Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 38 > Page 7 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Page 7 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (1342 reads)

sink?) So the noise of the dishes wouldn't disturb her when she was in the next room, dining room, eating, I saw her one time--the nurse that was with the doctor--she said (to her), "There's tacks in the bottom of your shoes, You're ruining the house, the flooring," And she said, "I see a mark." One day she just lifted her foot like this and looked at the bottom. The nurse gave her a kick, she landed over on the carpet. And so the nurse came down, she told us, "I guess I'm fired. I'm here for 3 years. I'm fired. Do you know what I did?" And we knew what she did--we heard the thump and the row. So she said, "I might as well pack my things." So Doctor came in on the front door at the same time, and he wondered what the commo? tion- -we gave her a cup of tea--she was up? set. Doctor said, "No way am I firing her. You had not the right to go and lift her foot and look." But she let her have a kick. She did dam good. She deserved it. Oh, she did it on Ann, often. In the din? ing room. She said, "I think--look at those little marks there now, Mary Ann." She said, "I believe, to my soul, that your shoes--let me see them." And she'd look, and she wouldn't find a nail in them. She'd just pick her foot like that up, like a horse, and make you show it. • A lot of times the doctor came to the kit? chen, often, and said to us, "Oh now, girls, don't mind her. She gets awful con? trary." We had our suitcase packed 2 or 3 times, going. And he said, "Oh now, listen here, girls, don't you mind. I'm married 30 years. I've put up with it." We were there 9 years. We worked 9 years with that woman. But, as I say, there were beautiful principles in her. When we'd go to the country, she'd get 3 or 4 dozen eggs. And she'd bring them down from the country. And she'd say, "Bring those up to your sister that's married." But the doc? tor put up with hell on earth. However, that was the best 9 years we ever had to? gether, Ann and I. You'd put up with heck, being you were together. And my first wages in New York--not at the doctor'S--the first wages I had when I landed first as a greenhorn, was $50 a month. It was a good money. So that means we could send home. And they were nice to give us clothes and things there, too, what they didn't want. If they had any? thing left over, which would be very good, if they matched at all, many times I'd send it home. Oh yes, they were beautiful people. Oh, I can never say anything else but "Dear America." It was really--it helped my parents. And it helped me. I had my good days there. And we sent the money, paid our fare. Then we had to put the rest of the money home for our parents, 'cause they had a hard time. Papa was a fisherman. And there was no farming. Lost all the ani? mals that year with some poison in the woods. They were really out of--we had to buy a horse, buy a calf. They were very beautiful people (the doc? tor and his wife). There were 4 of us in help. They had a furnace man and a garden man. And my sister was a chambermaid and waitress. That's the one that's in the pic? ture- -we were together all those years. (And would you see other Cape Bretoners, too?) Oh, yes. Visiting, and going to the Cape Breton Club. Oh, I loved dancing. We weren't allowed to have any males in, but all the girls could come, and we could have them a tea and cookie, and whatever we wanted to. Have our own little music in the kitchen. It was a very strict place, but a beautiful, beautiful place. And a good place for young people. Gosh knows, they were strict about your company, very strict. (Were they sort of like parents?) Oh, yeah. The doctor was a real man, yes, he certainly was. I'll never forget him. My sister even--her first child, she called him after him. He sent her a beauti? ful gift, a couple of hundred dollars. (Did most of the 17 • and later it became 28--who were from Mabou, did they all stay up there?) No, not too many. They skitter- skattered--a lot of them came home and got married. Not very many stayed at all. Ex- Connors Office Products Office Supplies Office Furniture NEW & USED Office Machines & Calculators Now Available: TYPEWRITER RENTALS (902)562-7900 386 Charlotte St., Sydney HOURS: Mon-Sat 7 A.M. - 9 P.M., Sun 9 A.M. - 9 P.M. Bonnie Jean Restaurant Home-Cooked Meals with Fresh Vegetables Gift Shop Groceries and Meats On Highway 105 near the Seal Island Bridge (7)
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