|Mr. and Mrs. Allan|
|Date of birth||January 1, 1904|
- 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 Joanne Vamos interviewing Mr. and Mrs. Allan at their home in Oakland, Ontario, July 14, 1980.
Joanne: Could you tell us where and when you were born Mrs. Allan?
Mrs. Allan: When? 1904.
Joanne: And where were you born?
Mrs. Allan: Right here.
Joanne: In this home?
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Joanne: Would you be able to tell us anything about the events of your birth, that maybe your parents told you?— (Mr. Allan chuckles)
Mrs. Allan: My mother was down cellar making butter when I was born. She had to come up and have me anyway. (laughter) That's all that I can remember.
Joanne: Oh, that's neat... Could you tell us a bit about your ancestors? Your grandparents and your parents? Who they were and where they lived?
Mrs. Allan: Well, on the one side they were Granthams and uh they lived at—they were English to begin with weren't they?...
Mr. Allan: Yes.
Mrs. Allan: ...they came from England. And they lived at Cainsville and then they moved up here to Maple Grove and uh, that's the only place that I ever know of them living, is Maple Grove.
Mr. Allan: They lived in the house where Joe Keresturi is now living.
Mrs. Allan: Yes. Joe Keresturi lives on the place now. That's the old Grantham place. And, on my mother's side, she came from Scotland. And she was here just a few years when her father died so the mother bought a whole farm down at Bealton and raised a family, there was five in the family and she raised the family.
Joanne: Oh, what was her last name?
Mrs. Allan: Robertson.
Joanne: Uh... huh, okay. Did you have brothers and sisters?
Mrs. Allan: I had one brother and one sister and they're both dead. And then I had two adopted brothers.
Joanne: Oh! Okay. Alright, where did you attend school?
Mrs. Allan: At Oakland.
Joanne: And could you describe the school to us?
Mrs. Allan: Well, it was an old brick building; up here and just one stove and one room into it and uh...
Joanne: What was it like going to school there?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, it was very nice, yes. Of course it was nice for me cause I just had to go across the field. (laughter) But in the winter time, I know we had terrible snow banks between here and the school. And uh, our teacher used to go out and play games with us in the winter time when the snow was on the ground. Different to what the school teachers do today, I'm telling you. (chuckles) Because she went out and played and had time for all the grades and yet had time to go out and play with us. And uh, I went here till I passed my entrance. Well, then after I passed my entrance I never went on to high school. I had to work at home.
Joanne: Do you remember what your teacher's names were?
Mrs. Allan: The first one was Mr. Woltz and uh, I don't remember who else. Miss Giqnak...was one of the main ones. She was here yet when we were married. Miss Giqnak was. And uh...
Mr. Allan: Yes. She taught there quite a while.
Mrs. Allan: Wasn't there a Miss Falland?
Mr. Allan: No, that was...
Mrs. Allan: That was your school teacher.
Mr. Allan: Oh, that was my school teacher, yes. And uh—not the one you're thinking of. There was a Miss Falland taught down at East Oakland. She was a little bit of a thing.
Mrs. Allan: I'll go in and get the pictures but I don't remember who the teachers were. (gets up and leaves room)
Joanne: Okay, (tape recorder is shut off)
Mr. Allan: I went to school at Bealton and then went to Boston.
Joanne: Were there any special events or holidays that you celebrated at the school that you can remember?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, well, we celebrated Victoria Day the 24th of May and we always celebrated Arbour Day, We always had a cleanup day that day, cleaned the school and cleaned the yard. (laughter) And washed our desks, always!
Mr. Allan: (speaking to Mrs. Allan) I mentioned to them that Charlie Hunter's mother taught school up here didn't she?...
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Mr. Allan: ...and boarded here?...
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Mr. Allan: ...When you was what-about 3 years old—4 years old?
Mrs. Allan: Oh no, I was older than that. I was old enough to talk anyway, I don't know hew old I was, but anyways I was old enough to talk.
Mr. Allan: Tell them what you said.
Mrs. Allan: (chuckles) Well, she used to have a beautiful fur and a nice great big hat and she had it on the spare bed, of course, where she slept. And I went in and I put them on and paraded out. And mother said, "Oh, Alfreda, what are you doing?" I says, "I'm Miss Haliday!" (laughter) I don't imagine I got a spanking because I didn't do no harm, to them, you know. Only I just dressed up and I was Miss Haliday. And that was Mrs. Charlie Hunter and the Hunters live there at Scotland,, and it was his mother.
Joanne: Is this—this is a farm?
Mrs. Allan: Yes. Was a farm...
Mr. Allan: Once it was.
Joanne: Well, okay. Then I'll ask you—what was it like growing up on your parent's farm?
Mrs. Allan: Well a lot of hard work. (laughter)
Joanne: Could you tell us a bit about it?
Mrs. Allan: My brother had asthma, and he wasn't able to do too much. So, I was the main one to have to work. And uh, I worked on the farm from the day I quit school, when I was thirteen, when I passed my entrance and I worked en the farm all the time after that.
Joanne: What kind of farm is this?
Mr. Allan: It was just general....
Mrs. Allan: ...general farming-grain and cows and horses,
Mr. Allan: Piggies and sheep.
Joanne: Do you know who owned this farm before your parents?
Mrs. Allan: Yes, people by the name of, um...
Mr. Allan: Proper.
Mrs. Allan: Proper. Ronald Proper. And uh, my mother lived at Maple Grove and the Propers lived here and they traded places. (laughter)
Debbie: That's convenient!
Mr. Allan: Her folks lived where Alvin Marr lives now. And they got-when her grandfather died they got that 50 acres where Alvin Marr lives and that's where the Propers lived. And Grandma and Grandpa—she liked to go to church...and uh, it was a long walk from over there. She had a bad back and she was upstairs in that house, so, they traded and the Propers went over there and they moved in.
Joanne: Have there been any improvements made on the farm like additions to the house or a barn—a different barn built or anything like that?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, the barn's been tore down. But we had a big bank barn down. But there's been nothing done to the house. The house is just the same as it was when (pause) all my life. Only we had a bathroom added to it.
Mr. Allan: Changed one petition or took it out—took the petition out. But other than that....
Mrs. Allan: You should just go in and see the front part of our house. We've got a big house.
Joanne: Oh, I noticed. I came all the way along—way back here (chuckles).
Mrs. Allan: Yeah, but it's a lot bigger on the inside that it is on the outside (laughter).
Mr. Allan: If you can believe that and Lord help me, I don't know how that can be done. But that's just about the way it is.
Joanne: Well I'd like to ask you Mr. Allan, when you first came from Scotland (British Isles)...
Mr. Allan: We lived at Bealton.
Joanne: And you went to school?
Mr. Allan: I went to school at Bealton.
Joanne: Then, when did you come here?-When you were married to Mrs. Allan? Is that how you came to be in this area?
Mrs. Allan: Well, you moved from Bealton to Boston and then to Oakland.
Mr. Allan: And then we moved down to Oakland, down along the pond down there.
Joanne: Oh, you lived there with your parents?
Mr. Allan: Yes. And then we moved to Wilsonville, again.
Joanne: Oh, I see.
Mr. Allan: We started to go together on the 19th day of April, 19191 (laughter)
Joanne: I'm going to ask you about your childhood now. What kind of toys did you used to play with?
Mrs. Allan: Crokinole board for one thing. I can remember that. My dad always played crokinole. And then we had a bean board that—that my dad—that's what we put our winter, in was playing. Well, we just put it up over our head the other day (overhead cupboard). But it was a board slanting down, one straight (90 degree angle, for back support)—three holes into it. Five, ten and fifteen was marked onto it and then we had bean bags with beans in and whatever hole you went through why it counted—whatever it went through. And we played checkers. We played all those kind of games; but, we never played cards. When my dad—well my dad learned before he died but my mother wouldn't play cards.
Mr. Allan: There were no toys in our days. There wasn't much of them,
Mrs. Allan: No. I can remember though, that two Christmases that I got beautiful sets of furs for Christmas, I know that they were beautiful. And we used to drive for Christmas dinner with the horses from here to Onondaga in the bobsleigh. And dad used to warm bricks and put in and we were very warm, but it was nice and comfortable all the way down and we generally stayed over night.
Joanne: What were the furs like?
Mrs. Allan: My furs? Well, the one was a piece around and a muff to match it. Both of them are—one was white and the other was a badger, uh, that brown fur. But uh, they were beautiful. I know there was another girl in church in Oakland who had a badger set too but hers couldn't compare to the one that dad bought me.
Debbie: Oh wow!
Joanne: Ever nice! Was there any place that you used to go swimming?
Mrs. Allan: No, I don't remember of ever swimming but we went skating. In the winter time we always skated. We went down on the lower pond and skated, and we skated on this pond up here, but not that much,. But we always went to the lower pond and we always sleigh rided on. Oakland hill, always. That was our winter pleasure. (laughter) We'd go down this hill and half way up the other big hill. Of course, there was no traffic at that date—in those days to stop us.
Joanne: Were there any clubs or organizations that could have belonged to as a child?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, there was something I belonged to when I was young. What in the dickens was it. There was something...
Joanne: Was it at the church?
Mrs. Allan: There was Young Peoples. But before that, I can't—I don't remember of anything before the Young Peoples. I don't think there was., We always had a Sunday school picnic in the summer time that we always went to. But other than that I don't remember of anything but the Young Peoples.
Joanne: Which church did your family belong to?
Mrs. Allan: Oakland.
Joanne: The Oakland Church. How were you involved in the church?
Mrs. Allan: Well, I've been president of the U.C.W. and I've been president of the Institute. I've been treasurer of both of them... And we sit in the same seat that my mother and dad took at Oakland Church when Oakland Church was opened up. When it was built and opened up and my mother and dad took a seat in the church and we still sit in that same seat.
Joanne: Do you recall any special events that the church puts on?
Mrs. Allan: Well, the garden party, the 24th of May. That was a must. (laughter) I don't remember of anything else that the church had, only our Sunday school picnic in the summer time. (Mr. Allan walks into the room with an old-fashioned black pair of shoes, with pointed toes that laced up past the ankles). That was a pair of shoes my dad bought me when I was fifteen years old. (Mr. Allan sets them on the table right beside the microphone.)
Joanne: Wow, ever neat! Look at the laces.
Mrs. Allan: And he paid fifteen dollars for it.
Joanne: Could you tell us about any of the other fashions that you used to wear when you were younger?
Mrs. Allan: I can't remember.
Joanne: What about in the twenties, like when you were a teenage-of older than that?
Mrs. Allan: Well, I don't remember. I used to have a pretty black dress with blue onto it I know that—a black silk dress. Other than that I—the year that you came home for Easter was the year before we were married. I remember I got a nice brown pleated skirt for that day, for Easter, but I don't remember...
Joanne: Were they long—to the floor?
Mrs. Allan: No, no, they were just about that (pointing a few inches below her knee). They weren't long, no. I never wore a long dress till I got—just a few years ago.
Joanne: Do you ever wear the shorter dresses they had in the 1920's?
Mrs. Allan: I don't remember.
Joanne: That was probable—younger people wore them then.
Mr. Allan: When you get into that deal it was—when we was school kids going to school. When they wore the long dresses. One school teacher I went to—wish I had my [school] picture here to show you but it's in Brantford. She stood 6'2", she was that broad across the shoulders (stretching both arms out). She could take any two boys in the school fourteen years old, I was only eight, I think and she'd just hold them up like that (Mr. Allan stretched out his arms and clenched his fist as if he were actually holding the boys by the scruff of the neck.) and they couldn't move. (laughter)
Mrs. Allan: (looking at Mr. Allan) And when you were a bad boy she put you under the desk.
Mr. Allan: When she put me under her desk... I wasn't the only one but I was one of them that got there.
Mrs. Allan: Quite often.
Mr. Allan: One of the bigger boys used to make faces and get me laughing. And the "old bugger", I'm going to call her that, she made me tell a lie.
Debbie: She did?
Mr. Allan: Yes sir, somebody whistled in the school. So, she went over all the boys and nobody done it. I was the last one. So, I was the one. She made me get up in front of those boys and apologize and tell them that I done the whistling. Now, I should have went home and told my dad I didn't do that whistling, but I didn't. Three days afterwards, well, we found out it was one of the bigger boys. But I never said anything. I never squealed on him. But I've held that against her. I'll never forget it. But she wore long black dresses that kicked up the dust as she walked across the floor.
Mr. Allan: Yeah, yeah. She was quite a teacher. She had her but I wasn't one of them. The school was divided. What I mean—the girls then, you didn't sit together. The girls sat together—the boys on one side and the girls on the other. I sat up on the girl's side for two terms. And that's all by myself! (laughter)
Mrs. Allan: So you know what trouble he got into.
Mr. Allan: And yet when Miss Fosslaw came there, she was the first teacher...! started school before I was five years old. I wouldn't be five till November and I started. But only went for two months because in those days you could start at Easter. And by the time Easter was going to roll around the girls that lived below us they moved to Caledonia and I would have had nobody to go with. So they thought, well I'd be just going back and forth in the fall with them.
Joanne: That's a good idea.
Mr. Allan: But uh, I didn't go all winter. But I wasn't five till November and started in September. So my school days, you know, petered out...
Joanne: Which school was that?
Mr. Allan: That was in Bealton.
Joanne: Did you have a long walk to school?
Mr. Allan: Well, it was across the concession. It would be—well that's seven-eighths of a mile. About a mile and three-quarters I guess, of course which, I think was quite a ways.
Joanne: I'm going to ask you about holidays now. What were Christmases like when you were younger?
Mrs. Allan: They were really nice. A lot better than they are today because we never wanted as much as what the children want today.
Debbie: That's true.
Mrs. Allan: They're not satisfied with anything regardless of what they get. And I can remember how thrilled we was to get up Christmas morning and find an orange or something in our stocking or a few candies and we thought that was just wonderful. But I can remember the two years I got my furs. But that's the only...the only real presents I can remember getting.
Joanne: Did you have Santa Claus and a Christmas tree and all that?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, we always had a Christmas tree and at our Christmas Concert we always had a Santa Claus. And my dad was Santa Claus quite a few times.
Joanne: Could you tell us anything about Hallowe'en?
Mrs. Allan: We generally went out for Hallowe'en, yes. Generally had a good time too, didn't we? (looking at Mr. Allan) (laughter) Even father likes to go out for Hallowe'en yet. (laughter)
Joanne: Were you one of those pranksters on Hallowe'en who used to pull lots of pranks?
Mrs. Allan: Went in one night to the church with a bear skin over his head and scared the kids half to death. (laughter)
Mr. Allan: Oh, I'll never forget that. Bob Banister, they live down by Mrs. Nemeth there—and it was the Young Peoples having a Hallowe'en party. And there's the five steps that come out of the basement, you know where the church is level to the ground there and I knocked on the door and Bob come out—up and when he opened the door I stuck my head in. He just rolled all the way up and down those stairs. He just fell over and he just rolled—I felt bad. I thought he might hurt himself but he didn't.
Joanne: He probably laughed afterwards.
Mr. Allan: Well, I left. I left.
Mrs. Allan: Well, we used to go out but we never did no real mischief, you know, we never made-caused any trouble. But we always went out for Hallowe'en.
Joanne: You used to get dressed up?
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Joanne: Was it—like home-made costumes?
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Joanne: Can you remember any of the costumes?
Mrs. Allan: I don't remember any of them. I can remember more for what I made for our kids them what I can remember what I made for myself. I used to make a lot of costumes for them.
Mr. Allan: In later years I used to wear those shoes. I could wear those shoes. I can put them on yet. I can wear those shoes and really fool people, dressed up as a woman and high top shoes, you know. And just keep my mouth shut. (laughter)
Joanne: Was there anything special on Dominion Day that you used to do around here?
Mrs. Allan: One year down here didn't the Community Club have a thing on Dominion Day—wasn't that Dominion Day that the Community Club had that—when was that?
Mr. Allan: I wouldn't remember.
Mrs. Allan: Well, when did they—or was that—when did they have that big day that they had our truck down there?
Mr. Allan: Well, the centennial—that centennial year, yeah, 1950.
Mrs. Allan: At I don't remember any particular Dominion Day. The 24th of May was our special day when we had our big garden party, but I don't remember of anything on Dominion Day.
Joanne: Do you remember any of the garden parties—any special ones that you could tell us about?
Mrs. Allan: Well, they were all very special to us because we always had so much to eat and a lot of baking. And we used to work in the booth. We always-we worked in the booth for the garden parties for years, didn't we?
Mr. Allan: Yes.
Mrs. Allan: And we always had a wonderful entertainment. We uh, used to have it up there on the Scotland road where Russell Rammage lives now. Well, then we had it at the church. One year we had a terrific thunder storm, the night we we had it up here at the school. And Mr. Button had his horse tied to a lightening rod down here in our barn.
Mr. Allan: There's a ring in the side of the barn.
Mrs. Allan: He had his horse tied there and the lightening struck right there.
Mr. Allan: That's when you and I was going together.
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Joanne: Did the horse get killed?
Mrs. Allan: No, it didn't kill him.
Mr. Allan: No. Well, I don't know where it struck but...
Mrs. Allan: Well, it struck awful close.
Mr. Allan: ...well I know and boy I'm telling you it really-it really—it might, have-but the barn had lightening rods on it and so did that shed. It might have struck the barn. We don't know, but oh boy!
Joanne: Did the garden party get rained out, then?
Mr. Allan: Well it (chuckles)...
Mrs. Allan: It sure did.
Joanne: And everyone had to go home?
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Mr. Allan: Everybody had to go home, yup.
Joanne: Did you ever do anything special on Thanksgiving?
Mrs. Allan: I don't think so.
Joanne: Just about the same way it is now then?
Mrs. Allan: Just about the same as it is now.
Joanne: About your teenage years. What kind of things were there to do when you were at the dating age?
Mrs. Allan: When the what?
Joanne: When you were at the dating age?
Mr. Allan: How many boyfriends did you date? (laughter)
Mrs. Allan: You! Well we was up to Scotland to—a concert. What was it? A concert?
Mr. Allan: It was a travelling show, Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Mrs. Allan: And that's the night we started to go together.
Mr. Allan: That's where we were when we met.
Joanne: Did you have a car?
Mrs. Allan: No, a horse and buggy.
Joanne: Oh yes. That's right. When did you get your first car, do you remember?
Mrs. Allan: For our honeymoon.
Mr. Allan: Well your father...
Mrs. Allan: Well, he got it before that, but you never drove it too much.
Mr. Allan: He got it in 1921. We never drove it till—when before we was married.
Mrs. Allan: I didn't think so.
Mr. Allan: It sat in the drive-shed out here. You see, he got it for her brother. And uh, well, I don't know what time of the year-along in the summer. He went to Detroit that fall and there was nobody here to drive it, and so it sat in the garage till 1924. I come from Detroit? I worked over there all winter and come home Easter time... the twentieth of April. We got up Easter Sunday morning and there was four inches of snow on the ground. But, we got a battery for the car and uh, then her father didn't have any use for it, so we just naturally took it over and that was it.
Debbie: Do you remember what kind of car it was?
Mr. Allan: It was a Dodge car. A 1915 Dodge that uh... Howard Edy you've heard tell of him, Howard Edy, his father had it. He bought it new in 1915. And her father bought it from Brant County—not Brant County, just Brant Motors run by the Goulds in by the Brantford Expositor building. In there someplace, in 1921.
Joanne: When and where were you married?
Mrs. Allan: Oakland Church...no, right here in this house.
Mr. Allan: Right here in this house.
Joanne: What was the date of that?
Mrs. Allan: The 1st uh 4th of June...1924. (chukcles)
Joanne: What was your wedding like?
Mrs. Allan: Oh, we had a beautiful wedding.
Mr. Allan: For weddings those days.
Mrs. Allan: Yes, for weddings those days. It couldn't have been any nicer. We had the tables set out hero on the lawn for our lunch. We had a big wedding. I imagine there was a hundred or mere at it.
Mr. Allan: Don't ask me, I didn't have time to count them that day. I had all the job I could to do to keep track or you, (laughter) We had our picture taken out there by that maple tree. We was just looking at them the other day- that maple tree was that big around (demonstrates by making a round shape with both hands together), in 1924.
Mrs. Allan: Yes, we were married in the front room.
Joanne: Where did you settle down after you were married?
Mrs. Allan: Wilsonville. Then we moved to Oakland; then we moved to Brantford; then we moved back to Oakland. And we lived here ever since.
Mr. Allan: Then we moved to Ron Sutherland's, I was telling them. Then in 1936, where Mike Bonn is or the boy, on this s5cL road, Sadie Fisher's farm. That was the Kramer place. We lived there for six years till 1942.
Mrs. Allan: Then we moved back here again.
Mr. Allan: Her father was hit out here (points in the direction of the road in front of the house) in 1938 and died the next night.
Mrs. Allan: He was killed right here in front of the house.
Joanne: How—He was...?
Mrs. Allan: A truck hit him. Well they were going to a garden party some place...
Mr. Allan: Up to Otterville.
Mrs. Allan: ...to put a tent and one of the boards slid out of their load of lumber that they had on for to build their tent. My dad was walking home from the village and it struck him in the face.
Debbie: Oh my god!
Joanne: What a tragedy.
Mr. Allan: It was a Coca-Cola truck. It was going to the Otterville garden party.
Joanne: Did you have any children?
Mrs. Allan: Three girls.
Joanne: Could you tell us who they are and where they are now?
Mrs. Allan: Well, the oldest one is Donaline and she married Charles Neale in Mt. Pleasant. The next one, Norma, she married Harold Stratford and lives right here. The next one is Mary and she married an Osborne and lives in Mt. Pleasant. One of the Osbornes from Scotland, you very likely know the Osbornes up there, Mr. Osborne.
Mr. Allan: Tom Osborne.
Debbie: Where do they live?
Mr. Allan: The first block north, straight from the funeral home.
Debbie: Oh yeah, yeah, I know who you're talking about.
Mrs. Allan: He comes down to the post office every morning to get his mail, I know that.
Debbie: I don't see him often, but I know who you mean.
Mrs. Allan: Our youngest daughter married one of his boys.
Mr. Allan: Our second daughter, she was married and her husband left her. Have you heard tell of Norman Haggeth or Allan, that married Mary Lou Epps who lives in Scotland?
Debbie: Mary Lou Epps? Well, I know Epps but-they're probably related because I went to school with Epps'.
Mrs. Allan: They live in the house where the garage is.
Debbie: Yeah, yeah.
Mrs. Allan: Well, that's our grandson.
Debbie: Oh, I see.
Mrs. Allan: Allan Haggeth.
Mr. Allan: Then Harold Stratford-his wife (Margaret Allan) died. She was a cousin of mine and in 1967 Norma and him got married.
Joanne: In the 1920's, were they as roaring as they say they were?
Mr. Allan: Well, I think that when you talk about the Roaring Twenties, you have to get more in the musical world, Hollywood and things like that...and this gold mine stuff, you see? As far as here on the farm, why the only thing that roared was the bull. (laughter) Things were quiet as far as that goes. When they talk about the Roaring Twenties, I think you've go to get into entertainment worlds for that.
Joanne: Did World War I years affect you in any ways?
Mr. Allan: I wasn't old enough to go...(Mrs. Allan gets up and
leaves room. She then returns with a small, clear, hollow; glass pendant containing particules of gold on a chain.)
Mrs. Allan: There's my gold that I panned when we was up to Dawson City.
Debbie: Oh, is that ever pretty?
Joanne: You panned that? Ever neat!
Mrs. Allan: And I've got another one too but I'm going to put it on my charm bracelet. It has two black diamonds in it. When they cleaned it up to put it in-well it's in one just exactly like that (pointing to the cased gold) and I says, "Well, take those black specks out of it." He says, "By golly, those are two black diamonds you've got in there." So I've never put it on my bracelet, (walking back into the other room she says) But I wear this one.
Joanne: How did the depression years, 1930s affect your family?
Mrs. Allan: It didn't affect us much because we wasn't any different then we had been before.
Mr. Allan: You see, they talk about the depression and it was bad. There was no question about it, it was bad. But people those days weren't used to very much. You see, this was the funny part, you go back and people weren't used to that much. It was a cutback but we survived. Potatoes sold for twenty five cents a bag if you could find somebody with twenty five cents but uh...
Mrs. Allan: We always had lots to eat.
Mr. Allan: ...yes. Well, you know, on the farm you had lots to eat. Especially with lots of soup chickens, too. But uh, there's a lot of tall tales in that. That's when we moved over there on the Kramer place. It was in 1936 we started a market gardening. In the first hotbed sash we ever had—out of some windows, old window sides—Well, mother had ten dollars saved up to buy the girls each a dress for Easter. We took the ten dollars and sent it down to Halidays lumber place in Hamilton and got our first, three 3x6 hot bed sides. The girls had to go without.
Mrs. Allan: We went to Kitchener market for thirty-three years with vegetables.
Joanne: And all the vegetables were grown on that farm?
Mr. Allan: No, on this farm.
Mrs. Allan: We went to Toronto market in between time to wholesale market.
Mr. Allan: But they tell you some tall tales about the depression and they'll all be true. I know Elwood Anders, North's father, he had cousins in Kansas and they wrote back that it was no different down there. They couldn't sell their corn. They had to burn—they burnt their corn cobs, their corn and everything for fuel to try to cook a few vegetables. We just had a situation like that all over the world practically. Because it was world wide.
Joanne: So, then when World War II started, did that affect your family at all?
Mrs. Allan: Well, I had both adopted brothers went.
Mr. Allan: No, not in this. No.
Mrs. Allan: Oh! Not this war?
Mr. Allan: They were in the first war. (WWI)
Mrs. Allan: And the one came back with a piece of shrapnel in his shoulder and the other one came back gassed, terribly.
Mr. Allan: He didn't live too long after that. He just lived in particular hell all the time. He just broke out in great big sores.
Mrs. Allan: From the gas.
Mr. Allan: And they couldn't do a thing about it. Dr. Morrison in Brantford was the same way, they both got caught in the same gas.
Mrs. Allan: Yes, I can remember, oh, I still have the cake tin out here—like we used to buy biscuits in and they were a tin about that long and about that high (uses hands to demonstrate the actual size). And we always made Christmas cake in those tins and sent it to the boys overseas for Christmas. Always! Besides a lot of other stuff that we sent. But, I can remember Mother making a Christmas cake and sending it and I've still got the same tin, I make my Christmas cakes still in it.
Joanne: Do you belong to any clubs or organizations as of now or before but not when you were younger?
Mrs. Allan: Nothing more than a community club, was there?
Mr. Allan: No, and it's been dead for quite a few years.
Joanne: What was the community club?
Mr. Allan: Well, we tried to have a meeting ever month and well it was in the form of a concert. You'd get something for a programme. No meal attached with it. It was just like a concert and uh...
Joanne: Where did they have it?
Mr. Allan: In the township hall down here where Anders is now. I was president for two or three years. Stuart McConnely and oh, I don't know how many. Then there used to be a ball park down next to the railroad.
Joanne: Did you used to belong to any baseball teams or anything like that?
Mr. Allan: No, I didn't belong. They had a good baseball team
around here, though. Lloyd Vivian was pitcher and Bill Crumback was pitcher and I don't remember the rest of them. They sure cleaned up around this [part of] the country. Yes. They had a good ball team.
Joanne: Do you remember anything about the town hall that used to be on the hill up there?
Mrs. Allan: I do. I remember it well being up there.
Joanne: Were you ever inside?
Mrs. Allan: Yes.
Joanne: What was it like?
Mrs. Allan: It was a nice building. I can't just tell you what it was like inside but it was a nice building. (pause) It was more something like a school, wasn't it, (looking at Mr. Allan) inside?
Mr. Allan: Something like that, yes.
Joanne: Do you remember what happened to it?
Mr. Allan: Yes, Cyril Button bought it and tore it down.
Joanne: And that was the end of it. Where did they have the council meetings after they didn't have them at that building anymore?
Mr. Allan: I don't think you ever remember them having meetings there do you? (looking at Mrs. Allan) Well, I don't.
Mrs. Allan: I do.
Mr. Allan: Because they weren't using it when I came around.
Mrs. Allan: Weren't they? Oh, I think I do. I remember being in the building and I think they had meetings into it but I wouldn't want to be sure, might not have.
Mr. Allan: See, P.M. Buttons had the new ones up at his place. I wouldn't be able to tell you that because, what I mean, I didn't get around here till 1918.
Joanne: You were on the council for a few years, Mr. Allan?
Mr. Allan: I don't know whether it was a few years or not. It was prior to 1950. I lost out to Ken Hagerman in the election on...
Mrs. Allan: The Scotland one—lives up there now. Joanne: What made you decide for town council?
Mr. Allan: Oh, I don't know whether we decided or not. We just had a nomination meeting and there was six of us nominated. One for Reeve and for four councillors. There was Roy McEwan, Walter Boyds and myself...Fred Smith and Howard Edy... Cec Davis. And there was...Howard was Reeve when I was on the township.
Joanne: Were the elections pretty much the same then as they are now?
Mr. Allan: Very much. We had uh (doorbell rings and Mrs. Allan gets up to answer it.) When, Howard Edy, (Mr. and Mrs. Learmouth and Mrs. Allan talking in the background) Howard Edy and Ken Barnes were nominated for Reeve. We was having our Christmas concert and Percy Button followed us up...
Mrs. Allan: Where abouts are the peas for Jack to pick?
Mr. Allan: Same place they were the other day. (taping stopped and started)... Percy Button called us up to the council chamber away from the Christmas Concert. We went up there and I flipped a coin to see who was going to be Reeve and who would stay the councilman. The agreement was that whoever got it would be Reeve for two years and then let the other have it, without any elections, you see. I flipped the coin and Ken Barnes got it, didn't he? So then, it ended up that he didn't want to give it up at the end of two years. So we had an election and rubbed off a lot of hard feelings over it. Some of them still have hard feelings, I guess and that was a long time ago. But, Howard beat him out.
Joanne: Could you tell us about any-how things have changed? How have the roads changed here since when you were younger than they are now?
Mrs. Allan: They used to be nothing but dirt and gravel.
Mr. Allan: And dust and sand! Sand! sand, got in that deep, you know. (measures a foot or so with his hands) Right into the sand. This is all sand, you know. This part of the country is all sand here.
Mrs. Allan: That's right. The year they put the highway through here why our stuff was just completely ruined with the dust.
Mr. Allan: I don't think that's the first work they done.
Joanne: Do you remember what year they put the highway through? Was it a long time ago or just within the last ten or twenty years?
Mr. Allan: Oh, no, no. The year she's talking about was in 1949. That's when Charles Bowden worked here. And oh, the dust! It was a gravel road before that. But when we were married, around about that time, it was just sand. Fred Brown was the road superintendent for a long here and up to Scotland. The first thing that they ever done about snow removal was and that wasn't removing it. Her father went out with his roller and packed the snow down. (laughter)
Joanne: There wasn't very much else you could do though about it.
Mr. Allan: No, no, either that or shovel it. But along here and this was getting so it was getting a little more travelled on to it all the time.
Mrs. Allan: Before they put the highway through here when I was a kid, the snow would get so deep between here and the schoolhouse that they'd have to come in here and go around. They couldn't—they never cleaned the road out.
Mr. Allan: They never cleaned that hill, that was a bad hill...
Mrs. Allan: They never cleaned that hill out.
Mr. Allan: Never. That was too much. Pretty near level off there and to shovel it out by hand, you couldn't do it. But it was in 1949 that the dust was so bad. We had eggplants and stuff out there that you could hardly find them for dust. When I went to the road superintendent who was the boss here he said he couldn't do anything about it. So, I don't know whether we stopped in coming home from Kitchener and I went down to see Harry Nixon-Bob Nixon's father-Well, he says, "I can get in touch with the Ministry of Highways." And in two days we had calcium all along here.
Mrs. Allan: To stop the dust.
Mr. Allan: Oh, why, people just left on a Sunday. There was one Sunday that we just didn't dare stay home.
Joanne: All the traffic coming by and creating all the dust.
Mr. Allan: Oh, the dust! They were just getting started to go to Dover and one thing or another and they were smooth. Well, everybody had a. car at that time, practically.
Joanne: Is there anything else you'd like to say about living in Oakland, your overall impression?
Mr. Allan: Oh, I don't know.
Joanne: You've lived here a long time.
Mrs. Allan: I don't think there's any place I'd like to live any better. Our thinking is that we'll have to sell because we've got too much here to do. We hate to dispose of the old place.
Mr. Allan: I think it's just like any other village, it's got it's pros and cons and one thing and another but uh...
Joanne: It's got it's memories, too.
Mr. Allan: Oh, yeah.
Mrs. Allan: We never had anything against it.
Mr. Allan: No, I know. But then some people might find something like that... "Oh boo, I wouldn't live there!" (laughter) Maybes I wouldn't want to live where they live.
Debbie: That's right. It works both ways.
Mr. Allan: Yes, It does work both ways. We, as I say, we got burnt out down here in 1926, right after the election and that's when we moved to Townsend and back. I told them that little story when you was in hunting your pictures.
Joanne: About the fire. That's right here or down...
Mr. Allan: At the corner. Right where the big garage is now.
Joanne: Did they have a fire department around here that'd come around?
Mr. Allan: It just burnt.
Joanne: There was nothing you could do about it?
Mr. Allan: It got set on fire. I got accused of setting it on fire but I didn't do it.
Mrs. Allan: Somebody else did.
Mr. Allan: You see the hotel. Well, it used to by a hotel.
Mrs. Allan: On the corner where the store is.
Mr. Allan: There was two brothers and their sister took it over. I guess the summer we was there in 1926. I don't think they were there before that and they boot legged, down in the barn across from, well where... (end of side one)
Mr. Allan: I had to go down and hunt the eggs. We kept a few chickens down there. But it was him that set it on fire because we didn't uh—I should have jumped him. I believe it was John Brenner and I worked on the radiator of his ford truck. I saw this fellow going out. He come from where I had my office and parts department. I saw him walk off. Of course, I never thought anything about it and it was only just about a minute and we heard crackle, bang and there she was going. We shoved it out and got out and my own car that was in there, my old Dodge was in there, shoved it out and got my wedding outfit out. And that's all we got out. There was not one fleck of wind that day, and it went straight up. Never got any insurance. We got money around here that went through that fire.