“At the age of 87, I would like to share some of my memories from my childhood in Canning,” writes Jean Calkin in a letter it was a delight to receive. Ms. Calkin now lives in Black Rock and she spent the first 17 years of her life in Canning. The daughter of the late Albert and Bessie Burgher, she grew up listening to tales of the early days in Canning, as told by her father who she says was “a renowned story teller.”

Ms. Calkin writes that she is “happy to share (her) memories with future generations.” These are wonderful memories and I thank Ms. Calkin for sharing them with me. It is with pleasure that I share them with readers of this column:

Memories of Growing Up in Canning
By Jean (Burgher) Calking, Black Rock, Born May 7, 1923

As a former Canningite I remember: The eerie feeling I had when walking with my Dad out to the Axe Factory road when the tide was high and the noise that grew ever louder as you neared the factory.

When the high tides used to cover the highway in front of the Whitman Newcombe home and one had to wear rubber footwear to go to the Post Office to get mail from Earl Bigelow, Postmaster.

John Turner’s arrival in Canning from Scots Bay, replete with long, heavy overcoat, winter or summer, via ox team.

Ronnie Annis with horse and coal wagon. Frank Brown travelling on his bicycle to daily work at the axe factory for years. Melvin’s Mill, Blenkhorn’s Axe Factory and (the) Blueberry Special whistles. The horse in L. W. Slack’s store. Wonderful aromas wafting from Mrs. O’Dell’s bake shop and ice cream parlour.

Monthly visits of Mr. Day, the Rawleigh man, in his covered buggy, with a package of gum for the children. The birth of my baby sister at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kervin. Edna Kervin was the local midwife. The patent medicine man and his bear. Mrs. Gibson’s boarding house. Palmer Grant and George Acker in their barbershop. H. R. Ells’ store next door to the barbershop.

Taking dairy butter, eggs and blueberries to H. R. Ells’ store. Penny candies, 5 cent bars and 5 cent ice cream cones. The building west of the blacksmith shop on which circus advertisements were always posted. The cooper shop and mill. Vinegar factory, east of the village stores. Seeing Fred or Ralph Melvin leading the cows to pasture north of our home.

The taste of cow’s milk when (they were) pastured on dykelands (or) grazing on salt marsh hay. The peal of church bells on Sunday morning. Participating in Christmas and Easter pageants and concerts. The urgent pealing of the church bell, sounding the alert when fire broke out in the Canning area.


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