Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 25 > Page 2 - With Margaret MacDonald of Glace Bay

Page 2 - With Margaret MacDonald of Glace Bay

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/6/1 (1249 reads)
 

worked hard all her life. 50 dollars a month in 1952. (That's a knockout.) That's a knockout is right. April the 28th, 1952, 50 dollars a month was what my father's life was worth. Not another cent. When Dad was killed, we got his two pay- cheques. He worked Friday, Monday, Tues? day, Wednesday, and Thursday--well, that was the pay he would get the next week. And then he worked Friday and the day he was killed. 1952, mind you. Got the two paycheques together. One full week, 50 dollars and some cents--and off of- that was hospital and doctor and coal and church and all this stuff, till it came down to 30-some dollars. And the two days was about 22 dollars--they didn't take the off-tax off those two days. That's what a man is worth after working from the time he was 13 years old till he was 62--which is 49 years in the pit. They put a price on him. Exactly 50 dollars a month. And this was 1952. The war was over and times were good. This was prosperity. Margaret: I promptly went to the sewing machine and I started sewing and dress? making, doing alterations for the stores-- I just went to work. Anna: Of course, we kids were all married when Dad died. (But as a child, did you think of accidents?) The only life my fa? ther knew was the pit. That's where he was happy. You take him out of there and he'd be dead. It was his life. He loved it. He had all his friends and all his buddies and he wouldn't miss a day, by god, he could drag himself there at all. He loved it. He was never unhappy in the pit, was he, Ma? Margaret: No, he loved it. Anna: Leave here at 4 o'clock in the morn? ing and walk from here out to 24, which is out near the Glace Bay Lake. You know where the heavy water plant is--well, a- cross the bay from there. There's where he walked, every day. He went underground-- probably walked a couple of miles under? ground. Then walked back at the end of the day, came up, showered and changed and walked from 24 home. Later on, there were buses. He'd get off the bus in town and he'd bring my kids something in his pit can from the pit man. Gum or candy or pop. Said, this is what the pit man put in his can for them. But he'd be the pit man, really. But we never lived with death as a possi? bility. We loved our father dearly, and we never thought he'd go down there and be killed. We never thought of that. He was out and he was grubbing a living as best he could for us. We were good to him. We thought the world of him. But we never dwelt on the fact that he might be killed. Because you can be killed walking along the street. (It's interesting when someone not in? volved tries to imagine how you'll feel, how wrong I can be.) You are wrong. My father loved the pit. If he wasn't working, he was talking about MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF CAPE BRETON COUNTY Welcomes everyone to take part in celebrating COUNTY DAYS the whole month of July Watch for listings of events. "County Days" is coordinated by the Recreation Commission. Let's celebrate "County Days" together. Warden&Councillors KENTVILLE PUBLISHING COMPANY Limited PRINTING DIVISION P.O. Box 430, Kentville, N.S. B4N 3X4 (902) 678-2121 (2)
Cape Breton's Magazine
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