Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29


Written by
Published on January 2018

At the beginning of our second week Uncle George came for breakfast wearing what looked like his old gardening clothes and lace-up boots which came almost up to his knees.

After our breakfast he came over to me and told me that we were going to the store for a pair of boots for me which would be more suitable for the woods than my town shoes.  Thus we went to see Glen at the store and a pair of boots were selected for me.  Subsequently, I was to get my pyjamas and tooth brush as he announced we were off to the woods for a couple of days or more.  Just he and I.  We went to the car after saying a “cheerio” to Bessie and Carol and Aunt Allie.  We didn’t get far when we stopped at his petrol pump and I had a demonstration on how to use the pump and fill up his car with gas!  “Oh, you mean petrol?”  “Yep, but it’s gas here.”  So I filled her up to the top and that is how I became a pumper of gas for Uncle George whenever we went out in the car.  I don’t want people to think he was loading jobs on me.  They were quite menial and I enjoyed them.  Off we went then down the main road, then left onto a side road just wide enough for one vehicle.  We seemed to go for miles and miles and eventually we arrived in a  clearing where about four cabins were clustered together.  It had taken about two hours to get there.  As we alighted from the car I understood why boots were needed to get around the rough ground.  We went first to the cook house and had a coffee (for Uncle George) and milk for me.  The cook took a liking to me and went away and returned with a generous lump of chocolate pie for me.  We then went on a tour of the camp and Uncle George spoke to everyone he saw and held what looked like reviewing the lumber situation with certain men who looked like they were in charge of various aspects of the work.  At this point I was left on my own for a few minutes whilst he talked to the men.  Meanwhile, after my large mug of milk, I had a need “to spend a penny” as we say in England and I’m sure you know what I mean, so I asked one of the lumberjacks, “Excuse me have you any lavatories?”  But it apparently didn’t come over to him like that and he said in reply, “No, we don’t have any Lava Trees” and in a sort of foreign accent he related to me that around us were spruce, pine, some juniper, and fir trees.  Now, this was interesting but not at that particular moment so I tried again, this time making signs and hand movements in an attempt to convey my meaning to him.  “Ah!” he said, “I know this is what you want” and led me to a small building which had a long seat with four round holes in it.  I thanked my guide and was left on my own to work things out, a bit worried though in case I should fall down a hole whilst occupied.  Common sense prevailed and I later emerged into the daylight triumphant!  Later on that day when all the men came in from the woods and started to get washed up I guessed it was their mealtime and sure enough, Uncle George and I prepared for our evening meal, but before any of the men ate they waited for us two.  We (Uncle George and I) sat at the end of one of the tables.  Banging a mug to quieten the men he stood up and had me stand up on the long plank seat and said, “Now men, a lot of you have no doubt seen this young fella here with me.  His name is Ronald Mizon and he has come over from the old country to get away from the war and to be safe.  He is here with his sister and is living with Allie and I.  We would appreciate it if you see him about alone you will take care of him and see he comes to no harm.  Thank you all.” I felt flattered that he cared so much for my welfare. The night drew in and I soon found out how lumbermen lived and slept – a little on the rough side.  We (Uncle George and I) went into a large cabin near the cookhouse.  It was lined inside with wooden bunks.  Two were selected for us.  The mattresses were just sort of big bags filled with straw.  When it was time to “turn in” as he termed it, I was somewhat apprehensive.  It was, in a way, somewhat like the bunks on the SS Anselm but less salubrious and the blankets were rather rough.  Oh well, I thought, here goes and climbing into my night clothes (pyjamas) I climbed into my designated bed which fortunately was a lower one and I settled down to nod off to sleep.  Sleep!!  With all the others in the bunk house snoring their heads off I lay awake for some considerable time before I eventually dropped off.  Apart from the snoring there were animal noises of the night and the fact that such a lot had happened to Bessie and I in such a short space of time.  Just about five weeks earlier we were in Middlesbrough, England and now I was in a bunk house in the middle of nowhere, or Canada even.    Umm……Good night

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