Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 25 > Page 3 - With Margaret MacDonald of Glace Bay

Page 3 - With Margaret MacDonald of Glace Bay

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/6/1 (386 reads)

it. He was either working or sleeping or talking about the pit. It was their life. Margaret: I wasn't that fond of the coal mines. I mean, I wasn't afraid of the coal mines. But I didn't like the coal mines. I would rather he would have stayed on the farm and worked, but he was a coal miner • that was it. He had no use for the farm. I couldn't tell you why. It's just one of those things. I would have rather my hus? band had been fishing instead of working on the mines--but I .don't know why. But I never had use for the mines. Although I wasn't a worrier, I never worried. Every? thing came day by day, and I took what came. And I think we women were all very much alike. It's what we were used to. We didn't meet trouble half way. If we had to sit down and darn and mend and sew to keep the kids covered and keep things going, we did it. I never found it hard to keep the house clean. You learn how to do those things. When I moved to Glace Bay, there was no such thing as a washing machine. Take the wash behind the house and scrub the clothes all day. And the miners' clothes • perhaps twice or three times a year-- brought their pit clothes home. You shook the coal out of them and you went out to the tub and washed them. They never came really clean. You got the coal out and some of the perspiration off them--but the rest, it never came really clean. But you put it out. Everybody did. It was just my hands and a washboard. I have the wash? board yet. We worked hard. Yes. But we had a lot of fun. We had house parties, for an eve? ning's fun. You danced, you heard music, you played cards • maybe a birthday party. We had pie socials for the school. Every? body took a decorated pie and it was auc? tioned off and sold, and the money was turned over to the school. That's the way we lived in those days. We had a big old-fashioned glass pitcher up on top of the cupboard. When he came home, he put his pay envelope in that pitcher. If he wanted to take money for something--he didn't drink and he didn't smoke--he took it. To go play cards, he took some. But we knew just how much we could spend or we never wasted. And I don't waste anything today. Now I've been sewing, doing alterations for the stores, ever since he was killed. I didn't own this house when he was killed. But altogether I've had a good life. I can't complain. I've never envied anybody else what they had. Anna: You know the part of the mine that bothered me more than anything else? To o- pen my father's pit can when we'd be/doing the dishes. And to smell it. That's what killed me. (What did it smell like?) I don't know. Margaret: But there is, there is an odor out of the pit can. Anna: Smelled like death, maybe. Horrible. Mar- taret: It smells like the pit. If you go own in the mouth of the pit, you get the same smell that you get out of a miner's pit can. Anna: That's the only thing that ever bothered me. I had to wash that can every night. My father was a fussy man, and that pit can was his lunch can. You had to wash his pit can and his water bot? tle • scour them--and that to me was the a Wood and coal stoves can be dangerous If you want to beat the. high cost of heating by using a wood or coal stove, be sure thafthe installation is safe. Special attention should be paid to: • the condition of the Stove • protection for the floor and nearby wa,ils • the flue and chimney systenn. For free information on safe usage of wood and coal stoves and home fire prevention, check coupon below. Please send me a free copy of: ( ) Wood & Coal Stoves Check • A Primer on Safety ( ) 60 Ways to Prevent Fire in Your Home Return Address: Name City/Town Prov. Postal Code Write to: Thie Maritime Centre IrvsuroAce Bureau of ConadQ Bureau d'assuronce du Canada 1505 Barrington Street 12th Floor HALIFAX, Nova Scotia B3J 3K5 or Dial Toll Free 1 -800-565-7189
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