Dorothy Finds Home in Fenwick

Dorothy with birth mother Mary Doane (ca 1911)

Dorothy Wetherald Rungeling (May 12, 1911 - February 17, 2018) began her life as Helen Maude Doane on May 12, 1911.  Dorothy's birth Mother, recently separated from her husband, had come from Toronto to work at the farm of Ethelwyn Wetherald in Fenwick during the busy apple picking season.  The three became increasingly close and Ethelwyn grew more attached to the baby each day.  As Ethelwyn grew to love the child, it was soon decided that she should stay.  Dorothy's birth Mother decided to move back to Toronto and Ethelwyn was able to convince her to leave the baby with her at the farm.  She was adopted by the great Canadian writer Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald who was in her fifties at this time.  Dorothy would call Ethelwyn "Nan" and continued contact with her birth Mother Mary who she called "Mama".   Dorothy often travelled to the city to visit with her "Mama", but always returned home to the farm. 

Dorothy 1916

It was Ethelwyn who renamed her child Dorothy, meaning god's gift, because she believed she would never have a child.  With this new found love, Ethelwyn decided to dedicate her book of children's poetry, Tree Top Mornings (1921), to Dorothy: 

"One bright morning a year ago, when I said goodbye in a Run-along-now-as-I-am-very-busy tone of voice, you turned to me with tears, exclaiming:  'When you send me off to school without one happy word it makes my feelings feel bad!'  And so Dorothy - My Little Heart - I am inscribing all these happy words to you in the hope that they will make your feelings feel good."