Page 58 - Max Basque, Whycocomagh Part 2
ISSUE : Issue 52
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1
So I landed in Montreal. And the very next day I went up, inquired where the naval recruiting office was. I remember it was on Mountain Avenue. Went up Mountain Ave? nue and I asked, "Do you want experienced seamen in the Canadian Navy?" "That's just the kind of men we want." So I showed him my discharge papers. "Very good, very good. Fill out these forms." There were two or three pages of forms to fill out. And, religion, and all this, marked down. And one of the questions was, What other language could I speak, besides French or English? You know, in the army, they grab you up quickly if you can speak Micmac or any kind of--for communications. That's Our 10th Year of Serving All of Cape Breton! HEATHER BVFILDING SUPPLIES Invites you to plan your next project, large or small, around our well-stocked storeroom and courteous, helpful staff. We are centrally located to serve the Country and the Town in Cape Breton, LOCATED OFF THE TRANS-CANADA HIGHWAY at BRAS D'OR 736-6000 . 736-3444 • 736-2457 rs;:??S:;;:=--:: - • .:. rntnvus n r Strait Campus q Box 12'' ' pO. BOX 2000 p,nHav'keshury,n.' Port Hawkesbury, '-'' ''' 2VO BOE 2V0 SydneyCampus 365 Prtnc' titreei Sydney, N- S- BIP 5L2 another story. So, I marked down Micmac Indian. And of course, I was 40-some years younger. The Navy recruiting officer looked at me. He said, "Are you an Indi? an?" I said, "Yes, sir." "Sorry, we don't take Indians in the Navy. But," he said, "you're not a full-blooded Indian." "No, I'm not," I said. "I don't think there's any full-blooded Indians east of Winni? peg!" I said. "But on the books I'm an In? dian. Here's my border-crossing card." You know, we used to carry those cards, that I'm an Indian, this and that. Didn't have any pictures, like. "Well," he said, "you've got a French name: B-a-s-q-u-e. We'll sign you as a Frenchman." I said, "No, you won't." I said, "That's not a French name, anyway. It's Basque--it's from northern Spain." "Well," he said, "we'll sign you on as Basque." I said, "No. On the books, I was born on an Indian reservation and I've al? ways gone as an Indian all my life." And I said, "What in the world? Disown my own race, just to get into the Navy?" I said, "I'm a Canadian, even if I am an Indian. Same as you are." I said, "I don't know who you are, but you're a Canadian first." He said, "Yes." I said, "I'm a Canadian, too. I was born here in Canada." "Well, I don't make the rules. They make them up in Ottawa." He said, "If I had my way, I'd sign you on right now. But," he said, "you've got good discharge papers." Every one was marked "Very Good": "Abili? ty- -Very Good," "Conduct--Very Good." "We'll send these up to headquarters in Ottawa." I said, "How long will it be before I get the answer?" "Oh, two or three weeks." So I left my , discharge papers there. And I ended up in the woods , way up-- MacFadden Lumber Company. That was in January. I stayed there till, I remember --St. Patrick's Day, I was on my way out. Met a friend of mine, got acquainted with a lad -- Bruce Cameron. And first stop we made in Ot? tawa. He had an uncle there in Gatineau. (Then went back to Montreal.) Adult Vocational Tra'ning Campus p. O. Box 1042 Sydney, N- S. BIP 6P IvAinister
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