The first baby born to them while they lived on the island, was to
die within hours of her birth.
Next would come Dorothy, in 1924. She was, as the previous children, born off the island. She would refuse to walk until she was almost two years old, not because of any health problem, but just because she didn't feel she had to as long as Stella and George and her older sisters carried her wherever she wanted to go. George came home one day with a baby pig in a box. He took it into the house to show it to her. When he placed the box on the floor across the room, she forgot her apparent vow to be carried everywhere, and she walked over to get another look at the piglet. This was the end of her "free ride."
1925 was the year that the serious, hard-working Lydia was born, named after Stella's sister. She would become the "big sister", even to those who were older than her. She always loved to care for others. As she grew older, this would become more and more apparent. She developed a strong sense of family and would probably fight to protect those who are in that family. It seems she seldom got into any trouble of her own making, but often was caught up in the moment with the other, more adventurous members of the group.
Theresa Barbara, "Terry", would follow the others in 1926. She was independent
and had a knack for getting herself and, if at all possible, others, in
hot water. She was dark haired like George.
So, here is a household of five daughters, all just a year or so apart. The house must have been constantly filled with their chatter.
1927 was the year of Canada's celebration of its Diamond Jubilee. The country then was hosting strawberry festivals, fowl suppers, three-legged races, and historical pageants. There were in view millions of Union Jacks and lithographed portraits of King George and Queen Mary. The Prince of Wales came for a visit, along with his brother Prince George. Charles Lindbergh flew "The Spirit of St. Louis" to Ottawa. There were special books and poems and stamps to commemorate the event. It was truly a time when it was good to be a Canadian.
A new baby is born, but he does not survive more than a few months. He is hydroencephalatic. The family is stricken by his death, although they had been told by the doctor that it would only be a short time before this would come to pass. To this day, Mother says she does not know what religious denomination Mr. Maxwell, the minister who lived on the island, was. However, George and Mr. Maxwell took the tiny coffin over to the mainland, and he was buried in the graveyard there, with the minister reading scripture.
Finally, a healthy son. Roland arrives in 1928. He is, as the others, born on the mainland, at his Aunt Eva's house. All of the family is there as well. There is need to worry after losing the last baby, but all is well.
The girls are fascinated by their little brother. This is the first
time that they have had a male sibling that survived and was able to interact
with them. Roland is everyone's baby and they treat him like he's their
own personal doll. They ride him around in the wagon that George has made
for them. It's a large wagon, with car wheels and tires taken from one
of the cars that George has brought over to the island, by who knows what
means, to use for boat parts. It's big enough to hitch up to a horse.
The weight of it is substantial.
During these years when the five girls and the first surviving son are
born, Canada was beginning to share in the "Great American Boom."
Thousands of British immigrants were seeking to come to live in Canada. Their situation was different from the situation of Canadian citizens, however, in that they were unable to find work and were forced to travel to the West on harvest trains to work. There they would arrive, broke and confused, and they would be more or less auctioned off to the farmers as hands for their harvest. The whole of the immigration of the Brits to Canada was a dismal failure. Eight thousand five hundred men came to Canada under government assisted loans. Seven thousand returned home. Canadians were not too upset over this, since they mostly looked on the Brits as arrogant little Limeys bent on running the Colonies.
The rumrunning problem still prevailed between Canada and the United
States. The Canadian ship, the "I'm Alone", was sunk by U.S. patrol vessels'
cannon fire. Most rumrunning ships, however, travelled undisturbed between
the two countries.
Wheat prices were good, with Canada producing a tenth of the whole world supply of it. Canada's total volume of exports in these few years rose by three quarters, the real national income by half, real wages by a fifth and the population by fifteen percent. The country was enjoying a time of unsophisticated, unaffected joy.
By the summer of 1929, the economy was beginning to show signs of deterioration.
Many were beginning to feel the pinch, but it was only a warning of what
was to come.
On Heron Island, life proceeded normally. George was building a boat. He bought an old Ford, took out the seats, the steering wheel and its mechanism and the motor. He built a little cabin on the boat and equipped it with the seats and the steering wheel. The motor went in the middle of the boat, and had a cover to muffle the sound. It also had a sail and a rudder. He painted it grey with maroon trim. And when he was finished with this labour, he christened it the "Stella".
Whether things are going badly or well in other parts of Canada, there
was little effect felt on Heron Island.
George received a steady salary, since he was lighthouse keeper and post master, so the depression that the rest of the country so deeply felt was mainly just something that the family heard about, but did not experience firsthand.
Every Thursday, he took the boat to the mainland and picked up the mail for the islanders. He was anxiously awaited by his island neighbours, who congregated at the little house to pick up their mail. They depended on him to bring them news from the mainland as well. They wanted to know what the latest gossip was with their landbound neighbours and relatives in New Mills.
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