Page 20 - "The Time We Had for One Another": The Curtis Family & Songs
ISSUE : Issue 55
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1
Dad to sing that song. Like, people in the area had a favourite song that they would come and ask Dad to sing. For some reason --I don't know what--but Charlie John loved that song. And on his last visit home, before he went overseas--which is what we referred to when they were going to war--he came into my fa? ther's, to our house, and asked my father to sing that song for him. And they remem? bered that and they often spoke about it, how he came in there and asked him to sing that song. And, he never returned. And in the song, that's exactly the way the story goes, too--the soldier never returned. (Rose, what made Jimmy Curtis make the songbooks? What made you write them down?) Rose: Well, as I told you before--I'm sure the rest of the family felt the same way--I loved for people to come in in the evening because I knew Daddy would be singing. And --I don't know--his songs, his singing used to do something--just lift me. It was just real happiness for me. That's how much I got out of them. Out of his singing. And like I told you, I could see those ship? wrecks and those men clinging to--as he'd be singing the song, I could see it all. Just reliving it, you know. And then I wanted to learn the songs. So I asked him one time, one winter, if he would write them for me. So he got a bunch of scribblers and he started at them. And he did, you know, I think 4 or 5 scrib- 24-HOUR SERVICE * ydney Diesel & Hydraulics Ltd. P.O. Box 100, Nortli Esplanade, SYDNEY, Nova Scotia BIP 6G9 PHONE: Office 564-4488 • Home 736-6651 • FAX 539-9799 * SERVICE TECHNICIAN: BRUCE MOORE Over 25 Years Experience on Diesel Engine Repairs, Operating and Maintenance Complete Machine Shop Facilities , Complete Marine & Industrial Certified Welding & Burning Available Diesel Engine Services Power Tal(e-6ffs Repaired from installations to Overhauls Diesel Service You Can Trust biers. And then, over the years--I would say probably 25, 30 years--the pages were get? ting, you know, faded, and the writing. So in the '60s (my | sister) Charlotte and I decided we should do some? thing about them. So we got at the typing. I read them out of the old scribblers to her, and she typed ]- them. She'd proba? bly type one and then we'd sing it. We really enjoyed doing them. And sort of go? ing back to different times you could pic? ture at home when he was singing them, you know. And I remember when we were doing "The Mary L. MacKay." at one point--the hawsers. Well, I guess. Daddy always said "the hawsers." But in the scribbler, when he wrote the song for me. I think he prob? ably put h-o-r-s-e-s. I can't be sure of this. But anyway. Or else Charlotte misun? derstood me when I was reading it out of the scribbler to her. But it said some? thing about them tying the hawsers--it was a bad storm, and the Mary L. MacKay was really having a problem to go from Port? land, Maine, to Halifax or Yarmouth-- wherever they were heading. It was a wild night. And it said something about them tying something or other with the hawsers --they're some kind of big ropes or some? thing. And when I came out with this, Charlotte said, "Rose, will you tell me, what in the hell were they doing with horses on the Mary L. MacKay?" (Rose laughs.) Well when I told that to Daddy, he got the greatest charge out of that, you know. "What in the hell were they do? ing with horses on the Mary L. MacKay?" (So he was living and able to see those typed manuscripts when you were through with them.) Yes. (And he did actually look at them.) Oh, yes. He enjoyed them, too. He enjoyed seeing them, the way we did them up. Because he'd always say, to one or the other, before I ever mentioned to Fresh Ftowers • Potted Plants YOUD PDEATIGE FLODIAT FOD QUALITY & 6EQVICE Silk & Dried Flowers & Plants SPEaAUZING IN M'i' WEDDING & FUNERAL Accepted by Phone ARRANGEMENTS ASHBY NURSERIES 564-8162 174 Ashby Road ?SYDNEY f''' 862-3374 '539-7844 J Plummet Av NEW WATERFORD DRUG STORES MAYFLOWER MALL - Grand Lake Road - 539-5080 CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PLAZA - Sydney River - 564-8151 15 % DISCOUNT TO SENIORS LAST THURSDAY EACH MONTH Free Delivery in the Sydney Area
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