Stanley Webster was born on March 1st, 1929 to the parents of Jack and Ellen Birt of Cardigan Head, 48 Rd. Stanley received his nick name “Sonnie” when he was an infant. His father would pick Stanley up as an infant and he was always full of smiles for his father. Jack would then comment out loud that Stanley was his “Sunny Boy”. Georgina, Stanley’s sister then continued the nick name as “Sonnie” that would continue to follow Stanley for the rest of his life.
Stanley attended the one room Cardigan Head School and walked over a mile every day except in the winter. In the winter months their father would drive them in his 1929 whippet car. He remembers enjoying the game sponge ball with his fellow class mates. He also mentions getting into trouble with his teacher Bernette Lewis as he loved to talk with the friend who sat beside him. He comments though “that he never got a licking with the strap”.
Growing up on a farm had many benefits. The depression never affected his parents or grandparents as they were self-sufficient. He can also remember his father buying potato baskets from natives that would walk from Morell rear to the 48 Rd every fall. There were three women and one man that would have weaved baskets roped together on their back to sell. His father would buy several at once for the hired pickers to use as they were very sturdy. There would also be a meat and fish peddler that visited the farm weekly.
Stanley was also a substitute for the mail run for his father Jack for many years. His first trip on the mail route was in 1945 with a horse and buggy. Then in 1946 he used mostly the car. Before the use of snow ploughs he would only use the car in the summer months and in the winter the horse and buggy. He would pick the mail up at the Cardigan Post office after it was delivered by train, sort the mail, and then continue on his way to Dundas. When in Dundas post office he would give mail to two other drivers which would then go and distribute the mail to their area of responsibility.
Stanley can also be noted for playing the fiddle and piano that he credits to his father. When he was younger he would attend dances in Lorne Valley, Montague, Fortune, and Cardigan with his father in the 1950’s. He comments that he did not have the right rhyme that comes naturally to the other siblings playing the fiddle for one of the reasons he did not continue on playing. I heard from various people that he was a good fiddle player but did not entertain as much as the rest of the Webster family in the community.
Sonnie left Pei in January 1951 to October 1951 to work in Nova Scotia. He then left in 1957 with four other Individuals from the island and drove to Marathon, Ontario. Back then this was the only second Trans Canada route that was available to be traveled on as they were just beginning to develop. He returned to PEI in 1959 for one year before returning back to Toronto and then left to go to Boston in 1969. He later returned to PEI in May of 1972.
Stanley worked at the Confederation Center of Arts as a Service Worker for many years from April 22nd 1975 to 1992 before retiring. Stanley “ Sonnie” Webster now resides in Montague and enjoys the company of family and friends.
By Crystal Callaghan from the memories of Stanley Webster