A View From Spruce View

I was born in the country near Blue Belle, New Brunswick. Dad came from Prince Edward Island and Mom came from Adamsville, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Mom and Dad had thirteen children - nine boys and four girls. I am the eldest daughter in the family.

At the age of 18 I was married in Blue Belle and my husband and I bought 100 acres of land at Crombie Settlement. As was the case in those days, we hauled water or melted snow until water could be piped to the house. I made bread every two days. We cooked on a wood stove in the kitchen and we also had a wood heater in the bedroom.

We had a large garden every summer and the produce from the garden was stored in the root cellar for use during the winter months. We picked a lot of berries- gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries. I made a lot of jam, and also canned a lot of food into jars in preparation for the winter months.

We raised seven healthy children - two girls and five boys. I sewed clothes for the children - diapers, dresses, etc. I also used men's black and brown long coats to make coats for the children. I made collars in red plaid and also put red plaid trim on the pockets to make the coats pretty. I knitted socks and mitts. I am now 83 years old and I am still knitting for my growing family. Hard work never hurts anyone.

The children remember picking lots of hazel nuts and putting them in a burlap bag. They would then go down and soak them for awhile in the brook, until it was easier to remove the tusk. Then they would sell the nuts - a big pail for a quarter.

My children would also set up pails for the collection of maple syrup which I boiled down for pancake syrup. We had an apple orchard and again we were able to put away apples in the root cellar. Every fall the deer would eat apples in the orchard and it was very pretty to watch them when the moon was out. My husband hunted for meat and shot two deer. I canned the deer meat and also some pork.

I made honey from clover, pink roses and sugar. We had a lot of pink roses in front of the house. There were also lots of bees as well as lots of bears! We had two cows, a calf, two horses and chickens. I made lots of chicken stew for my children.

I remember one time when a storm was approaching and I told my daughter to run out to the baby chicks. I wanted her to gather them together and put them underneath two overturned, square laundry tubs to protect them from the storm. My daughter forgot to prop a stick under the edge of the washtub to allow oxygen in for the chicks. After the storm was over, we checked on the chicks and found that they had all suffocated. We lost about 50 chicks which would have been a major contribution to our food supply at the time.

One year our sow lost her piglets so she became a family pet. The children would get on her back and ride her around the yard like a pony. This sow was always breaking down the fence to get out to search for her piglets. Each day she would meet the children as they arrived home from school. One evening she got into the shed and knocked down a barrel. She then ate too many oats and we had to have her butchered. The children all cried and even though they were hungry, wouldn't eat their pet pig.

During the summer my husband was on Fire Watch and he walked up the mountain to the tower where he watched for fires. Another job he had was pushing the logs up to the mill. They dumped the logs into the water so the bark would come off easier, I think. My husband would run on the logs while they were in the water. It was scary for me.

After the children were grown and left home, my husband and I moved to the city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. My husband was employed with a mobile home company where he worked in constructing these homes. During this time, we purchased a mobile home and moved it to a trailer park where we lived for six years. Due to illness, my husband was laid off from his job. He died of heart failure at age 66. These years were very difficult ones. I was fortunate to find work babysitting. I took care of two children for one of the local school teachers. At the time I began this work, the eldest child was just three months of age. I looked after these children for ten years.

My seven children have given me eighteen grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren, as well as one great-great-grandchild.

In October, 2003, I moved to Whitecourt in order to be closer to my eldest daughter, Germaine Samson. I lived with Gordon and Germaine until May, 2004 when I accepted the opportunity to become a resident of Spruce View Lodge. With only twenty residents and a small staff, we are like a large family. These folks soon became a close part of my extended family. There is always a lot to do at the Lodge and I have been made to feel very much at home.

This past summer, my daughter and her husband took me to New Brunswick to visit my family and friends. I enjoyed my visit very much. I was also very happy to return to my new home and friends in Whitecourt. I feel blessed to have found such lovely people.
Thank you!

May God bless us all. Love Loretta Casey