Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 48 > Page 15 - Jerry Hollard: Fathers and Son

Page 15 - Jerry Hollard: Fathers and Son

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/6/1 (291 reads)

Jerry Holland: Fathers and Son (When were you born?) 1955. February 23rd. (Where?) In Brockton, Massachusetts. (How did that happen?) I guess, in the early days, my father came to the States and joined the army, to become an American cit? izen. He fought in the war. And my mother came later. She was from Quebec. My father was from New Brunswick. They ended up liv? ing there, or staying there. And, 9 years later, I was born. I'm the oldest of two. I've got a younger sister, two years young? er. And that's basically the story on that. (We have a man from New Brunswick.) That's right. (And we have a woman from Quebec.) That's right. (Any Cape Breton connection before that?) None whatsoever, no. The love of the music on my father's side was the only tie to Cape Breton at all. My dad lis? tened to old records such as Angus Chi? sholm, Winston Fitzgerald, (Bill) Lamey, and so on. And acquired an extreme love for the Cape Breton style of music. He origi? nally played more of a New Brunswick style of music. And then veered off to the Irish style of music. And when the 78s came out of Winston and Angus and Bill Lamey, that's where his love really ended in fulfilment. (Did your father make a living as a fid? dler?) No, no. He was a carpenter. An all- round, general-purpose carpenter, I guess, is the way you could explain that. (Did your mother work in the States, too?) Yeah, she worked for the V.A. hospital--I believe it was in the dietary and personnel offices, like. She drove a school bus for 9 years, too, in Massachusetts. She had quite a clean record--accident-free--which was kind of an accomplishment. (Did your father have any physical connec? tion with Cape Breton fiddlers? Friend? ships?) Oh sure, sure. There was a chap by the name of Angus Gillis, who was very good ?? friends with my dad, along with other peo? ple later, such as Bill Lamey, Angus Chi? sholm, and so on. Winston, as well. There were people like Murdock MacPhail, who was an all-time great fiddler in his time. I heard him only in his late years, and it was after like 15 years of not playing. (Is this Angus Gillis from Cape Breton as well?) That's right. He was from Glencoe, I believe. And I guess maybe he was the big? gest cause of us coming to Cape Breton in the first place. (How's that?) Well, he used to come down every summer. And it was a tradition with our family to come to New Brunswick for our summer vacation. And one summer it was decided that we'd come to Cape Breton. And that was in 1961 or '62. And from that time on, it was a pretty reg? ular thing. But, at the age of 14 I decided that this was going to be my home some day, soon as I could get my act together. And, here I am. • (Angus Gillis--we're not talking about Alex Gillis?) No, no. My dad also knew Alex Gil? lis , which was a fine friend of ours as well. There was another fiddler, I believe: Dan Cameron. And there was George MacDou? gall. George would have been a brother to Hector Mike, who would have been an uncle to Mike MacDougall--if you get all of that! Fine friends. Fine people. (How far back can you remember being 't all interested in that music?) I can remember back--I was about 3 years old--I believe it was 1958. That's where I can remember a house party in Halifax, Massachusetts. That's the first party I remember. I remem? ber Winston playing for, it seemed like hours. And I sat in front of him in a little wooden chair, just at his feet. I was in complete amazement. My dad had played, and I remember my dad playing be? fore that. I remember, and seeing pictures, of me dragging the fiddle, and the bow, and my diaper, to meet my dad at the door with the fiddle for him to play a tune for me! At that time, if I remember right, because of my age, it was "Pop Goes the Weasel." At
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