Let­ters to the ed­i­tor

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - EDITORIAL -

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

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