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> Issue 45 > Page 53 - From George MacEachern's Autobiography

Page 53 - From George MacEachern's Autobiography

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/6/1 (175 reads)

CONTINUED FROM George MacEachern iNSTPE-TRONr'ovER ing a single man was only $1.00 a week. His grocer? ies would be a turnip, a can of milk one week, k pound of butter the next and no milk, dry cod and such. He didn't get the food that the doctor said he needed and I think that very night he went inr- sane, his mind gave out. They took him to Dart? mouth Mental Hospital and we claimed that it was because he was so long without good food. The first good food he got, he died. That had quite an impact. I remember one other fellow, he was a war veteran with a bad limp and he used to go down and get his $1.00 worth of groceries in a bag. The old chaps, they were very good hearted people and concerned a- bout everyone, I should think, and they used to kid him about going to the Mission. He used to at? tend services at the Mission which wasn't far away, down at the coke ovens district and he, of course, certainly wouldn't appreciate this kidding. After all, a man's religion was his own business. They weren't religious at all. But after Mr. Small died, our friend Morgan was coming down the road one day, passing the lady who was in charge of the Mission. She called out, "Our good friend Small died last night." He said, "He died, eh?" She said, "Yes, he died of malnutrition." Morgan said, "Malnutrition be damned, he died of starvation and Christian sym? pathy, that's what killed him." There were others that died around that time. An effort was made, of course, to quiet this business down. There was one man, a lawyer, he was found dead in his office. This is just conjecture, but it could have been that the man's pride wouldn't allow him to go for relief. He was quite a man in his own way. He was English, from the old country. I remember he always used to carry a cane and sported a spiked mustache. And there was another man found in his office dead. He had been a liquor inspector and from what I understand, one of the most honest on the job. He was honest enough to get himself shot on one occasion. God knows how ma? ny of the workers died, but they wouldn't all be as dramatic as the death of Mr. Small. There would be a wearing away process. People would get hungry and their resistance would break down, they might die of any disease that came along. And as unhap? pily is so common, most people would pretend that they didn't know about these things because it would disturb them if they knew, and they might be expected to do something about it. We knew and we made no small bones about our knowledge. Some of us would holler blue murder. In the Depression some of the people seemed to have money. I didn't have any for long periods, not even a dime. You got a relief order, that's all. You didn't get any money. You never had a full meal, you always had to limit because you had a whole week ahead of you and you weren't going to get anything else. We did have a package of "mak? ings" and papers on the day that the order came and this had to be limited too. I don't know if it did us much good outside of keeping us thin be? cause when I started back to work I had a cough; as Frenchie Lelandais would say, "I'd give up my breakfast on the way to work." Cough from the bot? tom of my lungs. I don't know if I had T.B. The doctors have asked me on two occasions since if I ever had T.B. and it seems to me it was possible then but I started drinking cod liver oil. It was cheap. You'd get a pint for around 50 cents at Ba? tons. I drank a lot of that. I started picking up, with some nourishing food. But even with the price of things as they were, $3.00 a week didn't get you a hell of a lot. With one child, I was getting $3.00 a week relief. Then, my brother-in-law started to give us a quart of milk a day for the baby. That was Lou Fulton, and he didn't have too many quarts of milk floating around. That helped, but it was always a matter of doing without the )l@Dr(i ??If Utrl?? • • 1? Men's and Ladies' ( jT' Sportswear )'' Rudderham's Ltd. Sport Shop Men's and Ladies' fmUi' Jackets 2 LOCATIONS IN SYDNEY: Cape Breton Shopping Plaza 562-3666 Mayflower Mall 539-3644 Keddy's Motor Inn 600 King's Rd., Sydney, N.S. 223 Rooms Air Conditioned Colour Cable TV Licensed Dining Daily Features Resitaurant Hours 7a.ra to 10 p.m. Featuring Cape Broton's Only Complete Indoor Recreation Facility • • Pool • Sauna • Whirlpool Bath • Oasis Pool Bar • Games Machines ENTERTAINMENT & DANCING NIGHTLY AT IVORY'S LOUNGE For Reservations Phone 539-1140 (53)
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