Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 45 > Page 78 - Dawn Fraser, Writer Selections

Page 78 - Dawn Fraser, Writer Selections

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/6/1 (161 reads)

he is not too fussy and really wants to work and is not lazy. I have picked spuds in the state of Maine, peaches in Maryland, was a bank clerk in No? va Scotia, worked in the coal mine, in the lumber woods, on construction jobs, in a sardine packing plant, and for short times at other jobs, and in each of those positions I learned more than I ever did at school The first Great world war 1914-1918 had commenced and I was back in Boston. I had been turned down by the American army and navy on account of defec? tive teeth. Now here was a queer condition. All em? ployers had been warned not to employ anybody who was in the American Army draft. The army might need me later if the going got too tough regard? less of my dental condition. But I might starve be? fore they called me. One day walking up Bromfield St. I saw a Canadian flag in a window with lots of war pictures and advertising. The Canadian govern? ment had opened a recruiting office in that Ameri? can city. I hopped right in, bummed a dollar from the very pleasant recruiting officer, telling him I needed a couple of shots of Rye to keep my cour? age up. I would pay him the dollar later in case I did not get killed. That same night I was on a train for Aldershot camp. Nova Scotia. After train? ing for a time in Canada we were moved to the west coast from where we finally sailed for Vladivostok, Siberia, in eastern Russia. Some philosopher, I forget just who, has written, "There is a divinity which shapes our ends, rough hew them as we may," meaning, I presume, that we do not always do what we intended to do or what we would like to do, because some circumstance pops up to make our wish or hope seem impossible. Take my position when I enlisted in the United States. It was not any patriotic urge that Co-operative Artisanale de Cheticamp Limitee p. 0. Box 98, Cheticamp, Inverness Co., N. S. (224-2170) CHETICAMP, N.S.p''''.' '' ''.'' '''''''''' Finest hooking in virgin wool is our specialty. Acadian i Acadian Meals /-'QAAtfut I Soupes - Mets au poisson Museum • ' '''' ' '' '''''''' Crepes aux pommes de terre Our shop is located in Cheticamp on the Cabot Trail OPEN MAY THROUGH OCTOBER, MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAY prompted me. Army life or discipline did not at? tract me. There was a possibility I would be killed and also a suggestion by the newspapers of the day that I would be eaten. During those years of the Russian revolution I had read of starvation in Russia and of people eating human flesh. Consider my position. The American army and navy had refused to consider me for service on account of defective teeth. But no employer was permitted to consider me either. The order was strict. Don't interfere with any men who have registered in the draft. We don't need Class B men now but we may need them at any time and we may never need them if the war comes to a quick end. But they did not invite me to dine and sleep at the army barracks. They were holding me in suspension, in reserve, and did not seem to care if I starved. I could not eat so I had to take a chance of being eaten. So I enlisted as already recorded. Now whether it was a divinity that forced me to this decision I do not know. Yet it proved to be the best break I ever got. It was customary at Willows camp in British Colum? bia and later at Gornisti Bay in Russia for the of? ficers to arrange entertainments, known as "hook nights." Every soldier was urged by his officers to attempt to contribute to the show. If he could not sing, he had to dance, box, or even tell some funny story. If he failed to try for the honour of his company, he would not be punished or court mar- tialed. But he would be considered yellow and would be unpopular in his company ever after. When I got my orders to do my bit I was at first stumped. But I went over to the gym, got a lead pencil and some paper and wrote some verses. It was the rainy season in the west and mud was thick and deep. I called my effort "The mud red volun? teers." I read or recited it that night and it was a howling hit. It must have been funny because they howled applause with every line. There were money prizes contributed by the officers and I won the pot. Merit being decided by which performer got the most applause when he was paraded before the audience at the conclusion of the show. There were many other hook nights after the first, and Connors Office Products School Supplies - Artist Supplies Calculators - Typewriter Rentals Office Supplies - Office Furniture ' .'' BUY - RENT - LEASE to'cP'' Open Your Account Today ''''' (902)562-7900 '' * 386 Charlotte St., Sydney George's Fish Market FRESH FISH DAILY - RIGHT OFF THE BOAT haddock cod flounder red fish eel halibut canned crab herring shellfish greysoie pollack Ask for George 794-7634 243 Commercial Street catfish canned lobster salmon hake mackerel salt turbot kippers NORTH SYDNEY, RIGHT NEXT TO THE SHIPYARD
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