Salt Spring Island Archives

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Ivan Mouat

Historical stories:

Boat Day
Grocery Counter

Family history with comments by Sue Mouat

Accession Number Interviewer
Date Location
Media 2 tape cassettes Audio CD mp3 √
ID 149A Duration 21 min.




Unknown Speaker 0:08
This is what it was a CPR boat drive and again

Unknown Speaker 0:13
before I vote they on Saltspring the blast the princess Mary's whistle analysing your imminent arrival Angie's hybrid was seen before was heard. Sitting on the front brand of his home high above the harbor, the boy watch the steam as it rolls from the front of the funnel. Then he heard it one long, one short, another long another short, the sound of the Canadian Pacific coastal steamship fleet. Why was it he always saw it before he heard it. He knew he had it had to do with the speed of sound, but it was always a mystery to see the sound. Sometimes he would see all four plumes before he heard any sound that was when the wind was blowing straight and strong down the harbor. Not like today is still summer day, the plumes of steam rising, the first one is still visible from the last one appearance, all being left behind as Princess Mary moves slowly toward the dock, but it's time to go. Once on his bike, the boy didn't stop until he reached the feed shed right in the war. To Princess Mary was still some distance out good. He might be allowed to pull in one of the ropes that were thrown out first. These were pulled in. Then came the heavy horses here the ship, he never been allowed to try. Some grown up always came in order to move away. There's his friend Ted. Perhaps this time they will be allowed to try. The usual crowd was appearing now the ship was about to dock Mr. Page, the manager of the feed shed was there to monitor the loading unloading. First His Majesty's mail then they express then the freight. That's the way to unload a ship. Mr. Page was very keen on order and kept a very tidy warehouse. stacks of wheat shards, ground barley, crushed barley and so on. All sacks neatly stacked and counted. off the boil the detailed account one particular stack was very important to know just what was on hand. Mr. Page kept the list above his desk was just like a big scoreboard with little ticks and crosses, showing their seats or dispatch all the different kinds of pins in stock. Jim Ackerman had just arrived to the creamery truck to lay the empty cream cans and pick up the full ones would soon be unloaded. Some from Galliano some propane and some from the truck was almost new with a custom made flat deck early that morning to have a driven all the way down to Rocco's fire, but to your point, you had picked up the cream cans there and then worked his way through the valley picking up the cans from all the farms along the road. Jim was old and growing up, but he was still quite a nice person. The Mary is just about the touch of the wharf. The tech hands are poised to throw the ropes. The bow line would be thrown out first, then the spring then the stern line. The boy ran quickly across the wharf gave Ted a nod and they both raised to the stern line. Here it comes a good throw. They soon had a firm hold began to haul in the rope. The large hazard was now appearing and soon they would have to pull with all their strength he was coming up. Then they saw a shadow behind them, but they kept on pulling. Then they heard a voice they both Going away but good work fellows call it right up at the wharf and I'll accompany him get around the clean gym let them do the job. He was a good friend. This is our favorite one. You should this is the grocery counter. This is my favorite one. It had been a busy morning the boy was spending his first summer working in the store. He had spent some several summers working for Mr. Page in the feed shed. But this summer he was working in the store. The store was a large building right near the wharf had Ganges Harbour. When you came in the front door there was a great open space stretching across a wide staircase. This staircase went halfway up to the second floor and then the stairs divided to this landing and then up the offices of dry goods section on the second floor. downstairs on the right was a grocery section. There was a long counter stretching the full length of the store was just one breaking it all about halfway to let the clerks have access to the shelves. On the left hand side was the ice cream and pop counter and then the drugs and some hardware. On each side of the store. Behind the counter there was a ladder to get the stock from higher shelves. There all sorts of interesting things that grocery section, a large route of cheese the great hinge cleaver to slice it, a big block of dates that are loosened with a spike a coffee grinder by turning the handle these grinded coffee beans. And then there was almost always a large bunch of bananas hanging from the ceiling was much better working here than in the feed shed. When the decision was made for his transfer to the store and the boy thought he would be waiting on customers and writing charge slips. He could write legibly. He could multiply he could add with a great degree of competency. Mr. Stacy, a clerk in the grocery section explained the intricacies of writing a chart arch lip. But before we knew all about those, you also knew there was a list of people to whom no credit was extended. He was told most explicitly that under no circumstances was he to charge anything to bury anybody in that list. Use ask them to see his uncle Gilbert or his father in the office. But most of this time instead of work waiting on customers and writing charts, he was sweeping, dusting, running errands or filling shelves. Filling shelves was best frigate roll the ladder along and climb up to the top of the call around the store. Now it was 12 noon, and Mr. Norton, Mr. Stacy, we're going to lunch. The boy was to tell the grocery counter on his own, help someone to come in to shop with please. Not one of those people in the no credit list. He wanted somebody to come in with a great large grocery list and charge everything. Then he could record the whole transaction on charged. He stood behind the counter waited. While there was work to do, you still hadn't filled finished filling this shelves. There was a case of cornstarch and two cases of cereal, one ramen meal and one credit week to go on the shelves. You can do that later. If only a customer had come in, you better start to work. You really should have those three cases on the shelves of board Mr. Norton. Mr. Stacy came back from lunch. He pulled the flaps back the first case and rolled the ladder along and got to work. Just about to put the last two boxes on the shelf when that customer came through the door. It was Mrs. Ransom and she was carrying her cloth shopping bag. You could recognize Mrs. Ranson, she always dressed in the same way she was wearing her tweed suit and her hat was firmly fixed with a large half pin. A lot of ladies wore a hat and to the point wondered how they managed to push them in without going straight through their heads. Mrs. Ransome kept house for Mr. Porter. She couldn't have been a very good housekeeper because the boy recalled hearing his father tell his mother Mrs. Robinson was now working as Mr. Porter's housekeeper and his mother had said housekeeper indeed. This is rad some came right over to the Gross who counted Well, there you are on your own. Yes, Mrs. Ransom Mr. Norton. Mr. Stacy, you're having your lunch and I'm in charge of grocery counter. Well, dear, I am going to make a lot of lemon pies and I bought a large bottled lemon extract. Mother was right Mr. Ransome could be a very good housekeeper everyone knew he needed fresh lemon lemon pies. For some reason no, no to him. The extracts were always under the counter. So reached down and got large bottle of an extract that put it on the counter. Would you like to charge that to your congress ransom if you please. They're good. He would write a charge to July the seventh 1932 This is ransom one bottle lemon extract 75 cents. This is ransom put the bottled lemon extract due to shoddy bagging. And the boy returned to stocking the shelves. He just finished putting last row meat on the shelf of Mrs Ransome material. I was just turning onto Rainbow Road when Emma's poor old Mrs. Ward. She told me she was coming all the way down here to get a bottle of them and I gave him mine so she wouldn't have the extra long walk so dear. Would you please give me another bottle and extract the bill. So the bill was changed to bottles loved next time it terrifies me $1.50 No sooner do you start to put the last case on the shelf Mrs. Grandson returned dear, I just got out of the store when I got my bottle of lemon extract so you'll have to let me have another add added to my bill. The boy felt very sorry for his grandson but he would have to pay for the robot ball. So the bill was changed again. Three bottles lemon extract 75 cents. Shortly after Mr. Ransome left Mr. Norton and Mr. Stacey return that is avoid the waiting on any more customers with a Toro one charge that was set up the office. You just about to go to work in the storeroom when he saw his father coming down the stairs, his hand sales and addressing the board. Yes. What do you mean by selling out well in three large bottles on lemon extract? Well, Dad, she bought the large one large bottle because she didn't make a lot of their own pies. Then she started holding that Mrs. Ward coming down for the second same thing. So to say Mrs. board a long walk she gave her hers. Then she broke the second bottle had to have another one rubbish that his father returned to the office. Standing beside the boy Mr. Norton had heard this exchange. The boy looked up at them. Mr. Norton had a habit of making loud clicking noise with his tongue in his back pain. He now made a very loud taking sound is looking down the boy said she's drinking it.

Unknown Speaker 9:31
50s He was allotted 40s late 40s with lots of money logging money, lots of money. Dave McLaughlin was living with somebody else's wife for him. And the Charlie and his brother as another fellow were falling. I was working before Charlie go just in the summertime while Charlie was trying to get money go to university. And so they're down the verifier so Dave says let's go back to Hoshi Corp. Fine, okay. And it was cool summer I guess it was in the late summer the early 70s When China's through university pardon me, and the other part of our big foreign plays a danger, they were playing poker, and Dora had quite a bit to drink and she was feeling disgruntled she invited her to invite her to play safe. And so David realize he's been upset since Dora. Show the thought of your new vertical. Well put on your new Toshi. Did she have something to do with he just bought her a new print book $500. Now 9040 sells good for cool. Great for coaches. Even the fire was lazy man, she can help children. Right? Oh, great, great, great, wonderful to see. And then they sat down to play again. He was getting aggressive, and Charley horses. Now if you've never experienced it's sort of really more than third dimensional when a coat goes into the fireplace because there's not only the flash and the noise, but there's also the smell you know, it's really something to see a physical go to a fireplace. But he said they never finished at all

Unknown Speaker 11:04
he was dealing with radon dealing company cars, you want to see that door sat down, relax, one tap, she was doing pretty sorry for herself. Da bit cold in here to one another for cold. But Charlie's got lots of stories like that some of us are veterans.

Unknown Speaker 11:28
He's got a computer and he writes these wonderful stories in the form of letters to his grandchildren. Oh, that's,

Unknown Speaker 11:34
that's ex 00. It's fantastic to

Unknown Speaker 11:39
go into this because of the breakup of families. So he went to the Congress for his education to Catholic school. The convent and Duncan trouble there was put them on to work. And then they, they sort of came a few books to read for you,

Unknown Speaker 12:02
smart kid to say, Hey, we've been in school and a couple other times and throwing these were the two boss

Unknown Speaker 12:08
options see that when we do something, they decide they're gonna do something for this kid. So they said, Listen, I'm doing your best to do lessons every night with us. And we can get you your grade eighth grade at the entrance exam. And he found out that these books they've been reading, they told they used to talk Kobe to the top of the box and talk about them found out that you really know what he is. And then they give another talk about that old story you see. And then and they said well, Patrick video Don't be that hard. Go Come to us. So they taught him every evening and he got the highest market is cool. And then of course his whole philosophy about these ugly be awful the story was these awful old women now awfully look. Warts and hairs all over their face and this sort of thing, you know, terrible thing. And then he realized that they're the saints really as far as he was complete turn around. It's a lovely story. But it tells you know, just it tells us only a true story is experienced.

Unknown Speaker 13:08
I'm sure well that you know if he's doing this for his grandchildren

Unknown Speaker 13:13
all in their heads in a nice continuous everything is just happened within the tourism and more people

Unknown Speaker 13:26
coming to the island. We

Unknown Speaker 13:31
will see when I first came in, I went off for the dentist. I mean, there was literally nothing no, no, there's every service you'd want. Yeah. Was a terror. Remember, I wasn't when I came. He said Oh you are so much that way. He said you didn't maybe remember me and I said all I didn't know you were there. That said I was there in 1897 Well

Unknown Speaker 14:05
an old doctor was

Unknown Speaker 14:07
I remember when I'm on an appointment I guess I'd had a baby. And yeah, it was great. And my baby boy was really I guess he was well over eight

Unknown Speaker 14:32
Well, the

Unknown Speaker 14:34
Well I remember what's the matron coming out here is

Unknown Speaker 14:40
the boarding house which was turned down in 97. And that's now where the were you go in?

Unknown Speaker 14:49
It's about the same distance. 40 goes was just word has

Unknown Speaker 14:53
been story.

Unknown Speaker 14:55
And actually the Bank of Montreal was pretty close. First day on Montreal mountain service they were brothers in law decided to go it poverty down Idaho or somewhere. Anyway he that's when he sold it and Uncle Gilbert and his brother in law died and

Unknown Speaker 15:26
Mr. Purvis was going around yesterday Why did you find this business $50 And give me yesterday on salary then they asked me

Unknown Speaker 15:41
to print his daughter has two daughters just a family as far as

Unknown Speaker 15:49
this flower because that background had big fat we had to eat the papers groceries are good customers.

Unknown Speaker 15:54
Mr. Mr. Gilbert just before we get asked this committee Mr. Foote you know when in England when the scar the village dries up, the shopkeeper comes out and takes his order.

Unknown Speaker 16:18
I didn't think you were this far. So you just have to come in like everybody else. That's how the trading company started. Because he was one of the biggest backers Oh, man, some planning of course. Because of my grandmother's Yeah, that's one of the reasons she came up by my grandmother came up here because the new presents in the novel and cousins up there. That's my grandfather, her father mother came up to to the island at 90 long after the masses and that's under their 60s and 70s. You see, Shetland Island was had to get out of the rural coffee place. When when my father left there, he's the only one of his siblings Bantha grandfather right there. My grandfather left Shetland. He had two brothers alive in America. Great reminder that all the rest of family is gone are dead by the father dead. So he

Unknown Speaker 17:13
came up here and you're in your grandmother came from the Shetlands? Oh, yes. Yes. Stay and they had read they were married before they came. And she had people in the night

Unknown Speaker 17:23
she had her cousins up and I looked at his story. And there are other people are coming out and see my my grandfather was married. And the wife died and a son the wife died. And his father had married because Tom offered our grandfather's mother died some time ago. And he was buried had a child and his father had married the mother of his wife. Okay, well, his wife died. And the mother before she died before they were married did not affect this. Thomas law. That was my great grandfather's name was your great grandfather's Thomas Mullen. He married anyway, he married someone and then she died. Yes. And then so he married again. He married this woman who was the mother in law of his son. Okay, great. Okay, and then everybody died except this mother novice son. In other words, Uncle Tom That's why on the Tom his grandmother she came out to with a picture there were the ones that came out.

Unknown Speaker 18:37
Your grandfather's name was William Thomas William Carlos Williams. And he came out from the Shetland with your grandmother who was office her name?

Unknown Speaker 18:54
Jane Manson. J. Maxx. Now there's a group except for grandfather who came out an aunt Mary was born then. That was what was that Aunt Mary, but she was born at the eat. Like, that's That's Tom. But that's not Where's granny? There?

Unknown Speaker 19:17
No, here's, here's granny.

Unknown Speaker 19:19
There okay. That's not her son. No steps is that the you know, it's she is his grandmother. Because

Unknown Speaker 19:29
she came out to look after her her grandson. She had really. So

Unknown Speaker 19:35
when she brought us in tonight, she had roses been able to

Unknown Speaker 19:39
call she Elise. Is this the same Jane? This is Jane the one that had 10 children. She was widowed. Okay when I was 14 at the store

Unknown Speaker 19:52
experience, just like well with her with her

Unknown Speaker 20:00
Gilbert Gilbert. I think that's

Unknown Speaker 20:05
okay. The Uncle Tom left when he was 16 or 16 and went to work to get some money to send back to her abused. She was, he was just like the eldest son.

Unknown Speaker 20:17
You see, I never knew he was a half brother to my father until he was in my teens because he always called grandmother mother. And I never knew that he was, you know, I didn't even realize he wasn't one of families children until I was much older. Yeah, and of course, he lived away we didn't see too much. But when he came over the summer, he was always dad would always seen them.

Unknown Speaker 20:38
Actually, with Gilbert then

Unknown Speaker 20:40
established Well, Gilbert was a going concern, but he managed to well she that she ran the post office. She got the postmaster so 92 Eight just after they started, and that was in vaults buildings. Yes, yes. And then the boarding house was vacant. Oh, that

Unknown Speaker 21:00
was okay. All right. Sorry, did more trash copy that

Unknown Speaker 21:10
and then Gilbert to married at RAND center, the original Rand original Eagleman so that tied in the atrium so they're all interconnected. character he talked about this?

Unknown Speaker 21:28