Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 42 > Page 9 - Lexie O'Hare Went to Boston

Page 9 - Lexie O'Hare Went to Boston

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (329 reads)

as capons. (Learned to sort of fix them?) Yeah. Then you put those in different pens and you feed them all they want to eat, and they put on meat, and you sell them as capons. I went into the lumbering woods one winter, (another) sister and I, in 1918, and we cooked for a crew of 40 men. Her husband worked for the Draper Company, the woolen mills people, way down in Maine. And of course we had a tent, boarded up so high, and a stove and water and everything in it. The men had their bunks a little distance from there. And war was on, the First World War. And of course, the men were all enlisting. It was hard to get cooks in the woods. My sister would rather go in and cook--her husband was there--than be alone?? They didn't have children. He had charge of all the doings, the men, where they worked and everything. They were cutting the lumber, and he'd dam a brook. Sometimes the logs would pile up near our camp where we were doing the cook? ing and taking care. And quite often we'd go out--we had our camp dogs, you know-- and all you had to move was one log some? times, it was holding up the whole pile. I'd get out there, move a log, and then of course we'd move one or two--that let the others all go through--and they ran down to the Penobscot River. Then the men took them from there and ran them down to Ban? gor, where they were shipped off. The riv? er drive. We had telephones in the woods, and they'd telephone there was a jam some? where nearby. We'd go out and look, and we'd find it. He'd done this all his life since he was a young boy, and she always went with him, and she knew as much about it as he did. We got up at 3 o'clock in the morning. We had what they call a cookee, an older man that takes in the wood and makes the fire. And you know river drives, they serve three meals. Two meals-go out. We had great big buckets and my sister would cook those beans and everything. He had no trouble getting men to work when there was a woman cook. Men cooks are greasy and they don't like it. We just cooked like at home. We made pies and cakes and every? thing, and cookies, and bake the beans. They had their breakfast there at "6 o'clock in the morning. Then the cookee at 10 o'clock would take a lunch to the men. Two big buckets across the shoulders. They'd come in for dinner. And 3 o'clock we sent a lunch out to them. And they worked till 6 o'clock in the evening. When the water is good, you have to take advan? tage of it. The war was on. But this flu business that they had was raging in 1918. It started in 1917, late in 1917. And my (future) hus? band was at Camp Evans at the time. The camp was a city within itself. There were thousands and thousands and thousands. They were training the men there for over? seas . Then the flu came. And he was on the supply train. And they kept them alive with Scotch whiskey. There wouldn't be a man left. They just poured it into them. He used to go into the North Station to get the supplies. Sometimes--there were 4 to a tent, you know--and everybody happy and well and jolly, and say good night to one another, and maybe 3 of them would be dead in the morning. And my husband never touched it. Nor me. And I was doing the same thing. This was the winter before I went into the woods. Everybody was sick, everybody was sick. And I'm taking care of an old lady, myself. She was sick. And I'd get a call to houses. Doctors were sick, nurses were sick, every? body was sick. We were supposed to wear masks. And on the street comer you had to be inoculated. I had I don't know how many, but it never took. I never had an inocula? tion that took. I never put on a mask. I'd pile into one of those houses, and there'd be 5 sick in bed. And I'd do what I could. God, the bodies. They couldn't get caskets, you know, people were dying so fast. It was a terrible thing. (You worked in the woods.) Just that win? ter. Then I went to work in the war plant in Boston. You know, where the Charles Riv? er was, they turned all the factories, no matter what they were making, into a war RENT ME THIS SUMMER CRUISE THE BRAS d'OR LAKES BADDECK MARINE Water St., Box 420, Baddeck, N. S. BOE IBO Phone: 902-295-2434
Cape Breton's Magazine
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