Labrador History - 7.1 RETURN TO THE WORK

Mary TaylorChapter 7

The time between my furlough and a later trip to the U.K., January 1961 to September 1964, was marked by changes in the medical field and a maturing of the work of God. At the start of that period Mona left to get married and at the end Jean Skelly arrived. Skidoos were appearing, roads were being pushed along the coast and the administration of medicine was sprouting. Meanwhile the work of God was going ahead, George and Mona were serving full time in the area and souls were being saved and assemblies formed.
Mona had a very busy winter while I was away, including several deliveries and a ‘flu epidemic so, when I got back from Red Bay, she was very glad I was “home”. She had to prepare for her wedding. One of the first things we did was catch up on all the nws, especially Mona’s. It transpired that when George was planning to propose, he was taking Mona home from the meeting in L’Anse-au-Loup one night, and just as he was about to ask her to marry him, the muffler fell off! Blame my old car! A few days later they were out for a meal with friends and he was able to pop the question.
My Dad’s first visit to Labrador took up any little spare time I might have had at the beginning, although the ‘flu epidemic raged on and patients kept coming. We had a couple of very busy months
with that epidemic but, to our great fortune, neither my Dad nor myself got it, although Mona and George did. Had the Lord not protected us I would not have been able to take care of everyone
The wedding was timed for the spring conference held in the Gospel Hall at L’Anse-au-Loup that Easter, towards the end of April. By that time things at the station had quieted down a bit, so Dad and I went by snowmobile to attend some of the meetings. George and Mona had been waiting for Bert Joyce to get there so he could perform the ceremony, so they set the time for the end of the conference. The ‘flu had got them and it was not until the morning of the wedding day that Mona gave both herself and George their last shot of penicillin! She had asked my friend Mary to be her matron of honour and me to be one of her bridesmaids, so I was glad business at the nursing station had slowed a little. The way things were earlier I would not have been able to attend!
I was up until 3:00 a.m. on the morning of the wedding because of a delivery, but the rest went off normally. The day itself dawned bright and clear, although there was still snow on the ground, the temperature was beginning to rise and spring was on its way. It was a lovely wedding. Mr. Harris acted as father giver as Mona’s parents were not able to be there, and Bert performed the ceremony despite coming down with the ‘flu himself.
The reception was in the home of Spoffard and Bella Earle in L’Anse-au-Loup, a nice homey atmosphere in which to start their new life together. Their joy was complete when they heard the good news that a man for whom they had been praying had accepted Christ as his Saviour the night before the wedding. This was Ken, the man with the Department of Highways, who took Mona on sick calls many times. It was the same one who, when Mona first came, had taken her to Pinware at the time she and George got engaged. On these trips Mona always spoke to him about her Saviour. Ken’s wife Mabel, a Christian, quite naturally was delighted with the news too.
To the disappointment of the guests, Bert flew the young couple to Deer Lake after the we1ding. No one on the coast could get away for a honeymoon in those days. They generally lived with family until they could build a home of their own, so George and
Mona’s leaving so soon in an attempt to have a short honeymoon took them by surprise.
This attempt to have a honeymoon was short lived, however, for at Corner Brook they found a telegram from Mr. Harris asking George to go to Parson’s Pond to help him with some Gospel meetings! Being a bachelor he would not think about the upset this might cause. They submitted and went, and their married life started the way it would always be for them, putting the things of the Lord before themselves. Christ was to have the pre-eminence in their lives. Later, they managed to get a few days together in St. John’s before George joined the M. G.M. for the summer work. Mona spent the summer in Labrador, staying with the Earle’s and helping me when I needed her. It was great for me to have another nurse so near.
That fall George and Mona moved for the winter to Charlottetown, a small fishing community on the Labrador coast. It was a pretty place, settled amongst the trees, and was some distance North of the nearest nursing station in Mary’s Harbour. About twenty families occupied it in wintertime, but moved to Square Islands, which was nearer the sea, for the summer. George and Mona were not the only ones moving there, as Charlotte and Ed John Flynn had moved that same year (Ed was teaching school) and lived in a little cabin next to the small Gospel Hall, which had been built the previous summer.
Just before Mona and George moved North, Charlotte and Ed John’s two-year old boy scalded his leg, when he tripped over a coleman stove and coffee spilled over him. There was no nurse in harlottetown at that time so Ruth May, from Mary’s Harbour, made the trip north the following day and took the little boy back to the nursing station with her in the boat. He was there for two days before they got him to the hospital in St. Anthony by plane. He was there three weeks, and got home the day before Mona arrived in Charlottetown, George having moved earlier to get things ready for his wife.
Charlotte and Ed, with their family of three, moved to a larger house so Mona and George could have the cabin, and Mona enjoyed Charlotte’s company because both were expecting around the same time (Mona’s first was due in March.) There was no nurse in Charlottetown in those days, the closest nursing stations being in Cartwright (80 plus miles to the north) and Mary’s Harbour (25 miles to the south.) It was not surprising, therefore, that as a “nurse” Mona was in high demand, and often got called to see patients. She was hesitant, though, for the lack of equipment bothered her. Nevertheless, there were three times she was called to see patients who were not able to get to Mary’s Harbour because of weather conditions, and in each case she took part in successful deliveries.
Setting up house was not a simple matter because shopping was difficult in those days. No local stores sold furniture for the bedroom, study and kitchen of a three-room cabin, so George had done some shopping in Corner Brook earlier. A bed, chest of drawers, and a table were shipped to Charlottetown on the coastal boat, but had not arrived when George got there ten days before Mona, who had been held up by bad weather. Bert and Emily were in Red Bay and, after a call for help, Emily went shopping and managed to buy a bed and ship it up to Charlottetown before Mona arrived.
The normal way of shopping was by mail order, using either the Eaton’s or the Simpsons Sears’ catalogues, so it was awkward and any help was appreciated. An assembly in Hamilton, Ontario, sent the young couple a variety of kitchen ware and food items (in a tea chest) as a wedding gift and, many of the items being unobtainable in Labrador at the time, this was a Godsend. I did my little bit too, and when the Anglican minister’s plane was going their way from Forteau I sent them a bunch of small, fresh carrots from my garden, fruit of Dad’s labours in the summer.