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 Post subject: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 6th, 2010, 1:28 pm 
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Anybody on here that remembers life on the island during the 1930's?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 6th, 2010, 2:12 pm 
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windyisle wrote:
Anybody on here that remembers life on the island during the 1930's?

Lots of '40s and '50s memories, but not the '30s.

I was born in 1937 and my earliest memory is of our first radio, in '42. My father had brought it home and set it up one night after I'd gone to bed. I was scared to come downstairs next morning because of this loud 'formal' British voice (Stuart Dickson - CFCY - the “Friendly Voice of the Maritimes”) describing some war incident. :lol:

Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 6th, 2010, 4:11 pm 
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There is a guy who does a thing for CBC radio, Dutch something or other, who would be great help. Or try Dr. Ed MacDonald, he is a history professor at UPEI


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 6th, 2010, 4:18 pm 
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windyisle wrote:
Anybody on here that remembers life on the island during the 1930's?

go to a manor and talk to some of the residents...

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 6th, 2010, 4:45 pm 
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redrocket0 wrote:
There is a guy who does a thing for CBC radio, Dutch something or other, who would be great help. Or try Dr. Ed MacDonald, he is a history professor at UPEI

Yeah, Reg " Dutch" Thompson does the CBC radio program "Bygone Days".

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 7th, 2010, 7:29 am 
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I actually need to talk to someone who was alive during the 30's and remembers what life was like on the island at that time.

I'm trying to do so online vs. going to a home, although I realize that finding someone over seventy, from the island, and online is a slim-to-none chance.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 7th, 2010, 7:47 am 
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windyisle wrote:
I actually need to talk to someone who was alive during the 30's and remembers what life was like on the island at that time.

I'm trying to do so online vs. going to a home, although I realize that finding someone over seventy, from the island, and online is a slim-to-none chance.

They'd pretty much have to be into their eighties to have been old enough during the 1930's to have any recollections of that decade.

My father-in-law (85) could talk to you non-stop for hours about growing up in Charlottetown in the 1930's (Lord knows he bends our ears about it enough, lol), but like most of his generation you'll never find him anywhere near a computer.

Good luck, because I think the odds as you stated them are pretty accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 7th, 2010, 1:50 pm 
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I spoke with my Great grandfather for a family tree research project and transcribed 86 pages of conversations with him a few years ago. Most of it pertains to my family, but there are a lot of stories wrapped up in there. If you want to contact me with some more specific questions I could probably find the answers or go ask him. He's been starting to go downhill in the past few years and doesn't like to talk as much though, so I'd go through my own research first.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 7th, 2010, 5:03 pm 
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Ex-racer wrote:
windyisle wrote:
Anybody on here that remembers life on the island during the 1930's?

Lots of '40s and '50s memories, but not the '30s.

I was born in 1937 and my earliest memory is of our first radio, in '42. My father had brought it home and set it up one night after I'd gone to bed. I was scared to come downstairs next morning because of this loud 'formal' British voice (Stuart Dickson - CFCY - the “Friendly Voice of the Maritimes”) describing some war incident. :lol:

Ed


Hey Ed. Could you give me some information about growing up in the 40's on the island? I'm doing a grade 12 project and my teacher says it's O.K. to do the 40's instead of the 30's as long as it's someone who grew up here.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 7th, 2010, 6:00 pm 
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windyisle wrote:
Ex-racer wrote:
windyisle wrote:
Anybody on here that remembers life on the island during the 1930's?

Lots of '40s and '50s memories, but not the '30s.

I was born in 1937 and my earliest memory is of our first radio, in '42. My father had brought it home and set it up one night after I'd gone to bed. I was scared to come downstairs next morning because of this loud 'formal' British voice (Stuart Dickson - CFCY - the “Friendly Voice of the Maritimes”) describing some war incident. :lol:

Ed


Hey Ed. Could you give me some information about growing up in the 40's on the island? I'm doing a grade 12 project and my teacher says it's O.K. to do the 40's instead of the 30's as long as it's someone who grew up here.

How soon do you need it? Reason I ask - If we have a few days I can come up with something - I type with two fingers. :D

Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 8th, 2010, 3:18 am 
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Aryanna wrote:
I spoke with my Great grandfather for a family tree research project and transcribed 86 pages of conversations with him a few years ago. Most of it pertains to my family, but there are a lot of stories wrapped up in there. If you want to contact me with some more specific questions I could probably find the answers or go ask him. He's been starting to go downhill in the past few years and doesn't like to talk as much though, so I'd go through my own research first.


Wow. That is awesome - lucky you.

Phil

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Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 8th, 2010, 12:51 pm 
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windyisle wrote:
- - - Hey Ed. Could you give me some information about growing up in the 40's on the island? I'm doing a grade 12 project and my teacher says it's O.K. to do the 40's instead of the 30's as long as it's someone who grew up here.


Just remembered a piece I wrote a few years ago for a genealogy website I used to have.

Use it, including the pics, if it is of any use to you. I don't think I could come up with much more anyway.

Ed
_______________________________________

Cable Head is located on the north shore of PEI, where it's white sand beaches and rocky cliffs are washed, and often battered, by the waves of the Gulf of St Lawrence. The name comes from a cable that washed ashore from some unlucky ship that was wrecked on one of those rocky reefs.

For days after a storm you could hear the surf crashing onto the rocks from anywhere in the community. My brothers and I spent a lot of time playing with our friends on that shore when I was a kid in the 1940's. Later we worked there, picking Irish moss that we sold for 5 cents per lb after it was spread on the grass to dry for a few days. A feed sack stuffed full brought about $1.00.

We lived on what everyone called the ‘new’ road. Its correct name was the Turret Bell Road, and it was built to facilitate the salvage of a steamship by that name that ran aground there in 1906. This map shows the shoreline, roads, and some of the places that were of interest to me as I grew up there.

Image

This is Cable Head West - the Protestant end of the community. All of the Catholics lived in Cable Head East, which was a separate school district.

Everyone, as far as I could tell, was honest and hard-working because in those days you worked or you didn’t eat. No one locked a door and I never heard of anything ever being stolen.

The people made their living farming or fishing, and some of them, including my parents, did both. When I got to be nine or ten years old I would get to go out in the boat with my father on Saturdays to ‘haul’ the lobster traps. No hydraulic ‘trap haulers’ in those days – it was all done by hand. We literally lived on lobster during the fishing season. I can remember lobsters being so plentiful that hundreds would be washed up on the shore after a bad wind-storm.

Farming was ‘mixed’ in that everyone had a few cattle, pigs, chickens, and laying hens for their eggs. We had our own milk, made our own butter, and had a pig killed each fall for the winter’s meat. No refrigerators (no electricity) so the meat was salted, or if it was late enough in the season, hung up in an outbuilding, on a wire to keep ‘critters’ from getting at it, to freeze by the winter cold. We produced enough eggs, which were sold to the village ‘egg-grading station’ as we called it, to buy the rest of our groceries.

From the time we were ‘big enough’ country kids were expected to do their share of the work. From the age of 8 or 9 our winter jobs were to keep the wood-box full, and at 11 or 12, after school each evening, we let the cattle out to drink at the brook that ran close to the barn. After they drank they’d stand around for a few minutes and then go back into the barn, each into their own stall. Amazing. Then we’d go to the barn loft and put down hay and give the cows and horses their ‘dinner’. We weren’t allowed to water the horses – our father did that.

In summer we were expected to help with the hay and grain harvest, and to pick potatoes. On our farm we grew a ‘rotation’ of potatoes, grain, and hay, but there was always a large plot devoted to turnips, and a large vegetable garden.

My father farmed with horses until about 1947 when one of his cousins who had been ‘overseas’, as we used to say, in WW2 bought a big (for those days) Farmall M tractor and started doing ‘custom’ plowing and cultivating for other farmers. By 1950 almost every farmer had a tractor and ‘horsefarming’ was a thing of the past. The coveted job for a 12 yr old was driving the tractor on slow speed jobs like loading hay or grain onto the wagons.

We didn’t feel exploited. On the contrary, we felt needed and valued, an integral part of the family’s struggle to survive.

By today’s measure, we were poor, but we didn’t know it. We had nothing to compare it to because everyone in the district was ‘in the same boat’. There was always enough to eat and clothes to wear. We kids were warned to ‘go easy’ on our winter boots, however. My mother sent a mail order to Eatons or Sears each spring and fall and you had to make your ‘threads’ last till the next order.

We had fun. From an early age we explored the woodlot, going a bit farther into the dark scary areas as we got older. We built camps, cutting small trees to make wig-wams and covering them with feed sacks ‘stolen’ from the barn, even though we were forbidden to take the axe to the woods. We were also forbidden to light campfires. I clearly remember our attempts to prevent the smoke from being seen by parents and neighbors.

In winter it was skating and hockey. My engineering career started with an attempt to dam the stream by our barn to make a rink. That didn’t work out so well so we spent most of the next summer building a rink in a low spot near the stream, stripping the sod off and piling it around the perimeter for ‘boards’, and rigging up a long wooden trough to transfer water from the stream for flooding it.

There was no electric power in the community, so obviously no electronic entertainment media except the battery powered radio. We listened to NHL hockey, detective stories and comedy shows. It was during the Toronto Maple Leafs’ three-year Stanley Cup winning streak (’47, ’48, and ’49) that I became a Leaf fan.

When we got old enough to want bicycles we had to earn the money. $49.95 from the Eatons catalogue. There was an area of wild blueberries on our farm. We kids picked and sold them, and the Irish moss mentioned above. We picked potatoes for the neighbors for $3.00 per day. We ordered one bicycle and shared it until we got another the next year. When the bike arrived by rail freight it was not assembled, but luckily there were tools included. We got our mechanical career started right there on the railroad station platform, putting the bike together.

Our road did not get snowplowed in the winter, so transportation was by horse drawn sleigh. When we were 12 –13 yrs old, on Saturday nights in the winter after the chores were done and when the weather was fit, a neighbor kid, my next younger brother, and I would walk 5 miles to the village of St. Peters. We’d set up pins in the bowling alley for 5 or 6 games to make a couple of dollars, then bowl a few games, blow the rest of the money on pop and chips, and walk the 5 miles back home. We had the choice of walking in the sleigh tracks, which meant putting one foot precisely in front of the other, in the dark. The alternative was to walk in the horse tracks, which required almost 3 ft long strides. I can remember being so tired I’d have to force myself not to lay down in the snow and go to sleep.

We were privileged to get our formal education in a one-room school, and although it housed Grades 1 to 10, there would only be 10 or 12 kids there at any one time. It had many advantages. We learned the most important lesson of all, which is ‘how to learn’. From that point on one’s progress is not dependant on institutions and teachers, just access to information.

The school had ancient ‘double desks’ that seated two students, and one of the teacher’s constant ‘challenges’ was which students to pair up. Almost every square inch of the desk was ‘carved’ with initials, pictures, and 'graffiti'. I spent considerable time wondering who carved what, and when it was done.

The school didn’t have a pump so the older students took turns carrying water from the nearest neighbor to fill the drinking fountain each day. For winter heat it had a coal stove located in the center of the school. Lucky were the students who happened to be seated near it on cold days. In my grade 10 year I got the job of lighting the fire each morning, supplying my own kindling, and keeping it ‘stoked’ with coal during the day, for which I got paid $75 for the winter. That meant going to school an hour early to get the school warmed up.

There was no ‘indoor plumbing’, just a two-seater outhouse. Winter visits were kept as brief as possible, but in summer I often took a 'break' from the routine boredom by going to the outhouse even if I didn't need to. You could sit and listen to the birds singing and other sounds of the community, or read something interesting from the supply of 'reading material'. 8 or 10 minutes was about the max before they might think there was something wrong and come looking for you.

That school building still exists – as a summer cottage.

Image

The only ‘industry’ in the district was a lobster canning factory that my grandfather and some of his relatives operated for about thirty years, from around 1912 until the early thirties. On the next farm to ours a widow and her son operated a small country store that kept non-perishables like tea, sugar, and ‘baloney’, etc. They also sold the kerosene that we all used in the lamps that lit our homes. Oh, and tobacco and papers to roll your own cigarettes. I think they eventually had ‘ready-mades’ as we called them then.

In the late 40's my brothers and I looked forward to the annual summer visit of these next-door neighbors’ relatives from Boston, who had two kids about our age, 10 - 12 years old. Living in Cable Head in the 40's we were quite isolated from the world, so we were exposed to much new knowledge, some good and some not so good, as we spent the summer playing with these visitors. We learned about movies, television, how to play baseball, and lots of ‘words’ we had never heard before.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 9th, 2010, 9:02 pm 
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Aryanna wrote:
I spoke with my Great grandfather for a family tree research project and transcribed 86 pages of conversations with him a few years ago. Most of it pertains to my family, but there are a lot of stories wrapped up in there. If you want to contact me with some more specific questions I could probably find the answers or go ask him. He's been starting to go downhill in the past few years and doesn't like to talk as much though, so I'd go through my own research first.


one question i have is what kind of chores did he have... also another is what was school like back then?


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 14th, 2010, 7:49 pm 
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Ex-racer thank you so much for posting your story! Reminds me of the stories my Father tells me. He just turned 76 a few days ago. I love to hear him tell me about his childhood.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 15th, 2010, 8:50 pm 
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Molly wrote:
Ex-racer thank you so much for posting your story! Reminds me of the stories my Father tells me. He just turned 76 a few days ago. I love to hear him tell me about his childhood.

Thanks Molly, glad you enjoyed it. Give my regards to your dad.

Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 16th, 2010, 6:43 pm 
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Ex-racer wrote:
Molly wrote:
Ex-racer thank you so much for posting your story! Reminds me of the stories my Father tells me. He just turned 76 a few days ago. I love to hear him tell me about his childhood.

Thanks Molly, glad you enjoyed it. Give my regards to your dad.

Ed


I will do for sure. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 20th, 2010, 9:04 pm 
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Molly wrote:
Ex-racer thank you so much for posting your story! Reminds me of the stories my Father tells me. He just turned 76 a few days ago. I love to hear him tell me about his childhood.


Jeez - that sounds like my childhood. We settled in Glenfinnan in 1960 - and much of what you write was true for me. The only big difference was the type of fishing - oysters spring and fall - tommy cod and smelts once the ice set in. The smelt nets had to be pulled each tide change and it was hard cold miserable work.

As for tractor driving - my son was driving the tractor at 5 (he is now 18) for haying on a farm out there that I often went to after I came home in '89 - I had worked on it as a child and loved the place - so it was natural to go back and work on it again any time I could after '89. My oldest daughter also learned to drive a tractor at 6 - and they would creep thru the field as I tossed the bales from the stooks up and built the load.

We wanted for nothing - mainly I think because we did not know there was anything else. We had lots of meat and fresh (or winter stored) veggies - snared rabbits in winter - and had a huge marsh where we had lots of ducks and geese to shoot or snare in winter.

I will admit a deep hatred for salted pork and hocks now - after a bad winter where that seemed to be the only things in the house for meat.

There were no kids nearby - so any visit of someone with kids was special. We invented our own toys (when we had time to play) - I and each of my brothers had a rubber tire that we would roll for miles. When the rubber tires went on the one bike - we rode it on steel rims until we could afford the buck for a new inner tube and the 2 bucks for the tire.

Local farmers knew we were good workers - and often would show up to get us for a day or more doing harvest or haying or general work. Those were always special days because we were not allowed to have molasses on the table at home ( mom hated the sticky mess) and it was a real thrill to slather a freshly baked slice of bread with real butter and then pour molasses all over it.

As for chores - there was never any end to them. Could go on for hours about them.

People bitch now about a 3 day wind storm - I can remember being holed up in the early '60's for a week or more after a minor snowstorm. One lane traffic from Glenfinnan to Bunbury.

It was fun - exciting - and so different from kids get today.

Phil

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"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them".


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for first hand information about 1930's island life
PostPosted: December 20th, 2010, 11:59 pm 
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philipw wrote:
Molly wrote:
Ex-racer thank you so much for posting your story! Reminds me of the stories my Father tells me. He just turned 76 a few days ago. I love to hear him tell me about his childhood.

- - - we were not allowed to have molasses on the table at home ( mom hated the sticky mess) and it was a real thrill to slather a freshly baked slice of bread with real butter and then pour molasses all over it.- - -

Phil

Had to chuckle when you mentioned molasses. There was a strict rule at home - we could have butter OR molasses on our bread, but not both. Every now and then there would be a special treat - peanut butter, and it's still one of my favorite 'comfort foods'. :lol: :lol:

Ed

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