SKILLEN FAMILY RE-UNION

ST. CAMILLUS PARISH HALL

FARRELLTON, QUEBEC

30 JULY 2005

 

SHARING OF MEMORIES

 

During the week-end of the family reunion there were informal opportunities to reconnect and share memories of our childhoods. One small formal group session held outside on a warm Saturday afternoon under a sunny, clear blue sky was recorded. Gerry McSheffrey moderated the session.

 

My name is Gerry McSheffrey. I was born in the Gatineau. I lived for the first 17 years of my life in Venosta which is about 15 or 20 kilometers away to the north.My father (John McSheffrey) married Bernice Skillen and he farmed here. Earlier in the day when Terry was talking about the family history he made reference to the great Brennanís Hill Rebellion of 1896. My grandfather (McSheffrey) became the first mayor of Lowe following the rebellion when it was first incorporated as a township.One of the amusing stories about the Lowe Rebellion that I would like to share in fact is the reason for the rebellion which occurred because there were people who thought they were paying too many taxes. Like people today they felt they were not getting the required services for the taxes they were paying.One of the vociferous leaders of the group happened to be a man named Mr. Brooks. He was in a kind of ambiguous position like most politicians today. While he led the stalwarts who were opposed to the government and were sort of the major influence in fomenting the rebellion, he also had the only inn at the time. When they did in fact send a group of militia up from Ottawa to suppress the rebellion, he wound up housing and feeding them and making a considerable amount of money.So, I guess in a way there are all kinds of situations in which people do well.

 

My grandfather McSheffrey in fact became the first mayor of Lowe Township because I think that he was a conciliator which was a role that he often played in trying to bring different groups of people together. Research has been done on the McSheffrey family. My great-grandfather settled here initially across the river from Wakefield. If you drive down the road from here if thatís where you are staying, on the opposite side of the river you will see a clearing, and a very picturesque clearing it is, and a red brick house with trees around it. That was the original McSheffrey homestead in the Gatineau.Our history dates back to the 1850ís. The Skillens were here before us.The good opportunity is that they both met, at some point. What I found interesting is that the McSheffreys managed to find such an advantageous position on the river, below where the Skillens had settled much earlier. Normally the pattern was that the first come got the best land closest to the river and closest to the city, right, and they settled it accordingly.As later arrivals came they generally had to go to the back of the seat or whatever the case may be.I can only surmise that because it was on the other side of the river and there was no bridge, the land was a little less valuable since the road happened to be on this side. So maybe it wasnít a great advantage after all.I do know that they were the first family to run a ferry of sorts across the river at that point and they would ferry people and their possessions, cattle and other things. Apparently they made a substantial income in those days from doing that. A substantial income in the 1860ís would not have been a great sum of money, an amount that we wouldnít think of as being much today.

 

I have said enough for now, I would like other people to just go around and talk a little bit about your own reminiscences such as what Martin (Bishop) was telling me today. Martin of course, originates in Thunder Bay and when we were talking last night he mentioned coming to visit our parents (Johnny and Bernice McSheffrey) here in the Gatineau and visiting us and I said that was a long, long time ago, and he immediately said 1951.I said Oh my God you can actually remember!Reminiscences, here everything and anything goes.Does anyone want to start?

 

Colleen Hayes: Pass it my way, I will start.Gerry: My sister will start.

 

Colleen: Iím Colleen Hayes, Colleen McSheffrey, Gerryís sister.This is my older daughter (Donna Hayes).I had 4 children, two boys and two girls.We lived in Montreal where they grew up for 24 years and now we are mostly all in the Toronto area except for my son Blair who is in Ottawa.I remember grandparents Skillen very well. I remember going there even when I had little children and grandma would always have tea for them. She always had Christmas cake even in July. I donít know how she did this.And I remember her making her pickles in her little summer kitchen with her apron on.I still have an apron that she had given my mother with her embroidery that I keep as a special kind of memento and so itís been wonderful to see everyone here and I thank those people who thought this up I give them a lot of credit for organizing all of this. I have 6 grandchildren, four who are fairly grown up and two younger ones.I said I lost my husband in 1998. I still love the Gatineau although I havenít lived here for 40 years.Iíll pass this to Janice now.

 

Gerry McSheffrey:Before you pass it to Janice, you probably went to the school behind us, next to the church, right?Colleen: No, I didnít.We went to school in Venosta at the convent and then we went to high school in Lowe.But, my husband (Bill Hayes) went to the old school down here. It was a big old white school that was behind where we come into the cemetery now. But no, I didnít go to Farrellton School.†† Ron did.

 

I am Janice (Skillen) St- Germain. I am James Skillenís daughter. I spent a lot of time on our grand parentís farm. Colleen is the oldest of the grandchildren and I am the second oldest, so we saw a lot more and you living down here you would know. When I was a child we lived in Sudbury and my dad would say we are going up the Gatineau. That was like you were giving me a million dollars and you know inside of my 68 year old heart it still beats the same way when coming up here now. Itís like I am anxious to go and see the land because when I came to spend the summer with my grandma I used to help her to punch down the bread in the back room (summer kitchen) and then Iíd go picking blueberries and blackberries and stuff and grandma would say we have to be careful going up Fleuryís Hills, you know, there are all those Frenchmen up there.I would say but why Grandma? Oh well, she would say, the Irish are down here and the Frenchmen are up there.The funny thing is that almost everyone in the family married a French Canadian person.So, my grandma and I used to write and I was sort of nicknamed after her.In 1955 before I was married I came down to visit, (I got married in 1956) and I brought down a picture of my husband Germain and I said look Grandma, his name is Germain St.Germain.I said heís a Frenchman.She said, yeah but he is not a bad looking one, eh?So, I thought it was okay and I said but I canít speak any language other than English. I never did learn to speak French.I can remember our grandfather too. I was 13 years old when our grandfather Skillen died and it was very sad he died of cancer but I can remember coming on the farm and he and Harold were out in the fields to work and grandma would give me a lunch and let me take it out to them in the fields and there was this huge rooster. Grandma warned me about this rooster and she said, ďNow, be careful about going across the field.Ē Also there was big mower; I donít know exactly what to call it that went on the back of the machine to cut down the hay.So I was going through the field and all of a sudden this big wild rooster jumped on my back and threw me down and was pecking me all over and the lunch went flying and I came that far from cutting my arm, but I twisted my arm behind me.So you know, grandma was such a very religious person and I am too today but right away I got covered with holy water, she figured that would fix me up and then they killed the rooster and we ate it that night.

 

I could sit here for ten hours and tell you stories that are my very fond memories of coming down and getting to see by aunts and uncles and my cousins and go up to Venosta. We had a ball.

 

Colleen McSheffrey, I have to tell one story about grandma. She told me that they married young and she was baking bread for the first time on her own and it didnít rise so she took it out to the back yard and buried it in the sand and started all over again, but by the time that grandfather came home the bread was rising from the heat up through the sand.

 

Hi, I am Winnifred Lyons Fields and Mrs. Skillen, Aunt Etty, was my aunt, my fatherís sister.

 

Iím Mildred Lyons and Etty was my aunt too.Thank you

 

Iím Richard Bishop. I was born and grew up in Thunder Bay.I did not actually come to the Gatineau area until the 1990ís although I had traveled a few times in the Ottawa valley with my parents in the 1960ís.Family lore has it that I was conceived up the Gatineau during a family trip so I do feel particularly attached to it as a result.So, our branch did live in northwestern Ontario for many decades, my grandfather, Martin Skillen, was the roadmaster with the Canadian Pacific Railway from Fort William to Manitoba and I had heard from my mother ( Phoebe Skillen Bishop) that when he had lived with my grandmother up in the Fort William area for a decade or two, he did talk about returning to the Gatineau particularly at retirement and my grandmother being the strong-willed woman she was, simply said, ďWell you can go but I am staying here.Ē So that more or less summed up their marriage. Thanks.

 

My name is Terry Skillen and my parents were Alfred and Mary. Jim and Etty Skillen were my grandparents.I can remember coming down to the farm from the time I was six or seven.I remember coming down with my sister Freda and later with my sister Linda.I remember sitting in the back seat of the car from Sudbury.Iím not sure if I always sat behind my father but I would be pushing on the seat to make the car go faster and this went on for three hundred miles.I can remember that,and then we would come to Ottawa and cross the river, and the road up here was unpaved and it was washboard all the way and that car just shimmied all the way up here.I remember a story that was told to me that Duplessis who was the premiere of Quebec at the time said that there would never be a paved road leading to Ottawa and that accounted for that washboard road for so many years, apparently. And yes the curves are still in it and itís still a dangerous road.The first memories that I have of coming down here to visit my grandparents are from around age seven. Sometimes, my dad who was a nickel miner would get off shift at midnight and we would hop in the car and drive all night to get down here.I mean, you know, the quicker we got down here the better, I guess and there was no wasting time because he only got a couple of weeks max holidays, back then they worked 9 hrs a day, 6 days a week underground. So coming back to the good fresh air was important.I can recall that when we got to the farm grandpa would take Freda and me, by the hand and we would go out for a little tour of the pig sty, the hen house and the barn. We have a couple of pictures of that. And this was really something special for someone who wasnít brought up on a farm. It was just wonderful. Grandpa was at least 6 feet tall, for me he was a very tall man and of course our grandmother was 5 feet nothing. Iím not sure that she even hit 5í, so there was this big difference in height but this tall man would take us out to the barn yard. I later learned that he could relate to us as children much easier than he could relate to adults because he was an extraordinarily shy man and I did not appreciate that of course, I just knew my grandfather as this very friendly man who welcomed me to the farm.†† I remember that on two occasions.Then of course in 1949, when I was still 8 years old he died and unlike Janice I did not come here for the funeral.Iím not sure if Freda did . (Freda says yes) You did?†† For some reason there was a decision made, Iím not sure how that came about. I stayed up with my other grandparents up in Garson, so I have no memory of grandpaís funeral.The next memory I have after Grandpa died in June 1949 is that dad gave up mining, he never was at heart a miner, I mean he never wanted to go down underground and we moved from Garson to Carleton Place at the end of July. I believe that the only reason that he went up there is that he had taken a mechanicís course in Montreal and he graduated from the course in 1930, he came back to the Gatineau and there was a fellow called Willy McCaffrey who had a store over here on the highway and Willie had a farm and his farm, I think, was on the other side of the river as well.There is story about my father that I was told by Aunt Doris (Clarke). My father was out on the river in a boat and maybe he was crossing from one side of the river to the other, and he lost an oar and then the second one. Iím not sure what happened, or how he got the boat back to shore.Maybe it was Willieís prayers.Willie was a healer and those from around here will know that and I remember being brought into Willieís house by my Dad, because Willie and Dad were close and we have pictures of Willie coming up to visit us at the old farmhouse when we came down from Sudbury.I remember walking into this house of Willieís and it was like another world. It was almost scary.He had mementos in there, things that had been given to him by people he had healed.I remember to this day, a white shirt, and he told me that the man was an American who had come up and Willie had done what he did and it was usually sprinkling holy water and saying some prayers and the man left and went back home and crosses appeared on his shirt in the area of the body, IĎm not sure if it was cancer of the lung or just exactly what it was, but I remember seeing that shirt and I was impressed.I mean these crosses were not just all over theshirt, they were just in a certain place and it was Ö.. And he could really do this.That is another story that whole thing about Willy.But, I remember coming up in July and Janice you were either here or you came up around the same time,and I can remember sitting Ö.grandma had a couple of lawn chairs out along the side of the entrance to the house.I remember sitting there in the evenings with Janice and grandma, and grandpa had been dead maybe a month and I can remember how solemn it felt to me, because grandpa was gone and grandma looked sad, and Iím 9 and I donít know what to do, except to just experience this.It was that difference.And then things changed at the farm, because Harold took over the farming and my experiencesÖand then I spent a lot of time on the farm.Not every summer but many summers I would come up to work on the farm, for two to three weeks, or whatever.Because I remember doing the hay and milking cows, I remember Harold could milk probably 12 cows and I could milk 3, and he would give me the easy ones.It was hard work for a town boy.Iíll stop for now.There will be other opportunitiesÖ

 

My name is Martin Bishop.I just want to pick up something you said about your grandfather.I remember my grandfather, his wake when he died in 1948, and at that time of course people were all brought home even in the city to be waked.Not when my grandmother died in 1964, with dozens of grandchildren, and all their children and grandchildren, we couldnít possibly find a house big enough to fit everybody in, so she had to be waked at the parlor.I remember something I actually witnessed at my grandfatherís wake, because my uncle, his son was a priest and of course we knew every priest from everywhere and every nun and there were lots of nuns up in the city at that time.About every half an hour, a group of nuns maybe ten, would come and say the rosary. I remember we were sitting over in the kitchen, and I was only 6 at the time and as one group of nuns left, one of the priests sitting in the kitchen got up and looked out the window and said, ďHere are another damn lot of them.Ē He went and locked the door on them.And my grandfather, going back to something about what Richard said, you know, he did have this fondness for the land even though he worked most of his life for the railway, and thatís why he acquired that property I spoke of.(Terry asks: Upsalla?)You know it was way up there.It was actually very good agricultural land even though it was in the shield.There was a whole pocket- he knew which was good land and which wasnít, so it was run as a farm, but of course, he had to pay somebody to run it.And of course he had all of those sons that could go up in the summer to help him.He was also one of those peoples who could find peoplesí wells, a diviner.That was his hobby.He ran around finding wells.Other than that he was a very quiet, gentle, shy soft spoken man.Of course, my grandmother never gave him a chance to say much, which I suppose was the reason.But these are a few of my memories of my grandfather Martin John.

 

Hi, I am Muriel Inglis Hickey.My father was Martin Hickey and my grandmother was Letitia Mary Ann Skillen.I grew up here. I was born and baptized and made my first sacraments in this church (St. Camillus) and we lived right directly across the river from Aunt Etty as we called her, Aunt Etty and Uncle Jim.Harold used to wave a handkerchief at us across the way and so we visited quite frequently back and forth. We called her Aunt Etty and when Terry spoke about the chairs, I could picture those wooden chairs and there were always hollyhocks all around the house. Going further up to Martindale was where Letitia Skillen was.Grandma was a great one for flowers and grandma had peonies, her front yard was filled with peonies and she always had a long white apron on and she led you into the pantry to the crock where she had tea biscuits and cream when we got up there and she was a very strong and stubborn lady which is where I see a lot of where the Skillens got their stubbornness from and the Hickeys as well.But she was a great lady and we were very blessed to grow up with all of them.Iíll pass this on to my sister Loretta who has a few stories about Harold.We could tell lots aboutHarold.

I am Loretta Hickey Ebersole. I am a few years older than Muriel.We grew up across the river from Aunt Etty and Uncle Jim and Dad would take me down, I was probably around eight, nine, or ten and he would take me across on the boat to Aunt Ettyís where I would spend a couple of weeks when they were doing the hay and all that. I used to go over there and go up on the hay racks with Harold.†† Aunt Etty Ö she was such a kind, very quiet lady. I donít remember too much of Uncle Jim because I was youngÖIím pretty sure he was tall but of course beside Aunt Etty anybody would be tall.He was tall and very soft, very soft-spoken and he wouldnít say too much but they would be very careful with me and I spent lots of summers there.Maybe one summer, it might have been Terry, because there was some strange person that I didnít know and I felt sort of cheated because I had to share the wagon with this other boy, but it could have been Terry, but it was so long ago.I am pretty proud to say that I came from up here and that I am related to the Skillens.Thank you

 

Hi, my name is Lori Clarke. I am Shirley Skillenís daughter.Just sitting here and listening to you older generation speaking, not disrespectfully, but my life has been somewhat like yours.I ran a horse farm for 10 years so I know very much of your experience of haying.Itís not fun.During my childhood, when I was younger, my grandfather had a stroke, but I do remember him coming to the cottage with my Mom and he loved to sit on the upper part of our cottage and just watch the boats go by and whatnot. Aunt Janice and her two sons David and Donald spent an awful lot of time.†† Dave and Donald and I had a great time at the cottage playing on the tractor and having fun.The rest of my cousins were too far away for me to get to know, so over the years I have gotten to know them.But I have just found that the history I have heard so far itís amazing how it has affected my life without me even knowing it.So, thank you.

 

Hi, I am Glenda Wilmot, Jim Skillenís youngest daughter and Janiceís sister. I was quite young when I was at the farm but I do have some nice memories of my grandma.I remember sitting in her porch smelling the butter.It just seemed like heaven in there, it was such a beautiful quiet place to be and hearing about my grandfather, I didnít know him because he died the year before I was born, but my Dad was a lot like his Dad.My Dad was very quiet, a very gentle man and it sounds like he was like his Dad.I have memories of hearing music and fiddles, like I was quite young.I would like to know who these fiddlers were that I remember.(Others reply Ė my Dad, Alfred, Jim Clarke, Donald, Jim played the fiddle, and Charlie played the spoons).Well, thatís what I remember.(Terry interjects: Johnny McSheffrey sang and told stories).It gave me a Gaelic heart hearing that music so young.So, I am looking forwarding to hearing some of that music while I am here.So I will pass this on.

 

I am Freda Kantor, Alfred Skillenís daughter. Well, Terry said most of what I would remember as well.I remember coming up to the farm and milking the cows and finding that such fun sitting on that little stool, and then they would squirt warm milk into your mouth (laughter) and it was just so much fun. I remember sitting on top of a cow, I donít know how we managed to do it, and that was sort of fun too, going between the fences. I remember being at the old farmhouse and going down to the well to get water and of course never having experienced any of that I think that was a really special privilege because otherwise I have always lived in a town and I think our children and grandchildren didnít really have that experience because they werenít associated with anyone that ever had a farm. It was a really a special privilege to have had all of those experiences without really realizing that it was just part of life.So, I can remember getting the water from the well, going into the chicken coop with grandma and shooing away the chickens and getting the eggs underneath. I donít remember the pig sty really. And seeing the horses and sitting on the old wagon, when they collected the hay, throwing up the hay, you know, being all part of that, that was very exciting and it was just a wonderful time to be here.Itís interesting how you can be around people and not really pay attention to them.You know grandpa, I donít remember much about him. I just remember that he was very quiet and silent and you have better memories than I do.I just remember that he was very tall and I think that his genes came down to our son because our son is 6í 7 Ĺ and he played on the national volleyball team for five years. It was great for him and he never minded being tall and he played basketball as well, but so I attribute his genes to grandpa. Bill, my husband is 6í1Ē. Iím 5í6Ē.How did we produce this son who is 6í 7 Ĺ, but anyway, there he is! So I think his genes came from grandpa. I donít know where grandpa got his height either, at that time most men were short, I think or much shorter anyway.(Martin Bishop: My grandfather was 6í as well.)Freda: Was he, I guess all that family had tall genes. And Grandma, I remember her well, and the smell of the butter, I remember that too, and the preserves, how you put it on your bread and the old stove in the kitchen and how in the summer time you cooked in the summer kitchen and didnít use your own kitchen.I can remember sleeping upstairs in the bedroom and hearing the crows waking you up in the morning.That was a really special memory, just being there.It was so silent, it was just really beautiful.So, I am just grateful to these people who worked so hard so we could have a better life. They really did work hard. I mean work on the farm to even these days, I find to be hard and those people who are still farming, itís wonderful that they are so dedicated.So, I am grateful to these ancestors of mine and I admire them and I am so happy that I was part of their family.So Marcel, are you going to say something?

 

My name is Marcel Vachon.I wasnít here in my younger years because I was in Ottawa.My father had died sometime late in the 30ís and my mother died somewhat after in 1932, I believe.And in 1938, I was out of school and I didnít know what I was going to do and anyway I happened to be on Somerset & Preston (in Ottawa) at the time and I heard this young fellow say, there is a priest up in the Gatineau hills that is going to hire somebody. So, as soon as I heard that he was going to hire somebody, I hopped on it and I went out to the Christian Brothers house that was on the corner to inquire about the priestís name and I met him and I told him what I had heard and he said I was right that he wanted to hire someone, because I need somebody to look after the farm for me.So, I inquired what kind of farm he had and he said I donít have a farm as such but I have a big piece of land and I need somebody to cut the grass and then pick up the dirt and so on and so forth and to just stick around. Do you have any place to live and I said I donít. Anyhow, I took the train that evening and I ended up in Wakefield and met the priest there again and he was surprised to see me.He said, I didnít think you would come.Well, why not, Iím out of a job and I donít have a place to live.He says, Iíll tell you what, you can come up to my place and I have a place for you to sleep for the night and if you like it enough to stay there and work for me, youíve got yourself a job.And so I stayed there overnight and then the next morning I got up and spoke to the priest and he told me his name and that was Father McGregor and I guess you all know Father McGregor. He said stay around if you want and do what I ask you to do and things will be okay. And so I did.

 

I started cutting the grass and trimming around the trees and so on and so forth.And I stayed for exactly one year, to be truthful and I thought I had better get out of here and find myself a better job so I got up and took the train and there was nobody there for me to see.I took the train from Hull to Ottawa and I met somebody from Aylmer, there in Hull.I heard about that job on the Gatineau highway someplace, where they were looking for a maintenance man.I said well, I am the man for that, he wants me.†† So, I went back.(Terry, how did you meet Aunt Lola?)†† Well, its coming somewhere along the way, I met Lola. And we decided to get married and we had seven children together. And I joined the Navy and I went overseas and served in the Atlantic Ocean on the HMCS Waskasui. I came out of the Navy three years later and I came back up here.

 

Hi, my name is Ken Vachon. Marcel is my Dad and Lola is my mom. My childhood memories areÖ I donít remember Grandpa, I was born in 1949.I remember coming up with the family, it was always a big treat to squish 5 or 6 kids at that time without car seats. I think at one time we had a Morris.My mother always hated that Morris minor or something and we would squish in.But when you talk about waking up in the farmhouse, I remember the clock in the hall ticking and the cars coming up the hill. You could hear them from about a mile and they would zip by and the sound would drift off into the distance.And I remember the warnings about the rooster or Uncle Harold would give me a big stick because we would go down to the river fishing.That was the biggest treat. We always wanted to come up here because Dad always went fishing Sunday afternoon and we always had a big treat going down to the river or somewhere fishing anyway.But, I remember, to go to the river, Uncle Harold would give us a big stick to keep the young bulls away or the cattle or whatever, it would be a novelty to see these kids walking across these field, you know.But thatís my memories and I know Mom & Dad had great feelings about the area and it was like a second home for my Dad, definitely.Those are my memories and of my grandmother coming to stay with us that was a treat too.I just canít think of anything else, so Iíll just pass it on.

 

My name is Susan Mahon. I was married to Donny Skillen and we had four children together.I didnít have the privilege of meeting his grandparents.†† I remember a lot of family gatherings at the old farmhouse.We lived at the old farmhouse for about 23 years and we raised our children there and Dawn is one of them, sheís my youngest daughter.I remember that Donald (Skillen Sr.) always wanted a grandson and I had three daughters, he had three granddaughters, and I got pregnant for the fourth time and he passed away before he got to meet his grandson.So that was kind of a sad memory for us, but Lucille just enjoyed all her grandchildren.I remember mostly Harold and Loretta because they had cottages.And we would visit them a lot with Sherry.The fondest memory I have is going to Lorettaís house for supper and never leaving empty-handed.That was something that I thought about, every time we go we always leave with something, she always had a present for us, so it was really, really special.And I donít know if anybody heard about our house being haunted?It is known as the haunted house. Well, I didnít see any ghost.But, I remember joining a girlís baseball team, or going out into the community and being asked, ďWhere do you live?ĒAnd Iíd say that I just live down the road in the Skillen house. Someone would ask, ďThe haunted house?ĒThat was the biggest thing going, eh.I think the rumor was that there was an Uncle Pat and he played a piano and he was sent away to an old age home, this is what I think I heard over the years, he didnít like the old-age home, so he would leave in the middle of the night and he would come when the house was empty and play the piano and people would hear the piano playing and think it was haunted. But it was really Uncle Pat.And I think the piano is here, if I am not mistaken, I think it was given to the church here in Farrellton. (Someone says: Itís in the hall.)Oh, itís in the hall.Yeah, well there you go.Iíll pass on.

 

Hi, Iím Loretta Skillen, married to Charles Sauvť.We were married in St. Camillus Church in 1946. My husband is in a nursing home and has been there for 9 years.I have two children, Judy and Gary.Gary is not here to-day. I have three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.I have a lot of memories of the Gatineau.On the farm the one thing that I always hated was milking the cows. We had to do this before we went to school and walk three miles to school.Mildred, Winnie and I used to pick berries in the summertime.We would be gone all day and we didnít have hats to wear then.We would leave at 8:00 in the morning and pick berries in our bare feet till late in the afternoon. We would bring sandwiches with us. (Susan Thatís another memory I have, I never went blueberry picking in my life and Aunt Loretta taught me when I met Donny).Loretta: I remember that we would go up to Kazabazua to pick blueberries in August of every year with mother and dad.I have a lot of memories about going to Stagburn School.Whoever got there first had to put on the fire and sometimes it would be 30 below zero.I remember when I was 6 years old I got stuck in the snow and it took three or four to pull me out.It was that deep.A good memory I had is of a Mr. Plunkett who used to pick us up, Harold and I, and drive us the odd time to Lowe School.I left for the big city when I was seventeen.

 

Judy (Sauvť) Meldrum

I was very close to my grandmother Skillen.Grandmaís was like my second home from the time I was about 6 to about the time she died.I was 13 when she died.I was up here every weekend and every summer for the entire summer.Up here we did everything from berry picking to visiting all the in-laws. I saw Susan and Donny and we used to have good parties at my Aunt Dorisí cottage. I remember Janice singing so beautifully and Terry, your dad playing the violin and Uncle Donald playing the guitar I believe. My Dad used to play the spoons really well. I guess it was the French spoons.And we had one heck of a wing-ding. We had great rhythm.The kids ran wild.I tell you it was a great place.The only thing that I remember that was traumatic was when I was staying up with my Aunt Doris one weekend. I went to cut her grass and she had a lawn with slopes. I went down the first slope and lost my footing. My left foot went right into the lawn mower and I almost lost my big toe and my second toe. Luckily Uncle Harold and Aunt Teresa were across the way at Grandmaís.They saw me so they rushed over.Iíll never forget it, aunt Teresa put a white flag out the car window.Uncle Harold must have drove two hundred miles an hour down that Gatineau highway and we made it to the hospital, but they couldnít help meÖ.(tape ended and had to be reversed, lost some of Judyís story). And the Vachons, we had a lot of good times with Gail and Debbie, Uncle Marcel and Kenny.We always used to go strawberry picking together.We had great fun!Lots of good memories! Thatís about all I can remember, a lot of good times and one traumatic time, but everything worked out just fine.

 

My name is Debbie Holtom and I am the daughter of Marcel Vachon and Lola Agnes Skillen.One of my greatest memories is we would come up to grandmaís house almost every other Sunday and I guess I always call itgrandmaís house because as Glenda said, weíre almost the same age, weíre only a month apart I just found out, we never got to know our grandfather. So, the whole gang got pushed into the car and away we went and we had a great time up here, playing and the guys went fishing and the girls, I donít know what we did, went swimming or something, and then we would always play with Barb (Clarke) and Judy (Sauvť) and we went picking berries and everything and had the cows chase us across the fields.I remember spending a week with grandma when I was 11 or 12 and we did a lot of things and every day we wrote things downs in this journal she kept and I would love to able to find where that journal is and I know it was in the house that Harold had and I donít know where it went after that and there were a lot of neat things in that book.Some other great memories of coming up to the Gatineau were, as a kid going up to Venosta and spending time at Uncle Johnnieís and Aunt Berniceís and I remember Aunt Bernice showing me how to get eggs out of the hen house and in particular in getting to know the boys because the boys were older, so, itís just always been a great time up here and what can I say, coming to Grandmaís house was terrific.And, we did have a lot of fun, Barbara and Judy and I and my sister we would do crazy things sometimes but it was just a part of getting together, especially in the summertime.

 

Hello, my name is Donna Hayes and I am Colleen McSheffreyís daughter, Gerry McSheffreyís niece and so of course Bernice Skillen was my grandmother.I spent a lot of time up here on the McSheffrey farm and stuff when I was younger.My grandfather (Johnny McSheffrey) died when I was only eight so that changed things a lot, but before that we certainly loved to come here. Itís great for me to come back. I live in Toronto now.I want to tell you one story about Henrietta Skillen, my great-grandmother which none of you can possibly have heard before.Later in her life before she died she came to see us at our house and Gerry was working at the time for the Experimental Farm, yes, the National Research Counsel and had gotten a big huge beaker. He had the top cut off so we could have goldfish in this beaker and it was sitting onÖ.†† So, the perspective of the beaker was quite distorted. Grandma Skillen was sitting watching as my goldfish came around to the side of the beaker and she turned to my mother and said ďHow did you ever get that big fish into that little hole?Ē (Much laughter).It just cracked us all up.So there is a story that I am sure is new to you.

 

Hi, I am Gordon Skillen and I am Jim Skillenís youngest son and my sister Janice was married to her husband before I was even born, so it was one of those cold winter nights in Sudbury.I was born in January.Itís always cold in Sudbury?Thatís why I left actually.†† When I turned sixteen I got on my thumb and I moved out west and I have never been back, other than for funerals and stuff like this and for visits.The only memory that I have of Grandma Skillen is that she came home when we were living in Garson and I was five at the time and she was home for my Mom and Dadís twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and then one time we came up here and I remember sleeping in the house and when it rained you could hear the rain falling on the roof and they collected it in a barrel or something like that and I remember going to Aunt Lorettaís cottage in behind there and there was cow poop everywhere, in-between the house and you always had to dance, is that right?It wasnít just a bad memory, eh?There were pies in your house and cow pies outside of your house. So, not too many memories, but it is fascinating because I have always been interested in the history of the Skillenís and itís almost like we are a special people or something in comparison to the other 5 billion people on the planet.Thank you to Terry and all the other people who put all the time and effort into organizing this for us.

 

Gerry McSheffrey: Yeah, I just want to come back to the story of the piano playing and Uncle Pat, which I assume was Uncle Pat Lyons, right? He was a very important part of my life as well, at different points in time.There is a hotel down in Wakefield called the Black Sheep and in some parts of the family, Uncle Pat was the black sheep.I realize now, looking back that Pat was sort of like one of those wonderful hippies before hippies became popular.You know, he lived by his own rules.I can remember as a teenager that he was just incredibly exciting because he didnít pay any attention much to what anybody else did or said.I thought that was a wonderful way to live your life if you can, at least up to a certain point.You know, donít pay too much attention to what other people do.I donít know if this was before or after the piano playing but he came at one point, it was one of these strange kinds of ideas like the odd fellows, long before the odd fellows, the odd couple got on TV, right.He came, Pat had been everywhere. In his early life he had been a carpenter and worked on the west coast, in Washington and traveled around the world and all over the place.And he told stories, wonderful interesting stories.And of course, growing up in Venosta, where I think was eleven or twelve years old before I got to Ottawa believe it or not, when you think about how the world has changed, these stories just absolutely entranced me, you know, and it probably in the end resulted in my living in Africa for three or four years and in the United States and having this love for travel because he told these really interesting stories.But, he was also considered by our parents, as being a little bit dangerous, particularly my mother. My father was pretty tolerant of anybody.But my mother thought that Pat might be a negative influence around us kids.Pat on certain cases like this one, when we were teenagers, you know, would maybe slip us a beer, when nobody was looking.Pat taught me to play poker when I was thirteen, I think.And I also remember that he came to live in this house next to our farm with another elderly gentleman whose name was George Miles.And George was just the opposite side of Pat.I mean talk about the odd couple.George had never been anywhere. I donít think he ever left Venosta in his entire life.He never married, he was entirely solitary and this sort of wonderful, exciting, interesting kind of old drifter whoíd been everywhere winds up living and to some extent helping this older man, George, who was in ill health and nursing him too and referring to him as the old man even though the difference in their age was only probably about a year or two, if I can remember, right.It was also very poignant because it was one of the first times that I was ever asked to identify whether somebody was actually dead or not.Occasionally I used to bring them the newspaper after we finished with it and Pat was an inveterate reader as well, he absolutely loved to read and he would stay up late into the night, even with bad lighting, and he would read and read and read.And so I went one morning to bring the newspaper and he said, I canít remember how old I might have been at that point, maybe 12 or 13, something like that.And he said I want you to come in and see something. I said ďWhat do you want me to see?Ē†† Well, he said I think old George may have gone west, but Iím not sure.And so indeed I had to identify or verify whether old George had gone west.And it was my first time that I actually had to verify that somebody was actually dead, but again he was one of these really intriguing, interesting characters, you know.He knew everything about everything and I used to think that most of the people around him, it made me a lot more sensitive, didnít really understand him either, just how wonderful and interesting the old guy was.†† Occasionally, he might have had a drink too many, you know, but God I could forgive him everything because he was such an important part of my education.And Iím somebody that has gone on and done a couple of advanced degrees.I spent a good deal of my life teaching university.But you know, I learned as much I think from Pat as I did all the rest of it about life and the other kinds of things and the things he made me interested in, because he didnít and he was kind of like that somebody who was in the community, but he was also outside it and just a little bit bigger than it.I hope indeed there is a ghost of his playing the piano someplace.

Colleen McSheffrey: Where we are sitting are the grounds where the church picnics were and Phyllis my sister andI would be here and there was always a beautiful doll on raffle, I guess Winnie and Mildred would remember, I donít know if they will or not.Pat would always buy us tickets for the raffle. We always wanted to get that doll, and we never did.And he used to buy us Orange Crush, sure and an ice cream cone and he would always say, ďAre you going to the hop?Ē when we got older, that was a dance, like there was a dance in the hall, eh.

 

Janice St-Germain: Iíd like to say something about Uncle Pat.We were told the same thing, well, kind of stay away from Uncle Pat, heís different.But one time, my husband and I went with grandma to see him and his expression was, ďDid you bring me a sputnik?Ē He always wanted a beer and he called a beer a sputnik.So we brought him a few. And then he said to grandma, ďEtty, would you want a cup of tea?ĒSo grandma looks at us sideways and she says to me, ďWell I donít think he washes his cups.ĒSo I said, well we could have a cup of tea anyways.But, he was so eccentric living in this funny house still up at Lyons Lake, when he lived in that house.

 

Gerry McSheffrey: He realized that he was a little suspect compared to our parents, our parents were more proper or whatever.††† He had this expression as he slipped us a beer, and occasionally I would go get him a beer or two, as well, but he would always say ďMums the wordĒ. It was sort of our little conspiracy with him.

 

Janice St. Germain: I want to say one more thing about grandma.In 1957, Germain, my husband and I were married one year, so we came to the Gatineau.So Germain went to fish in the river and he caught two little fish about that long.He just brought them up and threw them in the rain barrel in the back.So a little while later grandma calls and she says ďLunch is ready and she had cooked four potatoes about this big and those two little wee fish and four carrots or something and she had that on the table.So my husband says, ďIs that all we are having grandma?ĒďOh, thatís enough to eat.ĒIt wasnít, eh?And, then she had made a cake, and because she was alone, she would make a cake and it would be there for a long time.So, she cut the cake and put it on the table and you couldnít bite it, it had gone stale, eh.So my husband says, ďOh, I donít want to insult your grandmother, but I canít eat the cake.I said, the dog is there, so he threw it under the table, and the dog didnít like it.So, my husband says after, ďMy God, how did your grandmother ever feed her familyĒ?I never forgot that.We laughed and laughed.So I said, weíre going up to the hill, we are going to buy some food.So we came back with all kinds of food.She said, ďAre we having company?ĒWell, I wasnít making fun of grandma, she was alone and when youíre alone you donít cook.But, Iíll never forget that cake, the dog took sniffs of it.

 

Martin Bishop: I would just like to mention something about someone I consider like a lost Skillen brother. John, the one who married here, what was his first wifeís name, do you remember?(Terry Skillen interjects: She was a Lyons, John Alexander and Mary Lyons, she was called Molly.)†† They ended up in Thunder Bay.I think that he worked for the railway too and when she died, he then remarried and then had two children by his second wife, who I knew as Aunt Rose, and after two years, he died, leaving her with the five children.The children from the Lyons mother were eventually sent back here and I have no idea what happened to them, where they are or anything about them.(Terry interjects: Grandma took care of one or two of them, and grandmaís mother took care of Faustina.Mary seems to have spent time between both houses.)Martin asks ďAre they still around?ĒTerry, ďNo they are deceased.I tried to contact memberís of their families to invite them to the reunion, but was not able to find them.)Martin continues.The two younger children, there was a boy Vincent and a girl, Bernice.Vincent is dead, he eventually ended up in Calgary and they had no children, he and his wife.Now, Bernice is still living in Thunder Bay, she is in her eighties and she is not too well at this time.She was a great buddy of my motherís (Phoebe Skillen) because they were first cousins and Bernice not having that many Skillen relatives although she had Rooney relatives on her motherís side. She married a man named Renť Gravel, another French connection and they had four children and the eldest son and most of his children live still in Thunder Bay and her other children, Denise lives in the states and Paulette lives out west and the youngest Maurice lives, I think, in Yellowknife or the North West Territories and that rounds off the Skillen family.I thought I should mention him.

 

Terry Skillen: ĎThank you, MartinĒ.There are a couple of things that have triggered memories.Talking about food, I remember that after Harold left the farm, Johnny Skillen ran the farm for a year or so. He was the youngest child of John and Mary better known as Molly. Molly was a sister of Henrietta Lyons who married my grandfather James Francis. I believe that Molly died giving birth to Johnny or shortly after. That was probably around 1918.Iíve got a letter written by your grandfather (Martin John Skillen) to my grandfather Jim (James Francis Skillen) telling Jim that John had died in the hospital and Martin was there at his bedside when he died and he went on to talk about that and he then said Iím making a plea, please send something up to help the widow.She had five children. The youngest one was only four months old when John was fatally injured.This lady was in desperate straights.Now I guess what happened was that Mollyís mother Mary Lyons and Jim and Henrietta made a decision to bring the children from the first marriage back to the Gatineau and that would have helped Rose for then she would not have had to raise all five children.

 

I remember Johnny took over the farm for a season or more after Harold left to live in Ottawa.I can remember that it was during the period of time when I was coming down here and working on the farm during the summers, perhaps in the summer of 1955 when I was 15.I had worked for Harold.Johnny had some kind of an arrangement with grandma where he was independent and he was supposed to run the farm, I guess.I was too young to really understand the arrangement.He was supposed to run the farm and he hired me to help me and he was supposed to feed me.And grandma had nothing to do with this arrangement.(Someone asks, ďWhat did you have to eat?).Well, not much.†† Laughter, laughterÖ.I will tell you, I was here, I canít remember how long it was.I canít remember if it was one or two weeks and we ate the same thing all the time.And it was bread and honey and I just couldnít take any more bread and honey. I was getting hungry.The same thing every day, day in and day out.I remember pleading with my mother to bring food because she would come down, I guess and visit.Maybe Mom and Dad came down on the weekends to visit.I canít really remember how long I was there.But I donít think that I lasted long, I was starving.Not that I didnít want to be here, I enjoyed being here.But maybe Johnny didnít have an appreciation for a teenagerís appetite, because I needed more food.Janice adds, I came down to visit and you said ďOh my God Janice am I ever glad that you are here!Maybe now we will get more foodĒ.I donít know what the arrangement was, whether grandma was saying to Johnny, Look it you are supposed to look after the boy, itís not my responsibility to be feeding him. You are supposed to be feeding him.Maybe that was the arrangement that she made with Johnny, you are looking after the farm.

 

Terry Skillen: It is interesting to hear about the ghost.I had heard that story, long before Pat died or was in a nursing home and maybe playing the piano.Someone else was playing that piano before Pat did.Someone intervenes, ďThat story goes way backĒ Blame it on the Hickeys.So it is a story that goes way back.Gerald McSheffrey adds, ďI heard stories as well.One of them was in fact in seems to be that my father telling me that the way the house was situatedÖ inaudibleÖ.headlights shining on the house. (Someone in the background speaks of a body buried on the farm) Terry: When I was young I remember either Harold or my father, showing me a place behind the old house, in the field or on the edge of the field where someone in the family had been buried. I was told that grandpa would stop briefly as he passed the spot and say a prayer. In my memory the burial site was protected in some way.Iím not sure if it was on a wee bit of a knoll or not. Yes there was a body there and I was told whose body it was, but I canít remember who it was.†† In doing the family tree, I have been unable to account for the death and burial of Mary Kerns. I suspected that it might have been her who was buried there.Mary Kerns was married to Francis, the man who came over here from Ireland. Mary died some years before Francis but she is not buried in the cemetery at Farrellton. I donít know where Mary is buried.I am wondering who is buried in the field, and since we are telling stories, Iíll just add this one.As I mentioned Francis was a Protestant and Mary was a Catholic. They married and they came to Canada from Ireland with two children. I mentioned this morning that the boys were not baptized.I have not found evidence that the boys were baptized in the Catholic Church, now if I check some of the Protestant churches around here, I may find the boys were baptized in a Protestant church.How come Mary is not buried in the cemetery at Farrellton?Francis is buried there and he died after her.He died in 1894.So, Iím just wondering if Francis said, Iím a Protestant and Iím not getting buried in that Catholic cemetery, so I am burying her at home.In fact that is not true.When Mary died the Skillen farm was in Wakefield Township, just down the highway where the Kelly farm is now.The place we know as the old Skillen farm was the OíRourke farm in Lowe Township, but less than a mile apart.Mary Skillen would not have been buried on the OíRourke farm in 1871 or shortly thereafter, because she died sometime between 1871 and 1881.In making contacts with many Skillen all across Canada, I came across someone living in Manitoba who told me that her ancestor was a Skillen and lived up here in the Gatineau, and that he was a twin and he was born in 1836 around the same time as our John and James were born.His first name was different, maybe Thomas. He was a Protestant and he married a French Canadian up here and they had a child and both the mother and child died in childbirth.The twin brother Donald married a Bridget, her last name is unknown, a Catholic. The family believes that Donald moved to the East coast and that Thomas left and went to Manitoba and he married and raised another family out there.I have no proof of another Skillen being up here in the Gatineau, and if a Skillen had come up the Gatineau, I would think that it is highly probable that our Skillen family would have known about these other Skillen especially someone who came over from Ireland and was a Protestant, as all of the Skillen were.I am just wondering, whether itís Mary over there in the field, or maybe one of those other Skillen.I would like to track that down.Unfortunately, there are fewer of us who are older and could remember the name of that person

 

Martin Skillen: Did you people here have stories about the Will-O-Wisps and the old Irish legends when you were young?Terry: The only thing that I know was something written in the Gatineau Historical Society Journal. There is a story that after Wilfred died, a banshee was heard.Wilfred died in 1922, he drowned in the Gatineau River, and some of the neighbours said that they heard this banshee and also that a strange black dog, which is an Irish indication of death, crossed the property.It was a dog unknown to the family, and this would indicate the presence of the supernatural.Did you hear about that? Loretta Ebersole: All I know is that when I used to go over there with Harold, there was no one living in the house, but there were beds and we would take our lunch in and eat it in the old house, and this day, I was probably 8 or 9 and I had laid down to have a sleep, I guess being a kid, and I had taken my shoes off, and I woke up and there was nobody in the house and I was petrified, whatever scared me I donít know.I ran down to the field to Harold and he asked me ďWhere are your shoes?Ē and I said I left them in the house and he said Go back and get them.And I said I wouldnít, for some reason I would not go back and didnít know why.And he always told me the stories about the wagons stopping at that particular spot and they would stop, donít ask me why.But Harold always told me that there was a body there and I thought he was teasing me. But after I grew up and I heard the stories, whether he was going on what his father told him, I donít know.Terry: I was told that grandpa would stop there and say a prayer, sometimes, he would pay his respects. Some else says:He must have known.Terry: Sure, he must have known who it was and that story was passed down to me by my father and I saw that spot and I was actually brought to that spot but I donít know who it was.Martin Skillen says:Right, thereís the old Irish story that at the time of death, you appeared to certain other people.It is supposed to have happened in the case of my grandfather.He died in Thunder Bay, his property was about 100 miles west, and a neighbor, she looked out her window, this day and she saw my grandfather crossing the field, in front of her yard, and he waved to her and that she was going to town the next day (which was Thunder Bay) on the train, and she stopped in and was to talking to one of my familyís friend and she said ďWhat was Martin doing up at Upsalla and I thought he was not supposed to come up and he was there yesterday.No, he said, he died yesterday.Grandpa used to tell us all these stories at night about all of the lights and the goblins coming through the forest and of course it scared the living daylights out of us.Of course, after I grew up, I realized why he was doing that, because of the house up in the country, there is nothing between that and the North Pole, only wilderness.Because people that wandered off a hundred yards into the forest, were never heard of again, because they got completely lost and I think that is the way he had of scaring us from wandering off in the forest by ourselves.

 

Gerald McSheffrey:All of the descendants when they moved away from this area and then came back as grandchildren and other kinds of things, as someone growing up here, it was different kind of perspective:Our world was self-contained. Right, I mentioned before that I had never been to Ottawa until was eleven or twelve, and I remember, I think was I was thirteen, going to a football game, and I can just think how naÔve we were about a few things.I was not sure how to get there and Phyllis my older sister told me that I was to go to Hull and get on the bus there and it would probably get me to the football game and it was pretty unclear.So, I got on this bus and there seemed to be a whole lot of people on it, it was a street car actually, and being from the country and knowing nothing about city life, I just assumed that all of the people were going to the foot ball game and sure enough it was the Bank Street car and we did go to Lansdowne Park and they all got off, at least a lot of them, and I got off as well and made it to that football game.I would like to ask Aunt Loretta an interesting kind of thing, because the other thing that I remember, you mentioned leaving home at 17, which I did as well, because that was part of our experience, because once you got up to a certain age, which in my case, it was getting through high school, and even in my generation not a lot of people finished high school, but then you had to make a life or have a career or whatever.Iím intrigued in asking you, what was it like?Loretta says:We all went to live with Doris (Skillen) Clarke; we stayed with her and had to pay a little rent or something. Gerry:I remember that sense of community.When I first went to Ottawa to work and naturally, it was like the Newfoundlanders in Toronto, you just all hung out together.And so there were all sorts of people that came from the Gatineau and so also the drinking laws were very relaxed in Quebec as opposed to Ontario, it was always impossible in Ottawa to get a drink in Ottawa unless you really were 21.The access to fake IDíS was very difficult and occasionally I would have somebody smuggle me into the By Town Inn, possibly to get a beer.Most times it did not work. So we would all go to Hull together, where the drinking age was much more relaxed and even if you didnít look to be 18, nobody particularly cared.†† Because one of my impressions about growing up here which was so interesting, I was saying that yesterday coming up in the car, was that there was such a strong sense of community that people could live virtually without the police or anything else.In my life, there were police in Maniwaki and police in Hull, right and nobody in between.So whatever happened, in essence, got deal with, in some kind of way, other than simply, you just couldnít call the police.Under those rare occasions, when there was a murder or something or other, generally people looked after whatever they did look after.But it was this sort of system, like Loretta said, you know, I remember Doris in our life as well, which is really part of that kind of thing.Because when my mother was sick in the hospital, where did we go?We went to Dorisí, and when she got out of the hospital we went to Dorisí and somebody would arrange to drive her.There was this mutual support system. Now in our lives, which are lived in different places and other kinds of things, does not exist.There was that incredible strong sense of community, and a strong sense of family and that kind of obligations.I always thought that it must have been really difficult for Doris to have all these country bumpkin cousins. I also remember ÖTerry:I also stayed with Doris.Gerald: I know everybody did. I always thought they thought, My God, there must be an endless numbers of them, always coming here. And they would be expected to.When we lived in Africa, it was interesting, because it was a similar kind of thing, expect, it still exists in a way, because of the extended families.And basically there, relatives come and visit you and they stay for months and you canít really ask them to leave. Honestly, you canít.You just hoped that eventually they will leave.There was a sense of obligation that you did that kind of thing, and the way that you paid to go to the city was to try to find somebody there that would help to support you or that would give you some kind of assistance and let you work in.For the younger kids here, it was quite amazing.I remember having no preparation whatsoever for anything.When I first went to Ottawa to look for a job, I had no idea how to get a job or what kind of job I could do. I learned that you went to the Manpower Centre, now called the Unemployment Insurance Commission at that time, and they would ship you around to different places for interviews.Of course, we had no proper preparation for job interviews either, so I had no idea what the proper thing to say was in a job interview, because I did not know what on earth they were looking for.And my first job was entirely an accident that I got a job because I had no particular qualifications for the job.I wound up working at the National Research Council, and I went to school at Low and we had a science program but our science program consisted of basically writing notes.We didnít have a Lab at all in the school, until the year after I left.And so I had not experience whatsoever with Lab equipment and so I went to work for Doctor J Sanford Hart, who was doing studies in animal physiology and cold acclimatization.†† I was there for a few days, right, and he would ask me to set up, or get this elaborate equipment and put it in his lab and set it up.And I of course I did not even know the names of this stuff, and he was sort of look at me, and he was a person who hardly ever spoke much,and he would sort of look at me and say, You donít seem to know much about labs.And I felt like saying, I donít a damn thing about any of this stuff, and I realized that my education for here somewhat limited in that respect.But eventually being Irish and being from the Gatineau, we managed to actually survive thanks to a wonderful old Scotch guy who decided that would take me under his arm and teach me everything in a short period of time.He was sort of the equivalent of good old Pat Lyons, who I referred to earlier.And you realize how important those people are in your life because the take an interest in you and tell you things.

 

Terry:Speaking of people who help you I have a couple of stories about Harold. I spent a few summers working with Harold on the farm and I remember one time when we were returning to the house after milking the cows. We were coming back to Grandmaís house for supper after milking the cows. Harold had a plug of tobacco.I was about twelve or thirteen. And Harold suggested that I try a chew.He gives me a little and I started chewing it. We were walking up the hill on the path along the barb wire fence. I lost consciousness.Iím on the side of this hill just below Grandmaís house and Harold is shaking me awake and I am really dopey and feeling very sick.

Another summer, he tied the tails of two cows together, that was not too difficult, they were passive.There they were tied together and they had this tug of war and one of the cows lost part of its tail.That got him into trouble with grandma.

Grandpa had just bought the red truck before he passed away.Then after grandpa died, Harold took over the farm and Harold got possession of the red truck. Harold took a cow into Hull to the slaughter house and I went with him.This was going to be quite an adventure, getting that cow into the truck and then getting it off.

I remember the last summer I worked on the farm for Harold.I was thirteen. Diane was just a toddler.†† I would have been about fourteen.Elvis Presley was very popular. He had three hits that summer. They may have been, Donít Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes and You Ainít Nothing but a Hound Dog. I am dating myself.Anyway there was an old stray dog hanging around the farm. I came up there with a pup.I was delivering papers and one of my customers had given me a puppy and it was very young.The same day I come up to the farm, Harold and Theresa are sitting on the porch of the old house, Diane is there sort of crawling along and Iím on the grass and the little pup is there with me. The big stray dog comes and grabs the pup in its mouth and with just one shake the pup's neck was broken and it died.I remember feeling so sad. I was also angry, that that dog would do this to my pup.I walked off and I sulked, you know. There was another dog there, called Pal.Pal was on the farm for a long time, I remember with Pal, you would just whistle and he would go and get the cows and he would bring them back.Well Pal died during Johnnyís time on the farm.Johnny buried Pal in the field and put a cross up.Johnny didnít spell very well and on the cross he put ďHere lies poor PalĒ and he spelled it ďHere lys por palĒ. It was so neat, it was sort of sweet, that he did that and I remember the spelling was incorrect. Ken Vachon: It was a fairly big dog, when we got into the laneway, my Dad would have to get out of the car and grab the dog because it would jump up.Terry:I remember that, it was a brown dog, but I donít think that was the one that did my little pup in.Ken:I remember Uncle Johnny, in the morning he would get up and start the fire about 4:30, 5:00 oíclock and go on top of the hill and start yelling Kobos and the dog would run down and the cows would be starting up the trail.

 

Gerald McSheffrey:I would like to thank everybody for sharing.