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Page 15 - Remembering St. Paul's Island, Part One

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/7/1 (1465 reads)
 

muscles. There was four or five of us on the oars. The boss was in the stern steer? ing. He was a good one* John M, Campbell. There was just a lightkeeper and a cook for crew. We didn't even have a wireless. We had a cable running to Cape North. And the ice came in and broke it. We were out trying to fix it but we never could. That was the year the Titanic was lost, and we never heard for over a month. In the eve? nings we'd read novels and tell lies. Play cards. And we ate well. The food was perfect. Fresh cod any time you want. Lobsters. Once I got the cook to cook flippers We had a fussy cook you know. I said to the boss one day, I'd like to try a flipper. He said, Well you can go up and ask the cook but I wouldn't. Me and the cook was pretty good friends. I went in and I said • her name was Mrs. MacMillan • Would you mind cooking a flipper for me? What are they like, she says. Smell? Aw, I don't think, I says. All right, she says, I'll try them, and God help you, she says, if they're smelly. After half an hour or so a fellow says go on up now and see what she's like. Jeez, I went in she was lying on the lounge with an apron over her head. I says, How*re you getting on? You fly the hell out of here, you and your darn flip? pers. But we had the flippers. I liked the flippers. They were good, Kate Redmond: People used to tell stories of peo? ple who died on St. Paul's, You see, if you died there you had to wait until summertime to be bur? ied. And there were stories • I don't know if my older sister made them up • that there were money- hunters and they'd dig them up and take the rings off people's hands. There was a funny thing hap? pened when I was very young, I had a younger sis? ter, Marie, She was a very beautiful child. She had golden hair and the most beautiful eyes you ever saw. She looked like an angel. We all sort of worshipped her. Some people told my mother she would never raise her, she was too beautiful. Anyway, she did live, although she was the only one of the family that died. But anyway I remem? ber this night. The night, the moon would shine, you could see the pictures on the wall in the bedroom. It seemed like a brighter moon than we get here. And we were in this great big bedroom. My older sister, Caroline, she slept in one cor? ner. My bed was over in the other corner. And I had my sister Marie with me. And during the night, I felt like there was something in bed with us. And my sister Marie was on the inside, next to the wall. And this thing pushed against Marie and I got over to the edge of the bed and pulled Marie over by me and it kept pressing. And I put my foot do m and it was like a hairy leg. And I'd look around the room and I could see the sky and the pictures on the wall. And I'd whisper Caroline, Caroline • and every time I would say anything this thin' would press harder, I was scared to get out of bed, this thing would jump and catch me. But I was wide awake. And I could hear him breathii'. Queer heavy low breathing. So anyway I put through the night, V/hen I heard mama moving down in the kitchen I beat it downstairs, I told ma? ma. And she moved my bed. Oh, she said, I think you were just imagining. But years afterward, I asked her why she moved it if she didn't believe. Well, she said. There were bad things happened there. And who knows but what some spirit was earthbound. That was ray only experience. But it was so real that I can feel it, feel the shin- bone. The hair on whatever it was legs. One Sunday afternoon • you see there was no minister out there • in the summertime a student minister would come out • mama used to have Sunday school, Sunday afternoon. She'd invite all the people on the island. And they'd read the bible and sing. We had an old fashioned organ. This afternoon after Sunday school we were all sitting around, and the wind sort of opened the front door. It was a beautiful afternoon. And there was the most beautiful music you ever heard. Just like a choir, the voices CAPE BRETC??J SHOPPING PLAZA SYDNEY RIVER • OPEN DAILY 'TIL 10 P. M. IF YOU TAKE AWAY OUR LOW PRICES YOU'VE GOT A REGULAR DEPARTMENT STORE Kate Redmond 'wola DEPARTMENT STORES A Division of the F.W.Woolworth Co Limited X:APE BRETON'S MAGA2INE/15
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