Page 35 - How we Buried Our Dead
ISSUE : Issue 18
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1
Maurice Donovan?? Ingonish Beachs In the days of old, then, the caskets were all handmade here. And there's one of the cas- ketmakers sitting down over there • Robinson. He used to make caskets up until money got more plentiful and they started getting the undertakers in. (Mr. Donovan introduced us to Mr. Robinson.) Patrick Robinson: There was a man here that used to make coffins by the name of Tom Austin Young.' So he got me to go with him one time, making coffins. And then I did go with him every time after that, him and I, he'd make the coffin. And when he was dying himself, he sent them and asked for me to make his coffin. So I made his coffin. Used to make out of 3/4 Inch pine. (Did you have a mold?) No. We just went by measure? ments • according to the size of the person. We'd take the width of a person, you know, from shoulder. Leave a couple of inches for room, and a few inches longer than the length of the person. And then we shape the bottom of the coffin from that. It would be .'anywhere from 22 to 24 inches in the breast '. across the shoulders. It would come in to about lk inches up by the head and about 11 inches at the foot, coffin shape. (Would it be fairly snug?) Yes, fairly snug. Just clearance all around. You wouldn't jai'i uP a person. Oh yes, they looked beautiful. Well, then, we could go to the store and we could buy this black cotton. And we'd line it outside with black cotton. (Line it out? side?) Yes, outside. We'd cover it with black cotton. You wouldn't see the wood at all. We'd cover it with cotton and turn it down in over the sides with carpet tacks. Turn it in under the bottom and nail it Yfith carpet tacks. Then the women would make a-.-what did they call that that went around the headpiece? Maurice: It was called a tucker. Robinson: Yes, they took a nice silk and they tucked it all on a machine and put it all around the inside on the edge. It would be all Patrick Robinson and Maurice Donovan pleated. Used to look very nice, too. That would be white. It would come in snug all around the body. They used to put cotton wool in behind it and try to puff it out. Maurice: I wish you could have seen one, see how well it was done. (Would they put anything on the bottom of the coffin, something soft?) No. Just the plank boards on the bottom. Didn't cover the bottom, just what you could see. A small pillow went under their head. The rest would be the pine bottom. Then we took the cover of the coffin and we covered that with black and turned it in underneath and nailed that with carpet tacks. (No pine boards showed?) No. Our coffins were all The implications of Indian Battles for Land, Recognition and Human Rights are important for all peoples, 'Hie Micmac News publishes monthly reportsl on the Local, Provincial, National and Inter-national fronts of those Battles# It is a newspaper for Indian and Non-In? di ans who vvrant to keep up on Indian Af? fairs. • VBSCmM MOW THE MICMAC NEWS P.O. Box 961, Sydney, Nova Scotia Or write and asK for a Sample Copy )iisiiN ST COMPANY lENfoiiiP pim If you're 60 or over this card entitles you to some extra privileges. CENTRAL AND EASTERN TRUSTCOMPANY 225 Chsj:-lotte Street, Sydney 539-9210
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