Mr. Stevens talks of his father’s life on a Greek Island, and his travels that brought him in 1885 to B.C. and Salt Spring. He talks of his own life as a fisherman, and Gulf Islander.
Unknown Speaker 0:00
Were you born but your was born in 19? One,
Unknown Speaker 0:04
what was the date? 16th of September 1991. That's a year from three months ago.
Unknown Speaker 0:10
Right? Okay. No. And your father, your father came from
Unknown Speaker 0:14
Greece born on the island of Sarah P S. C and A Greek, you know, alpha row alpha. And in 1855 I think that was about the time for the cream Crimean War. He was born them. And when he was about 14, I guess, he asked his father, who owned three sailing ships that traded in amongst the Greek islands. He will he would, his grandpa, my grandpa and his father would would take his ships up into into the Black Sea to Vladivostok, not Vladivostok, no to where the Crimean War was fought in, okay. And load up was green, that's what Greece needed was green, because they couldn't grow too much of it on the islands and not so much on the land on the on the mainland. And they would come back to the island and, and supply all the islands with what they could they say, of course, the islands kept it in windmills, and away up on top of the mountain where the where they got the most wind. And another reason for that was to keep it away from the pirates, because they couldn't take it away without them knowing about it. Right, that a lot of parents did that kind of thing. Well, that was that was my dad was about 14, he made one trip won't trade up into one trip up into a desert Odessa, where he met his grandfather, not his grandfather, his godfather, who see in Greece Godfather is a pretty important man in every family, you know. They think quite a lot of The Godfather. This is a part of the part of the family. And the 100 father asked him what you're going to do. And he said, Well, he said he'd asked his father, if you take him on this one trip, before we send him back to school again, this was in the holidays. That's the folder that his father at that time, steam was coming into prominence. And, and at that time, his his father wanted him to go back to school and have prepared himself for engineering was steam. Because they thought that ceiling the ceiling was going to run out which he won't be when they got when they had when they got everybody in steam. But my dad said, my dad said that he gave him some books and told him to go back to school and to be a good boy and go to church and things like that. God was forced to tell. Well, he never He never went back there again. But anyway, he asked his father if he could make another voyage with him was he was one of these ships. And he wasn't father wasn't too fussy about it. But his mother interceded for him and told him if he would go on one of the ships that his uncle was on my father, my grandfather's brother. If you'd go on go, my grandfather brother had was captain on one of the three ships, which I did with my grandfather on and so his mother entertainer, fireman, was the father and said that the alright negative we'll get him on one more trip. So they made another trip. They were a trip to somewhere in Africa, and Alexandria, somewhere there. And he had been done once before or after Sierra Leone, wherever that is on the other coast somewhere. But anyway, this one, this was a trip into into Alexandria, I think it was and from there, they were going to Marcelles How old would your father be at this time? He was the young man and what 15 or 16 He used to boy, okay. So he said the father said finally gave into his mother. And so the boy could go on one more trip. But they had they had an accident on that trip before they got back to Marcel's they had an accident. So the tide the ship up it Marcel's and waited for the justice insurance adjuster to come and examine the damage. And while he was there, they left a little young boy on on a sailing ship alone are no others it was one more man on their board one more man on the board just to cook the meals I think anyway he left him there with this this other man and my dad's job was to feed a bunch of monkeys that they had brought back from Africa wonderful little monkey right? They were taking to what they intended to take tomorrow sales and sell to the rich ladies livers pets in order to month right. And they did that quite often all the ships traveling there did that, you know. So he took these monkeys. And he had to buy he had to ask this man for money to buy fruit for the monkey, even my grapes for the monkey no one give it to them and the monkey would eat all the grapes. And when he's when he's one of the captain came back, he don't go. The monkey would make a lot of racket in his age page where he was in on his show. He told my dad said the show The stems are the grips that he was forced to give to the monkey and that's all he is. That's all he had that didn't let my dad eat most of the grape genome given the restaurant filled the monkey the monkeys told on a monkey told on now ready got an awful beating his dad was a very hard man to live with. He's a very mean he's beaten terribly so many times you know that when they got to Marcel they were there waiting for the insurance adjuster to come from from Athens. And and see how
Unknown Speaker 6:41
you finally can Oh, yeah, no, before you can. My dad noticed that an English ship making ready to those the mountain sailors are all up in the arms unfolding the sail, making you ready to go to leave and and the tugboat was hanging around waiting to take them out into into into deep water to let them let them go. So that that was in the late afternoon. And he figured the vote was going to leave early and the more next morning. So he watched the chance. And he went down into the chin locker where the or the anchor chain goes down and know the space down there to hold all that chain. Right. So he got down in there and hung shoulders, Rusty chin, and he hid. And he heard while he was there, he heard his uncle come on the board. He came back from where he was. He came back and was calling to him. He you or somebody had told him that the boy had been seen on this other ship. We're on the dock he was ready to ship with making ready to sail. And he had an idea that the boy was on was on the ship. Then he was calling he got permission to go on board and we're calling at the top of his voice told him to come out that he wouldn't be there anymore and made more kinds of promises. My dad just didn't believe him. You know, he says the owner give him another listen if you go so he stayed there until daylight in the morning. I think he could feel he could feel the movement of the boat at the top what we're talking about and men were all up in the Reagan horn to one another in order to field getting the field ready and vote pulled out and he ended up in England.
Unknown Speaker 8:22
What year would that be? Would it be?
Unknown Speaker 8:26
Well, no one day was about 15 or 16 years old and he'd be now who will be no the way of being in his 90s Close to 100 now I guess so anyway, he ended up in England and from England he got onto an English coaster. And for two years he sailed on the English cluster up into the into merman railway and in German into Germany. And it was shipwrecked again another time in in the Kiel Canal I think it was is that the river? Not sure I think German both were coming down the river and they were going in and they hadn't collision. And didn't that wasn't very bad. They got over that all right. But he went back he went back to England and he was he was there for a while he was there all together two years and most of the time he was on some English coaster, you know failing into different ports in on the continent. But he never got back to Greece. You never got he had got back to Marcel's once I think after that only for one trip and you ever gotten back to Greece. And then from then he got onto a Norwegian ship. And I don't know what year that would be it would be just shortly after maybe a year or so out delivered afterwards. I think he'd spent about a year in Greece between getting onto Norwegian ship.
Unknown Speaker 10:05
So he'd be about 17 then,
Unknown Speaker 10:07
yeah, 13 Yeah, I guess so. And that ship that Norwegian ship went into, went into South America, Rio de Janeiro for coffee. And while he was there, he contracted the yellow fever and was hospitalized. And the ship sailed home without him. That and then he found out that, that his Pharaoh was guaranteed from any any seaport in the world, you know, most important ones in the island would get back. And any ship would take him back that was going, there was nobody going from South America to Greece. So anyway, he stayed there, he got back on Earth. He got back on the road, the Norwegian ship that went through, went home, came back again, picked him up the next time. Now I'm not sure that it was the same Norwegian ship. But it was another Norwegian ship that he brought him back to to Norway. And from there, he was back to England again. And I just lost track of what he did there now, but he did nothing to sail until that he didn't. He didn't move anymore until he ended up here. Now that would be about 18. About 18. My older sister was born in 1885. So that's when he comes into my memory again, you know,
Unknown Speaker 11:38
he would have sailed from England to Vancouver.
Unknown Speaker 11:41
No one to me two trips to Nanaimo, from England first. Oh, cool. Weather went through my mind more for cool and then one triples, 90 days from the time they got left England until Dr. Neumann orders up was a quiet
Unknown Speaker 11:54
bind call from the Dunsmuir.
Unknown Speaker 11:58
Yeah, so he made two trips for it was called back to England. I don't know. I don't know whether they went to where it's all the call to report. What do they say bank?
Unknown Speaker 12:08
So Southampton? No, no, no, no rain call to Newcastle, Newcastle.
Unknown Speaker 12:17
But and then, oh, the ship that he came here. That's the only ship that he remembered the name of he really felt he had forgotten the name of his. If you see his father's three ships, one of those angelical which was the name of his mother. The other one called the three brothers because there were three boys in the song. But he didn't remember that until a long time afterwards, you know, up until the time up until the time before he died the only ship that he was really sure Oh was the one called a screw on out of Glasgow. That is the one he came to Nanaimo with. Ill he made one trip to Quebec first launch it into the center warrants for men, then two trips into into, into Nanaimo and the ship was called the Struan STR un strip. Okay, and on that on that ship he had lost his he left behind when he jumped ship in Vancouver, him and he and another fellow jumped ship because they figured this was a new country pretty good to them and they're both young maple people. We better stay here for a while it'll be ship sailing from here all the time. We can go back anytime we want.
Unknown Speaker 13:35
And when can you remember the year his age then? When he hit all Coover?
Unknown Speaker 13:40
No I don't accept that. No. This see I'll tell you I'll tell you how he how he happened to get it so spring first. from Vancouver there was no Vancouver then there was a place called Hastings not only was was a sawmill there well they had when they when they jumped ship, the salmon shore. They they they hired they hired they had a couple of dollars to buy a couple of silver dollars each and they went to livery stable and asked if they could borrow a wagon or something to go somewhere to see the country you know and this man said well yeah, give us $1 apiece and you're gonna have two horses. So they gave them settled up tours and gave them to these to jump ship jumpers. And they asked the man where to go where where do you want to go? And he said, Well, we don't know where you're here. We don't know they told him that they jumped ship it on there. No, he told him that they're on the ship they come on. The ship was loading longer yet and Vancouver and Hastin forever it was near him. The they took these two horses, traveled horses and gone on them and he didn't know anything about horses because my dad never said fina horse she didn't have any on the islands or he only had one donkey goats there, you know that they got on these horses and they were golden already they give the man and given them the directions of the road to turn them to go newest Minister see as they got the newest minister, they got no before they got to new Westminister, they got scared. They didn't know what to do what, what what they were wanting to do if they begin to meet other horses and other wagons, Big Rig wagon loaded wagons or freight, you know, coming coming into the Vancouver. And they didn't know what was going to happen as their horses got out of hand, you know, and they didn't know what the rules of the road were and anything else. So they just talked it over between the two of them. And they said, let's, let's get off the horses and walk the rest of the way. So they did they got off horses, and then they turn them around and give them a slap in order to go back to the way they came from. You don't know whether they ever got back or not because they got I guess, see, we just think that they did that anyway, that was that was the end of that. And they went walking. Then they walked and walked and walked and walked. And they got the newest minister. And they went into a saloon there, that bottle of beer or something. And they came out with these things in their hand. And a couple of Indians got a hold of them wanted to buy these bottles off and they didn't know that they weren't supposed to sell to us with literacy. So they didn't know him. And they started to run. They started to run away from the Indian start following me. No, no, Jim, they had had a bottle of gin. Never. That's what the Indians want. So I'm coming over the throne with a bottle of Jim. So they started to run this out. The Indians are testing them. And all they wanted to do was get to him. And I think they give them a couple of dollars for each bottle, you know, and they can do that. But anyway, they didn't find out too long time after that. Convinced that all Indians drink. Well, from there, they ended up in Coquitlam. Somewhere up in Coquitlam, they went through Westminister and ended up in Portland and they found a place where they were cutting cedar shingle bolts for a shingle mill. So they got a job there. Well, they didn't get a job. They told them they have what were the cutter Dinoland told them what part of the bunch of cedar to they would take. So they cut with the cut winter, they cut single bolts all winter under a big pile of them piled up if you've never sold them. And then nobody was coming along to buy them or to pay them for them. So they got to get to get over there. So that's how he got into the fishing business. He got he met a canary in them I think I don't know which Canary that was No it wasn't. I don't think it was humans Canary It was another chanonry Further up newest minister. And they they talk these two Greeks into going fishing. And they got the net man that shows them how to handle a net. Where to put it out and where to drift. Was it in order to put it out when the title of slack wasn't too strong? Well, at that time of the year, I think it was in the fall it was North strong. Lead part of the summer anyhow. And the the first night they all they got quite a few of these wonderful soccer as you know, I took them to the cannery next night they were gonna go out again and they didn't didn't see I didn't know anything about the tides or the health all my dad said that then you'll the tide went out for six hours and then came back in for six hours. And he told up to his partner, he should have no matter where we drift to. They will try it'll take us back again. But he didn't know that the fruit of the freezer era was stronger going out in order to take them. They ended up in Steve's them next morning. And they didn't know where they were they thought they were in Victoria. There were a bunch of sailing ships there, you know, loading salmon or something. And cancer when you say yeah, I thought they were in Victoria. So they didn't know where they were. They go talking to some somebody there. They weren't sure at this category. And they told him what had happened is it sets a new route newest minister and they just did it all night. And figured that the next morning, they'd be back again because it triggers the client went out for six hours. They'd come back for six hours they'd be back in Westminister again. But it didn't work. So anyway, they were told that they were told to just sustain their vote and they were bought the tug of war to be calm down looking for to happen. They always had a tug of war to pick up the spear fisherman in the morning. So they found they found a tug of war coming down the river I stopped him or he came in and saw the boat, because all the boats then were painted different. You know, there were green was a red stripe down the middle or something like that. Every country had their own colors, and they were on the board to tell what fluid can right and wrong. Well, they got back to us minister. And the next night again, they got in trouble again. They stuck their neck toradol to pieces, granted her give him a new net and tell them to go again. And they finally got on to it, you know, and they did quite well. So one day I figured this is all right. There's a wonderful read Simon, you know, I've never seen anything like it's right now. And they said they would say they would they would keep this up to the other his partner, he got a vote on his own and my dad got one of me don't my dad picked up another vote for those days fishing in a sailboat with noise engineer. Engineers didn't come till about 19 Nine, I think before the load. And he picked up another boat for and they both kept it up for the rest of the season. No, my dad made for money to take home with him. Oh, well. I'm getting ahead of my time. He had no home yet. No, the after that. After that. He was before that deal was a cannery fall. Yes, he went to the sawmill to look for work. You see before the after they cut the cord. When they got back to Vancouver. The ship had gone. The ship had gone they were planted that that that they saw this. They saw this sawmill was all our people working there. So they went into us for a job the two of them. And when they got in there, they went to the the estimator has a chance here to get the job. And they said go on into the office and see it. So they might be getting a lot of people here they come and sit some steer for an hour or two and don't know didn't like it and then go away. So he went in there and he asked the bookkeeper or whatever was in the office there if they were in town for a job. And he said, Well, maybe so who sent you in? He says, I don't know, I ran out there was a little schooner or the Greek what was he was a Greek. He didn't know what to say. So he went back out there and he started talking Greek to him right away, you know, Oh, he got along fine with them. And he asked him to get a job. But they said oh, go back there, then yes. If he might like you, if I note. And But anyway, he asked him what's it like here? He says in this country?
Unknown Speaker 22:38
What's it like? You get enough to eat here? Oh, he says the girl is much, much slower. But there's lots of sagas maybe we can use that. To make her a breadwinner. He was just a kind of a joker. Yeah. And this man was a Greek who had who had I don't remember him afterwards. He might. Well, I'll tell you a little bit. So he said down. Where do you live? And he said, Well, I live on one of these Gulf Islands. And he says, What's he doing there? He says, nothing. That's where I live. He says, Can I go back with you to look around this? I'm sure he's where he wanted a man on the boat that he was alone. He had come over there with some pigs and sheep and stuff like that. And Phil, from he went back with him and to his home. He left his partner back and forth and back then I know what happened to him. He never never you never met him anymore. He didn't know what happened to a lot of people who are coming the same way as he did the lift the same way to hell. They were no permanent. We couldn't while they were amongst the Europeans, you know, those years they the only people that can Reese had to defend on for catching a fish were Indians. And jump in all Japanese didn't come too long time afterwards. A long, long time afterwards. Indians were the only ones they were very trustworthy. They weren't very good for fishermen and never. They didn't see they didn't fish like a white man did he knows the white man. He was his head and he figured the tides and you know, he found out that the best time to put his neck out in the water was at Low Water slug if he when the tide changes from water from and isn't all that time coming in or the time the fish came in. It didn't take him long to get on. He became a real good fisherman. Well, he fished for many different categories over the years. And then they never did anything else. He well he went back was this Greek to Saltspring island. He lived down there and Riverpoint just where I was born. What was his name? His name was king but his real name was Kandra Phyllis and he was born in Turkey. It really in Turkey in Asia Minor, you know, which is not too far away from the from the island. My dad although it my dad was in the agency and the island that he was when he Born and raised on
Unknown Speaker 25:01
that island was put again, Sara. Sara. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 25:06
And so he went back there and he found out that this man here at Homestead, he's taken up taking up a homestead from the government free if you give it to him, he only had to do work, right. And he had, he had 32 acres. I think 32 All he had 40 acres, these were all 40 acres, or 160, or 80, or something or
Unknown Speaker 25:35
parts of sections divided up.
Unknown Speaker 25:38
But he had, he had let some of it go to somebody else. And he had 32 acres of the Homestead left. And he was working that he was clearing up a field known cutting down trees, and now we're making much money because you weren't doing any logging. And it wasn't too long time afterwards when the loggers coming, working on TV. What year would that be that your dad came to Salzburg? Well remember, no, I can't remember. I was just trying to maybe I could have guessed that. From the age of my sister. You see, she would be she was born about 18 He 85 That would be fired or better be 85 9015 years. Yeah. To 19 101. I was born in 19. One she was about?
Unknown Speaker 26:27
Well, she'd be 16. Then when you were born?
Unknown Speaker 26:30
Yeah. She was about 15 because she got her. She got her teaching certificate when she was only 16. But she wasn't allowed to teach. She had to stay home for two years. Yeah, because they wouldn't give a 16 year old girl right teacher. Job. You see the certificate but the school boards wouldn't, wouldn't take her.
Unknown Speaker 26:49
So she she wasn't born yet. No, no, of course your father had married yet.
Unknown Speaker 26:53
I don't know. I'd have to look in the old Bible to see when she was born. You know, I could do that. She died in 1970. Well, I lost my oldest brother and my brother next to me. And my oldest sister. Oh, in one year. 1974. Somebody three from I can't remember now.
Unknown Speaker 27:15
So So your father came here before? 1885?
Unknown Speaker 27:19
Yeah, yeah. Before 1885 because, oh, I had one child first. They had one child first died.
Unknown Speaker 27:29
But he wasn't even married yet. Know when he came to Saltspring?
Unknown Speaker 27:32
No. Well, he married this Greek step, child.
Unknown Speaker 27:37
Step. He married King step child.
Unknown Speaker 27:41
And it broke up afterwards. I won't go into that. No, no, no, I don't remember. I don't remember a mother in my house. In Oh, really? No, no, I remember her coming to see me and my younger brother periodically come to see us but my dad would not lower in the house again.
Unknown Speaker 28:01
So he came over he was quite impressed with what Mr. King was doing on his homestead I guess with a free land and that he loved your father was quite impressed. Yeah, if you'd like to
Unknown Speaker 28:09
more he had. He had worked a few years then and got some money and oh, and then King wanted some money to build out. My dad loaned him. My dad loaned him on it.
Unknown Speaker 28:23
I loaned him some money.
Unknown Speaker 28:24
So he was kind of stuck there. You know, because he wanted that money back in order to his long, long time getting it back if he ever did get back. I don't think he did. Stay there then. And, and he gave boy, he gave my dad a piece of land four acres. Right. You see, that's what happened. And my dad's did there, man. We start coming along. But every two years or one of us come along five boys to girls.
Unknown Speaker 28:56
Did your father Your father than met the king girl on Saltspring. Yeah. And they got they got married.
Unknown Speaker 29:05
Yeah. So that's, that's how we that's how we got started here. Okay, so my dad, he didn't do anything else but fish he just did says he didn't farm. He didn't. He didn't log. He did work. A fireman on a tow boat, the old Mac in Vancouver. Floating I think she was a few years ago. And he worked on the otter for on my older sister was going to normal school, he had to have some money coming in all the time to keep keeping her in colonies. So she finally got she got her teacher's certificate and she got a job up in Penticton and in karamea, and in another place called Cathy wood right now but anyway, I'll tell you a little bit more about that afterwards.
Unknown Speaker 29:57
You have you had two brothers and a sister
Unknown Speaker 30:00
I have five of boys and two sisters, all five boys younger and younger from still on the island here with us. Right? She's married, he moved back to Salt Springs with her husband and he died. She's got her son in law and her grandchildren down here at Solimar. They bought Solimar here a few years ago. You're doing all right. The fisherman fishes on the West Coast and oil all over the whole course. You know, he's a dragger right now. We know we're
Unknown Speaker 30:35
okay. So so King gave your father some land but your father didn't work the land.
Unknown Speaker 30:45
long strip from from the, from the top, from the boundary of Kings place on the north on a narrow strip. 132 feet wide and 13 120 feet long. That's a long stretch of saltwater. Yeah. So he planted he planted the apple trees. That's all he did. He planted these apple trees. Well, he went away fishing and he left I think he left the old Indian woman to to plant the trees for him and they're all planted. Anyway. No, it's still that way. Yes. Yeah. So he had good apples to Canada Kingdom grandpa's name of the wolf and Baldwins and I sold those apples from the time I was 15 years old against solid us Minister farmers market. I did well with some hair. And I've been doing that now. Right up until this last few years. Before I got sick. I was picking up a couple of $1,000 a year on Apple. All old orchards. And I and in heights. I went into higher highs vif highs and I was doing alright until I got sick when I got sick. Somebody else stepped in took my business away from me so
Unknown Speaker 32:01
well. You got your winter. What did you start with your sheep?
Unknown Speaker 32:05
Oh, no, no, well, no, we had that. That four acres. Okay, I can't tell you the name. No, I'd have to go look up my books to see when we bought. We bought all my dad when my my dad went there's another man got in trouble here. murdered somebody. And he was a friend of my dad's you know, but they got into a drinking party and there was something went wrong and this solo killed this. This man if he I tell you what happened this this man was was no good. Several gunners monkeying around with this man's life. That did the shooting. And he killed him. Well, all of his family tried their band down just to have this man hung, that it didn't work out like that. Because while this man was in the penitentiary, and US Minister they used to be they would let out a bunch of convicts was one man or two men guarding them, you know, rooms loaded rifle, you know. And they were working somewhere somewhere on the on the north shore of the Fraser River when they noticed the man in trouble out in the river. These boats had capsized. And he was hanging on to this bottom of this rulebook and, and this man that had gotten troubled over this shooting deal had noticed this new these people out in the water and he also noticed the rule board piled up on the beach. So he asked the guard to let him go and say that this man that is having trouble out in the river. So they watched him and told him go ahead and you haven't watched the boat went out there. Got the man aboard. Took me sure let him off and went back to work again. So that kind of helped him you know, that saved him from the news. Yeah, she had been from the news. I don't know they were hanging them, then that that that first thing? I don't think they would have hung him if they'd known that for sure. I heard this man when he came on to the penitentiary. Well, we'll I'll tell you before he got to the penitentiary my dad had loaned him $700 Because he wanted to do with the house. My dad had saved up some money at that time there for quite a long time after space between talking about GML Yes. So old. My father five, several $100 I think it was down. And when he came over there when he came out of the pen, he was US released over the patentable 19 I think that we get that pretty close about 1912 Just before the war. And he came down and my dad gave him a shot at all on these islands where we had our camp, and a net, to fish to fish with. And I'm thinking you're thinking about this $700, you know that the van come up with only $5 in his pocket and no, and he wanted to get that money back in. So there was, there was a dance coming off on Saltspring island. But my two older brothers got a letter from somebody to come down for this demo, or they were raised, we were time for us to go down to get a load of apples in the off the orchard you see. So my younger brother and I came with these two older brothers and they went to the depths. They went to the dance, and this, this man that had done the shooting, went with them. And when they got to the death, all along the wall was like, I don't know, you've been all doing all country deaths. Oh, yeah. You see all the way along the wall, and the men would go and pick one for a partner. And he took this fellow around to introduce him to these people not knowing that this man's waste that he had killed was into Dancehall. And firstly, in the wild, they were taking, taking these, this ran around. I think one of my brothers were taking them around, block them to read face to face was this was a window open the mouth. So she got up, she turned her back on them and walked away. So after the dance, this, George Williams recommends name. He said, I told him my daddy says I don't think I can live on him. He told him what had happened. You know? He says I didn't. I didn't recognize it. When I went in he said but he said that's what's happened. And I see I don't think I can live there again the whole boat for the money. I owe what I did you my 160 acres on Saltspring island. So right up here, so we've got the umbrella and I have it now. My dad left it to us when he died.
Unknown Speaker 36:59
You have 160 acres up here.
Unknown Speaker 37:02
We have 160 acres. It's not here. It's not going to be reappointed. By what Yeah, right. Not by the water north. We have no no water, but
Unknown Speaker 37:10
by by Brian and Ed White. Yeah, yeah. Right. Well, last
Unknown Speaker 37:13
year, we bought one. Peter and I, my brother and I that have kept on fishing all of our lives. You know, finally, you kindly came to the time that we realized that there weren't enough rivers in BC on the BC coast, going into the running into the saltwater into the Pacific Ocean to produce our fish for the amount of fishermen that wanted to make a living at it. So we we decided it was time to get out of it. See, as my dad had left us this 160 acres and we had saved some money. He had bought a sailboat of our own. And we were fishing for we had to work every year with the BC packers for years. I don't know how many years now. And we had saved some money as well. We came back to the we came back to the farm the little place we had on the south we had a house built on them. And at least my dad had a house. We were still living in there. I had got married, I had gotten married and had a wife, which I lost was cancer some years ago now. 10 years, I guess. And anyway, we came back and we found out that these 21230 this big McLaren McLennan ranch of 700 acres. He had Mr. McLennan were Ed and wants to drive the property. They had two brothers that were left that piece of look of the McLennan farm, you see, well, they sold, they sold 160 acres to record the park, right. And there was the rest of it left owned by two brothers. And we couldn't do business with the two of them. We bought the 40 acres from one of them. The board bought 40 acres from one of them and courted bordered on 160 feet long distance away, but it boarded. Right. Then we bought the other brother out we bought the first one out for the bush 40 acres for $3,500. And the second one, we gave him $2,000 For 160 acres and we added that to the 104 we ended up with 500 acres of land and now on Saltspring. And then we went into sheep and was the one that we had that we choose a row one was we'll take it easy and all it's not gonna be as hard it's not gonna be as hard work as what we've done all our lives, but maybe we can do the work that we've done our life now we'll get to that. Thank you So we we went into sheep, we wanted to be first and we got to the head of Hereford cattle. And we went into them for us and we made a few dollars on them. And then we figured out with knowing this month we'll do one or the other on sheep and cattle didn't go on mix together.
Unknown Speaker 40:15
What year was that? Andrew? Was that when you and your brother went into business?
Unknown Speaker 40:20
Would have to would have to go to are you coming up again? Sometime? Oh, I can I'm sure I could go to the D real estate. There's a lot of things. You know, I've lost my memory. Hospital. Yeah, they were my people came even my foster daughter what you're doing the least charge when she got married me. She was looking after a nice little family in England. And it moved. They moved this Ms. Man out to BC to take charge of swim off. And he had these three little children. Well, she, no, his wife got cancer and she eventually died. And when she died, we'd had the little girl. One time she was four years old when she came to us and my wife was looking after her. And when Mrs. Hart died. The girl came to us. She didn't stay with us. But she went to boarding school and that's holiday time. He came back to the show. He just like our own daughter, you know? Yeah. So if he still comes to see me, and that's what he's been in four times to see me on. When I was in the hospital and I don't remember. I don't remember coming in. Lots of people have come to see me when I was really bad. You know, I would get caught on the wheel. Yeah, I don't know how I come to get over that. I told the doctor not very long, little couple times. I've had a couple of pretty good doctors to to get me out of what I remember. Yeah, how I was.
Unknown Speaker 41:47
I guess you just decided it wasn't time yet. Well,
Unknown Speaker 41:51
I think you made a pretty good stuff.
Unknown Speaker 41:53
I think so. So you and your you and your brother started out with her fruits.
Unknown Speaker 41:57
Yeah, we started out with her first and we went into sheep. And then we sold the ball. We sold our same boat. told our fan board which we had bought for $5,000 from the bottom had dropped out of the fishing and we got it for $5,000 and we kept it for four years and then we sold for 7500. Then we went and bought a little boat which we had when it was new upon the owner that owned it out in Port port Port Alberni. We got the Salmon River board. We liked it, but she was no seawater, Tom, we are over chances on the planet. Anyhow, we kept it until we sold at about 1940. I get something sometimes in the early 40s. And we went farming sheep breeding in earnest. So you
Unknown Speaker 42:44
started sheep branch in 40s?
Unknown Speaker 42:47
Yeah. I guess here I am.
Unknown Speaker 42:54
And here you are now and what put where is your family now you've got
Unknown Speaker 43:01
Peter, which is your brother, he and I own the 500 acres that we had. Well, we sold so much of it now that we haven't got too much of it left maybe 150 acres, which I will Peter will leave to his son Dimitri and I leave my share of
Unknown Speaker 43:21
Dimitris at the farm now Demetrius Peters, so
Unknown Speaker 43:23
you've done very well. He's been butchered all the sheep himself, and I can see the smoke. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 43:30
I hear that you wasn't it you that sold some sheepskins to the Russians or something like that. Portuguese to the Portuguese.
Unknown Speaker 43:42
They go to Portugal. He learned the Portugal the highest, you know, I prepare them first for shipment at the tannery does the shipping all right, but very, very, very satisfied with what I do. He said they'd never had. That's what I've heard come in like you wanted me to tell them how I did. And I said no, I don't want to tell you a little why not? I said well, maybe you got some young fuller son or nephew or something like that. And we want to get into it. And that's it. I will tell you to find out. Anyway, i Nobody here sell a sheepskin. They sell them all. I was buying most of them, you know get to them for nothing more for the time. Yeah, just to get them to take them from digging a hole very. Yeah. When that first load I took over there, we took over 500 in one trip. We unloaded the truck in the mandolin of the checker that looks after the one I wrote the meanings. Are they all like that? And I said every blue one of them. I said why? He said Well, I've never seen them come in like that. I said, Well, no, no, he didn't because they don't they just take them off the ship and throw some salt on them and then from India or if you get
Unknown Speaker 44:52
when did you do this? When was this? What year was that when you did
Unknown Speaker 44:56
four years? Really? Is that right? Yeah. I've been doing pretty good with I'm on a hiatus and I got a lot of call given demand and I stopped buying them after I've been making money on
Unknown Speaker 45:10
how many ships you have now How many sheep are
Unknown Speaker 45:14
about 200 Up until a couple of years ago, we've been cutting down now. Dimitri is cutting them down, way down and he said the only gonna keep about 26 years and that'll make about 40 or 50 Lamb.
Unknown Speaker 45:27
So did you I guess you went to the little red schoolhouse when you were a boy.
Unknown Speaker 45:31
Did you like to have that little red schoolhouse zone and pivot point.
Unknown Speaker 45:34
And then who was your teacher?
Unknown Speaker 45:35
Oh, did you was an Oxford man by the name of Karl curl. K er while Simon and I think his son. He started a boys school in Victoria called St. St. Michael. Oh, yeah. And the summer still running at St. Michael's school. Is that right? I never saw that boy. I never saw that boy until we were on our way north fishing one year and we stopped into UGL to have to wait for the tide to go through. Carry on. Tripoli we had to make and this man come walking along the the floats there were tied up with two bottles of beer in his hand. He says he's got an ace on board. And I said no, we don't worry. I said that. We don't use it. Don't you keep your fish on the board? And I said no. I said assassins. We kept them as a packer follows us around and it's loaded with rice and they take him and take him in bed and they might keep them one day or two and then into the camera. I said we don't carry any as we just catch the fish. So I said come on in I'll get cool your your beer for you. So he came on and sat down on Raylan. And talked for a while. I took a long piece of string that I had there and Ted one bottle on to each one of them. And, and a handful of lids that we always have on both right first deadline and put that along with a bottle of beer and all the length of the screen. went way down 2030 feet into the water. Let's just sit down and talk for a while your beer wasn't cold and you come up to I said where do you come from? He said Well, the long way from here. Let's say well, if I can't be too far away, and cool Victorian Oh Victoria, he said when he said I lived on Saltspring island for a while. I said Oh, that's interesting. That's your we're gonna get you there. And he said, Well, my father would keep in school that says, well, he's named Colonel famous. He says yeah, so I got a picture of you. And my old dictionary at home was my next My next brother. My next brother to me, which we called Benny he's needle Dimitri but we call him Benny. He says, Yes, I remember him. And he says, he's you got us. Two kids in a tub in a wash tub in a snowbank. And I said yeah. He said he was giving us a ride. He's got that picture. At home too. Is that right? Yeah. Oh, I got another surprise your little while ago? I mean, up to two. Greenwich, you know. Yeah. And there's a lot of old pictures on the walls. No, I haven't No. Well, there's lots of old pictures. The old or it's very interesting
Unknown Speaker 48:30
to see those. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 48:33
And there was one picture there. I looked at that thing. No wrong house. was a woman standing in the doorway. It was a baby in her arm. Peavine place and that's where a friend of mine lives around by record. You know, he's external house up and he's living there. He's bachelor. He's living there. And this was a picture of mine that Mr. Simons had taken with my brother and dragging these two little kids. These two little kids in the snow was in the Watchtower.
Unknown Speaker 49:05
So so your there's just you and Peter left now?
Unknown Speaker 49:08
Well, if Peter and I are the only two boys left, then they want one sister of where's your sister? Shalimar? They? They bought Solimar here a few years, a couple of years,
Unknown Speaker 49:19
right. Solimar is Solimar was
Unknown Speaker 49:23
was over they had a bunch of cabinetry that they rented out before they still have the cabins on there. But they don't do that business. Right. They escaped a bit because it's a good place for a fisherman. A nice place to come down and see it sometimes. Yeah. Like my my nephew. my niece's husband is a fisherman. And he fishes. He says all over the quarter the same as we did when we were visiting salmon but in the wintertime he is here. All dinnertime. Yeah, all right. Well, maybe a few minutes off Okay wintertime drags for bottom fish. He does quite well you know, I think you know very well. He paid $20,000 in contract one year. We never we never made money like that but we have managed to come out of it all right.
Unknown Speaker 50:20
Well you certainly have and you've still got a beautiful farm down in the valley there probably some
Unknown Speaker 50:29
disappointment thought that just Dimitri would want us to keep it warm for you.
Unknown Speaker 50:38
Your do you go back to your farm now do you
Unknown Speaker 50:41
go back but now when I want to see it I'll tell you that my brother and my sister in law didn't think I was gonna make it right and they rented my house. And I can't kick them out now winter coming on. You know, I could go back home now. I'd have to go home and cook my own missus comfortable on wooden for wintertime, like the Wizard anyhow.
Unknown Speaker 51:04
But But it'd be nice to go down for visits. Or you do
Unknown Speaker 51:10
some Christmas dinner and then I go down there and fill up on Turkey. I don't relate to food in his hospital.
Unknown Speaker 51:17
No, no, it's not like home cooked.
Unknown Speaker 51:22
Unknown Speaker 51:24
How do you feel Salt Springs treated you all over these 80 years? How Saltspring Island treated you I guess you're lucky
Unknown Speaker 51:31
beforehand. Now we people like myself who are born on the island are the strangers on the island now? Yes. We don't know anybody. No. I used to think it's time for us to look for another island. I don't know.
Unknown Speaker 51:50
Did you go to did you go to the Pioneer reunion note at Christian Lake. Were you at the Pioneer reunion? Like you were there? I
Unknown Speaker 51:56
saw people I hadn't seen for four years, I guess. Is that right? We've kind of lost track. You know, since? Well, since my wife died, you know? I don't do well. I did go there. I belong to square dance club. And I kept that all up until I got sick. I even tried it afterwards. But
Unknown Speaker 52:16
Gordon ruckle an old school some of yours.
Unknown Speaker 52:21
Nice man school was I mean, I knew I was in school when he went to school for the first day. I remember that. Is
Unknown Speaker 52:26
that right? Your father's I guess would have helped each other out on different projects. I suppose your
Unknown Speaker 52:30
father's? A little bit about Greece now. Okay, a few years ago. 1946 1936. This is what this was? What
Unknown Speaker 52:43
80 280-219-7619 76?
Unknown Speaker 52:45
I had made up my mind. I had made up my mind about four years ago. I had never learned Greek language. You see, I had never learned the language at all. My dad tried to teach me but you know, dad is no good. Teacher, right? No, no. And then he had to good education to start on me because I didn't have enough English education to to take it up from where he could start in you know. So I said I'm going to go over when I was about when I was still going to school, we moved from Salt Spring Island in 1910. And we didn't come back to the 1960s. And in the intervening years, we just used to come back in to Salt Spring to pick the apples off the old orchard and take them up to the Fraser River. And for me to sell them up there you see I used to get a sold on the market. I got rid of them. And we sold about selling them one weekend just along the different camps in the fridge and we were all Jeff cancer together and they were great after Apple. And their Italian capsule could be all down at the bottom. But they didn't they were very good customers. But here and there they were good. camps of fishermen that were all together, you know, Finland or Norwegians. I got rid of but most of them to Japanese. I sold every almost every Apple if I did, if I had sold every Apple I would have met wouldn't have had any left in
Unknown Speaker 54:17
Yes, right. Yeah. Good customers
Unknown Speaker 54:19
for fruit. Well, and we came back in 1910. And in those times, they're my godfather, my good friend who was also a geek. When I was Christian and downers Cathedral in Victoria. He was my he stood up with my godfather, and he hung a $5 gold piece around my neck, which I still have. And here British Columbia. He wanted me to he thought an awful lot of me. They're old fashioned that way and only. He thought that he had a responsibility to me just because he was my godfather. But I know what I would write my day had asked me yes he said he you can take them if he if he will go but I don't think he will go. And he had my dad asked me did you want to go back? What's What's your godfather? And I know what did I do back there? Because I didn't know much about you. That's pretty poor country where he had come from, you know, I'll go back there and I'll have to go and climb on the mountain donkey or something like that to get firewood. No, I don't think it'll be too good for me. I don't mind it here. I was through school in grammar school. But I didn't go with him. But I had made my mind up, but someday I was gonna go. And if I ever got enough money to make the trip, I would go, Well, I never had a holiday in my life. I took one trip up to bounce because I had my brother when he came back from the war. When he came back from the war, he got a good job is a lifesaver in Hot Springs. Good job. And I went up there and spent the winter carnival time there was him and his boarding house. And my sister was a lot of them. So I went up there for that as the only holiday I had but I'd made up my mind. I was honored recently in 1976. I said well, I've got a few dollars now. I think I'll buy tickets. Gordon, Gordon Rocco, some was selling working for some travel agents. He came up, sold me a ticket
Unknown Speaker 56:31
still is working there as he normally doesn't
Unknown Speaker 56:33
he doesn't even know Victoria. He's got a good job. And he bought himself a condominium. I think he got money coming in all the time. Doing pretty good. So I I went to Greece. I went to I didn't know I've never been on an airplane except a little thing fine to Vancouver a couple of times every time and went over to Swartz Bay. And Gordon, rural sun came up with me came up to me to give me the ticket. And my sister said, I wish I was alone with him. And he said I'd get you on that plane that he's going to take tomorrow morning. He said you've got to talk her into going you know what, I didn't want to go over there with my sister. No, too much responsibility looking after myself. So I went I went to my I see my oldest sister first was his he was still living in Edmonton. And I went to go into her place, stayed with him for two days. Three days I stayed there. And then I flew from there to Montreal. And from Montreal. I went that next night after I've been there one day that night, after some time like 11 o'clock at night, I guess pitch black night you know? Yeah. 35,000 feet up in the air. And nothing that see out the window. You know, every time I travel, I had a trainer in your car and I got like looking around, you know, see where I'm going. I couldn't see nothing with blackness over outside, you know, once. Whoa, just before daylight in the morning, I think we've passed over. As far as I have myself. I saw a piece of late cutting circles in the sky in order to get the lighthouse on the daylight and the sun came up, I could see Gibraltar and then I saw which I've only seen in pictures before you knew where it was and when I saw the Mediterranean and we landed in Rome and we were there a couple of hours refueling and one thing or when we left when we left to Montreal we were off. They were all french french these girls on the plane we got to Italy and it changed them all to Italian and then no yes it's empty Italian Yes. And then went on to Greece. And and then from Greece. I stayed there 18 days in Athens which I should never have done. No, no, not a nice city cut down my time on the island. I wanted to go back to the island was born and flew from Athens over to here at the island of here and from there on a small little boat the next day. We went down to Sarah and need me when I showed up here for my dad told me a song told me about you know when he told me about him and the boyfriend and he knew another boy his age that used to go swimming on this beats and he used to explain it. Describe it to me, a yellow sand beach like a semicircle, no. And I saw that thing when I saw that thing before I got over, we had passed it in there, the beach of my dad told me about out in the middle of that Bay, wailed in the middle, there was the roof when the wind Rule Breakers came in broke on that roof, you know, and some of the big boys would would swim out there and stand on the reason that the way is rushed, festival. But the big boys would never let the little younger ones go out there, you know, if they had, they were told whether the parents or the young ones to watch out that they never went swimming deep water. And it all came back to me and all from the stories he told me about it. And it was the most, it was the most rewarding thing I'd ever done just because the people that I met that were cousins, some of them weren't born yet. When I left when my dad left, you know, they were growing up with old men now that they were second and third cousins of mine, you know? And, and we made Myself known to them. And they thought it was incredible that a person my age after two generations would come back to find the place where his grandfather was born. Yeah, yeah. And oh, gosh, they did everything for me. And I had to have a meal and everybody's hosting on they were they just accepted me as if I belonged. You know, I don't know why, but I thought perhaps they might be a little distant deal with me, you know,
Unknown Speaker 1:01:37
pretty friendly people. Yeah, they were really swell people. And I guess they remembered your father and your grandfather did
Unknown Speaker 1:01:44
you love him. But there were two women, two women that had been to Victoria to visit some of the people in Victoria that they were related to. And then you love him because these people from South Korea and North they call him
Unknown Speaker 1:02:06
and it has it reeks with history that, you know
Unknown Speaker 1:02:17
that Tenaris is the man that did more for the Greek mission in history, there were 500 years under turkey. You know, and this man cannot this was just a just a fisherman, a ship on Earth fourth, like my grandfather. And he, he won the one, the one, the one, the one that looked as if the people we're going to rebuild in 1820 1815, something like that. It started in it started in, in, in, or it started on the mainland somewhere, but then finally spread out amongst the island. And this man organized all the islands so that when the time came for them to fight to get their independence, they had stores as ammunition of cannon balls and cannon guns in all, hidden away in places. So he had he had prepared that he had prepared the islands for the time when they were going to be set free. And can you read that? You know, I gotta read the English degree. That's his name. And guess what they got me. They got me there on the table. And they all gathered around the ruptor chairs around there. And I was talking to this man he asked and trying to answer the questions that he was given me in Greek. And, you know, in my broken Greek, I got it, crossed to him, and then he would relate to these other people. And the one man said to me, he should ask him, one man said the one of the fellas there, you should ask him. If it was true, that there are as many salmon but by this time I told him that I had been a fisherman in the Fraser River and lots of them had heard of it. You know, Harriman, some of the people had gone from there, not very many, but a few of them had gone from there and fished in the Fraser River, and then heard about, he's asked him if there are as many salmon in the Fraser River as they told us that we believe that the user was and I said, Well, perhaps not. No, I said, But let me ask you answer your question in this way. When I went to school, we had a book on hygiene on the human body. And there was one chapter in there, about to the bloodstream and on the human body. And, and that we think that Blood is red because we see it. We see that the Blood is red, but it's not red that's only red because there's so many red corpuscles in the blood that makes it look red to us. And that's just that's the way the silent the fires reverse but someone was, and this owner said he didn't do. River doesn't look red does it because of the red side of him. I said, No, no, no. But I said that's how they explained us Elmer, I'm trying to tell you how many fish they were in the river. Because the blood this book told us that the bloodstream, there were so many red cool puzzles in the bloodstream, that we think it's red, because we see the red corpuscles. But they are, they're more, there are more red co fossils in the bloodstream of a human being than they are salmon in the freezer. So I can tell you that was quite a lot efficient. So he, he heard it made it to them, you know, on this off that I must have had a good memory of what my schoolbooks or something, you know, was it anyway, they appreciated what I had said. And so after a long time after that, my nephew before I had left Greece to come back home, my nephew, who had a good ticket for the first day at St. John's first aid. He met the Greek ship and US minister was a captain with a captain on it that came from South Africa. He was always looking for Captain samsara. And he found a few of them. Because most of the most of them that I had the chance to get away became captains, you know, on the ocean today. So he, I found out about this and when I came back, and he told me, he phoned me one night and said, the Greek ship from from the captain of the Greek ship is in us Minister loading lumber, and he will be in Nanaimo all day after tomorrow. And after that, he will be in Port Alberni for two days, then even back to Nanaimo. And then he'll be leaving for grief. It says, you want to see him? You better get over there. So I thought that's a pretty good idea. So I went to see this man, you know, and I met him. I met I went to the ship with him. And I went and go, I had a boy along the donkey, no tool to get up on the ship. And the fella came with me sealer of the ship, and I couldn't talk English, he came up to there. And I told him, I want to see the first officer ruptor took me told me to go up the ladder. He took me up the ladder, went into a salon, and in the wheelhouse and sat me down. He said, Wait, here, he said, I'll get the captain or the first officer. So I sat there for a long time, I was looking out over all the wheelhouse, you know, towards the ball, big expensive lumber towers, millions of feet on it, you know, loaded right down the cylinder. I thought, Geez, how much lumber you got on here? And he didn't know, you know, but I found out after she'd seen a quarter million or something like that fetal lung run it terrible thing. Well, it was one of the it's one of those big big ones, you know. So finally, they were two men coming along the top of the lumber bottle. And I said to this fellow Melita and Lindsey. I said those two people speak English. And he says yes, he says nay he said neighs yes in Greek. So when he finally came in at all, he finally came in and course. And I told him who I was, and that he had met my first date and man was remind Nephele full Yes, he was quite excited. So I began talking to him, you know, I talked to him as he talks perfectly English perfect English. I didn't have to go into my broken Greek to him. But anyway, finally he said, I told him I'd been I'd been in Greece. Yes, you should. I know. I said all the detail you Oh, yes. He told me but he says I know. Anyhow, this is new to me now. But one day when I was in there, you want to I will tell you about these people that gathered around my table or this table that I was sitting at and they all come in and brought their chairs over because they wanted to hear this translation from the, from the fellow that I was telling the story. What's the question answering the questions that will put them to me, right. So this fella said, Oh, I noticed that I remembered noticing that there was one. One man standing up on the hill and there was an empty chair across the room. On the other side of the cafe, finally this man got up we went over there and he got the empty chair and he came over and joined and joined the crowd there. So after I'd gotten under him for a while aboard the ship, he said. He said, I'm gonna take you to dinner. He said. I said, why? Oh, he said, we've got a new cook here. He says he's a Greek and he cooks good, but he says, not what you would like he said, I'll take you out to dinner and I'm gonna come back afterwards and we'll talk. So he took me, he took me the whole rest restaurant, and we had dinner to peace, and we walked back afterward to the ship. And we went back in there, and that's when he gave me this book. That's when he gave me that book there. It was nice. Yeah, well, look, I
Unknown Speaker 1:10:36
I hope you haven't missed your lunch. No.