August 11, 1997
The following story was written by Cecil Godwin, from Newfoundland. Cecil was 38 years old when he went back to school for the second time. Cecil spent six years as Fire Chief, thirteen years as a Firefighter and two years as a Town Councillor, and is currently the President of the Fisheries Co-op and was vice president before that. Cecil has truly enjoyed going back to school, noticing the difference the education makes on himself and others.
Mr. Earl was one of the main merchants in the Fogo Island area in the late 1950's early 60's. All of Cecil Godwin's family had worked for him at one time or another. His Uncle Gerald worked in the fish store where part of his job was to store the fish in puncheon barrels. The fish were pressed down into the barrel with a screw - press. It took two fellows to handle the press.
One day Gerald and a buddy were using the press when it slipped out of his buddy's hand. It came back up and hit Gerald in the head with such a force that it left him unconscious for days. There was no hospital in Fogo at the time so they called down to Twillingate to have one of the coastal boats take him to a hospital.
His injury was so bad that he needed to go to a hospital in Montreal. No one in the family could afford such a trip at the time, so the Earls paid the fare to Montreal where he was operated on and survived with a steel plate in his head.
That's another example of the control the merchant's had over the people's lives.
[This story was given by the Newfoundland & Labrador Rural Development Council, from their publication "From Me...To You, A Collection of Stories by Adult Learners"].