Thrives on solitude
They may have a point. Perhaps, at 89, it’s time for her to let her family take care of her.
No fear of hard work
Mind you, Hussey has no fear of hard work, attributing her long life to “ having courage enough to tackle anything.”
Hussey was born in Hibbs Cove and received her early education at the one-room school. Her teachers were Maggie Morgan and later Phoebe Morgan, both from Blow-Me-Down, Port de Grave.
Hussey’s textbooks were the Royal Readers. She agrees with an educator’s assessment, “Anybody who went through those books got an education.”
In the early 1920s, Hussey’s father Ernest Lear took his family to Labrador because of a scarcity of codfish in Conception Bay.
Hussey finished her education at Batteau, leaving school at 13. Statis- tics Canada later credited her with Grade 10.
By 1943, when she married Max Hussey of Port de Grave, she had spent 16 summers in coastal Labrador with her family, 15 at Batteau and one at Five Islands.
In the late 1970s, Hussey wrote the story of her Labrador life, which was published as “ Our Life on Lear’s Room” in 1981. The third edition is scheduled to be launched on Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre.
According to information provided by her publisher, the author “describes the trip north on the Kyle, setting up the fishing room, the Labradorians, the typical day of a fisherman, curing fish in the fall, the hard life of a young girl cooking for a crew, native skills, folk medicine, making do with little, and ... games and amusements to break up the long days of work.”
Raising family of five
When Hussey’s husband Max died in 1956 at 35 of a heart attack, she was left with five children to raise: Edwin, 12, Maxine, 10, Guy, 7, Rex, 4, and Paul, 23 months.
She had “$ 140 to my name, no insurance and a house not finished,” she says.
She raised her family on what she calls the “ basics. I was brought up to economize and use natural things.” She grew her own vegetables and raised her own hens. “ You could always get a rounder or a fish,” she said. She sewed and mended her chil- drens’ boots. “ That was the kind of life I was used to.”
Her own brood “ liked what I put before them,” Hussey says.
Thrives on solitude
They’ve long since left the hearth, but Hussey’s never lonely, she insists. Even today, she thrives on solitude, recalling the silence she enjoyed in Labrador. “All I saw were the stars and the Northern Lights,” she recalls.
Nor is she bored. She listens to radio, but rarely watches television or reads because of failing eyesight.
Other than what she calls a “touch of angina,” Hussey is in exceptionally good health. Admittedly, she no longer digs her garden or drives her car, but only because she fell and broke her shoulder, hip and arm two years ago.
“I miss being able to go for a short drive,” she says.
She lives with her memories, fondly recalling riding on a box cart and dray, and in a punt, motorboat, sail schooner, steamer, plane, and even submarine.
The self-described “old-fashioned” senior has some advice for young people: “I think a lot of the problems (stem from) a lack of spiritual education when they’re growing up. That makes a lot of difference because they got nothing to hang on to and they go the other way.”
Meanwhile, Hussey has no fears about the future.
“I’m at peace with my family, with my neighbours, and with my God,” she says. “ I suppose that will carry me through.”
Greta Hussey reads little these days because of failing eyesight. However, from time to time she takes out one of her Royal Readers and reads favourite portions.