The Garden of the Gulf.


It seems so long ago now but I still have wonderful memories of my first days on Prince Edward Island. I arrived late evening on 31st October 1969, and recall swerving on the highway out of Borden to miss a pile of burning tires. I was joining the new Kmart store in the auto centre that was about to open. This was considered the big first major discount store to set up on PEI.  I recall Holmans, Rogers Hardware and a few other businesses were not too happy about it. Shortly after the grand opening I watch an elderly couple leaving the parking area in horse and buggy. It took me a while to adjust to my new surroundings. My first priority was finding an apartment, fortunately I rented a one bed room apartment on Hillsboro Street for $65 per month. A few days later I agreed to share with another Kmart employee, we paid $32.50 each. You might think we had it made, and in a way we did, but my monthly salary was around  $250.00. Entertainment was rather scarce too, one cinema, Johnny Reid’s and the Rollaway club to name the more popular watering holes, and two or three bootleggers. The island had a railway, the island phone company, and one pizza place. On Sunday the island closed down, well not the churches they were busy. The legion dodged around the Sunday closing rules by holding a movie night, the bar was quietly open! The motor vehicle dept were launching the first,Motor vehicle inspection requirements, oh boy did that stir up consternation amongst the motoring public. It cause me many a head ache in the auto centre too, trying to explain not very well thought out regulations. We had two hospitals, one for Catholics and one for Protestants, the schools were similarly organized . I found this rather discouraging having only recently left this sectarianism behind in Ireland. However, I was also quite adept at not putting my foot in it. A very attractive young lady from Bonshaw invited me home for Sunday dinner. The whole time I was there her father by asking me certain questions was desperately trying to find out my religion.  Being from Belfast I enjoyed not letting him know. Out side when I was leaving  I told my young companion to tell her father not to worry, I was Protestant! I grew to love the island and it was not a difficult decision to settle here and make it my home. In 1970 I met a lovely young girl from South Rustico we married in 1972 and have two beautiful daughters. I’m 80 years old now and my wife Linda is! oops sorry that is classified.  We live in a lovely little cottage in Abram Village with our two dogs Yoda and Rosie and our cat Little Bear. If you were to ask me if I like PEI, well,  I think you already know the answer  God Bless and keep reading.

 

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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