Mrs. Guier’s Mittens and Mr. Guier’s Chips

Mr. and Mrs. Guier lived in one of the big houses on Hector Street that was really two houses stuck together.  It is now #12.

Mrs. Guier stayed at home and did things like knit.  Sometimes to earn a little extra money, Mrs. Guier knit mittens to sell to the lobster fishermen.  Mrs. Guier’s mittens were a bit special because Mrs. Guier knew a way of making mittens double, so while the cuffs of the mittens were not double, the hand and thumb had two layers. That made the mittens twice as warm as usual.  Some people think that Mrs. Guier learned to make her special mittens on Digby Neck where she grew up. 

Anyway, whether Mrs. Guier and the other women were making double mittens or regular shrinking lobster mittens (mittens that were very, very large at first, then got smaller and warmer as they were used), they could never make them in pretty colours.  No, the lobster mittens always had to be made from white wool.  If the ladies knit mittens in any other colour the lobster fishermen would not buy them.  The lobster fishermen believed coloured mittens would bring Bad Luck on the boat. Nobody wanted Bad Luck, so the lobster mittens were always white.

While Mrs. Guier was at home knitting mittens, Mr. Guier (his first name was Edmund but all the kids called him Mr. Guier) ran a little store on the Main Road near the corner of Hector Street at what is now 3198 Highway #1.     

One of the things that Mr. Guier sold in his store was potato chips.  Because Howard Snow loves potato chips very much, he remembers this story about Mr. Guier.  One day about fifty years ago, about the time that Howard was eight or nine years old and his sister Susan (whose name is now Moores but was Snow then) was ten or eleven, Howard took ten cents from his allowance of twenty-five cents.  Or maybe it was from the money he made selling raspberries he picked, or selling fish he bought at the wharf (Howard’s mother had suggested to him that he sell these things to Amanda Beaupre or Adeline Brown and they always bought the berries or fish that he brought to them).  Howard isn’t exactly sure how he earned the money but he is very, very sure that it was ten cents.  He remembers this exactly because in those days potato chips cost either ten cents for a nice chubby bag or five cents for a small bag and these chips were definitely ten cent Hostess potato chips.  He bought them at Mr. Guier’s store. 

These chips were not like regular potato chips. These chips did not make that crackly sound when he picked them up or bit into them.  These chips made no sound at all.  These chips were kind of soggy and they were bendy chips.  Anyway Howard told Mr. Guier that his chips weren’t right and asked Mr. Guier for a new bag.  Perhaps Mr. Guier was in a cranky mood as old people sometimes are, or perhaps Mr. Guier did not understand how bendy Howard’s chips were, or perhaps there was a different reason altogether, but Mr. Guier just said that it wasn’t his fault that Howard’s chips weren’t right and he would not give him a new bag.

Howard was very sad about the chips.  When he went home, he told Susan about the problem.  She decided right away that something should be done.  She knew that Howard was not as good a talker as she was.  As a matter of fact, a few years earlier she did not think he should start school because his talking was so bad.  He used to call her “Ean” instead of “Susan”, he called his cousin Charlotte “Larlot” and when he said Georgie Crocker’s name it sounded like “Dordzie”.  Anyway Howard’s talking was a lot better than it used to be, but she was still a much better talker.

Howard and Susan Snow - 1954 or 55

Up the hill she marched, carrying the chips, to Mr. Guier’s store. 

Now fifty years is a long time.  So long in fact that no one can remember exactly what Susan said to Mr. Guier about Howard’s potato chips.  But everyone remembers this.  Susan Snow threw that ten cent bag of Hostess potato chips on Mr. Guier’s floor and then she told Mr. Guier very loudly that neither she nor her brother would ever be back in the store again. 

And neither of them did go back.

Christmas 2009
by Howard and Madeleine

No comments:

Post a Comment