WINTER LIGHTHOUSE 47
18 x 28 canvas
Christmas on Louisbourg Lighthouse 1946
We lived on the Lighthouse for 3 years. My dad took the job as assistant lightkeeper to Wilfred Covey. We lived in a duplex with the Coveys. We had no power and relied on kerosine lamps. We did have a phone so that we could report
problems. They took shifts tending the Light. the light had to be wound up by hand every 4 hours. it was a dangerous climb up the steel ladders
It was lonely for me My sister was too young to play with and Covey's daughter was too old and mentally challenged.
My dad was a machinist for Cann's Marine Repairs during the war but now work was scarce and we lived poorly like a lot of Cape Bretoners. We had snares out for rabbits and such. It was difficult to get to the lighthouse in those days it was not much more than a wagon track. My dad used the abandoned rail line to walk to town.
We would occasionally get a tourist who would drive the difficult path. There was a sign in front of the ruins of the old lighthouse that everybody liked to photograph.
"This is the site of the first fireproof lighthouse in North America. Erected 1734 Destroyed by fire 1758."
It did not mention It was destroyed by cannon fire.
My dad had been raised by his Uncle, Al Bussey of Big Lorraine on calm Sundays during the summer. Roy Bussey or Ernest would row in a dory over to the lighthouse and take us back for dinner in Big Lorraine.
So it was a big deal on Christmas in 1946 when Dad brought home a windup Victrola record player for Christmas. We had 3 78 albums which contained 4 records each 16 songs in all. First was Bunk Johnson's New Orleans Jazz Strauss Waltzes and the Spike Jones. They were played to death. I added to the entertainment with my dance of the yellow curtain to a Strauss waltz.
What is amazing I also had a sled and a toboggan. As I look at the lighthouse I wonder where I used them, most of the hills run down to the cliffs.
My uncle Bert my dad's twin brother was discharged from the Army and joined us. There was not much to do the following year and my Dad and Uncle made a little play village for me around Kenelley's pond. (it was much smaller and further inland then. they built me boats and little fishing shacks and docks and a lighthouse and a boardwalk around it. They had a complete workshop in the foghorn building. Unfortunately it was found out by kids from town and they were taking things so Dad and Bert dug a small pond near our house and moved everything there.