New home construction, curfews and a broken washing machine …

Arts & Entertainment Community Featured Online First Pictou Island Memories

Scott Falconer and Charlie MacMillan sailed their boats from Pictou Island to the mainland on July 16, 1962.  They transported two boatloads of lumber back to Pictou Island for the construction of Scott and Rita’s new home.  Duncan and Roy MacCallum along with Scott began construction of the new three-bedroom house on July 30th. Many Pictou Islanders assisted Scott and Rita with building their new home over the next few days. Nineteen days later on August 18th, Rita and Scott with their ten-month-old son Scottie moved into their new three-bedroom bungalow. A housewarming party was held at their home on Sept. 2nd and they were presented with $43.10 from Pictou Islanders – $43  was a substantial amount of money 40 years ago.

Pictou Island’s teenaged students grades 9 and up were required to attend West Pictou District High School during 1962. Those kids left their island homes and went over to Pictou that afternoon on Ernie Rankin’s ferryboat to attend their first classes the next day. My sister Rosemary and Judy Rankin were two of those nine students and they lodged together at Charlie Griffin’s home in Pictou. Now it appears that Mrs. Griffin had strict rules about her tenants seeing boys after a certain hour. She therefore set a 10  o’clock curfew. Judy and Rosemary were continuously warned that the front door would be locked and their key would be taken from them if the curfew was not followed.  When looking back to those days, I’m understanding why Rosemary and Judy always had sleeping bags with them when boarding the ferry. “More to follow”

A going away party was held for James Perry at the home of Mae Rankin on the night of September 7th. James Perry was the student minister on Pictou Island in 1962. I recall assisting Mr. Perry during that summer in replace shingles on the church steeple. I recall Mae having a pump organ in her living room that played music by cards. A special card would be placed inside the organ and beautiful music would then be played when pumping the foot pedals.

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Spike and Thelma MacDonald built a new house close to the west end of the island and they moved into it on December 8th of that year. Thelma’s young son Theodore MacLean was fishing herring with my father that fall. They went out fishing herring on the night of Sept 14th and netted 66 barrels of herring. They also caught 55 mackerel in their herring nets. I, being an 11-year-old kid, pedaled my bicycle to just about every household on Pictou Island and sold all the mackerel for 10 cents apiece. Mother had written in her diary that I made $5.00 selling those fish. I’m assuming that I must have given a two for one deal at some homes.

Leonard and Vernon Turple sailed over and visited with us on Sept. 21st. They had a billy goat with them, which they left, at our farm. I don’t remember why they took it to the island or why they left it with us. That was a miserable animal. We wouldn’t dare turn our backs or bend down when billy was around. I recall getting hit in the butt a few times when bending over pumping water from our well. I’ve often wondered if anyone on the mainland may have lost a billy goat about that time.

Arnold MacMillian’s parents, Billy and Annie Jane along with daughter Ethel were moving to Pictou that fall. Winters were harsh when living on the island especially for senior residents. My father and Arnold MacMillan used their boats on Oct. 8th, 1962, to move the MacMillian’s furniture and belongings to their new home in Pictou.

Mother’s washing machine broke on Dec. 3rd. A small gasoline engine powered her washing machine and I recall a kick-start being on the side of the washing machine. Mother did all our wash by hand for over two weeks until Dad was able to get the required part from Simpson Sears to repair the small engine. I wonder how many mothers would wash their families cloths on a wash board today?

There was yet another dance held on the island for newlyweds Diane and Bruce Davie on Dec 5th, 1962. The weather was getting colder but still many people from the mainland arrived in their boats for the party.

It snowed heavily on Dec. 12th and 13th. Ice was forming inside the wharf area and many island men were down to the wharf assisting Ernie Rankin on Dec. 17th to haul his ferryboat. Snow flurries cold and blowing hard from the north right up to Christmas Day. There was about a foot of snow on the ground for this magical day and Santa had no problem making his rounds. The strait ice came down on December 27th. It was white with ice between Pictou Island and the mainland. We were then once again isolated from the mainland for several months.