Friday, May 27, 2011

A Tribute to a Pokiok Twosome !

                                 Clip from The Daily Telegraph , April 14th , 1884                               
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


In July 2009 , my first full summer back in Saint John since 1955 , I was leaning up against the guardrail at the Reversing Falls .... taking in the "awesomeness of it all " and maybe even looking a bit like an out-of-towner to local folks .... when a van full of "real" tourists pulled up and parked behind me. The driver , a well-built man in his mid to late fifties, had most likely explained the tidal phenomenon to all because the passengers climbed out of the minibus and set off on foot to examine the site more closely. Taking advantage of the moment to have a smoke the driver sidled up beside me and believing me to be "one of them " .....kindly began filling me in on how the Falls changed direction with the rise and fall of tidal waters , etc..... 
I felt bad but I politely cut him short ..... telling him that I was a local guy and that my roots ran deeply into the soil of this hallowed spot since my great grandfather , grandfather and great uncles had all worked as millmen at Murray's Mill ..... the remnants of which still stood there behind us as silent witnesses of a remote past. They even lived near the mill. For some reason I added that my grandfather's sister , Katie , had drowned in the Falls when she was but 10 years old. ( See clip above ). The driver's head jerked upwards and he blurted out , " My Dad drowned here in the Falls too !" .... to which I replied , " I only knew one man who had drowned in the Falls ... and he was a guy from Pokiok named Connie Carle." .... "He was my father!", exclaimed the driver. We chatted until his customers were all back in the van and agreed upon a second get-together to discuss his Dad's life and untimely tragic death.


The above picture was given to me by my good friend , Art McGuire .....   and shows .... left to right .... Wesley "Doc" Day , Hazel McGuire , Cornelius "Connie" Carle , Gladys Estey ( Hazel's sister ) and dog Teddy. Gentler , milder or more agreeable all-around guys than Doc and Connie you could not find anywhere ! And polite and gallant to boot whenever greeting the local womenfolk .... doffing or tipping their peak caps. These two bosom buddies were part and parcel of the Pokiok I grew up in so I remember them well ... especially Doc since he lived halfway up Big Hill near my home with his Dad , Manford and older sister , Annie. However , I would often see both of them hanging out in front of Art McGuire's store or in the general area of the "Crick" on my way to and from school .... or whenever I was fishing for eels , smelt or tomacod off the Snow Flake Lime wharf ..... as they had their rowboat tied up nearby ... as well as their nets and other fishing equipment. Coming down the burner hill I would often look out beyond Welsh's Cove and see Connie and Doc out in their boat ... one rowing while the other sat in the stern watching over the drift-net which stretched out crescent-shaped behind them. If the truth were known .... many of us back then ... especially our parents ..... had bought salmon and shad from the two friends at a more than reasonable price !!
A few remarks about the photo taken most likely sometime toward the mid to late 1950s. To back up what I wrote about how folks felt about Doc and Connie one simply has to look at how much at ease Hazel is with the smiling twosome ... a hand on shoulder of each friend. By the light summery dresses and sandals on the ladies it is evidently a warm day .... even poor Teddy seems to be panting .....yet the boys are decked out in their usual Fall or late Spring garb ! Maybe Connie has a couple of salmon wrapped up in newspapers tucked away under his arm .... and I believe ( upon enlarging the picture ) that Doc is holding up a package of ZigZag tobacco ... I know it well as that's what my Dad smoked.  

12 comments:

  1. hi gerry,

    your piece on Doc & Connie is another delightful tribute to the men and women of your Pokiok past!

    these sincere recollections and observations - along with those priceless snaps - bring that special, long-ago era back to life.

    you are a man of many talents, doctor, and it's a pleasure to read today what has been in your heart and spirit since you were a boy in and around the fabled hills of Pokiok!

    slainte to you old-timer!

    dickie.

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  2. hi again gerry,

    when we meet this coming wed. a.m., I'll bring along several pictorial items for your ever-growing memorabilia of Pokiok and your former CSsR mentor!

    who knows what motivation these may bring?

    cheers,

    dickie.

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  3. hi gerry,

    now that I'm hooked, how about a few more updates on your fine-feathered friend & revered Pokiok mascot, McGillicuddy?

    as Alma said the other day: "I wonder what Gerard's long-legged friend is up to ... I hope nothing terrible has happened to him?"

    (just so you will know ... I often take her to view your pieces on the computer at the church home. she loves it!)

    lang may yer lum reek!

    dickie.

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  4. Hi Dickie ..... and a big thank you for your kind input and upbeat encouragement to keep on with my Pokiok memoirs. I truly appreciate your feedback and wish to thank you once again for the number of old and meaningful photos you have given me of late.I shall certainly use them in upcoming posts.
    Check out McGillicuddy update .... and looking forward to our Wednesday get-together tomorrow.
    Slán go foill !
    Gerry

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  5. hi gerry,

    what a find! I'm referring, of course, to the 1934 wedding invitation sent to Josie & Tanker from Al & Scottie.

    it's hard to believe that this invitation is still around after 77 years. better still, is the fact that their sons (us) can revisit those days and find so much enjoyment.

    talk about the power of print and family ties.

    your personal collection of writing, photos and incredible information is simply awesome!

    thank you, doctor,

    dickie.

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  6. great story bout you meeting a man who had lost his dad in the falls and great to see old pictures of your front lawn and all the company you had on that wonderful afternoon, you really seemed happy KEVIN McNulty

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  7. Dear son , Kevin..... how happy you make me as I read your comments on Pokiok and my childhood reminiscences and memories of the folks who were part and parcel of my youth and upbringing ... most especially your own dear grandparents ... Josie and Edmund. Please come back often , Kev... I love you , son !

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