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Le Courant

Automne 2011 | 13

The walk home

The walk home While going to English School in Compton, my brother and I had to walk home after school. School dismissed at a quarter to 4, and it took us an hour to walk the 3 miles home. Of course there were always distractions along the way. Our first stop was at the Post Office, to pick up John Boudreau’s mail and for this he paid us each 10c per week. It was our first paying job. John had made arrangements with the post mistress, Miss Lora St-Laurent, to give us his mail, as we passed by his blacksmith shop on the way home every day. Miss St-Laurent was a big woman, with a very stern-looking face, and we spent as little time as possible there. In later years we learned the she was not as stern as she seemed to be when we were young. As the saying goes ``her back was worse then her bite`` We enjoyed stopping at the blacksmith shop, as there was always something different going on every day. What I liked the most was to watch his forge blaze up, especially when he used the bellours to increase the flame, when he did this, the flame was a bright blue. I thing he used coal in this forge. Other days, he would be shoeing a horse, and I would watch him drive nails through the horse’s hoofs. In the winter time, I would climb up onto the snowbanks which were anywhere from 4-6 ft. High sometimes higher, and see if I could touch the telephone wires. At that time there used to be up to ten to twelve wires on the arms of the poles, also the poles were much shorter than they are today. Whenever we met a snowplan, if it was on our side of the road, we would cross over onto the other side. Quite often, we would get a ride home, sometimes right from the village, other times only part-way. Generally, in the spring or fall, it was with M. Vaillancourt, who worked for government. Our highway, at the time was called a gouvernment highway, and M. Vaillancourt used to Paul gravel from the gravel pit, at the fool of Libbey Hill. We really enjoy this, as he had what was then considered a big truck (3 ton). He always had a man with him to help load as loading was done by hand at that time. Mr. Vaillancourt was always smiling and as we could speak French, he would ask us what we had learned at school that day, or what we were going to do when we got home. The road was not paved then, and in the spring when the frost was coming out, we wouldstep on these frost leaves, wich consisted mainly of mud, oozing up from below the gravel. I remember one afternoon when I worked my best down into that mud it became stuck, and I could not get my foot back up. I ended up pulling my foot out of the boot, and after much trouble, managed of free the boot. I also got my stocking and foot wet and dirty. Sometimes we would get a ride with Mr Marcellous Lane, who lined at the foot of Ives Hill. He did not own a car, but he always went to Compton once a week with double wagon, or in winter double sleds. He always had several bags of meal and we would sit on these bags Mr. Lane was a distant cousin of my father, through the Libbey family, and he always wanted to find-out all the news about our family. Today those memories from my past seem as if they happened a million years ago, but I as write about them, they seem to come to life, as if they happened only yesterday. I forgot to mention that my father drove us to School every morning in the 29 whippet. Russel Nichols P.S. Also, on Friday afternoon, we often got a ride with Mr Veer Andsrews, from Coaticook, who was on this way to the Sherbrooke Market, with garden and farm products. MR Roland Parizeau from Coaticook who maintained winter roads, often picked us up in the snowplow truck, depending on how far we still had to walk.

Le Courant

Le Courant est publié par la Société une fois par année. Membres de la société, historiens professionnels et amateurs partagent avec les lecteurs le fruit de leurs recherches. Les textes sont disponibles en français et en anglais. La publication de cette revue est rendue possible grâce au soutien de commanditaires locaux que nous remercions avec toute notre gratitude.

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