A V I E W F R O M C H A R L O T T E T O W N , P R I N C E E D W A R D I S L A N D
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For many years a local paper would report on "Successful Islanders Abroad" with great pride. They had much to crow about. We had Islanders all over the world making a name for themselves. It is not surprising to find so many success stories, because we had Islanders leaving by the hundreds in the late 1800's until the Second World War "the break", as David Weale calls it.
It was often referred to as the exodus. You can understand the reasons when you think of those large families that we were famous for, the small amount of land most farmers had and the end to any industry that we had by that time. We sent Islanders out with strong muscles, a fine work ethic, good morals and in most cases a belief in improving themselves.
The Boston States was the big attraction - only a few went to western Canada in that period.` They instead went to the Maine woods, the mills of Lowell and Fall River, to work as cooks and maids in fine houses and they certainly helped build, and then run, the subway in Boston. That was the first line.
The next line went to the Boston States to train for nursing and they went to become dentists, doctors, clergymen and even college professors and presidents! And they went into the construction trades and they ended up constructing buildings all over. Remember Elizabeth Bishop's grandfather in Worchester.
Recently I heard of Solomon Cameron who left Cape Traverse and ended up building in California, Seattle, Alaska, Prince George, Victoria etc. They are writing a book about him now! I have a number of really good stories of successful Islanders aboard that I'll share with you in the next little while. In the meantime here is a poem for you to contemplate: Prince Edward Isle, I meet your sons An daughters by the score; In and around Boston, As they've left their native shore Your stalwart sons so noble, And your lovely daughters, too; Have forsaken their nativity, And blame it most on you. It grieves my heart to hear it, Yes, it makes me feel so sad - To learn that you are failing To keep your girls and lads. **************** I venture, economics Is the fundamental cause, Of this exodus of workers, To a land of other laws. Too bad your sons and daughters, From their native land must roam, To a new land of adoption - And establish there a home For it's sad to leave the old home, Yes, it's sad to lose that smile - Of the loved ones who caressed us, In our own Prince Edward Isle
Written Monday, January 29, 2001 at 06:11 PM