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The Last Resort - Chapter 15|
I wished Arthur would hurry and get that frame made. He eventually did and I never felt happier. At last I could wash properly.
Arthur started getting logs ready to build a dining room. It was hard work sawing down trees, dragging them out of the bush and peeling them. Arthur wasn’t a big man and I have often wondered how he ever managed. In fact, many years later some men came into the kitchen and said to Arthur: “Art we were lying in bed last night and talking about all the stuff you’ve brought across the portage, tons of it. How on earth do you manage to get those drums of gas across the portage”?
Arthur looked at them and said: “I just think of my wife when she is mad at me and those drums of gas go over like magic!”
What a cheek!
The logs weren’t coming very fast so Arthur said he would have to get someone to help him. It wasn’t easy getting help but he did. We always had to go 25 miles by water and over a portage before we were anywhere. Then of course, we had to go either to Quibell, Dryden or Hudson to find help.
Arthur had to go all the way to Hudson to get Stan Vincent. If we had had the money and could’ve built our camp up right away, we certainly would have been able to have gone to Florida every winter and probably retired there like many other camp operators.
When Stan came, things moved a little faster. I think the men had four rounds of logs on when a plane landed. It was the second plane that had landed since we had been there. It was Dave Gawley, Mr. Curtis, his guide and the pilot. Dave and his wife Margaret had built their camp now and it was in full swing. Here we were with the same two little cabins as we had started with. I am sure it was going to take all summer and fall to finish the dining room.
Mr. Curtis was a multimillionaire. He owned the Curtis Candy Company and factories in many large cities. I asked them into the kitchen. I didn’t have a decent place to invite them to sit down comfortably. My little kitchen had a beam going across the middle of it. if people weren’t careful they could crack their head on this beam. Believe me, many people did.
Mr. Curtis was a very interesting man. he told us that he was going to build two cabins at the portage, one for his son Kenny and one for himself. He said that it had taken him seven years to get permission to build there. It was only because he knew someone high up in the Canadian government that he was allowed to build near a falls. Well, would you believe it? Mr. Curtis had his two beautiful cabins built before we had our dining room finished. Mr. Curtis invited us to go and have coffee with him when the cabins were finished. I had never been down the river in the summer and It was absolutely amazed at the number of rushes growing near the shore. Water lilies were everywhere. How beautiful it looked and how different from the spring time when everything is so bare.
Mr. Curtis’s cabin was beautiful. He had all his hunting trophies hanging on the wall along with his guns and fishing rods. We had such a nice visit and as we were leaving, he showed us his ice house. My word, it was bigger than our cabin. It had great double doors and a double wall that one could walk between. I wondered why he would need such a large icehouse as he was only going to be at his cabin for six weeks.
When I think of our own little ice house with hardly a thing in it, I wondered how he was going to fill his large ice house. However, when one has plenty of money, anything is possible. We were quite surprised to get a letter from Mr. Curtis asking if Arthur would put ice up for him next spring. Arthur wrote back and told him that it would cost him five hundred dollars to fill his ice house as Arthur would have to hire five men for a week and as the cabin was near the falls, the men would take longer than they would have to go out into the lake because the ice around the falls would not be strong enough to hold the men.
That meant that they would have to walk quite a distance along the shore and lug the ice back. It certainly would be a difficult job. Mr. Curtis wrote back and said that no ice was worth five hundred dollars so his lovely ice house remained empty and Mr. Curtis used to get whatever ice he needed from us. For quite a few years we would look after Mr. Curtis’ cabin for him and many times we would go and have coffee with him when he used to come up for his holiday. The time came when we were too busy with our own camp that we didn’t have time to look after his cabin. Occasionally we would go over and see that all was in order but Mr. Curtis’ visits became less frequent and finally he stopped coming altogether.
His cabin began to look very neglected. The cabin that he had built for his son had burned down one winter, goodness knows how that happened. On the rare occasions that Kenny would come to Canada, he would share his father’s cabin. Mr. Curtis wrote to me and said that his cabin was up for sale and if any of our guests were interested, would I please let him know. If I made a sale, it would be worth eight hundred dollars to me. I did my best as lots of people were interested until I told them the price. Mr. Curtis wanted too much. Too bad really as it was such a beautiful cabin and the last time I saw it, the roof had caved in, the doors were hanging on their hinges, the windows were smashed and of course there was bush and undergrowth everywhere. We have never heard from Kenny or Mr. Curtis in years and there are no signs that a cabin had ever existed.
It was so hot one day - stifling hot in the tent and the kitchen wasn’t any better. I was complaining to Arthur about the heat and he said to me: “Why don’t you go around like other girls do, in shorts and a halter top?”
Well, I didn’t have any shorts or halter but I thought that was a good idea anyway, so I took my dress off and stepped out of the kitchen in my panties and bra. I called out to Arthur on my way to the lake: “Yoo hoo, I am going about like the other girls do.”
He looked and said: “Not quite like that.”
Anyway, I made my way to the lake when I heard a boat coming. I had no time to get to the kitchen so flew into the tent and had just got inside when I heard Arthur talking to some men and horror of horrors, they sat down just outside the tent. I hear glasses with ice tinkling in them and those men sat with Arthur nearly all the afternoon while I was sizzling in the tent. I had kept quiet too long for me to call out to Arthur to bring my dress down from the kitchen. What a stupid nut I was but I didn’t want those people to see me.
The dining room was slowly being finished and I could hardly eat a meal and my cooking was slowly improving. I was hot and tired and eight months pregnant. It would soon be time for me to leave and Arthur would have to get someone to take my pace as we still had people coming in and we had to make money while we could. My friend Beulah came up with her little girl so Sally Ann wouldn't be lonely. I would take Richard with me and my friend Margaret would look after him. Two weeks before the baby was born, Beulah came with Glenda and I left for Hudson. This was the second time that I had been down the river in the summertime. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I saw all the boats on Wabaskang. That dreadful lake that scared me to death was full of boats and people. I couldn’t believe it. Of course the lake was calm and that made a great difference.
I actually enjoyed the trip and it was a great pleasure to find people at Perrault Falls rather than just a portage. We called in to see Ed and Margaret at their little post office. This time Margaret had curtains at her windows!