Cape Breton's Magazine

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Page 53 - Joe Delaney and His Scarecrows

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1 (2035 reads)

Joe Delaney and His Scarecrows A Conversation at St. Joseph du Moine with Rosie Aucoin Grace Photographs by Daniel Aucoin and Cape Breton's Magazine Joe Delaney: I was born in 1916. the 12th of July. And about in 1922--in those days times were get? ting pretty good in the States. where down here the times weren't that good. So a lot of people from this area, from St. Joseph du Moine and Cheti? camp and the Margaree ar? ea- -well, as far as we could say. Cape Bretoners --a lot of them went to the United States. A lot of them landed in Massa? chusetts . So we were there for 10 years. We went there in '22, because we came back in 1932. I was only 15 or 16 years old. Well, I was the oldest of the family of seven. And my father says, "The others are going to go to school, but you'll have to stay home and help me." Because when he came home from the States, he landed here, no home. Everybody had a barn, you know, doing a little farming. So, no house, no barn, no nothing. So he had to start all over from scratch, like we say.... Probably some of you people are probably asking yourself, "Well, how come did he come home?" Well now, that was what they call at the time of the Crash--1929. That was when the Depression struck. And then up until--well, till 1932 a lot of people were having a hard time on--we'd call it welfare. They were going to the city for an order in order to be able to eat and all that. And then from there on, well, I stayed home with my father. Then we started, we worked in the pulp wood. I did labouring, a little bit of fishing, a little bit of everything. I'm not a jack-of-all-trades, like they say, but do this, do that, in order to make a dollar. As the oldtimers will remember, from 1932 on till the war broke out, times were pretty hard. And then after that, it picked up. I was a school janitor for 27 years. I started in 1958, retired in 1984. St. Jo? seph du Moine Consolidated School down here. I quit in '84. The school only went for about 3 or 4 years after that. But anyway, in '84, not knowing what to do, I had a piece of land over at Cap Le- Moine, and it was getting to be--not bushy, or bushland, but pretty close to it. There were all kinds of spruce trees and rubbish, trucks. And it was right along the Cabot Trail. So I said to my? self, "Look, Joe boy, the first thing you know, you're going to have a woodlot over there on that piece of land." And there was about 12 acres, you know, of frontage there. So, my two boys had come home from Toron? to. I knew I'd have to feed them. They were home on vacation for a month. So, seeing as I'd have to feed them, I said to myself, I'd better put them to work. Be? cause at night they'll be out timing--go here and go there, you know, parties and all that. Instead of sleeping in the day? time, I wanted them to give me a help over there in cutting the trees and all that, plowing the land and pick up the rocks and
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