cNorman PetersWEB

Norman Peters

Growing up in a big family, we’d watch at the window, I guess in the early 1960s. We’d see Dad coming home from the post office, and if he was walking with his hands in his pockets, we knew he’d got his two week pogey, eleven bucks, and we’d have something for supper. And if he was walking with the head down, there wouldn’t be much for supper.

There’s ten in the family, eight boys and two girls. We had it pretty rough, lots of Christmasses where there wasn’t much to eat. Sometimes the Church or someone would help, and they’d send down a box. You’d hear a knock on the door Christmas Eve, there’d be nobody there; you’d look down and see a box there from the parish or whatever. We had I guess what you could call a normal life, in a community that wasn’t very well off.

I was the rascal of the family. Bernice next door had chickens, and Mom always complained about them chickens coming and digging the garden. I loved a hunting knife. I seen a chicken in the garden that day, let go with the old hunting knife, got him right under the wing, “Oh my God,” Mom said, “What are we gonna do?” She said, “Take him down the cellar, dig a little hole and bury him, we’ll leave him there, and Bernice won’t know.” And then she got thinking after, we got nothing for supper, and nothing for tomorrow, and she just put a good chicken in the dirt! So, I went back down, dug him back up, and she roasted him. 

Dad worked at the factory at the harbour. I got into fishing because I was always around the shore and my uncle Marshall fished, next door. He finally said, you wanna come out, take in a few days fishing in the fall? I fished as his helper, and ended up buying his gear in 1967. There have been some rough years fishing, and catches weren’t great, but we hung ‘er through.

I started my own deep-sea fishing business in 1973, but am semi-retired now. I loved running the tourists, meeting people, having a chat, and trying to play them a little tune on the fiddle. I couldn’t play, but I had a great time.

I drank up until 1983 pretty heavy. It changed because if it wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t be here. I had to see a doctor, and he said you either decide to drink for a career, or let me help. I said, I’ll do anything you say. I had a bit of a rough time for a coupla years. I didn’t give up hauling tourists though, I kept taking them out and not feeling very good some days, but I didn’t give up.

We all got stories to tell. Whether it’s for a laugh, or to try and live a better life. I do try and be happy. Today, it’s a great day fer livin’.

Norman Peters

Prince Edward Island, 2010


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