Sunday, June 5, 2011
A handful of old negatives were saved for me thanks to my cousin, Sandra Wiles, after my uncle, Peter Morris, passed away in 2002. No one at the time knew what they were of or whether he had even made them, but luckily I tucked them away. What the impressively large celluloids contained, when I finally processed them just this spring, is an amazing step back in time--a drop-in visit with Mossy Vale folk going about their lives in the 1940s. This post and one or two to come will feature an important occupation at Mossy Vale: logging. In this post Peter and his brother Bill are hauling logs off Birch Island, destined for local mills and as far away as Carrot River and likely Nipawin. Though their voices are unfortunately no longer here to provide commentary, my mother and Uncle Frank (Morris) tell of The Pas Lumber Company camps in the vicinity; impressively large and self-sufficient, capable of accommodating a hundred or more workers. Apparently pigs were even raised there. Frank recalls the dangers of carrying logs over the ice and how the horses could be quickly detached and freed if an over-weighted sleigh broke through.