Ada Billard was born to Catherine and Thomas Ingram on July 1, 1925 in Margaree, Newfoundland. Ada lived in Margaree all of her life.
Ada's parents lived on the Southwest coast all their lives. Together they had three children. Ada's father fished for a living and her mother was a homemaker. Ada was one of the three children. Her father owned his own fishing boat and he caught codfish and lobster. He fished around the Margaree area and some fish was dried for their own use.
Ada's parents grew their own vegetables. There was no electricity so they used kerosene lamps for lights. They never had any running water so they used a washtub to bathe in and a pail was used for a toilet. They would get their water from Carter's Pond that was located in the community of Margaree.
Houses were not furnished with fancy furniture in Ada's parents' days. Ada can remember that their house had a homemade couch in the kitchen. The meals consisted of foods such as fish, birds, and caribou. There was one telephone in Margaree. There was a mail service in Margaree as well. If someone got sick there was no doctor available. They would have to travel to the nearest doctor or the doctor would have to come to them.
As a child Ada did not do much for fun. She had a lot of chores to do around the house. She would scrub floors and clean. She started making bread when she was old enough to stand on a stool. Sometimes Ada would look after the barns. She learned to spin wool at the age of fourteen. She went to an Anglican Church regularly. They had teachers for lay readers. Ada went to school until grade eight or nine. It was a one-room school. School was not considered as important then as it is today.
Christmas was a joyful time of the year for Ada when she was a child. She would get gifts such as a cradle, doll, stockings, apples and oranges. Ada took part in the famous Newfoundland tradition of mummering.
At the age of fifteen, Ada went to work as a serving girl. She made ten dollars a month working for a family. She did this for a couple of years. Her duties consisted of chores such as cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, etc.
During the depression Ada's family received some assistance. They received stamps for tea and brown flour. During WWII Ada was a bit scared because submarines were around the area. She contributed to the war effort by knitting and sewing for the Red Cross. She also sent soaps and toothbrushes to the men in the war. She was a member of the Women's Patriotic Association (WPA).
Ada married her husband, Gord at the age of nineteen. Gord worked as a fisherman and he also worked at the fish plant. When he worked at first he would receive his pay in the form of "stamps". These stamps would be used to purchase items needed for the family. Ada worked for two years at a restaurant in Margaree.
Together, Ada and Gord had three children. Two were born at home in Margaree with the aid of a doctor and a nurse. The third child was born at a friend's home in Port aux Basques. As a wife and mother, Ada did everything around the house that needed to be done. She would cook, clean, wash clothes, make clothing, and look after the children.
Ada says if she could change anything about her life she would have had more fun in her life. While everyone else was out having fun she was working either at her home or out doing things like making hay. Ada feels it was harder when she was growing up as compared to women today. "There was a lot more work to be done back then and it all had to be done by hand. There is a big change from back then to the way things are today."
11 June 2003
Codroy Valley, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Alma Hilliard has lived on the Southwest coast of Newfoundland all her life. She now resides in her home in Cape Anguille, Newfoundland.
Alma's parents lived on the Southwest coast all their lives. They had twelve children together. Alma says, "We weren't poor and we weren't rich." Her father was a part time farmer and a part time fisherman. The family was considered to be average. Alma's mother was a homemaker but she also worked on the farm. She would milk the cows, and work outside. She made butter by milking the cows, separating the milk and the cream, and then she would make the butter in a churn. Sometimes she would do it with a plumper. Sometimes she would do it by hand. Alma's parents raised their own cattle and they had lots of fish because Alma's father was a fisherman as well as a farmer. They lived in a two-story house, which still stands today. The house had a woodstove for heat and kerosene lamps for light. Wood for the woodstove would have to be cut with a buck saw. They did not have a bathtub or a toilet instead they had an outhouse for a toilet and a washtub to bathe in. The house was furnished with a daybed (couch), and a table and chair set. Alma's mother made most of the family's clothing with materials she would buy at the store. She also would spin her own wool on the spinning wheel. She would wash the clothing in a washtub on the scrubboard. They would get the water from the brook in buckets. If someone got sick, there was no doctor around. The closest doctor was in Port aux Basques. The lighthouse keeper, Mr. Patry, owned the first car that came to the area.
As a child, there was not much for Alma to do. She would go for walks, or go to a friend's house. As a teenager, Alma enjoyed going out to dances and things like that. Alma's daily household chores were to milk the cows, help in the house, cook, help do the washing, and help in the fields using ordinary tools. They would use hand rakes, pitchforks, and other tools like that. Alma went to the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The minister that would hold the services was from Port aux Basques. He would walk up from Port aux Basques and someone would pick him up in Doyle's in a horse and buggy or a horse and sleigh. Alma attended school until grade eight. Then she became ill and had to come out. "I guess there were about thirty students in each class." Alma feels that school was considered important but not as important as it is today. "A lot of people back then didn't want much education, but they still made a living."
For Christmas Alma would get mitts, socks, sweaters, or some kind of a piece of clothing. There was not any turkey back then so the Christmas dinner would consist of roast beef or roast pork. Alma took part in the famous Newfoundland tradition of mummering.
Alma had two brothers in World War II. Alma's mother would contribute to the war effort. She would knit sock and mitts, and bake cakes to send to the soldiers. Alma tells us the sinking of the old Caribou did not really affect anyone close to her. "I guess it really affected everyone in a way."
Alma married her husband fifty-three years ago, in August, at the age of nineteen. "He worked at different projects," Alma says. He worked at the Bowater's and he worked as a fisherman. When he fished, he would operate someone else fishing equipment, working for someone else, catching codfish. To prepare the fish to eat, Alma and her husband would have to clean and skin it. They would cook it by either stuffing and baking it, frying it, or boiling it.
Alma and her husband also grew their own vegetables and had sheep. They grew carrots, turnips, cabbage, and potatoes. Therefore, they always had lots to eat. Alma's daily household chores would consist of getting the children up and ready for school, do the work around the house that had to be done such as cleaning and cooking, and taking the horse out and watering it. Alma worked with the fish plant as a trimmer for nine and one-half years. Being a trimmer Alma would have to trim the codfish. Alma and her husband had six children together. She had three children at home and three children in the hospital. Some of the children were born by a nurse and some were born by a doctor. Alma tells us that a lot of the time she found it hard to raise a family. One home remedy that Alma remembers using was to rub goose grease or Vicks on someone's chest for a cold. Alma has travelled to the mainland several times during her life.
Alma says she would not change anything about her life. She feels that women growing up today have it a lot easier than growing up when she did because women today has so many modern conveniences. She also feels it is harder raising children today than it was in her day. "There is more going on today like drugs. Alcohol was not used like it is today. Kids got more freedom, more than what we had back then." Alma also feels there are more women in the workforce today than back in her day. "And it's a good thing too," Alma says. Alma says she have seen a change because of the Canadian National Railway (CNR). She has seen the changes with the train, which is not offered to the area she lives in anymore. "Now there are buses and I don't think that it is so good as what the trains were, not for me anyways." Alma's most memorable experience of growing up on the Southwest coast of Newfoundland was all the friends and family, who made living there a wonderful life.
Annie Buckland was born on February 2, 1926 to her parents, George and Katherine Strickland of Rose Blanche, Newfoundland. Annie grew up in a fairly large family. There were nine children, four girls and five boys.
George Strickland lived in Rose Blanche his whole life and fished for a living. George owned his own boat, which was called the "Danny Katherine". They only fished for cod in those days says Annie. She remembers that fish was sold for three cents a pound then. Annie recalls when her father came home one day after talking to Mr. Chislett, who was in Newfoundland from Canada. Annie's father was very excited because Mr. Chislett was going to open a fish plant, General Seafood's, and fish was going to be three cents a pound "and now it's eighty." The fish that was caught would be dried, boiled, stewed and baked to eat. George also went sword fishing in Cape Breton. While there he would bring home some supplies such as beans and peas for the winter. Annie says that her father was also a good carpenter. His wife, Katherine, who also lived in Rose Blanche her whole life, was a homemaker. Annie isn't really sure whether or not her mother helped her father with the fishery. She says that if she did the only thing she remembers a woman doing back then was helping with the spreading of the salted fish on the flakes for drying.
The sea was a great provider for the people of Newfoundland but it also claimed many lives. Annie's brother Dan drowned while fishing and she also recalls the Monica Hartery shipwreck. Annie was only seven years old when the Monica Hartery went down. "I remember it. I was very young but I remember it." The ship ran ashore near the fog whistle. Annie says she can remember the bodies being brought up to the lodge. There is a passage in memory of the wreck down by the Rose Blanche Lighthouse. The ship ran aground on December 24, 1933. Captain Alexander Keeping, age 28, Albert Neil, age 32, William Strickland, age 28, and Samuel Rideout, age 34, and all others aboard lost their lives.
Annie's mother died at the young age of thirty-nine. Annie was only nine at the time and remembers that she, along with her brothers and sisters, had to do all of the chores around the house that needed to be done like the washing, dishes, peeling potatoes, making the beds and running errands. Everything that had to be done, she says they did "anything that we could do to help." Another of their chores as children was to pick the fish off the flakes in the evenings when they would come out of school. Annie also remembers carding wool for her mother. Katherine would buy the wool by the pound, Annie and her siblings would card the wool, and their mother would spin it into yarn on the spinning wheel.
Annie's mother didn't make clothes but her older sister did. Her sister was sixteen at the time and would do the sewing for the whole family. "You were able to buy nice material for fairly cheap back then from grocery stores," says Annie. The clothes were washed on a washboard in a washtub. Annie remembers that they would use sunlight soap and P & G soap. Annie's mother never made lye soap but when she married and moved to Harbour Le Cou she remembers her mother-in-law gathering up old fat, lye and some other things to make lye soap.
Although Annie's parents did not raise any animals or grow any vegetables, they always had fresh meat and vegetables because her grandmother grew vegetables and raised cows, pigs and sheep. Annie's family always lived near her grandparents. Annie was very close to her grandparents; they were a close-knit family. Annie remembers that her Grandfather Dolomount use to refine cod liver oil. He would buy the cod livers from the fishermen and he use to do the refining in his liver house. Annie remembers going to this liver house where there were big boilers full of cod liver oil. She remembers the liver house being very clean. She also remembers some people coming into the liver house, dipping into the cod liver oil boilers with dippers and tasting the oil. She says that she would never taste it. Besides her grandfather refining cod liver oil, another job he had was to look after the coastal boats. Whenever the coastal boat would arrive at the wharf, her grandfather would be there to make sure that the boat was looked after. He would handle all the freight coming off the coastal boat and he had to see that the freight was put into the government store. This is a job that he did for many years. No matter what time the boat came to the wharf, whether it be day or night, he would have to be there to take care of it.
The house that Annie grew up in was a two-story house with four bedrooms upstairs. The house also had a pantry, living room, kitchen and porch. Annie's parent's home was furnished with bought furnishings like a sideboard in the front room, a couch, beds and bureau in their bedrooms. Two coal stoves; one upstairs and one down heated the house. Annie's father would go fishing in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, every year and would bring back his own coal. The house was lit with kerosene lamps. There was no running water so water had to be brought to the house in pails from the well. The water barrel would be filled daily. They would bathe in a washing tub and slop pails and chamber pots were used for toilets. In the summer time, Annie says with a chuckle, they were always swimming so they didn't have to worry about bathing. "It all seems like a dream now."
When Annie was a child, they ate many of the same foods that Newfoundlanders eat today. They had boiled dinners, soups and fish. They didn't have much meat because they had no refrigeration to keep it. Annie's grandfather would give them fresh meat whenever he would slaughter a cow, sheep or a pig. Annie recalls that they always had baked beans or pea soup on Saturdays. There were a lot of little stores in Rose Blanche in which to buy groceries says Annie. "They paid by cash but charged it at first. Every week or every couple of weeks they'd pay it."
Annie says that she knows there was a doctor in Rose Blanche when she was born because she was told that there was. He stayed in Rose Blanche but Annie doesn't know for how long. There isn't a doctor stationed in Rose Blanche now though. Residents of that area have to go to Port aux Basques to see one. There wasn't a hospital in Port aux Basques when she was growing up. When Annie and her siblings would get a cold as children, her mother would make 'molasses wicks' for them. To make these molasses candies, molasses would be boiled then twisted into long pieces and allowed to get hard. Annie also remembers bread poultices being used for different things.
There was always a post office in Rose Blanche says Annie. "The mail came by coastal boat. We would ask for our mail at the wicket." One of the other few conveniences that Annie remembers being in the area, was telephones. Annie had an Aunt Annie that lived on Caines Island. She had a telephone in her home and Annie remembers there was one other home "down the point" that had one as well.
There was always something to do for fun when Annie was a child. "Kids today are bored. There was always something to do then," she says. "We didn't know the meaning of bored. We never wanted to be called in because we'd have work to do. When we were outside we were always happy. Every one had to work then." Some of the things that they would do for fun were sliding and skating in the winter. In the summer they would swim, play games, go berry picking and spend hours over by the lighthouse. They would never come home directly after school she says, they would stay up there for hours playing. "We always had a happy growing up."
Annie attended an Anglican church as a child and still does to this day. There was only one church in Rose Blanche she says. She can't recall a time when they didn't have a full-time minister in Rose Blanche. "We used to have ministers out from England in those days."
St. Michael's All Angels was the school that Annie attended in Rose Blanche. She attended school until grade ten. There were about ten children in her grade and about forty in each classroom. "I don't know that for sure dear." St. Michael's All Angels was a three-room school. Annie said school was important to her but she knows that it wasn't to a lot of people. "I know lots of kids never went to school but all of us were always made to go." Annie remembers that there were slates used earlier to write on in school but she never had to use those, she used scribblers, which were notebooks of rough paper, which were lined. After leaving school Annie worked at a local store in Rose Blanche for a while and she also worked at a Simpson Sears store in Halifax as a Mail Filing Supervisor before she was married.
Christmas time was a wonderful time of year for Annie although they didn't get very much in the way of gifts. Annie remembers getting a little doll from her grandmother and says that the boys would get things like mouth organs and whistle pipes. The girls would get hair bands and some little piece of clothes. "Not many toys." Christmas was a more festive and family oriented time back then. "People really enjoyed Christmas. They would be baking things, and everybody had rum for Christmas. Christmas was a very big thing, even more than it is today." There was more gathering together of family and the community then. "I remember having a lot of people in our house, not only at Christmas but all the time."
The Christmas meal in the Strickland household would consist of a roast or something like that. Annie cannot remember having chicken. "We had roast and boiled dinner. Beef or pork." She can't recall any food that she would see more during the holiday than any other time. Although going mummering was a popular Christmas tradition, Annie never liked participating. "People went all out for that when I was young. I'd rather stand and watch the mummers than dress up myself! That was the real thing every Christmas, was the mummering. That's all gone out now. In some places they still do a lot of it, down the coast and that."
As Annie got older, she attended dances in Rose Blanche. They always had a lot of dances at the lodge there. "We loved that." Annie said with a smile.
Annie says that she assumes that everyone had been affected by the Depression but it was more or less over by the time she was born. Annie had an uncle in World War I and she and her family knit socks to send overseas in aid of the war effort. "A lot of people did that in them days."
The Second World War also affected Annie, as it did many people in the area, when the old Caribou was sunk. "I had a distant cousin who lost his wife and kids on there. William Strickland from Rose Blanche." She was working at the store at that time and knew some of the people that died in the tragedy.
In 1948 at the age of twenty-three, Annie married John Buckland. Annie met John, affectionately known as Jack, at dances in Rose Blanche. He and other young people would come to Rose Blanche from Harbour Le Cou, a nearby community, for dances and other social gatherings. Annie and Jack were married in the Anglican Church in Rose Blanche by Reverend Parish.
Jack was a fisherman, like many people in the area, but he also took tourists around the area. "He took moose hunters, from the United States, around." While he was working, Annie did the same chores she had done as a child, in her own home as well as raising their two boys. Both Annie's boys were born in hospitals by doctors. One was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and the other was born in the Port aux Basques hospital. Annie never took part in the fishing aspect of Jack's work but she did cook for the American tourists that Jack guided as well as her own family. "In those days we didn't do that, now a days woman goes fishing."
The day-to-day way of life didn't change much for Annie after marriage. They still bought groceries from a store and paid the same way as her parents did. Jack and Annie got their groceries from Harry Horwood's store in Harbour Le Cou. Once the roads went through, they would go to Port aux Basques for groceries as well. Jack kept a garden after they were married, where he grew cabbages, potatoes and other things but Annie herself "was never one for gardening." She did a lot of knitting but didn't sew any clothes for herself or her children.
After Annie was married, there was a doctor in the Rose Blanche, Harbour Le Cou area but only for a short while. The hospital in Port aux Basques opened in 1952 so there was a hospital not too far away. "That was the first hospital we ever knew about." Annie says.
Annie, Jack and their two boys lived in a two-story house that was furnished much the same way as the house that Annie grew up in. Annie still resides in that home and has lived there for 52 years. Two of the conveniences that Annie got after marriage were refrigeration and telephones. Telephones existed in the community before that time but only certain people had them. Annie and Jack got one in their home when nearly everyone else in the community did.
Annie says that she doesn't think she would change anything about her life. "I was always happy growing up. I know of people that were a lot poorer than we were." Life was harder back then than it is for women today. "They've got it so easy today but we had to work really hard. I don't think women today would be happy to have to work the way we did."
Annie got as far as grade ten in her schooling and says that she feels she did very well for what education she received; "I worked in Simpson's and I did really well. I was the mail filing supervisor there and wherever I went seemed like I done really good with the education I had." College wasn't talked about in those days she says because there wasn't enough money to think of such things. "I think grade ten then was better than what they gets in grade ten today especially math and those things."
Things are quite different today for women in Annie's opinion. "Women do everything today. Then a woman's place was in the home. They all have jobs, making their own money, things like that." When Annie was young, women were homemakers and if you were looking for your mother chances are you'd find her at home. "Go look for your mother now and you don't know where she is." Annie laughs.
Bernice Gillis, date of birth: December 21, 1927
11 June 2003
Codroy Valley, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Bernice Gillis was born on December 21st, 1927 in the Codroy Valley, located on the Southwest coast of Newfoundland. Bernice has lived in the Codroy Valley all her life and still resides there in her own home.
Bernice's parents had lived on the Southwest coast all of their lives. Bernice's father was a farmer and her mother worked at the post office. They made a good living and were considered an average family. Bernice's father would catch codfish to sell. The fish that was eaten was prepared by being salted, dried, or pickled. Bernice's mother did housework when her husband was fishing but she didn't have a lot of time to do anything because she was working at the post office. Bernice's parents had a telephone. It was a crank telephone on the wall that would ring a certain many times for a certain house.
As a child Bernice would go outside in boat, row over to the island, and go swimming for fun. They would have dances at the hall back then for fun as well. Bernice's dad would play the accordion. Bernice attended an Anglican Church. There was no minister in the Codroy Valley, so a minister would walk to the Codroy Valley from Port Aux Basques. Bernice went to school until she was in grade eight. "The way it was when I went to school was you go if you like, or you stayed out if you liked. That what happened to me, I quit and I didn't go back. Today it is compulsory to go."
As a child Bernice would get things like dolls and dishes for Christmas. Bernice would take part in the famous Christmas tradition of mummering.
Bernice can remember that during World War II they were put on rations. "We could only get a certain amount of certain items. Bernice tells us that she had two uncles in the war. Bernice's family contributed to the war effort overseas by sending socks and other items.
Bernice married her husband when she was almost eighteen years old. They got married by a priest because Bernice's husband was a Roman Catholic. They had nine children, seven born at home and two born in the hospital. A doctor helped born some of the children and some were born with just a midwife. Bernice's husband worked at the Cape Anguille lighthouse and then he worked with the Power Commission. Bernice worked at the Chignic Lodge for two dollars a day wiping off tables and cleaning. Bernice and her husband grew potatoes, turnip, carrots, beets, and onions. They also raised pigs, sheep, and hens. Bernice's daily household chores would consist of getting the children ready for school, cleaning the floors on her hands and knees, cooking, making bread, and looking after the animals.
There were no heats or light back then so Bernice would use kerosene lamps for light and oil and woodstoves for heat. There was no running water so water was brought in the house in buckets. Bernice and her husband had an outdoor toilet until electricity came through and then they got an indoor toilet. They used a washtub to bathe in which was not very big. "You would stand up into it because it was too small to sit in." Bernice tells us that they ate a lot better back then than what they do now. They would buy their groceries at the local store, paying with cash. If someone got sick there was not a doctor available in the Codroy Valley but there was a doctor in Port aux Basques. There were midwives in the Valley but if someone needed a doctor, he would come up from Port aux Basques. Bernice did not find it hard raising a family even though her husband died when her youngest child was two years old.
Bernice's most memorial experience of growing up on the Southwest coast of Newfoundland was the fun they would have when they would have dances in the Codroy Valley. Bernice also tells us that she would not change anything about her life because she was content with the way her life was.
Bernice feels that it is easier for women growing up today than it was for her when she grew up. "Women got nothing to do today, put a little clothes in the washer and let it go. They only got to vacuum over the floors, we had to get down and scrub a white floor and wash clothes on the old washboard and bring water from the brook."
Bernice Gillis with a group of friends
11 June 2003
Codroy Valley, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Bernice as a young woman with a group of friends.
Carmella Skeard, date of birth: January 4, 1922
17 June 2003
Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Carmella Skeard was born on January 4, 1922 in Curling, on the West Coast of Newfoundland. Curling is a community located near the city of Corner Brook. Her parents were Elizabeth Gallant and William Lynch. William was a resident of Curling all his life and Elizabeth was originally from Sandy Point. William worked on the paper boats that sailed from Corner Brook with cargos of newsprint. Corner Brook is the site of a large pulp and paper mill that has been in operation since the 1920's. William worked a shift that included one month on and two weeks off. He traveled from Corner Brook to ports as far away as London, England. Elizabeth was a housewife who looked after the home and her fifteen children while her husband worked.
The most memorable experience that Carmella had growing up was the disappearance of her brother. He climbed aboard a ship that was at port in Corner Brook and ran away to sea. This move was in character for him because he always had a love of the sea and ships. Carmella did not hear from her brother again until twenty-five years later. He had settled in New Zealand, had a family and three children. His family moved back to Corner Brook to live for a while. They ended up returning to New Zealand because the climate of Newfoundland was too cold for their taste.
The family supplemented their income by raising animals and growing vegetables. The family grew cabbage, tomatoes, turnips, onions, potatoes, and carrots. The family also had an orchid with apples, plums and green gauges. (A green gauge is a form of a plum with a green skin.) They also raised pigs, cows and goats. The goats were raised as a source of milk for the family. Carmella did not help with the barn work because it was boys' work. All the children would have to help in the fields after school. All the work was done by hand using a rake and a spade. Carmella helped the family make hay in the summer for use as feed for the animals in the wintertime. One of Carmella's memories from her childhood was when her mother sent her to get a quart of goats' milk. The goat kicked her and knocked her down spilling the milk. Carmella still hates that goat for what it did to her. Her mother, Elizabeth would make clothes for the family.
The family never missed Mass on Sunday at the local Roman Catholic Church. The church had a full time priest named Father Broadbent stationed there. Carmella attended the local school in Curling up until grade nine. The school had more than one room with some classes being doubled up in the same room. Carmella used a pencil and a scribbler at school. She played ball, hopscotch, and other children's games after school. After she finished school, Carmella worked in Buchans for a family as a serving girl. Medical care was available for the people of the area. Dr. O'Connell was the local doctor in Corner Brook and surrounding areas. Carmella and her family used to get their mail at the local post office in Curling. Curling was ahead of many communities in Newfoundland because it had electricity. Corner Brook and the surrounding area had electricity provided by the local pulp and paper mill.
Carmella got married to Ivan Skeard when she was twenty-three years old by the local priest in Curling. The two of them had met while he was working on the paper carriers there. Ivan was a jack-of-all-trades and worked at a number of jobs throughout the course of his life. He worked as a sailor, a diver and he worked with the Canadian National Railway. Ivan also worked with the Merchant Marines during World War II. They moved around a fair bit over the course of their marriage. They first lived in Corner Brook when they got married and then they moved to Port aux Basques. From Port aux Basques they moved to Tompkins in the Codroy Valley. Carmella moved to Port aux Basques two weeks before electricity came through in the late 1940's.
They had a family consisting of two boys and two girls. They also raised two other children that were relatives of theirs. Her children were born at a hospital complete with a doctor and a nurse. Carmella remembered that it was not hard raising her children. Her family was small compared to some of those in the area.
Carmella remembered that Christmas was beautiful when she had her children at home. The children would get a toy and one other thing as a gift. The children did not get all the material things that children do today. Christmas dinner consisted of an oven roasted duck or chicken. One special event at Christmas for Carmella was mummering or as she called it "Johnnying." They use to go out every night johnnying during Christmas. She went out with her sister one night and they ended up going to the local priest's home. He asked if they drank and they acted like they didn't know what he meant. He played along and ended up setting the table for them. When they left that night Carmella made snow angels outside his home as a form of mischief. The priest recognized Carmella the next day when she was at a church function because of her small stature.
Carmella traveled extensively to the mainland by car visiting relatives. She traveled to Montreal, New York, Saskatchewan, Halifax and many of the surrounding communities of Halifax. Looking back on her life Carmella would not change anything. She feels that Port aux Basques hasn't changed all that much since she first came here. "The only thing that has changed greatly is the people that live here."
A fifty year old brush and comb set given to Carmella Skeard by her husband.
17 June 2003
Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
A fifty year old comb set given to Carmella Skeard by her husband.
Charlotte Strickland was born 1921 in Cul-de-Sac, a resettled community on the South coast of Newfoundland. At eighty-two years old she currently resides in Port aux Basques at the Mountain Hope Manor.
Her parents Catherine and George Spencer lived in Cul-de-Sac all their lives. Her father was a fisherman and her mother was a homemaker. Her father fished cod and owned his own fishing equipment.
Charlotte lived in a large house. Her chores included scrubbing the floors, and bringing the water in buckets from the well. They had a washtub and a washboard for washing clothes. They would always use sunlight soap. There were kerosene lamps for light that had to be cleaned every night, wood to be chopped for the woodstove that was used to heat the house. They also had a coal stove for heating and would also card wool but they wouldn't spin it. She would dry the fish her father caught. The fish would be dried so you would be able to keep it. They used to boil, bake and fry the fish to eat. Charlotte loved fish fried with pork fat and onions.
Charlotte went to an Anglican church, whenever she could. She went to school, but it wasn't considered important, so she would just go to school when she wanted to. She did finish her grade four. She remembers that there were only seven or eight children in her class. Charlotte played a lot of games when she was a child. Hopscotch was one of them.
Charlotte didn't get much for Christmas, maybe a doll. She remembers that there were all kinds of different cakes to eat during Christmas. She enjoyed mummering.
Charlotte can't remember much about the depression, but she does know that her family was affected by the depression, and that it was a hard time for them all. She did know some people who went overseas during the Second World War.
When Charlotte was seventeen she moved up to Rose Blanche as a servant girl, this is how she met her husband. As a servant girl, she had to do everything around the house and she got paid three dollars a month.
Charlotte got married when she was eighteen years old to Clem Strickland who was working for the Canadian National Railway. Together they had two children that were born at home by a midwife. She never found raising her family difficult because her husband had a good job with the Canadian National Railway. When her husband was away at work she took care of the kids, fed her chickens and tended to her vegetable garden. She grew corn, potatoes and carrots. They never went hungry. They always had good food to eat.
Charlotte used to make her own clothing. She would go to a store and buy cotton to make dresses with it. There was always a doctor and a nurse available when someone got sick.
If Charlotte could change anything in her life, she wishes she could have lived in Port aux Basques. She thinks women have it easier today. They don't have to do anything the hard way.
Chris MacDonald, date of birth: July 14, 1928
12 August 2003
Burnt Islands, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada