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Oral Histories: The People of St. Paul 2

In Their Own Words: Residents of St. Paul describe what life was like in the town's formative years:

"As a young girl, I was kept busy with housework, school, and piano lessons, but there sometimes were spare hours. What did a teenager do with her spare time then? For me, reading became my favourite pastime. At the age of 12, I discovered a library, run by the Business Girls Literary Club. It was a little backroom atop the Banque Canadienne Nationale. It was opened for one hour a week and one was allowed to sign out two books. This discovery was a turning point in my life—books have been my friends ever since.

I also enjoyed skating. As soon as there was ice on the Prenevost or Garneau sloughs, my brother and I would be out there. Usually someone would build a big bonfire to help warm us up. Later in the season, when the outdoor rink was ready, I'd get a season ticket and made sure I skated for the $2 worth it cost. Also, I didn't miss too many week-end hockey games, especially when St. Paul was playing Bonnyville. Standing on the snow banks, we would have frozen our feet if it hadn't been for all the jumping we did, cheering for such hockey greats as Father Forestier, Lionel Landreville, Vianney Joly, Oswald Bissonnette and my brother Maurice, of course. In between periods, we'd stampede into the shack to huddle around one of the two heaters in the place. In spring we'd play softball. Later we'd get to play some tennis that is when we had enough energy left after removing weeds growing on the clay courts and then having to pass a heavy roller. These courts were located next to the K.C. Hall on the road to the C.N. station."

— Cecile Mailloux-Bielech


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