My name is Antoine Richard, or Richard, and I've been called worse maybe, but, and I'm from Mont Carmel and I was born and brought up there and I'm still living at the old homestead and I hope to stay there for a few years yet if the health holds on. Well, the early days were quite a bit different than today. I mean there was no electricity. There was no cars. We didn't have a car home until 1945 and it was quite a change when we got one. It was a truck. It wasn't a new one either, but my father never drove, but he had a store and he had, him, and the family had it for 45 years so we dealt pretty much with the big companies in Summerside and the local people and it was surprising when he had to travel before he had a truck and he had to haul the stuff from Summerside and had to be on the ice in the winter and in those days in the winter, people had to go out and put trees on the ice to make sure you follow the track like the roads of today, well in those days they were marked with trees. And one day, he was in Summerside and the storm was so bad, when he got on the ice he couldn't see anything. So he went back in and got a little box, which was made out of thin plywood and he cut a couple of holes in it and put it over his head and went back to the shore, and the horse brought him home. He arrived home with that box because he couldn't face the storm himself. So things have changed a lot and in those days without electricity where we had to keep like ice cream, butter and we had to have some ice cabinets, so what we had to do we had to haul ice from the Wellington on the pond. The pond was there and there was people cutting ice probably selling it 20 cents for 200 pounds and they were square, and then we had to haul that home with sleighs so it took us a week, a week and a half, to haul with two horses back and forth, and when we were going to pick that up, well, we were sitting in the sleigh, but coming back, we were walking back because after all, when you're sitting on the ice it's not very warm. So we did twice a day. We did that, before noon and afternoon, so that made eight miles. So at night, we didn't have to go to the gym to do some exercises. All we had to do was take a good meal and a good rest and back ready for the next morning. But after the ice was brought in we had to put it in sawdust and pack it in there so she'd keep until the summer, and every day we had to go in the ice house and take an axe and dig the sawdust to find the ice, and get an axe and cut it in big chunks, take it outside and break it up in smaller chunks, and to pump with a hand pump because there was no hose and no electricity to push the water in there, put it in the wire basket, bring it back in, pack it in the ice box, put some salt in there and the week-end, we had to put extra ice to make sure it would keep for the week-end because we always kept ice cream and butter all summer. My father was as honest as the people that he was dealing with because he was an honest man, and he would take the stuff from Holman's and they wouldn't, he wouldn't have to pay from spring to fall. He'd pay some but not all of it, because some people would pay cash, but especially with the fishermen that were only fishing in the summer and in the fall, when they go and settle at the factory, they would bring in the cash immediately to pay their bills, which I seen some with 750 to 800 dollars that they had through the year because they had big families and they were taking their grocery all the year. And in the fall, they'd come and pay, but it was sure that he'd get his pay, but as soon as he got his pay then he would take that money into Summerside and give it back to the Holman's and get ready for another year. And then, they'd start hauling stuff, preparing themselves for the winter.There was a man that, in those days, that was so honest, I even know his name but I won't mention, but he was so honest, one day he owed a note at the bank in Summerside and he walked to Summerside to tell the bank manager that he couldn't. He had no money, couldn't pay him and the manager said "yes, but he says, what about your trip back, he says, you're gonna have to eat". He says "I can't eat, I have no money I told you. I have none". Well, the manager put his hand in his pocket and gave him a few cents probably, or a few, maybe a dollar even in those days and said "you go to the restaurant and have a bite to eat before you go home". So he gave him enough money to get a bite to eat then he walked back home.
|Antoine Richard speaks of his father, Jacques Richard, who owned a store in Mont-Carmel, P.E.I.