bags and a dozen children might share the same bathwater to modern times when her grandchildren want for nothing and she is able to soak in a hot tub and reflect on the fact that what is important in life really hasn’t changed – love, family, and doing for others.

Barb Gonie photo

Today Barbara Gonie lives with her husband of 51 years on a farm near Pierceland, Saskatchewan, not far from where she grew up. She is close to her four children, 6 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and her mother who is still living and loving.

Barbara enjoys reading, gardening, outdoor adventures with family and friends, sewing, and quilting. She has previously had several stories and articles published, but Five Plus Five Makes Fifteen is her first book. She notes that, “If I were a flower, I probably would be a dandelion; I am determined and will push through hard times, crab grass and all. My roots run deep, and I hope to spread my seeds to future generations.”


Barb Gonie

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