Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 54 > Page 28 - With Hilda Mleczko, Glace Bay

Page 28 - With Hilda Mleczko, Glace Bay

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/6/1 (260 reads)

when I got my egg, it was a brown-shelled variety. And I looked at it lovingly, wishing I could even eat the shell. So, I had a little brown paper bag at my side, and I got on the bus, had to go home. I went a bus ride to get my egg. And a very stout lady got on the bus, and went to sit down beside me. And the bus gave a lurch, and she sat right on my egg-- squashed it. And there I watched this ooze out of the brown paper bag. Well, you'd never believe my feelings. You know, I grieved over that egg for months. Now, it was only an egg. But to me it was a calamity. We could stand bombs and we could stand being kept awake at night and fighting incendiaries. But when it came to food, we were very, very vulnerable. Oh, I'm telling you--wooo! We used to have all the recipes that we could think of, to concoct our little rations, to make it a little bit more delectable, a little more tasty--putting some spice in it. I mean, they were pitiful rations, pitiful. One ounce of butter, and two ounces.... Henry said to me, during the war--he was go? ing to take me out to go to the show or some? thing. I was having my supper. So he said to me, "Is that your supper?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Well, where's your meat ration, then?" And I moved a pile of mashed potatoes and a spoonful of peas, and there it was, all one ounce of it! Well he looked, and he couldn't believe--he'd seen a real civil? ian's meal at last. He couldn't believe it. Well, he worked in the kitchen. So every time he came to my house after that, he was definitely overweight. He looked it, Bay Natural Foods "For Your Health's Sake Buy Natural Foods"' HOME BAKING J Great Selection of Vitamins and Minerals Beer- and Wine-Making Supplies Bulk Herbs and Spices by the Ounce or Pound C. O.D. Orders Accepted by Mail or Phone GLACE BAY 35 Commercial Street 849-4387 SYDNEY Across from K-Mart, toward Schwartz 539-6767 NORTH SYDNEY 204 Commercial Street 794-3353 THE HARVEST BIN 222 Charlotte St.. Svdnev 564-8461 Cultivate your family tre'; Your public library has: How-to Books, Directories, Guides CensusA'ital Statistics Records County and Local Histories Family Histories Old Newspapers Land Records and Maps The Local History and Geneaiogica! Collection is concentrated on Inverness, Richmond and Guysborough counties - the library's sevice area. Eastern Counties Degional Library 390 Murray Street, P. O. Bag 2500 Mulgrave, Nova Scotia BOE 2G0 Telephone (902) 747-2597 FAX: (902) 747-2500 28 anyway. He looked like a pregnant kanga? roo. He'd got his battle dress buttoned up. And inside--he opened it onto the ta? ble, and the delectable things that fell out! Oh, the goodies we hadn't seen for years! And he used to bring them regular? ly. And he never got squealed on because the head cook was doing the same thing. So they didn't squeal on one another. Luckily he was never found out. Thank God, because what he did to our taste buds was marvel? lous. But see, we were being served by the courtesy of the Canadian army. You know, they didn't even know.... (Back to Glace Bay--did you know you were coming to a mining town, and did you know that Henry was a miner?) I knew--see, they promised him that when he came back from the war, that he'd have a job in the pit. So he knew he was coming back to that. So I knew that I was marrying a miner, yeah. (Had you had any experience of mining life in the town you came from?) No, not a bit, no, no, no. And I'm telling you, the first time I heard the pit's whistle, stimmoning the men to work, I panicked. My hair stood on end. I thought it was a siren for the raids. I was living at my father-in-law's place then. I dived underneath the sofa. And he didn't laugh at me. He was a good man. He got me out, and very kindly and very gently he told me that there was noth? ing to fear. He said that it was just the pit calling the men to work. But he said they did have--sometimes they had tragedies at Caledonia pit--that was the pit down there--years ago. And he started telling me some of the stories. And of course, it sort of got stuck in my mind. Especially the song my mother used to sing when we were kids, "Don't go down in the mine. Dad." It's an old song she used to sing, and make the hair stand on our heads.... Henry's been in lots of accidents. Yes, and it's only since he's been on pension that I've heard some of them. Pretty hair- raising thing, I'm telling you. He used to cover up from me. See, he'd go to Outpa- "WIN A FREE WELL!" • Call Us for Details
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