Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29

MESSAGE FROM NEWCASTLE ON TYNE

Written by
Published on January 2018

Linus suggested that I check the mail box today. It was unusual for him to ask me to do that as I would normally check it anyway. Well, there was a letter addressed to him and Katherine and it was postmarked from the CBC Toronto. Thinking nothing of it I dutifully took it back to the house. Linus opened it and then gave it to Katherine who then smiled broadly and asked me to go and get Bessie. As Bessie came we were both asked to sit down together and listen.

     Katherine read out the letter from the CBC and it was saying that one week from that day we were to be sitting in front of the Radio tuned to CBC at a given time and our Mam and Dad would be talking to us and sending us greetings from England via the BBC transmitter in Newcastle on Tyne .

Well, we could not believe it and it would in three days’ time.

     So, on that day, all four of us sat around the Radio as silent as mice and waited at the designated time, then all of a sudden it came, “This is the BBC Newcastle calling Ronald and Bessie Mizon in Nova Scotia.  Here is your Mother and Father to say hello”.   Then Dad spoke to us and asked how we were and were we happy and well.  Mam next spoke to us. She was a little nervous but she managed very well. They both spoke to the Camerons and thanked them for looking after us and hoped that we were being good.

     The message was short and reception was a little on the crackly side but we understood them well and - what a thrill after nearly three years away!  This was the highlight of our day. Bessie and I just couldn’t get over it all day.

     What a thrill that was on the occasion of the broadcast from Mam and Dad. I learned, much later on my return to England, that my Dad was not very well.  Apparently, he had been inflicted with a cancer in his throat and for the past twelve months he had been attending for treatment at the Cancer unit at Newcastle on Tyne every day.  He had the opportunity, I understand, to stay as an in-patient but he was reluctant to leave Mam on her own.  The two sisters of mine were engaged in defence duties - Alwyn, much older than I, was conscripted into the Auxiliary Army force and Lizzie (Elizabeth), the eldest, was sent to the countryside as a domestic help near a prison being prepared for future prisoners, which, as it turned out to be, to house captured Italian soldiers.

      After the broadcast life returned to normal for us but we (Bessie and I) still talked about it from time to time.

      Late summer was approaching and I continued to stock the schoolhouse basement with slabs to prepare for the coming cold weather and before I knew it Donald asked me if I would care to play a part in collecting the Bannerman potatoe harvest.  He hinted it would be worth my while and Linus remarked that I would not be a loser. So on the day appointed, I duly turned up in the huge field across the road from the house. There was gathered Alan, the father, Donald, and to my surprise, three of his sisters.   So with me was a total of six workers and one horse to carry the bounty back to the barn. 

     Not being used to potato picking, as the horse drew a gadget to unearth the fruit of the land, so to speak, I followed the girls’ lead and filled my basket very quickly then emptied it into the horse-drawn cart. What was that?  Something had clipped my ear!  Then another, and a howl of laughter followed.   It took me some time to realize that it was not raining potatoes but they were coming and going in all directions from the girls and included hoots of laughter until Alan restored order when I joined in the hilarity.

     Eventually, we harvested all the crop, bagged them and took them to the barn to store for the winter with the exception of three bags which Alan and Donald loaded into the rear of their car.  

     By that time it was suppertime and Mrs Bannerman and Grandma had prepared a sumptuous meal of steak and kidney pie cosseted by dumplings, vegetables and oodles of gravy finished off with apple pie and custard. Yummm!! After our meal we began to relax and I thought that it was about time I returned to the Cameron homestead, so Donald brought the car to the front and he took me home.  On arrival he unloaded the three bags of potatoes.  As he sped away I called Linus and displayed my gift from the Bannermans of the potatoes.  He remarked,  “I told you that you would not be a loser.”

Uniacke Newsletter
2018-01-13
https://www.uniackenewsletter.ca/stories/message-from-newcastle-on-tyne