Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29

BARNEY'S RIVER

Written by
Published on January 2018

As the Department of Health lady helped me to pack my goods and chattels in her car, Harry and Jean stood aside with Norma.  I don’t think she realized that she would not see me again.   

Allister, being busy, I shook hands with Harry and thanked him for having me and looking after me.  I thought I detected a tear in his eye.  Shaking hands with Jean, she put her arms around me and wished me well.  Turning to Norma I hugged her and I thought she was not going to let me go.
Boarding the car, off we went down the driveway and turned right, made our way past my schoolhouse, then the church.  As we sped along the country roads I began to think this was my third accommodation in three years.  I was certainly getting around and I wondered if there was an arrangement that us children just stayed about one year with our guardians – Uniacke, Milford and now Egerton, Barney's River station coming up.  No one ever mentioned about a length of stay.  I suppose it all depended on how long the war lasted.  As we left the side roads for a main road, as it was then, it reminded me of our entry into Nova Scotia – trees, trees and trees.
It did not seem too long before we passed a small church. I felt sure it was the church I had attended with the Powells.  Sutherlands River (perhaps).  Then further on another church that I would attend from time to time.  Further on, a farm on my right with an outbuilding – probably a barn – on my left the farmhouse was quite big, I thought.  Little did I know that I would visit there many times to visit the Bannerman family.  Within a few minutes we slowed down at a small white building at the edge of the road.  We slowed considerably and my driver pointed to the building and said, “that will be your school.”  Down the track at a slow pace we went for about a quarter of a mile through the trees across a small bridge, over a creek then minutes later out into a clearing and up a short rise on which was quite a large house.  This was the home of Linus and Katherine Cameron, a middle aged couple who, when introduced to me, seemed quite pleased to see me and welcomed me with handshakes and lovely big smiles.  After having a few words with the Department of Health lady we all turned to the house which was rather salubrious, and this, I found out, was due to the efforts and diligence of Katherine who was very meticulous in her housekeeping.  Linus was a shortish bright-eyed man who moved about very quickly. He appeared very active for his age which I guessed to be about sixtyish which indicated to me that he spent most of his time outdoors.  Going back to Katherine – she was a little taller than Linus.  As time went by she gave the impression that she did not belong in the countryside but was more at home in a town or city and as time went by I became more convinced of that.  I based my home theory on the fact that she used to receive, regularly, the Boston Globe newspaper and had it sent direct from Boston.  Her two daughters lived and studied or worked in Boston and very likely sent their Mum the Globe.  It was not long before I started to peruse the Globe and it was in that newspaper that I first read about the tragic fire at the “Coconut Grove” night club with the great loss of life therein.  Not long after, of course, was the attack on Pearl Harbour and the subsequent declaration of war by President Roosevelt. 

The bedroom which was allocated to me was mostpleasant and had a window which looked out over the apple orchard.  A small but adequate bathroom was just downthe passage and close by was the inevitable country toilet. 
 

The living room come dining room was well furnished and had a small parlour added on.  All very comfortable.  I did not go upstairs which, no doubt, was for the Camerons. The lady from the Department of Health spoke alone to Linus and Katherine then turned to me and gave me some good news – that my sister Bessie would soon be coming to join me at the Cameron home.  Then bidding us all good bye off she went to goodness knows where.

Meanwhile, Katherine commenced to prepare an evening meal – my first in Barney’s River Station and my fourth accommodation in Nova Scotia.  As we ate silently I mused to myself what life here had in store for me.

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/barneys-river