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> Issue 38 > Page 11 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Page 11 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (351 reads)

Katie Margaret above fields where she mowed hay. Below: with her sister and mother in New York. Left: with her to get to church today. Honey, which one of us will go with her? Are you tired? And it'll only be half an hour--there'11 be lots of time for golf." They saw us there. Oh, they were beautiful people. (You were saying when your mother got sick and you took her up to New York....) And he wouldn't let her stay up at my sister's that got miarried--the babies were small. He said, "You just put another cot in your room. Keep your mother with us." It cost her not one thing. And she had all the best doctors in the world. He did it, and it cost her nothing. Took Mama for a month up with us. He went himself with her to the highest building, where I wasn't in, after all my 17 years in New York. He took Mama up. He loved Mama. Mama was very bro? ken English--a lot of Gaelic--we'd speak Gaelic. And he saw Mum's painting--Mum was a beautiful painter--he went out and got her stuff to paint. My father was a fisherman. He was a very, very patient man. Mother was cross--she was like me. No flies would stand on Mxxai. She was strict, boy--you got it if you did something bad. But Papa, maybe you'd get the ear, but that was it--he was a very pa? tient man, to his wife. Because I was an awful tomboy. Because I used to be up with Grandpa, I got the knack of it. I was the oldest. And I did the mowing when I was on? ly 10 and 11 years old. Papa was a fisher? man. So I did all the mowing when I was young, with the two horses and the machine. And the raking. And Mum just let me stay out because she knew Papa wasn't used to farming. Grandpa died, her father, so he said, "Move up on the place." And Papa was no--God love him--no farmer whatsoever. For horses and things, you see. But I was the little tomgirl all the time--horseback riding--! couldn't fast enough drive the horse for me. Ooo, I was really bad. Milked cows. Got kicked from a colt, and got kicked from an anything. Got knocked out from the colt. I was on something all the time. And mowing and raking was my work. I did make many a load. Pitch it, too. Pitch it in the wagon. And I'd come home and I'd have to get the pitchfork and put it up in the bam. The horses knew me, see, and I knew their nature. I came home many a time with my thin dress and my petticoat and my underwear and a little skirt I had pn-- there was no such a thing as jeans those days--a hole coming from where I was sit? ting- -you know, the iron seat on the mower. On the 3 pieces of cloth. I saw myself of? ten, and I'd be watching nobody was coming, so I'd get in to change my clothes. I saw it. I saw it all. Oh, I milked and I sheared sheep for lOC a sheep, and I made more holes in her shear? ing than there was wool. There'd be holes. And I'd throw the creoline in the cut with the warm water over her, and she'd cure. But I know there was more holes than wool! And I used to mark the sheep. Oh, I had a hard heart. Papa couldn't. You know, every? body had a sign--there was a V put in one ear. Then the other one, a little bit un? der. And I cut the tail off. I'd just do like that with the knife, very sharp. The little she-sheeps, I'd cut the tail off-- so that when they'd be snubbed, they're much cleaner. But the he-sheeps, we'd leave the tail on so they'd be easy to mark when we were chasing them, and they were heavier. (When you went to sell them?) You'd have a little tail left--that'd weigh half a pound. And then, they were easier to get in the field. And they're (11)
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