At the Head of the Bay


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Submitted by David MacCallum - dmacall@isn.net

David passes along the following article - the recollections of his soon - to - be 90 year old aunt, Edith M. McCallum. The article is dated to coincide with her 90th birthday!


AT THE HEAD OF THE BAY

RECOLLECTIONS

EDITH M. McCALLUM
June, 2001

These recollections came to mind while browsing through the book, 1Gone to the Bay. I was born June 22, 1911, at the "Head of the Bay" as the village was then called. The book brings back many fond memories of my childhood years. Juanita Rossiter and all who helped did a fine job in researching and writing this important history of the area.

The photo ( 1p. 283) with me and my classmates at St. Peter's North one-room school house on the Chapel Rd. recalled a life when, rigged for the weather, we went from farm and shore to church and school.

On a day in December, 1917, I vividly remember when the windows in the Baptist church next to our house began to rattle and shake. I was startled and ran indoors. Next day, the Evening Patriot told us about the Halifax explosion.

The verses about the starch factory ( 1p. 152) were written by Wellington MacInnes, likely around the year 1900. Neil MacKay mentioned in the verses was grandfather to Margaret "from away" whom I met at Sunday School. In later years, Margaret, now Mrs Dwelley, has been a summer resident at St. Peter's Bay South.

Wellington was the son of Murdoch MacInnes, the tailor ( 1p. 135), who had made a "reefer" for my father, Eb. He may have worn the navy blue woollen pea jacket to impress his friend Father Alex MacAulay.

Father MacAulay would have been in clerical attire when they met at the line fence in the back field to pass the time of day.

The evening of the day in November, 1918, when we learned that the war was over, Bill Coffin set afire the wreckage of his trading vessel. Seasons earlier, without ballast, it had beached keel up. The hulk made a bonfire that was seen for miles around the Bay.

Earlier, we kids had walked to the Black Bridge to gather bulrushes. Dipped in kerosene, when lit, the tops glowed in the dark. We held high our torches. Some folks sat on pilings of the old wharf and watched the dying embers. When the incoming tide flowed over stones at the water's edge, we left the shore. From across the water was heard the skirl of bagpipes.

In fair weather I followed my older sisters to do outdoor chores. On occasion, we went to Minnie Doyle's ( 1p. 126) for homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Each year when the summer solstice had set in, the sheep were shorn, the wool washed and taken to the mill to come back in skeins of yarn, then knitted into necessary winter garments. As it became more make-do with cottons (flour sacks made good dish towels), there was still the warmth and comfort of wool. Did we value highly enough the sheep and all farm animals?

Recently, my friend Geraldine MacAulay told me of her experiences on the Cardigan Road family farm during the late 1930's and early 1940's. She would be working along with the menfolk at the hay, using pitch forks and coiling the hay toward the centre. Then along came "Rosie the Riveter" and the popular theme for women joining the workforce was to learn the trades for the war effort.

I got my first pair of nylon stockings in the early post war years. At the Toronto Exhibition in 1949, I viewed television for the first time. With the arrival of TV came a greater awareness of events and changes worldwide.

Meanwhile, at the Head of the Bay the tides ebb and flow.

Note: 1 - Referring to Juanita Rossiter's book, "Gone to the Bay, A History of the St. Peters Fire District Area".

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