Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29


Written by
Published on January 2018

I think it was in August, during our first year, that Bessie and I, along with Carol, Uncle George and Aunt Allie, piled into the Hudson car - destination Halifax. 

On arrival, our first call was at the Citadel.  It was most impressive and was definitely worth calling in to see it.  The object of our visit was really to rig Bessie up with a new outfit - skirt and blouse, etc.  I had already been fixed up in Windsor with a new suit as previously explained.  Just why we were the centre of attention was a mystery to us except it would help us to be more presentable instead of my short trousers.  After shopping for Bessie, Carol too was favoured,  We went in the car to a residential part of the city.  There we went to meet Aunt Mae, as she became known to us.  Aunt Mae was the sister of Aunt Allie, I believe, though I could be wrong.  We all went to a big park-like area and there Bessie and I were introduced to our first "Popsicle".  After our roam around the park Uncle George and I left the ladies and went into town.  He introduced me to various business associates of his including a Mr. Mizner (no relation) who owned a bar-not really sure what you call them-where we had a soft drink.  I was getting the impression that Uncle George was a man with many contacts with important people.  Visiting the Post Office I was very impressed with the sight of a constable of the RCMP standing in a corner in full uniform.  He was a real tower of a man and to me epitomises "Canada" officially.  We all met up later to go home.  Bessie and Carol had new outfits.  We called in then at a Cafe - or perhaps you would call it a Drugstore where we had, as a treat, our choice of Hot Dogs or Hamburgers and Sodas.  We then said "cheerio" to Aunt Mae until Christmas when she was going to visit us at Uniacke.  Back in the Hudson we made a speedy return home passing, once again, Bedford Basin where quite a few freighters were at anchor with their heavy guns located on the bows and quarter deck to repel, if possible, any raiders.  Some RCN warships were seen at anchor no doubt taking a break from their activities.  Seeing all those ships lying there brought my mind back to our recent perilous Atlantic crossing and the folks back in Middlesbrough.  Mum and Dad hadn't as yet been hit by the bombers.  They had been more fortunate than the other areas of town which had received a bit of a pasting as some pictures show.  I felt happy and safe here in the land of the Maple Leaf.  (In retrospect, Dad apparently still cycled the two miles to work seven days a week where he was employed at the furnaces in the local steel works.  I remember when I was there, the first bombs in Middlesbrough before we left dropped on these same steelworks but they missed their target and landed on the offices instead.  Mum worked in a window frame factory by day thereby releasing an able-bodied man for the forces.  At night she did her duty as an Air Raid Warden but at night if the sirens sounded she had to turn out.)  As Bedford Basin receded it was all chatter in the car about our day out.  Little did Bessie and I know but this day was just a prelude for what would happen two weeks later.  Uncle George let the cat out of the bag when he told us we were going back to Halifax in two weeks to meet an important person.  That was all he said and changed the subject to keep us guessing.  Bessie and I thought it might be the King, however, we were wrong.  Two weeks later we were off again.  This time, to our surprise, we pulled up in front of the Lord Nelson Hotel Halifax with me in my new suit from Windsor and Bessie in her new outfit and shoes.  We were treated as if we were Royalty.  As we entered the hotel we met up with other children whom we recognized as our former companions aboard the steamship SS Anselm.  We were guided into a large reception room with a podium at the front and centre.  Around the room were tables laden with all kinds of niceties  ie  cakes, sandwiches, candies, ice creams and a multiplicity of fruity drinks, tea and coffee.  As we chattered to our previous shipmates an official looking lady approached the podium, welcomed us all and introduced to us a tall, well dressed man - Mr. Geoffery Shakespeare, Member of Parliament of his majesty's government.  He welcomed us all and explained that he represented the UK Overseas Evacuation Scheme and was here to see us and talk to us regarding our sojourn in Canada.  He was due to visit other children in the USA, I believe.  How he arrived here safely was a puzzle to me as the U-Boats were becoming more active, even close up to the North American coast.  My guess is that he would have made the journey in a fast ship similar to the Queen Mary.  U-Boats could not catch her as later was proven by the transport of thousands of troops later on who arrived safely in England.  Mr. Shakespeare came down from the podium and mixed with all us children and our guardians.  He was very cordial and down to earth in talking to us.  Well, he certainly was not the King but he represented the powers that be at that particular time.  Incidently, I was a little disappointed.  Why?  I thought we would see the Radio Station CHNS in the same building.  Pity.  CHNS was our first contact with Canada out there on the Atlantic. 

After our exciting day out I was glad to get back to familiar surroundings in Uniacke.  This was home and I was beginning to settle down here and felt I was getting Canadianized (no bad thing).  

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