Margaret Kaufman
First name Margaret
Last name Kaufman
Community Oakland, Scotland


This interview is a part of the Chronicles of Oakland Township, which was compiled in the summer of 1980. Click here to read more interviews in this collection!

This is Jane Shaver and Debbie Urban interviewing Mrs. Kaufman at her home in Scotland, Ontario, June 23, 1980.

Jane: Mrs. Kaufman, when did you come to Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: You mean, where was I born or where did I come from before I came here?

Jane: Well, where were you born and then...

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, I was born at Floridale. It's a little village at the north end of Waterloo County.

Jane: And when did you come to Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: In 1925. So it's 55 years since we came to Scotland.

Debbie: That's a long time.

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes. I feel like a native now, but I wasn't considered a native for a long time, There were others you know that were born here (laughter)—I was still an outsider.

Jane: So, why did you come to Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: To teach—my husband was teaching.

Jane: Oh, I see. And where did he teach?

Mrs. Kaufman: At the Continuation School. He was Principal of the Continuation School from 1925 to 1940.

Jane: Oh. Which congregation do you belong to?

Mrs. Kaufman: Oh, the United Church.

Jane: United Church? And you just started to go there when you first came to Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes, but at that time—we came at Now Year's time and it was a Congregational Church, but in June it became United, of that year you see. So we went to the Congregational Church first but it's the same thing.

Jane: Did you belong to any clubs or organizations in Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, just the Women's Institute and the UCW of the Church of course.

Jane: Was there any special job you had at the Women's Institute? Were you President or anything like that?

Mrs. Kaufman: You mean, did I have an office in it. Yes, I was President and I suppose Secretary at different times.

Jane: Do you remember any of the changes that happened in the community since you've come here?

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes. I mean I do remember some things. The little church where the Anglicans have now, that was built after we came here. It wasn1t hero when we came but it was built by the Baptists you see, when they separated from the other church. Of course, just this last year these two big buildings on Main Street were torn down.

Well, one big change is the tobacco farming, you know. Has changed the kind of people that are here cause it brought in so many new Canadians. Now as far as the Church goes, there wasn't one Catholic Church here or in Burford or in Mount Pleasant when we came here. When we came to Scotland there wasn't one Catholic person in Scotland except the station master and he wasn't a local man, he had come in you know. But there wasn't one Catholic person in Scotland; because we used to have card parties and, and they used to marvel at to think that there wasn't. The Donahue family were the first Catholic family to move in before the new Canadians came but the Donahues came in when Mr. Donahue died and the family retired from the farm out near Kelvin way.

Jane: How did you spend Christmas? Was it different than it is now?

Mrs. Kaufman: No, it wasn't much different. In our earlier days when we were here we also always tried to go home to my folks for Christmas, but that became more difficult too because you never could count on the weather. So we spent Christmas here for quite a few years. We and the Hiles exchanged Christmas together because they had been going to Atwood for their Christmas and they found it too inconvenient to go that far every year with the weather conditions. So we had Christmas together, we and the Hiles for several years. But otherwise there isn't much difference I think. We still like to have a Christmas tree. Last year was the first year that I didn't put up a real tree in all my married life except the year that my husband died. That year I didn't have one either? but one otherwise I've had a tree. If I didn't get one I'd cut off one of the top of the cedar trees out there /behind house/

Jane: That's a good idea, I never thought of that. Were there any special events on July 1st in Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: No. They did have more ball teams I think and they did play ball but, ah, I can't think that they did anything else. We never had parades or anything like that.

Jane: Firecrackers—fireworks, nothing like that?

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes, they did have fireworks some years. They took them down to, ah—well that's Willow Lake now you know. It was just a gravel pit—a place outside the village where things were safe. I know (laughs) one year, this was I think before Joe Glaves was married—maybe he was married—but anyway, he was in charge of the fireworks and about the first rocket they set off, it sent sparks back into the box where they had all the rest and they all went off. (laughter)

Jane: My goodness. Must have been quite a sight.

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes. (laughs) Nobody was hurt but that was the end of the fireworks for that year.

Jane: What kind of stores did they have?

Mrs. Kaufman: Stores, well they had three stores going right along and they must have all made a living...the corner store now where, ah, Ferrell is and one that burnt down. Maybe you girls don't remember when it burnt down?

Debbie: I remember—Swartz's. Was that the Lucky Dollar store? Is that the one you're thinking of? Like it's almost across from where our store is now?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well the place was never rebuilt...

Debbie: Right. That was the Lucky Dollar.

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes. Well that was running full time and where the Huggins are now. There were the three stores running full time. Even at one time—the big red block, the Vanclusen building—before it was torn down there was a general store and a barber shop and a tinsmith in that at the time we came. I know the general store was run by Adrian Smith at that time. And they did enough business too. I don't know how the four stores lived. Of course, this was before the day of the supermarkets you see and people didn't drive so far to do their shopping, they did it at home. But the stores were all running. Course the Swartz building, you know originally, when we came it wasn't a store yet. It had been a hotel building and they made it into a store later. And a tinsmith shop. Of course later the tinsmithing was taken out of the Vandusen Block and then a man run a tinsmithing shop down next to the building where, ah— what was the Holiday building.. .Can't remember his name either. He was there quite a few years.

Jane: Did you ever attend any special events or plays that were put on in Scotland?

Mrs. Kaufman: Did we have plays? Oh yes. We had a lot of plays. Practically every year they put on a play for the Library. You see the library had just a very small grant from the government at that time and it was the Scotland Library, it wasn't owned by the Township or anything like that, like it is now. So they had to keep it going themselves and they got a play up every year.

Debbie: When was that about? Do you remember around what year that was?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, no. I can't just remember. Even the one play that they did get up was a rather big play and I can't even remember the name of it, but I know Mr. and Mrs. Hunter were in it and he made a lot of the props. But they were in the play too , you know, and he made a lot of the props and they took it around to quite a few places. They were as far as St. Williams to put on this same play and they always had to take a truck along to carry all the props that they had to go with the play.

Debbie: So would that mean that there was a Drama Club? How did they get the actors to put on the play?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, they had the Library's own organization, they had a President and Secretary, you know, and so...

Debbie: So it was members of the Library.

Mrs. Kaufman: And most of the time my husband directed the play. Most of the time. But they had some really good acting and you know there's people that you know, have heard of even in your age. You know of Morley Wheeler, he was good and his wife and Will Eddy was good. And Lloyd Wilson was good. Lloyd was better than his wife. But Hope did want to be in it—she was really insulted if she wasn't in it you know, but Lloyd was better.

Jane: Was there a place that you used to go picnicking or swimming in?

Mrs. Kaufman: You mean, did we go out sometimes? Well mostly through the Church. Yes, we had Sunday School picnics at Port Dover even. That far. In the first few years we were here we .always—the United Church and the Baptist church went together for the picnic to Port Dover.

I can still remember Mrs. Halliday, that was Mrs. Hunter's mother and Mrs. Foster, Miriam Poster's mother —they were the ones leading whatever needed to be done. It wasn't so widely organized as it is now but it went off all right anyway. But they were the ones that were looking after it. We didn't have paper dishes then you know. They took their dishes along from the Church and paper for covers.

For quite a few years they had it. And before our time, before we came to Scotland, they said they often had the joint Sunday School picnic up here in the grove here, you know. We call it the grove here next to the cemetery ?/Baptist Church/. I've heard Ensley Graves say that some years even Teeterville came over for that picnic and they would come with decorated, carriages and they would come with decorated and give a prize to what they thought was the best one. A big day. Made a big day of it.

Then before our time that we came here, the United Church always had a garden party on the first of July. I've heard Morley Wheeler say many a time, "all the ice cream right there and we had to take turns," "Oh we worked hard," like the boys now in the young people's group and they took turns making this ice cream. It was all made right there and I think they usually had strawberries by that time. I've heard Hope Wilson say that her mother would be asked to make about eight dozen tarts, you know, besides other things too. They took salads and everything but they really had a feed. I think they used to have a band to.

/end of side one/

Jane: Did you come here before the Depression or after?

Mrs. Kaufman: Ah, oh before, we came in 1925.

Jane: So, how did the Depression affect you?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, we were lucky. I mean my husband was teaching and that, you know. He had a sure job and we were very fortunate. We didn't suffer at all. Things were rationed too but ah, well that was later in the forties. But we didn't suffer at all. I know that people did.

Debbie: Did you notice any changes, like how it affected the town?

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes. I know people were very hard up.

Debbie: What about the businesses? Were they badly affected?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well, they kept going and I know they had a lot of bills, you know, piling up and they couldn't refuse the people. The stores were hard hit because they—I know of one person—people, they lived out in the country and Mrs. Adrian Smith said, "What can you do? Poor woman came— she just needed a pair of shoes so bad and she had no stockings." So she gave her a pair of stockings yet, to go with the shoes. They did pay for the shoes I think, well maybe they didn't even but, ah, that's just an example that they were hard up...some, very.

Jane: Did World War II affect you here?

Mrs. Kaufman: Oh, yes, yes. That was the time then when things were rationed. But it was 1940 then when my husband quit teaching and we started the cold storage and then we found out about the war all right. You weren't born yet then but thing butter was rationed, sugar was rationed and I think flour was rationed too. We were supposed to use whole wheat flour in place of white flour you know. A lot of food stuff was rationed and so people didn't make as much jam and things like that what required the sugar. My husband got in big orders and brought in apple butter by the big pail full, you know and sold it by the pound to people. One day an inspector came around and says, "Well, have you got ration cards for that?" and my husband says, "Oh why, why should I need ration cards!" "Well, you call it apple butter and there must be butter in it." And my husband says, "there isn't one bit of butter in it." "But it must need sugar to can it, to make it." "NO, there's no sugar in it either." So we weren't really guilty of any misconduct you know. They didn't know how apple butter was made, but we did.

Jane: Did you have any children?

Mrs. Kaufman: Yes, there's two boys.

Jane: Did any of them have to go and fight in the War or were they too young?

Mrs. Kaufman: Well the youngest son had enlisted. He lied about his age. He was too young really just seventeen you know. They were required to be eighteen but he wanted to get in. He was in training and ho was with the artillery. The noise of the artillery burst his one eardrum so after that he wasn't in perfect order, you know and he was honourably discharged. He was about a year in the army but he never got over seas.

Jane: Is there anything else you remember that you could tell us about?

Mrs. Kaufman: No. I can't just recall anything of very much importance. Over the years why things have happened of course but, oh nothing very important. At least not, not to me.


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