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Accession Number: 82-006

George Cobb tapes
82-006

Tape 43
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This transcription is available to researchers for private research purposes only.
All responsibility for issues of copyright is assumed by the researcher.

The following digitized transcription was made from a typed transcription located in the Kenneth Kidd fonds (93-011 Box 1), Trent University Archives. Sections appearing to have been offered as explanation by the interviewer have been italicized by Archives staff.

Herb Irons, Curve Lake, recorded July 2 1966 by George Cobb

Herb Irons is married to one of Mrs. Mary Johnston's daughters.

I have been living at Curve Lake for 82 years, this next 13th July. My parents died when I was very young. They are just like a dream to me. I remember my mother, well, I guess I was old enough but foolish, you know. The reason I remember my mother, she used a broom stick on me. There used to be an old house across there, a log house. It was a kind of a shanty of a place, and when I was sitting there, I heard the door slamming, and I looked up, and here was my mother looking at me. The first thing I heard her saying was, "you come right home!" I know she had something on her mind. There used to be a rail fence over there and I got 2 or 3 clouts before I could run away from her. There used to be an old log house there where we were living. That's where I caught it.

But nowadays, children don't get that. All they use is their eyes now, whipping their kids. My grandfather raised me. He used to live way down below Clifford's there. My grandmother, my father's mother, she said she couldn't do it. She used to live at Scugog Island. She was telling me she couldn't do it, she was too old. My grandfather and my brother, my aunt and my uncle raised me. My brother died here a couple of years ago. My grandfather had a trap line here. He went as far as Catchecom. And the fellow that come here, I wasn't home. I was working on a boat and he asked him how far he went to hunt. Grandfather said, "as far as Catchecom." "Well, you can hunt there," this white fellow said, when they were buying this hunting. And he was telling me, "you go back there and hunt." "I bet they'll kick you out of there," I said. There were 5 or 6. They had so much ground to hunt over, somewhere about 3 miles square. There were 4 or 5 fellows. Now nobody can hunt there. They sold the hunting. Well, some of them did not want to sell it. There was a fellow by the name of old Joe Muskrat. I just hardly remember him. They had a meeting at Clifford's barn, not this new one. That's years ago. And Joe Muskrat told the other fellows never to sell the hunting. The other counselors said, "that will never happen." They used to have a council amongst themselves. They had no council. Joe Muskrat got up and said never to sell the hunting. "You are going to ruin the young generation." That's us people. There was a young fellow there. He was just about that high. His name was Jonah Jacobs and this fellow, in his manhood, when he's going to hunt, look for something to eat, he's got to go behind the fence or through the fields. He, Joe Muskrat, prophesied that about 50 years ahead, (that the Indians would lose the hunting rights in 1921) and that's the way it is right now.

I only went out trapping with my grandfather when I was on holidays from school, but after I start to work,.... I just went out fishing with him, everybody could fish then. We sold the fish to the stores. There used to be an old fellow across the channel there who used to buy them at 5 cents a pound. But everything was cheap then.

My grandfather never used to have decoys when he was hunting ducks. He would just pick up an old stump and throw them where he was going to sit. The ducks will fly into them stumps. He had a muzzle loader, a ram rod and caps. I just sold it here a couple of years ago. That's what he used to use.

And doctor. There was no doctor. I cut myself with an axe. I was kinda dumb, too. My uncle went after wood that morning and he wanted to go to Peterborough and take the women selling baskets. He told me what to do and said, "don't you touch that axe, it's sharp." "You just fetch wood," he said. The wood was already sawed, big blocks. Well, it wouldn't do, I took that axe. It looked good, so I picked it up. My grandfather was in the house. The first blow I made the axe glanced and hit my knee. By Gee! the blood came out of it. I didn't know what to do, so I went in, letting on I was going to have a drink, but it was a cool day. My grandfather saw me coming in. I was kinda scared looking, or pale. He said, "what's the matter?" He talked cross to me. Well, I did not want to tell him a lie, so I told him. "Didn't we tell you not to use that axe," he said. I thought he was going to see the cut. Well, he did, and gave me two or three slaps across the head, and he looked at it. Then he went down to the bush and he got pine, just these little pines you know, cut them right off, and cut them into pieces about 6 inches long and put them in a pail and boiled them, and took the white stuff out of it. You know, there is a skin on it. He took that off, and got the white stuff and put that on there (the cut). He took the white stuff (inner bark?). Before he put that on my leg he washed the cut with boiling water. "You do that every morning (put on the medicine) and go to bed. I had to do it. He washed me. "It will heal from the inside," he said, "not from the outside." And that's the way it worked. I got alright.

(There was a discussion trying to explain and name a scabby skin infection. He remembered at last it was impetigo). Everybody had it. I had it when I was young. There were little scabs on it. I used to wear long socks and in the evening when I'd go to bed, I've got to tear the whole thing, the scab stuck to my socks. I got it in the summer and it lasted about a month. I put leaves on it and those leaves would tear off, me running, and I used mud and leaves, that would tear off. I wouldn't know, you know, until I took my socks off. There was a big leaf about that wide. It's out in the garden. We call it a toad-weed. I put that on. It wouldn't tear. By God! I got alright. It stopped my socks sticking to the scabs. They call it impetigo nowadays. That's what I had when I was young. Everybody had it but they had different medicines, you know.

We did not have anything for poison ivory (ivy).

When I was young, me and another fellow, he was my neighbour, he used to live here. We had poison ivory, half and half, oh! it was a big leaf. My wife was telling me and my daughter, "that's what you have got," when my face swelled. (Herb Irons has a painful face, which has swelled up all over. At one time, it swelled enough to close his eyes). "That's what you have got - poison ivory." But I don't think it is. I worked for a fellow at Little Lake in Peterborough and we had a bunch of logs, rounding them up, about 2 or 3 thousand. The wind was against us and we couldn't hold it. We were going away from the shore. I was sitting way back and I didn't want to jump out into the poison ivory, about that high, and it was damp, you know, you could catch it. Some people could catch it. Well sir, I jumped out, and I just had about 6 feet of a line. The current and the wind, they were taking our logs away from us. The boys, there were about 6 of us, they didn't want to jump out when they saw that poison ivory, so I jumped out and I tied the rope from the poplar tree. It was a balm of Gilliad in Little Lake there, and they said, "look at that fellow, playing round that poison ivory."

So I got the logs stopped and we were taking the logs to the mill. We had about 300 yards to go. They got another line and when I tied it, it swung and it hit the shore. We got another line and that's the way we got it to the mill.

Well, the next morning, he never said nothing, never mentioned the poison ivory. I didn't hear him. By gosh that fellow, he could hardly see out of his eyes. He didn't work. These other fellows, they got a little. I didn't get any. That was the time that young fellow drownded. He was 25 years old. He didn't like the water. He could ride the logs, but not so good. This was in Little Lake. There used to be a big mill right where the packing house used to be. That was Peterborough Lumber (then Dixons). That's where I was working. That's quite a while ago. There was just a mill there, that was a long time ago. Looks different now. (Holiday Inn is now built there). That's where we used to land with the loaded scows with a load of wood. There was a wharf there (Wolfe Street). I worked on them boats. I used to steer scows. I was on the Ajax. She was a tug. Fitzgerald owned it, when he had the business going of bringing down fuel wood. They put a lot of it by the Warsaw Road bridge. I worked on that. I worked for Joe Young, his name was Joe [Laguere]. His nickname was Joe Young. When I first worked for that fellow, he hadn't 5 cents. He had 2 scows. One would hold 100 cords and the other one held 65 cords. We used to go back and forwards. As far as we went was Pigeon Lake and along the shore. The farmers would sell wood, 700 or 800 cords of wood, pile it on the shore. Fitzgerald used to sell coal before Kelly bought the outfit. The farmers used to cut wood and then pile it along the shore where the boat could get at it, and we used to load it with a wheel barrow on the scow. There used to be 4 or 5 men on the scow. I worked on a scow, steering, and the gang used to help, but they used to hire fellows from here (Curve Lake).

A tug would take the scows up and bring them down after they got loaded up. Supposing if you quit at 5 then you will pull out and go to Buckhorn, lock through and if it's too dark, - in the summer time it's all right, you can travel. It's a long day. We used to make a couple of trips during the week from Peterborough.

And I worked on the Handyboy, a tug owned by a fellow by the name of Claud Rogers. He used to be a manager of the Peterborough Canoe Company. (He was R.B. Rogers' brother). He joined the army. I think he was a Captain. He went away in 1914. I worked for him. He had 2 scows that would hold 108 cords. They just filled the lock in the canal. They went through the Lift Locks. I put in a day and a half there. The logs were going down and there was something wrong with it (the Lift Locks). We stayed there a day and a half, half way up (or down) until they got it fixed. I was working for Joe Young then. He didn't like it. "I'm paying the men," he said, "and nothing coming in." He was kinda uneasy, you know. He had to pay us. He looked at me. I was standing at the lock. "I'll get it out of you, when I get straightened up," he said.

We worked late, and going up to the top, we worked late. Sometimes we used to go down here at Narrows. Oh! there used to be lots of wood. Some of the farmers would take jobs cutting wood. We used to take jobs cutting wood, so much a cord, everybody cut wood, $1 a cord, I forget. We didn't get very much. Joe Young used to get $2.25 taking it down. I worked for him off and on. In the summer time, he'd come after me on the drive, but he had his brother-in-law used to steer scows for him. But he quit. He had 3 or 4 houses in town. He built a tug and he built 2 scows, I think. He made money. This was all with fuel wood for Peterborough. They used to buy wood, they buy coal now, or oil.

The trucks killed the boating. We used to take logs, too, for Mann. He used to have a mill on Little Lake. He used to buy logs. He used to have a mill near the dam, the lower dam.

The women used to make baskets in the earlier days. I used to help. I used to get the black ash splint. We cut the tree down and brought it home, before we pounded it. Yes, sir, you've got to sneak around the woods now, to get that black ash. You don't want to make no noise for fear that the fellow that owns the timber... But years ago, when the white people got this country, they made a treaty that we could get black ash to make baskets, and cedar and things like that, you know. That's what old people used to tell us. The old people used to tell me that, when the white people got this country, he (the white man) said "all we want is the land to the depth of the plough." What did he meant by that? Now he owns it right down, I don't know how far. Right down to the end of the world, I guess.

That's the reason old Joe Muskrat prophesied. They would take the hunting. And Clifford Whetung, Clifford's grandfather, his father - you know how a locomotive whistles? ooooooo-ooooooooo - he prophesied that we would hear the train whistles. That was Clifford Whetung's father's father.

We caught a big lunge one time. We had it all day and it weighed 28 pounds. We took the guts out of it, but we left the head and scaled it, and we had it all day. And my grandfather was telling me that's what they used to use, he said, years ago, the Indians, when they would want to bleed themselves. They used to bleed each other, years ago. They would have this lunge head, and open its mouth, and put it over their head and hit it. The teeth would stick in. But if you did that now you would have blood poisoning. They also used to bleed on their wrist.

When they used to hunt deer, they used to rake the leaves, 700 or 800 yards, I guess. They knowed the runways, where the deer runs. I asked my grandfather, "what is the reason you raked the leaves?" He said, "well, you wouldn't make noise." You know in the fall, you could hear quite a way, when you are stepping on the weeds and leaves, especially the basswood leaves and hardwood leaves. They used to rake the leaves about 4 feet wide, when they think a deer would come that way. I guess they used dogs. They used to run. They had no guns, well, they hadn't the money that time, I guess. They used to burn ironwood, about 2 or 3 inches around. They used to burn them, then when it was burnt, they would take that thing off, sharpen it. Some would be about 2 or 3 feet long. Then we used to judge ourselves what we could throw, and that's what they used. They used to have bow and arrows, but sometimes you didn't have time to make arrows. I don't think my grandfather used arrows, but he used to hear about them. He was 108 years old when he died. He died right here about 35 years ago. He was 108 and his brother was 105. Short Tom Taylor's father's father was 112 years old. I remember the old man. He died over here. There used to be a house that they built. They borrowed 200 dollars from the government. He died over there, boy, he was a big man. He wasn't stout. He was raw boned. (He is talking about his own grandfather now). He used to carry three deer on his back. When died he had teeth as white as that stove. They say he never used salt. He never used candies. Nowadays you eat everything.

My grandfather's father, that's the one I'm talking about. He went as far as Hiawatha. I guess that was the headquarters for here. He went to Hiawatha to go and fight in the rebellion of 1812 (or 1837) at Niagara Falls, but they quit. My grandfather said he remembered him going. (This is a bit hazy).

They used to walk. My grandfather, he looked after the church, not this one. There used to be another beside our church there. He had it for about 20 years. He looked after it, cut his own wood, and for this village here he was a messenger. They used to send him to Georgiana or Scugog Island. He had to walk. He'd come home that night, he was telling me. He was a big strong fellow. He would take a message to Scugog Island, that's the other side of Lindsay, and he'd come back the same day. He used to take short cuts, fellow wouldn't know nowadays how to take short cuts. I'd get lost when I got past Omemee. He used to go there and back. And coming back, he said, it was too far for him to go back way round. He took a short cut, and he caught up to a white fellow (near a river), and he was coming home this way through Ennismore, I think. They talked together and the both of them says, "it's too far to walk around by the bridge," and it was too far around by Omemee. It was in the spring and the river would be up to their waist. "You could have thrown a stone across the river," he said. "We looked at each other," he said. "And this white fellow would look across and I'd watch him," he said. "Then I'd look across the river and he'd watch me." "Have we made up our minds," he said. "Shall we tackle it?" "That 's what I was going to ask you," he said. So they waded across, right up to their waists. You know the ice wasn't out. But he got home. Talk about hard times. Nowadays you could get a car to take you there if you have money.

When my grandfather went out hunting, he would live in a cedar bark wigwam. They got beaver. They just took bread and ate wild meat. They made their own bread. He used to take what we call pancakes, about 2 or 3 feet long and about one foot across. They would take tea. But they would depend on wild meat. And he says, "we were out hunting beaver, we set traps, and it got kinda dark on us." Well, sir, he just knowed the trees. He said, "it got dark on us and we couldn't see nothing." But he just felt the trees. "We are alright," he said. He was ahead. He'd go quite a ways and he'd feel another big tree. He'd have his hand on it. I know what he's doing, feeling round. "Well, we're going straight anyway," he said. "So I felt the tree myself," he said. I know what he was doing but I did not want to ask him any questions. "We had heavy load, two beavers," he said. That's quite a load when you are walking at night. Once in a while we would feel the tree. He'd feel around. Oh! God, we are out of our road," he said, and feel around again. The reason he feeled the tree, he'd have that moss on his hand. On the north side of the tree, there would be moss on it. That's what took them to the camp. Before it got dark on us, he knew where the camp was. That's what he followed. By Jeebers, we got there.

But right now, if you go on a strange woodlot, you'll get lost. I've done it myself. Got lost in broad daylight.

I got lost myself, way back here, but I had to go by the wind. I was cutting ginseng I got too far, by gingo. I didn't know when I turned. My grandfather said ginseng used to be $10 a pound. We don't get much for it now. $4 a pound, that's what Joppling pays.

About 30 years ago, I used to sell it to China men when they used to have this long hair on them. They had a restaurant, I forget the name of the street. I went in there. I had about that much in a paper bag. I asked him, "do you like that stuff?" I asked him whether they want ginseng [row]. One of the fellows said, "what is that? Let me see." So he looked at it. There was another old fellow came in there. He had a pigtail. I just seen the pigtail. I didn't like that, maybe they'd crab. I thought to myself, take the ginseng. Well, they wanted me to go to where they were cooking the stuff, you know, it was a restaurant, and I see this fellow. Well, he had nails on him about 2 inches long. They were all sharp, this old fellow, both hands. Holy Jumping! If I get that in my throat, I says to myself, so I packed up and -- . "Come back, come back," he says, but when I got close to the door I jumped to the street and went to another place. (This was in Peterborough). He was a laundryman, washing. So I went there and I asked him. He bought it. He gave me $5. I was glad. I don't know what they use it for. Cooking. It is a medicine.

There was a doctor from the States. He used to stay here at Scotsman Point (a lodge) and I was telling him about it. "Well, they don't buy that now," he said. "It's out of date." One fellow was telling me it was $15 a pound. Well, sir, there is a lot of stuff for medicine we don't know. Me and old Jim Taylor were talking about it a couple of days ago.

(2nd side of the reel).

My grandfather used to tell me. I've heard a lot of old people. They used to live at Bridgenorth. That's where they used to live. Then they moved here. That was before the reserve was made. It was the half ways for hunting. Pigeon Lake, Bald Lake, Gull Lake, Stoney Lake, Little Mud Lake, and Big Mud Lake, they called that end of that lake down there. That was half ways for hunting and it was too far to come from Bridgenorth, right where Joppling lives now, I guess. (He said he did not know of any other rock carvings). This island over here, that's where they used to bury. There used to be lots of women and kids go on that island and dig. (The telephone rings). Some of them would find arrows, beads, pipes. Well sir, me and my wife were over there 4 or 5 years ago. My goodness, that shin (bone), I guess it must have been that long! Ours are short you know. They must have been big men - tall. It was only about that deep, sandy. They used to find beads, arrow heads. I found a pipe. I was plowing over there. I was working for a farmer. His name was McConkey. I was plowing down towards the lake and I was watching the ground flopping over. I see this thing. I just seen it, so I stopped the horses, dug there. I found a pipe. The stem must have been about that long and the bowl was bigger than my thumb. I have it here some place. Maybe it's in the woodshed. I don't see how they could put that little hole through the -- it was clay. The stem broke. There was no decoration on the bowl. It was just rough.

But Bert Graham, I used to go over there and buy geese (said with a soft 'g') at Christmas time. He was showing me a rock about that big around (3 or 4 inches). It was sharp at the end right here, and it was hollow about that far from the handle, and it was sharp. He found that when he was plowing, that's the other side of the 16th church (the church opposite the Curve Lake Road turn from the Buckhorn Road on the 16th line), the next farm. Poor fellow, he's dead. He was showing it to me. "I wouldn't sell that," he said. He claims when they are making a log canoe, they used to burn it. When they go to make the boat, they have to burn it inside. "I think that's what that's for," he said. I never saw them making the dugout canoes. My grandfather had one. That's what he used to hunt with. It was made of pine. It was made back here about 2 miles. T' was a big pine. They were all made out of pine and made out of birch bark, too. I've seen them. They can carry a lot of stuff.

I saw one up at [ ] Lake, the other side of Sudbury. We were cutting pulp wood there and we met a couple of Indians. They'd killed a moose. We were trolling for pike. We had no bait. We made a bait out of the tobacco tin. They used to use it on chewing tobacco. It was the silver stuff. We made one out of it and that's what we used for bait. Gee whiz, we wouldn't go 200 yards, we were getting 4 or 5 pike. When we had enough and weren't fishing, we pulled our line in. We seen a moose about 15 feet up on a tree. This fellow hanged it up there. I don't know how he got it up there, that's what we wondered. It was hung by its hind feet. Maybe he had a block. About a couple of weeks after, one of our chums quit. He came home. He got kinda lonesome. We stayed there. We had 4 months in before Christmas. We went in there in August. So the way it used to be, if you stay through till spring, they won't take the fare off you and they won't cut your wages. My chum, he took sick with coughing. I was willing to stay there but I did not like him to come home sick, all alone. So I come home with him. We met this fellow, we were just out for a sail one Sunday and we seen him coming. Well sir, he had this boat (the canoe). It was about that wide. The wife was sitting right there and the three kids alongside her (it was 3 feet wide), you know that seat. And in the centre, the narrowest part was where she was sitting, paddling, and her husband was behind steering and he had that moose head, and I bet you the horns were sticking out that far on each side of the boat, and all their luggage. And it's about that far out of the water (one foot). They had all kinds of stuff in the boat. It was a big boat, a birch bark boat. They carry a lot of big load. It was about 16 feet long, so before we met them, she said (the wife in the canoe) in Indian, ["wa-tegoshe"], that's French, "two French men coming." We went by them about from here to the door (6 feet) and we met them, good day. They say "bon jour," that is, bidding us "good day" in French. They thought we were French. They went by and she said, "them is Indians." [They] thought we were French. There were 4 or 5 families living way back in there.

It was in the fall, somewhere about September that we met them. We were cutting pulp wood, 16 feet long, on the islands, that's what we were doing. That's quite a while ago. Before, when we were working for [ ], he gave us our fare. He didn't take the 10 dollars, a month he might have given us $28. It was $8 or $10 to go there, them times. He was alright.

There is no rice round here now. All the rice we had here is all ate up by carp. There used to be lots of it other side of that island. And Oak Orchard, that used to be a summer house. I don't know what they call it now. Some people bought it. It's a nice place yet. There used to be lots of rice there and along the bays here, the carp have root it up. There are millions of them. We don't eat them. They say they're good. The Jews will eat them, but you are not supposed to kill them, a rabbi, I guess. They are a big fish. When they dug that canal through to Georgian Bay, and down this way, that's when they came in. Boy, there's a lot of them. I don't think you can get rid of them.

There used to be lots of herrings, too. I don't see any now. They used to get them at Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, and what we call Big Island. There's a steep rock there, that's where we used to get them. In the fall when it's rough and cold, that's the time we used to get them. Now I don't see them. I used to see them when I was working on the boat, wiggling on top of the water, dead, I guess, from Pigeon Lake right down to Lakefield. I don't know what got into them. They are good to eat, too. We used to gather them up and salt them. And keep them for the winter, put a lot of salt. Oh, they are good. If we get a big lunge, we'd salt them for the winter. We have one down there going on 3 years. The meat is the colour of that [?]. One time here, when we were first married, we killed a big lunge. We took the bones out of it, you know the head and the backbone, and spread him in the sun. Put salt on it and pepper, my wife did. I was busy working. She done that. She had that thing dried. We didn't have to cook it, just cut a big chunk and eat it. We ate it all before winter come.

(I asked him if there were any herons earlier. He did not understand, because he called them cranes). There used to be one at what we call Gannons Creek. That's right across from Oak Orchard. That's when I was a young lad. There used to be tamarack trees there, about that big around. The old people cut them down and which way the tree going to fall, they would stand there with a stick and get the little cranes, you know. That's the way they used to get them, but they have a cranery way up the other side of Squaw River, but it's way up. I used to see nests there. I guess they are there yet. Last time I was there in 1946, we lumbered there, that's where I see them nests. But I didn't see them around here. The old ones will come here and get what they want and go and feed their young ones. Yes sir, there used to be a lot of them.

Well sir, I remember when they made this road through here, just a wagon-, well, you might say, footpath. That's about 70 years ago. I was only a young lad. After school, we used to go back there when they were cutting the road out. Clifford's uncle, Albert Whetung, he lives up here, he used to live up here, but he's dead now. He used to farm, maybe you've seen that farm, coming this way. That's the fellow that got the wood and we got a ride with him, going back, helping him to load. He was right back and he'd sell the wood. That's Clifford's uncle. That's when he first started to farm. When he died he was a rich man. He looked after his money. There used to be about 70 or 80 horses here in my young day and a lot of cattle. They used to farm. There's no one farming here now, just putting in a garden. That's what I'm doing, just putting in a garden. There's no horses, well, Clifford has a horse, just a pony, the girl's horse, just to ride around. They used to farm on each side of the -- you might have seen the house close to the road not way back, that's the end of the reserve, where that first house is. There is another one on this side, where my brother is. She lives right across from my brother. That used to be all wheat on each side of the road, right up to the first house, fall wheat. Help each other, harvest time comes. Change work, you know. They used to thresh here. They had a mill. The road I was talking about was the first road into Curve Lake. Before that we used a ferry about 20 feet long and 20 feet wide. It had two big oars, that's what we used to use. They used to go (walk) through here. They used to start about 3 o'clock to go to Peterborough in the morning. There was no road then. They used to go through the woods. They used to come out at, you wouldn't know, they called it Oak Orchard. You might have seen an iron gate coming in on the left hand side of the road.That's where they used to come out. (The gate is just round the first bend after leaving the Buckhorn Road). Right across the road and alongside of that fence, that's where the old road used to run. That's a long time ago.

I used to use the ferry here and that's what old Whetung used to use, well, anybody who wanted to go to Peterborough, old Dan (Whetung) used to say. When the cars got in here first, he had one, and told the driver, and he looked at it. "Am I foolish," he said, "we were all foolish when we had teams - 50 cents to go to Peterborough." That's all they used to charge, you know. Now it is $2.00. Yes sir, 50 cents to Peterborough on the team and buggy. The bus charges $1.10 one way. It used to be 50 cents. Some of them would walk or paddle across. Many's a time I've done it myself. Middle line (of Smith) they called it. You'd come out at the waterworks. It's all fixed up now. I pretty near got lost when I saw it all fixed up.

When I was working on the boat, 9 miles, I think it is from Peterborough to here, a fellow by the name of Alfred Copway, both of us were working on the boat, different boats. I was working on the Handyboy. He passed us at Young's Point (on his boat) and we let them through. He says, "are you going home tonight?"

"Yes, we'll be down there in about 3 hours time," I said.

"Well, I'll wait for you. We'll walk together," he said.

By God, I don't know if he was telling the truth or not, I said to myself, you know. Well, we had a pretty good tug, just a gasoline engine. He had a wheel and a lever there to stop and go ahead. I think it was 5 o'clock when we got there. I didn't lace my boots. I just grabbed my coat. The pants I had were good enough to work in, but not good enough to walk in the street. So I ran to the packing house wharf, I think they called it. The other wharf was Wolfe Street, that's where the market square is. So I went from there. I just grabbed one piece of pie and I went to the boat. I didn't want him to wait, and when I got there, I saw the captain looking out of his wheel (house).

"By golly, he's gone 5 minutes," he said. So I started to run again. This man that runs the streetcar, I didn't know him. I never asked him his name, but he knew me. He saw me running. He stopped his streetcar after he had crossed the railroad bridge. He wait for me. "Are you going home?" he said.

"Yes," I said. He always stopped there and he knowed me. T 'was on Saturday. By Josh, I was looking at the streets, looking for my chum, you know, but I didn't see him. So I got off the streetcar. I ate my pie while I was on the streetcar and I laced my boots. They were high rubbers like those (indicating some in his kitchen) but they were new. I start to run after I jumped off the streetcar. There was nobody ahead of me. If I saw anybody coming or going, I quit running. So I passed the waterworks (filtration plant?) running you know. Gosh! I couldn't track my chum.

So I turn at the waterworks. I follow the middle line (of Smith). Gosh! I saw a bicycle track. He had a bicycle. So I run. There was nobody ahead of me, no wagon and no buggy. I got to the school and I couldn't see nobody. I run every concession 5 minutes. I timed myself. I had a kind of watch. I seen a buggy and a horse ahead of me. I caught up to them and went by them. I went about 20 yards, then he would start his horse and go by me. Well, it was an old woman and her husband, I guess. She had groceries on her buggy. I knowed he wouldn't give me a ride, there was no room. I passed them a couple of times. He did the same thing again, he'd go by me.

Well, I caught up to them again and I walked about 50 yards. I started to run and I heard the whip cracking. Well, I started to run a little harder and a little harder and I didn't want to look back, for fear I might - It was a day like this, hot. I might get dizzy, I said to myself, if I look back. Oh God! I got to the top of the hill. I could hear the horse running. I start to run again. When I got to the other school - there were two schools between there and Peterborough. There used to be a church, too. I looked back and see this old farmer turning towards Lakefield, you know, up one of them roads where Jack and Jill is now, and I starts to run again.

I had to go up a hill. Oh, it was steep, the last hill and I see the lake. Oh golly, it was calm. I could see a long ways. I could (have) seen him going across, you know. I wanted to catch him before he went across. I got down to the lake. There was a bunch of cedars there. That's where I was heading for so that I could yell at anybody who was trolling or fishing. I could see the cedars kind of shaking, you know. By golly, there was my chum, taking the springs (clips) off his pants. "Are you just getting here?" he says.

"When did you get here?" I asked him in Indian.

"About 5 minutes ago," he said, "about 5 minutes from the time I left Wolfe Street wharf."

It would take me about 3 hours now, a lot of difference. I tried myself about 10 years ago. It took me 2 hours to walk from Peterborough to the lake. Then, it took me 5 minutes every concession. I was a lot younger then and more foolish. When I was a kid we had to go to Sunday school. He was the Sunday school teacher if the minister couldn't come. If it was too stormy, he used to come across in a boat. They used to live at Bridgenorth. This man taught school and preached at Sunday school. We had to go to Sunday school. We had to sit quiet, but sometimes we lost our memory, you know. Then he would get that strap out on Monday morning! But these days, I guess, the kids don't get no strap or licking. "You can't kill 'em if you whip 'em, remember what you want them not to do." That's what my old grandfather used to say. "Don't you fetch a lie here," he'd say. I'd get it across the head with his hand if I'd go to tell anything, you know (a lie). "You wouldn't get that if you were a nice fellow," he'd say.

 

 

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