Page 2 - A Visit with Mary and Clarence Lashley
ISSUE : Issue 18
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1
malaria fever and had to go back home. So I grew up in jbhe Barbados. Not much school. I had to leave school and work af? ter my father died. I was cooking on a ship and the ship was in Barbados 6 months • all winter you might say, waiting for sugar and molasses. I went aboard this ship and asked the captain if he wanted any help. He hired me as a cook. I cooked the 6 months he was there. So he was leaving and asked me if I would come to Canada. Nova Scotia. I said yes. Only too glad to get out. So I came. There was myself and he had 8 passengers • but he said he would smuggle them in. They paid him $50 and they had to feed them? selves, bring their own food. I used to cook it for them. And they ran short of food. It wouldn't have taken so long to get there, but the captain didn't seem to know how to land these passengers. He lingered and lingered. He wanted, it turned out, for these men to go on his son's boat to work • for Barbados wages, not Canadian wages. They wouldn't go, so they jumped. I was on watch this night, in-Sydney here. So I see these 8 guys jumping the boat. I didn't say nothing. The poor fellows were damn glad to get out of Barbados, make a decent living, you know? So I went in the engine house. But the captain's son saw these men jumping sind told the captain and the captain called for me. He said, "You saw those men jumping and never reported to me." I said, "No, I saw nobody jumping." He said, "When we go back to sea you'll pay for this." Well, that's a cinch. Because anytime of the night he might call me on the deck and he may throw me over and who would know? So I jumped the ship too. I had two hard- boiled eggs in my pocket and I left the ship in Sydney. I met a fellow who said he'd try to hide me. So he sent me to Glace Bay. Streetcar was running then. He gave me 50 cents. Said, you go to Maple Street or the Hub • because that's where the coloured settlement was. I went to Maple Street. Those 8 passengers who jumped were there, but they were all against me • because they had paid their way sind I had worked my way across. So I went to Glace Bay. A fellow took me in. He was working in Number 2. He said, "I'll'go to work and you cook for me till I come home." So when he came home I was sleeping. I didn't know shifts were 8 hours. It was 12 in Barbados, and I didn't have food ready. Anyhow, he cursed me and put me out. All the clothes I had was pants and a shirt in a paper bag, and I didn't know anyone. I came down Maple Street. And I ran into a fellow named Charlie Blackman; he's living ih Glace Bay yet. I told him my story and he said, come home and stay with me. He was working Number 2. I used to keep the house, wash his clothes and everything. He said, you stay with me as long as you want to. But I wanted a job. I had a girl home in Barbados, she had a kid • and I left home to get a better living, you know? I used to scrub floors, wash clothes for different guys, whatever I could get. And if I hap? pened to accumulate 2 or 3 dollars I'd send it home to this girl. This girl was staying with my mother. Charlie kept me 9 months, for nothing, free food and a piece of clothes now and again • overall and a shirt. But no money. Things got so tough I wasn't able to send money to the girl in the Bar? bados. I wrote and I told her all about it. I said, I don't know, girl, I got no money to come back home. I got to use whatever I could get here till things got better • and then she died since I was here. And my mother too. I met Mary in Waterford. The boys that jumped the ship with me went to Waterford and I heard they had got jobs in the mines. So I went over from Glace Bay and I went to the beaton institute of cape breton studies The Beaton Institute of Cape Breton Studies is a depository of Cape Breton history and the Archives of the College of Cape Breton. It consists of more than 14,000 historic records, the literary and graphic outpourings of Cape Bretoners. Whether to satisfy personal curiosity or if you have something to contribute, the Institute will remain open from 8:30 a. m. to 4:30 p. m., Monday to Friday, or phone or write: THE BEATON INSTITUTE OF CAPE BRETON STUDIES THE COLLEGE OF CAPE BRETON P. O. Box 760 Sydney, Nova Scotia Telephone 539-5520 GEORGE HI'S SEAL FOR THE COLONY OF CAPE BRETON DESIGNED IN 1785 Cape Breton??s M&;:a:'Jne
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