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> Issue 44 > Page 23 - Wilfred Best: "The Merchant's Song"

Page 23 - Wilfred Best: "The Merchant's Song"

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/1/1 (265 reads)

who weren't, and that sort of thing. So, they weren't all bad. You know, they carried the fellows through who were poor. Even if the fellows couldn't pay their bills. Suppose I had bought fishing gear, and the storms came and I lost the gear, and I had a bad sea? son. Well, here comes the winter and I've got 5 small kids home, I've got no place to go, only go to that merchant. So I go to the merchant. But they wouldn't let them starve. They would give them some? thing to eat. So that way, you see, the merchants weren't all that bad. Now, they could have been in some places, but I'm talking about the ones that I know about. They were good that way. (They wouldn't let you starve.) Wilfred: No, no, you could go there any time m the winter and get credit. Until the last years, you could. Mae: There was a time they had to give credit, and then they'd depend on paying them in the spring when fishing would start. Wilfred: See, even if the fishermen did owe them a little money in the fall, they really didn't owe them in a sense. Because they had made enough off of them--you know what I mean?--they weren't out any money. Probably wouldn't be very much in. But with the profit they made on what the fish? ermen had bought, they didn't lose any? thing on them. Although we owe them money. Mae: In the spring when they'd pay their bills, they would be paying more than they should pay, anyway. Wilfred: Just the same, the young fellows, when they went to work--I think it was (age) 21 before people'd ever give you any money. If you were working, well, they'd give you a couple of dollars or something like that. But when you're 21, they were obliged to give you a share of your money. But I remember. I worked on the fish plant, in the lobster factory, from the time I was 12 years old. So this particular spring, they had a lot of salt fish that fall. And it was around about the 10th of March we started washing fish. Well, they gave us 25c an hour, which was pretty good wages at that time. So I worked all spring, and worked from March down to, I believe, July, and never missed a day. And 1 never bothered to look for anything. Sometimes I'd go get 50c or $1, something like that. Well, the idea was, this money was sup? posed to go in my father's name, you see. So I told them, I said, "Put this money in my father's name." He never said anything. So, away down in the fall, there was a fel? low came around, put on a show. They called him Professor Sealey. He was sup? posed to be an awful strong man. He could hold up I believe it was 3 pieces of 2x4 like that and he could hit it and break it. And another time he got on the floor, and he put a big rock on his chest. And this fellow took a sledgehammer and beat the rock--oh, the rock was half as big as that. An3AA?ay, we were terrible anxious to get to this show, and I had no money. And my fa? ther never had any to give me. So another fellow and I used to work for Buchanans. We said, "Let's go over and ask Gladdie. We might get 50c out of him." So anyway, I went over. We went in, I asked, I said, "Can I get 50c?" He opened the till. "I guess so," he said. So the other fellow Debbie's Hair Shop 156 Fulton Ave.. WESTMOUNT 539-0756 Hairstylist: Debbie Doyle ChitdAzn'' faoofe-6 ayid toy-i 7' "Tomtsend Street, Sydney, '', 'f'Z'e cove pA.e.-'ckool to 12 yfi'. 539-3035 CAPE BRETON DAIRYMEN Ulorking Together To Moke Cope Oreton Stronger! '' Brookftld Jeux Canada Games ??87'a1'X Official Suppliers (23)
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