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> Issue 64 > Page 39 - Annie Battiste: a Mi'Kmaq Family History

Page 39 - Annie Battiste: a Mi'Kmaq Family History

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/8/1 (276 reads)

road construction building the then major highway. He worked hard in those jobs and when work was unavailable he depended on the money brought in by his wife who worked as a domestic cleaner in local white homes and various odd jobs. Annie worked hard doing housecleaning in several more well-off wom? en's houses although made very little, only $3 a day, but it bought the goods for the day and sometimes other things. Many times the basic necessities of food and clothes were scarce, and Annie had to go to the town office where she asked for public assistance. Many times she was refused, but when she told her story of woe and tears came, she would be given a food order or clothing order for the family children. This de? humanizing act of begging for food or clothes was trying on Annie as was her husband's growing drinking patterns. John was a social fellow who was called upon of? ten to share his fiddle at weddings. An affable friendly fellow, John was a teasing and happy man, always kind with a warm smile. Everybody liked "Big John" who was a wide-shouldered tall man with strong features. No one cared to tangle with this guy, so they shared their drink with him and he shared his fiddle, his smile, and danced and partied. Unfortu? nately, he usually came home drunk. These events increased over the years, but when he got drunk he fell asleep, a fairly harmless pastime, it seemed. For years it did seem harmless, but as the years passed, John's drinking in? creased from weekend drinking to daily drink? ing. He would find him? self without employment and a happy family. His needs of alcohol and the little money they had were often battled out, until Annie began hiding from him when he got drunk. Annie spent hours in closets, under beds, in the pantry, waiting until he fell asleep. Annie left John several times during his drink? ing years to scare him into sobriety, and sometimes he would be forced into stopping, but each time he would begin drinking after a few months. Recognizing that she had lim? ited economic skills and four children who needed her, Annie did little except work steadily where she could and raise the children with good Mi'kmaq values, with un? derstanding of what was right and wrong, and try to offer them as good a life as was possible for poor people. Finally when her youngest daughter Marie Ann grew up and went to college, and her Feel the Difference At the YMCA this Fall Fall's a great time to feel the difference at the YMCA. There's a special feeling inside that sets us apart from other organizations with similar pro? grams and services. Maybe it's the "family feeling" you'll find in the Y, where there are programs for everyone of every age and ability • or the caring staff. Maybe it's our own special brand of health and fitness programs that work to shape the whole person: mind, body and spirit • or the youth sports programs where everyone plays and everyone's a star The fact is, that no matter what it is that makes us different, you'll feel comfortable in the YMCA. Come inside and feel it for yourself. 'K)'' For Further Information, Call the YMCA 539-7880 399 Charlotte Street • Sydney ??i?
Cape Breton's Magazine
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