Letters to the editor
and crashing up against Billard’s Island and the rocks out in the (gut).
In the winter from maybe February to end of March we’d have to watch for drifting ice. Often Petites would be packed with drifting ice. The ice might stay in a day or it could be there a week and no boats would be able to get out on in the harbour—except for Les Tufts, who used to take Petites’ mail across the bay to Harbour le Cou and bring the (incoming mail) back to Petites. If Les Tufts couldn’t get out with the mail, the weather would sure be bad!
I guess most families living in Petites were poor compared to today’s standards but we didn’t know we were poor, because most everybody was in the same situation. Most men went fishing except for the few people who worked for Mr. Newman, who was the businessman and owned the store. And then there was the person who kept the post office, the only person who had a (government job) plus the teacher.
I remember that most of my friends when they went to the shop (store) for groceries, they’d use this little book with a black cover, but I never went to get anything from the shop with such a book and I used to cry because of this! So, Mom or Dad got me the little black book and I was happy for a time. Then one day, I found out what this little black book was really for and no money on earth would ever get me to go to shop with this little black book again! It was a charge account book.
Growing up we didn’t have phones in our homes until sometime in the 1980s. There was a phone in somebody’s home and when a call came in that person would go to the person’s home who had a call and go to where the call came in to get their messages or have a conversation—it was a party line.
Back in time few homes in Petites had sewage and toilets. We had slop buckets and it was the job of the woman of the house to go to the cove each day to (empty) the slop bucket into the sea. I remember when I was maybe six years old my friend Danny and I wanted to go fishing. We dug worms from under rocks, found some old fishing line, found some hooks and went down to my Dad’s wharf to try our hand at fishing. I had the first try and when I flicked the line, I also threw myself overboard. It was low tide and a woman had just finished dumping her slop bucket right when I fell into the water! This was my one and only try at fishing! We had a great childhood in Petites.
I remember the first day I began school. I stood on that large flat rock by the school and watched for the teacher. The teacher’s name was Austin Tylor. There were around 40 or so students in Petites school when I first began school. Then Ray Mager decided his children would go to Port aux Basques to school and he got money from the government to do this. So, after this, everybody decided if Ray could get money to send his children to school, so could they. This is when Petites really began to dwindle because after a child finished school, and maybe went on to other education, they weren’t coming home any more to live. Older people had to pass away.
There was one main store in Petites, Mr. Newman’s, but we had a couple other smaller stores too. And there was even one man who had a store and used to brew homemade beer!
Catherine Dominie Toronto, Ontario