Page 80 - Mary Sarah MacNeil Remembers Long Island
ISSUE : Issue 39
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/6/1
then take your boom down, and your sail was coming full sail. Just hold onto that, and go on your skates, and you'd go a mile a minute on it. On our regular skates. Oh, God, we were going so fast sometimes there'd be cracks on the ice, we could jump the cracks. You'd land on the other side! Oh yes, we had that, it was great fun, (You did quite a lot with your flour bags!) Flour! Oh ho, we used to make the sheets for the beds, we used to make the blankets for the beds, we used to make the curtains for the windows, make tablecloths for the table. The blouses, we used to make our blouses. My sister'd stand up and I'd put the flour bag up to her back and get her measurements, where she was in and out, and then put it on the floor and mark it with the pencil. And try that, see if that would fit her--yes, that would fit her. Then put it on the floor, put another one on top of it, and cut that off and make a front, make it a blouse. Then get the bark off a cherry tree, boil it. Throw the bark out and throw the blouse in. And that would make it kind of an orange--not a-- kind of a brownish colour--kind of pink-- it would make kind of a pink colour. And then make the skirt from flour bags. Our uncle would get us a package of Diamond dyes, 15c, dye the skirt--Diamond dyes. And then you had a navy skirt and a pink blouse. And I'd make mine opposite--I'd make my skirt pink, and I'd make the blouse navy. I never had a dress! But the iceboats. They're a regular hand sleigh. Just put a box on it, and sit in the box, and put your sail up, and you go just as good. And we had what you call a "cutter." You know what a cutter is? A piece of steel nailed to the runner. There was a hole in the top of it, and a rope go? ing through it, And when you'd let go of the rope, the ice would pull the cutter e- ven to the sleigh runner. Then when you want to turn--pull your rope--and the cut? ter would go on the ice, and cut the ice, and turn your sleigh around. You could tack--if the wind was ahead of you--you could tack just like a boat. Tack 'over, and pull your cutter, and it'd go around, let her go again, and she'd go till your next tack. Oh, by God, that's what I was saying, my God, if we had TVs at that time, we could be genius. We could think of those things, and nobody ever told us or showed us, or anything else. We used to try to parachute off of the barn--the roof of the bam-- with the umbrella. And our boys made wings with laths • the laths you use for the lob? ster traps--but nail two of them so far a- part, say about a foot and a half or two feet apart. Nail them, and put a jute bag across. And put a rope underneath, or get your hand under it. And they used to fly off the roof of the bam, to see if they could fly--off the roof of the shed. See if they would fly. (How did they make out?) Almost broke their necks! (It doesn't sound to me like you felt locked off.) No, no, we made our own sport. As a matter of fact, we were enjoying our? selves more so than they are today. We used to make our own. The girls would help the boys make their wagons and iceboats and whatever. (You weren't playing with dolls.) No, No, I never had a doll in my life. And we used to go hunting with the boys. I never trapped, but I went out and I shot one rabbit. And the poor little rab? bit cried. If I had a bandage, I would have bandaged him up again. That's the first and the last rabbit I ever. But I shot partridge. Partridge wouldn't make any sound, so I didn't mind. I shot those. But the rabbit will cry just like a baby. (What about deer?) Oh yes, I shot a deer. And I cleaned him. They used to come in and eat our vegetables. So my uncle shot the deer, and there was a young one with it. He brought the deer to the barn, and he was cleaning it off, and I told him the little fellow was back in again. And I told him to go out and shoot the little fellow. And he said, "No." He said he had enough to clean, to finish this fellow off. So I said, "If you're not going to shoot him, I am." So I took the gun and I think I put 7 shots in him before I finished him off. I said, "You have to clean this fel? low off "--I dragged him to the bam. He said, "No, If you killed him, you have to finish him off." So I started, and I fin? ished him off. I butchered him off. I don't think there was any blood in him, an3way. It was all the 7 shots took the blood out of him! (So you never felt cut off from the world?) No, no, but we weren't--that was our world--we didn't know what was outside the world. We didn't know. We thought that that was the way everybody was living and everything was going on. If you mentioned New York to us, we'd think that New York was the same as Long Island. We didn't know any difference. We had no TV, we had no radio, we had no communication with the outside world. But that was our life. That's just the same as now, people in the cities and towns, brought up--that's their life, and they can't--and they enjoy it. Well, that was our life, and we didn't see anything else. We used to get the Family Herald. My God, we learned all the songs in the Family Her- aid. God, you could hear all the kids go? ing to school, singing the songs in the Family Herald. Dorothy Dix was there. Dor- othy Dix was the same as Ann Landers that's in the paper now. And there was a page there of the Family Doctor. I think that's about the only paper we were get? ting. On a Saturday night my brothers used to go up for the mail, and get the Stand? ard off of the express (train). The ex? press would stop at Barachois to throw the mail off. (What were your favourite songs?) Oh, my God. "Wreck of the Old 97." And "The Mock? ingbird" --"Lis ten to the Mockingbird." "Ap- (80)
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