Interview with Andy Turner
This is a summary of the interview with Andy Turner conducted by Becky Murphy and Shawn Gallant on 2011-02-08 at his apartment in North Rustico.
Summary of Interview with Andy Turner
Andy Turner grew up on a farm in Hope River on the Simpson Mill Road. Now there are only a couple families (Simpsons and Stewarts) that still live on the road. He came from a large family of twelve children. His family came to arrive in the area when his grandfather travelled from Scotland to buy a farm and settle his family in Millvale.
Andy’s family made its living on the farm, and was mostly self-sustaining. Sometimes his father would travel to Rustico with a load of wood to trade for fish. Back in that day a load of wood was worth $1.50. His father was also a blacksmith, harness maker and carpenter around the farm and homestead.
There was a school by the Simpson Mill that Andy and his family attended. The Hope River School serviced children in Hope River and Bay View. It was a one room school house with one teacher and consisted of around 7-9 grades. Andy recalls laughingly that, as a rule, you did not get past grade ten. He himself had to leave school at the early age of ten, because his oldest brother enlisted, and the farm was a man short. Both the school and mill are now shut down. The school was moved and can be seen in Cavendish.
Most farming families had around 100 acres, fifteen or so cows and around the same amount of pigs. In the summer Andy recalls doing chores around the farm which included milking cows first thing in the morning. He would then have breakfast and return to the barn to feed the animals and then go work in the fields for most of the day. The farm had milking cows, beef cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, hens, horses, etc. The farm’s entire end-product was mostly used for the family, but some meat was sold for profit. Nothing was wasted in this time as they were very efficient. Meat was stored in barrels with salt being used to preserve it. Cows and pigs would be bred in the fall and have their young in the spring. This was the best time for offspring because they could eat grass in the fields which would produce better milk. Women would take care of hens and sell the eggs at the local store, where in turn they would buy groceries.
When Andy was younger he didn’t travel far from home; places like New Glasgow, Wheatley River or even Rustico were considered out of the way. In that time walking was the main mode of transportation, followed by horse and sleigh or buggy for longer distances. In the winter to keep them warm in the sleigh, they used horse hair blankets and stones that they heated up in the fire.
Andy’s father would travel to Charlottetown occasionally on business trips. Andy’s family didn’t purchase their first car until 1959, but he recalls one of the neighbors purchasing an old Lafayette in 1939 for $700.
When Andy was a little older he remembers going to town with a group of friends in his friend’s car. Everyone would chip in a quarter for the ride which would pay for fuel for the week. An additional quarter was used for the dance and another for food at the restaurant.
Other forms of entertainment consisted of going to the beach to hang out with friends to gossip and of course to swim. In the winter months at school the children would sled at recess and lunch time, much like kids today. The sleds back then were homemade and held two, sometimes three children.