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> Issue 55 > Page 24 - "The Time We Had for One Another": The Curtis Family & Songs

Page 24 - "The Time We Had for One Another": The Curtis Family & Songs

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1 (260 reads)

This conversation sounds like my father is up on some kind of a pedestal or something, doesn't it? But I mean, just because he was an entertainer or something in the communi? ty- -I guess that's what you'd call him. (We are focussing on him. He has to look like he's on a pedestal.) Well, I mean, to us he was on a pedestal always, anyway. (I appreciate that. There is the danger of showing him as too good, too perfect.... Of course we're selecting it. We're not talk? ing about the times he got angry.) He nev? er, ever got angry. That's the strange part of this. (Never ever got angry?) Not that I can ever remember. Not at us, now, okay? One occasion when a man was in our house who was a little inebriated, and used a filthy word, that is a very common word to? day. And he was literally tossed out for doing that, using that word in the presence of women. But my father was--actually, it would sound like we're beatifying him or something, but he didn't. I don't ever re? member my father being angry. Never. He didn't have to be angry. Now, my mother was the one who rapped us on the ear. She was the one to do the discipline. If I did something my father didn't like, all he had to do was this; "Teh, tch, tch, tch." And I would cry. I knew he was disappointed in me right then, for whatever. That's all he had to do. That was worse than getting a whack on the backside. (Up until what age did it work?) Oh, I'm sure right up until he died! But that was Dad. He was the--he took the easy way out, I guess. Mum had to be the villain in the family and do the--you know, the disciplinarian. Dad let us get away with murder, I guess.... that." She said, "Mum, I wish you'd try to be singing your songs, because you're go? ing to forget them and you're going to lose the--you know--your vocal cords are going to go all out." So I started.... Where was (Dennis Ryan) at now when Jimmy died? They were up north somewhere. And Jimmy had taught him a song, it's called "The Indian's Lament." He was here, he was going over--giving him the tune of it, the air of it. He had taped it for him, and he was wanting, he took the air. Remember he went up north there that time--he was there when Dad died. And he sang it on the air. Rose; I remember in October. Dad died in September. He asked me if I heard it, and I said, "Indeed I did." He said, "I guess I couldn't sing it like Jim," he said. I said, "Well, you did well." Daddy was so pleased that Dennis had learned this song, and was doing it on one of his shows, you know. He was just waiting for that show to come on. But he died in September. Helen; He took two heart attacks. This Co? op store over here. Jimmy--my husband-- that was our property. And he gave this property to build our Co-op store on. And it was good for us. We were getting old, and it was handy and everything. So, some? body broke in and set it on fire, steal? ing. And at 5 o'clock in the morning (it was discovered). He came home, and he called, he said, "Get up," he said, "the Co-op is on fire." So that evening he took a heart attack. That was on Friday. Satur? day night he took another. And I was here alone. We had been up since 5 o'clock be? cause I called the fire people to come, and I called the manager that was from the store, that it was on fire. (Helen, when Jimmy died, you quit sing? ing.) Helen; Yeah, I wasn't singing at all. I don't know what happened. Monica said to me one time she was here--a song she mentioned. "Oh," I said, "I can't sing Ifs NEW! NORTH SYDNEYc Nova Scotia's Friendly Seaport Centrally Located To Major Cape Breton Attractions * 75 Rooms - Kings, Standards, * Indoor Pool and Whirlpool Suites and Mini Suites * Kids free with parents - * Luxury Suite - Whirlpool Bath • Seniors Discount * Harbour View - Air conditioned • Special day rates for ferry * Fishery Restaurant travellers * St. Pierre Rum Bar * * ? * rating 100,000 Welcomes At The Big Red Roof mmMMM Norttiside Industrial Park (Exit 21, Higliway 105) 39 Forrest Street, P.O. Box 157, North Sydney, N.S. B2A 3M3 Tel: (902) 794-8581 Fax: (902) 794-4628 I said to him, "Jimmy, dear, I'm so tired, I'm going to bed." I said, "Now, you'd better go to bed, too." He was laying there. He had a small heart attack right at suppertime. He fell, and (Rose's son) picked him up and laid him there and worked on him. But he didn't want any--he hated doctors. You couldn't mention a doc? tor to him. He was a heavy smoker, and had a lot of weight--very heavy man. And he was all filled up. Rose: But he was never sick a day in his life. Helen: Never sick a day in his life. He was handsome. Rose: He was the same the day he took the heart attack as he was.... Helen: Oh my God, he HELEN CURTIS CONTINUES ON PAGE 26 Leather Works by John C. Roberts Historic Reproductions Creative Handcrafts * MORE THAN LEATHER * INDIAN BROOK Open Daily 9 - 5 CAPE BRETON ISLAND BOC 1 HO J''V 1 " October 9 Between Baddeck & Ingonish o"" by appointment On the Cabot Trail (902)929-2414
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