The Screw-Press

(Cecil Godwin)

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 merchants had over the people's lives.

Question:

  1. What do you think would have happened to Cec's Uncle Gerald if the Earls hadn't paid his fare to Montreal?

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