New Year’s Eve 1959 …

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This is a follow up to my last story of Pictou Island Christmas 1959.

Our island Christmas concert on that Tuesday evening was appreciated by all. It was a special event just having the older scholars home for the holidays. That winter storm on Tuesday, December 22nd 1959 was one that will go down in Pictou Island history.

The wind continued to blow very hard from the nor’east on Wednesday. Alton Woodside was still unable to try a take off and his plane remained tied down in Howard MacCallum’s field.

My oldest sister Rita with her husband Scott had been married since July 10th of that year. They had made a move that summer to Corner Brook, Newfoundland where Scott gained employment managing a warehouse. They were coming home for Christmas and arrived in North Sydney on that Wednesday morning. Vernon Turple from Pictou drove to Sydney and picked them up. They returned to Pictou that evening and stayed with Vernon and Rodina that same night.

The wind had diminished somewhat by Thursday the 24th with mainly sunny skies. This time it was Scott and Rita who wanted to be home on Pictou Island for Christmas. Vernie Rankin, Charlie and Arnold MacMillan arrived at our place that morning to discuss the options for getting Scott and Rita home. A phone call was made by Arnold to his brother John Angus.  John, we need to launch the boat again, meet us at the wharf. Without hesitation, John drove his small dozer the mile and a half to the island’s wharf and pushed Arnold’s boat back into the water. Arnold and Dad were off again for Caribou to pick up Rita and Scott.

Christmas Day, Friday, December 25th was a real nice sunny day with very light winds blowing. We were all up and around the Christmas tree by six in the morning. Mom had been up a half hour before and had stoked up the wood in the kitchen stove. I, being eight years old, really didn’t care how cold it was, I was getting up to see what Santa had left. Yes, old Santa had once again paid us a visit on the island and had left many gifts neatly placed under the tree.

Mom, as usual, had prepared a magnificent Christmas dinner for that special day. No sooner was dinner over with when Dougie Patterson arrived to give Vincent and me a hair cut. Callie MacCallum, Archie and Bush MacDonald, Charlie Munro and Arnold Millan arrived later that afternoon and they with my father went east to the school to play cards. There were three directions that we could go on Pictou Island. We either went east or west or often went out north.

Boxing Day was another beautiful but cold sunny day. Dad had borrowed Arnold’s boat that day. He and mother and I along with Rita and Scott sailed across to Caribou where Lester Turple picked us up and drove us into Pictou. We visited with Mom’s parents, Edward and Mary Hemmings also visited with my aunt and uncle Victor and Julie Hemmings. We stopped off at Teddy and Margaret Hopper’s place before returning to the island that evening.

December 31st, New Years Eve and Rosemary was spending the night with Carolyn Ann Rankin. Alvin MacLean’s generator was on the blink and Dad repaired it for him that afternoon. Arnold and Charlie MacMillan butchered our pig that evening and it weighted in at 204 pounds.

Pictou Island New Years was a quite event in 1959 with a community card game taking place at the new schoolhouse. Even though I wasn’t at that card game, I am assuming that more then tea and coffee was served. After all, it was New Years.

Jimturple4@gmail.com


Rita and Scott