Page 9 - Isabel Bartlett Remembers George
ISSUE : Issue 43
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/8/1
like going to Florida, to go to Sydney Mines. The mail went across (the Lake to) Washabuck, and over Washabuck Mountain. I had to walk behind the horse and sleigh, because it was so cold. If I sat in, I'd have frozen. And then down by train to Syd? ney Mines. It was a journey. I didn't get down for (his father's) funer? al, either. I would like to ha-O-e known his father, because he was quite a freethinker. He was from Newfoundland, and he wrote let? ters to the papers about the injustices in the mine, and he was always speaking up in the union. And that's why, when George came to Baddeck, everyone thought he was such a dangerous radicaT, you know. And he had one heck of a time. I pleaded with him to leave Baddeck, but he said he loved Bad- deck. He'd stay here on two meals a day rather than--he wouldn't go. He got stub- bom. And that's why, when I came through the door of tihe church the day of (George's) funeral, I couldn't believe-- people standing in the aisles and every? thing. George sure made them turn around, turned everything around. Lovely letters I got, marvellous letters. I got a card from 10 little Indian chil? dren, each one signed their name and their nickname. And ended at the bottom, "... and, our grandmother." And I was so happy to see Indians at the funeral. And Graham Bell's granddaughters. Everybody like that. I thought. Oh my God, George, you certain? ly turned everything around--I never saw a funeral with so many people at it, in our church, ever. Up in the gallery, and standing. He came to Baddeck, and he loved Baddeck. When he couldn't get a job, if we had starved--well, there were very few jobs to get, but he couldn't get one--that danger? ous radical. (Was he really thought of as a dangerous radical?) Oh yes, during the war, yes. Because we were still pacifists when the war broke out, both of us. (But had he done anything?) No. Talked. You know how he would say what he thought, no matter what, supposing he was going to get killed. And he said it. (Where did he say it?) To anybody~-they'd be talking. Any? body would say something about the wonder? ful victories--oh well, you know, the pa? pers would be full about the marvellous victories and all that .< And we might read another paper that had something different. and George would speak up about something. He wasn't patriotic and all that. And any? thing he read, he never forgot. Now, I'd read perhaps 10 books to one of his. But he knew everything he read in that book, and he never forgot it. We never spent any money on liquor, or tobacco, or luxuries. But we always had lots of books and lots of good magazines and lots of nice music. (What was George's role in terms of the church?) Oh, he had nothing whatever to do with the church. His father hadn't been very much of a churchgoer. His father's people were very--oh, what was it?--not Plymouth Brethren--I don't know what it was. They were pacifists, but they were all this about being saved, and don't eat, do this, don't do that. They were desper? ately fanatical, actually. And George's fa? ther rebelled against that. He read a lot, and he knew. So, the night after his fa? ther died suddenly, and when they were ar? ranging for the funeral, one of these-- they call themselves Christians--they're not exactly Plymouth Brethren, they're an offshoot--and very good-living people. But very, very intolerant of everybody else's views. And they thought his father was-- George overheard somebody saying, "Of course he's in Hell tonight." He came in the kitchen with his mother, and heard somebody saying that. And his mother had hysterics and fainted, and they had to get the doctor. That's the only thing I ever know that George never forgave. You know, people have treated him desper? ately meanly, have taken advantage of him at times, sometimes 2 or 3 times. And af? ter awhile, he'd forget. He never did any? thing to harm them back. And you know, he'd still take another chance on them. But he'd never forget--he was desperately anti-religious. (But) George sang in the men's choir the last few years, just to sing. They went from church to church, you know, singing, on Anniversary Sundays and that--there were 12 of them. And he loved to sing, and he could, too. He didn't mind that at all. But when he'd come home, and I'd say to him something about, "Well, what did the preacher say?" He says, "Heck, I didn't listen!" The first job that George got (in Baddeck) that actually paid him" a salary--he got a OPEN 24 HOURS - 7 DAYS A WEEK 413 Welton Street Sydney (562-5033) 106 King Street North Sydney (794-8337) 1058 King's Road Sydney River (539-3930) Sterling Mail Glace Bay (849-0988) 7' Tfoittn' 106 King Street Sterling Mail r- '' '' North Sydney (794-8337) Glace Bay (849-0988) ' ' DONUTS:) tlMlbTt Always fresh because you keep eating them!
Cape Breton's Magazine