Issue: July 2019
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Next deadline: August 29


Written by
Published on January 2018

Talking to Bert one day we thought it would be great fun to make a tent and camp beside the Shubenacadie River.      

So, with special permission from Mrs. Wallace and with the help of Ernie who gave us some old waterproof sacks and some tuition on how to use a sack needle and hints on how to do some sewing, Herb and I made our tent.  It was very cosy on our first night camping but when we returned the next day it had disappeared.  Searching the river bank we found it further down river.  Some rotter had thrown it in!  However, nothing daunted, we retrieved it and re-erected it on the original site.  Later, it disappeared again and our enthusiasm wained somewhat.  We never did find out who didn’t like our tent except us.  School started soon and for me, different pupils all over again, except, of course, the friends I had made around where I lived.  My teacher’s name was Miss Lila Skinner (she wasn’t at all).  She was a nice lady and a very good teacher.  The upper class was a mixture of boys and girls.  All were Canadian except me, though by now no one believed that I was English.  Oh, and another exception were two sisters of the Jewish faith who had escaped from Germany with their parents before the Gestapo could catch up with them.  I slotted into the new school without any trouble aided by Annie Wallace who knew them all.  I had my first memory test – to quote back to her all my fellow pupils’ names.  Life took on a new meaning in Milford.  I really felt I was growing up.  During late summer the blitz over in Britain was getting ferocious.  It was 1941.  One day, a man came and set up a film projector and screen in the community hall.  He was to show film of the bombardment of England as described in leaflets he distributed around the village.  Admission was 25 cents.  Quite a lot really, but my word the hall was packed and they had to run two shows a night for three nights! It was the talk of Milford for days and days and afterwards, various folk came and asked me, “Was it really like that?”  “You poor thing”.  Folks were most kind to me more than ever.  After the second showing I was introduced to the entrepreneur of this spectacle and he was most interested to meet me.  I think if I had been a free agent, as it were, I would have been able to travel with him and relate my knowledge of such things first hand.  Rather like the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  ie  “Come along ladies and gentlemen.  Listen to first hand knowledge of what it was like to brave the Blitz.”  But no, I was no puppet and not a free agent any way.  Imagine Annie would have knocked anything like that on the head right away!  Other things greater than I could relate were to visit us soon but that comes later.   Annie Wallace (my host) sang in the local church choir and she had a fine voice (even to me, a mere lad).  This was proven to me when, at times, she sang solo.  She encouraged me to attend the church services.  I do not remember the denomination – United or Methodist – as I was brought up a Wesleyan, it did not much matter.  Anyway, she was pleased that I went with her every week.  Attached to the church was a Boy Scout troop, Guides and Brownies.  I mixed in with the Scouts. Having been a Cub in Middlesbrough I soon became familiar with the Canadian way of things.  So, I joined the Canadian Scouts and a proud moment was when I repeated my oath to the flag of Canada.  Uniform or not I was a Canadian Scout.  BUT, more was to come……..  

One day, not long after, a huge parcel came for the attention of Mr. Ronald Mizon c/o Mr and Mrs A Wallace.  “What on earth could it be?”  “Not from England.  Somewhere in Upper Canada.”  “Well, come on, open it!”  Slowly and gently I unwrapped my mail and as the contents were revealed I was absolutely amazed.  Inside the big square box was a Boy Scout Hat (like a Mountie’s), a green shirt with Boy Scouts of Canada emblazoned on the top of the right hand pocket, my Scout belt, the lanyard, and my neckerchief.  I can’t explain the pride that engulfed me at receiving such a parcel.  It was at the instigation of that strict ex-school teacher Annie Wallace!  In her own sweet way she bestowed her respect, admiration and - dare I say it? – her affection for me as a mother to a son.  It was with great pride that I attended my first Scout meeting and even more was yet to come.  It was announced that at the end of the month we were to have a visitation from no less than three Blitz Scouts from London, England and I was to be presented to them on their tour of troops in Canada! 

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