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Growing Up in Douglastown

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We may not have had much as kids growing up in Douglastown, but the one thing we did have was a lot of fun. We used to play cards and board games, but the highlight of our days was going to the post office.We kids always used to hang out at the post office.I will never forget Mr. Kennedy, the postmaster we had for years and years.He was as nasty as anything; mad as a rooster. We would go all over the place on the bikes.

After school, we would come rushing home to listen to the radio. There was one program in particular that I remember, it was called Pepper Young’s Family and we never missed it. It was like a modern day soap opera. It was all about people getting married and living with one another’s wives and getting divorced. Much like the way the world is today.

We didn’t have cars, but in the winter we did have the loveliest horses with bells on. We’d go riding on sleighs. It was a lot of fun tearing through the village with the bells on the horses ringing. I especially remember the fun we would have at Christmas time.

I am sure that we believed in Santa Claus until we were 9 or 10 years of age. We would decorate the tree with strings of popcorn, tinsel and a few small balls. I can recall running and tearing down the stairs to find everything under the tree. The presents weren’t elaborate, but they were meaningful. Sometimes I would get a nice new pair of mittens or a new slate for school. We were so excited if we got a new slate to take notes on. It was even more exciting when the new ones came out that we could write on and then lift up and they would erase themselves.
That was like magic to us back then.

In school we were taught by the sisters in their own broken English. Unfortunately, we believed everything they told us. I can remember the chores we had to do and how hard it was, but it never hurt us. We used to pick berries and help with the garden. We did the planting and digging before going to school in the morning. On Saturdays and Sundays, we’d help with the chores in the house before we could go outside and play with our friends.

We spent a lot of time taking moonlight walks on the beach with our boyfriends, playing games and just spending entire evenings there. The most fun of all growing up in Douglastown was when we used to make bonfires on the beach. We even tortured the local carpenters to let us have lumber for our fires. Sometimes we would build a large platform and talk a fiddler into coming and playing music for us so we could dance under the moonlight on the beach. They are such fond, pleasant memories.Yes, these are some of my best memories of growing up in Douglastown.

*Lorna was born in Douglastown in 1926 and after completing grade 10, started teaching in Seal Cove when she was just 16. She married William Holland and they had seven children together. After living in Montreal for twenty years, they retired to the Gaspé.