Volume 2 – The Contract is Signed

Good Morning Everyone! Well, it’s finally done! The contract for writing Volume 2 of A Wholesome Horror has been signed. I have one year to come up with research and a written manuscript with more information about poor houses in Nova Scotia.

I have already done research into a few things I did not cover in the first book of poor houses and have an idea of topics I would like to add in this next book. I am thinking of adding a chapter about Children in the Poor House and Women in the Poor House. Children would have had different experiences in a poor house where, depending upon their age, would have been adopted out or indentured out to businesses.

Just the other day I had a message from a woman whose great grandmothers were ‘committed’ to a poor house asylum. I have had several of these messages and decided to devote a chapter to the specific experience of women in poor houses.

I’m also interested in writing about Immigrants in poor houses, however, that would limit me to the homes located in Halifax and other port towns.

I have found some stories about people in poor houses in the oddest locations. These stories are usually written about in passing and, like a nugget of gold, I dig deeper into documents and find more information about this ‘passing story’.

I am still looking for information about the poor homes in Cape Breton (Ingonish and North Sydney) but researching in a pandemic certainly has it’s limits! I can do research on line, interviews on the telephone or on Skype, but getting to the Archives and just digging is not possible any more. I miss you terribly Public Archives of Nova Scotia!!

My question is, What do you, gentle reader, think I should include in this second book? Do you have a suggestion? A Story? A Complaint? (please do not call me up and tell me how wonderful it was to work there! See my last post.) Do you want more images? More details? Message me or comment on here and I shall see what I can find in my research digging!

P*ssing People Off with History…

I looked at the telephone when it rang. It said “Private” caller. Hmm. I don’t owe any bills so I answered. The woman asked to speak to me. I informed her she had reached me. She said she was flipping through my book about Poor Houses. “Who is this?” I asked. “Oh I’m not going to tell you” she said “for confidentiality reasons. But I worked at a poor house and you have it all wrong.” “Okay, thanks for letting me know” I said and hanged up the phone as she was sputtering and going No! No! No! at the other end.

If you are not going to identify yourself, I am not talking with you.

This is not the first call I have received about my book. I have received a few phone calls from people who are irate that I have recorded history that they believe is ‘wrong’. And they base their beliefs on the fact that they worked in a home or a family member worked in a home.

I did a visit with an elderly gentleman a while back. He asked me to come to his house and he was almost spitting nails at my book. It turned out his family members had run a poor house in rural Nova Scotia and he did not like what I wrote. It reflected badly on his family members. He told me all about how wonderful it was in the poor house, how everyone was treated ‘like family’ and how he had a wonderful time growing up there. That is terrific for him. I’m glad you have good memories.

However, it is one thing to grow up on a poor farm as the cherished family child and it is another thing to be forced into a poor farm because of your economic situation.

It is one thing to CHOOSE to work for pay in a Poor House and another thing to be forced to live there because of your economic situation.

Both working there and being raised as a cherished child means you had a choice ffor your life. Being forced to live there means you had NO CHOICE.

Working there meant you could go home to your own autonomy in the evenings. Being raised as a cherished child of a poor house administrator means your status in your local school did  not make you the subject of mockery and jeers. It means you have someone to protect you.

It is as if you currently work for the Department of Community Services here in Nova Scotia, making $50,000 a year while regulating those in poverty and doling out $900 a month for a family to live on then telling the researcher/writer that “Really, the welfare isn’t that bad. After all I worked for them.” Spare me your bullshit.

Poor people in history and today are treated as they are at fault for their poverty and are shamed for their circumstances. Poor people are ‘sinners’ because of their poverty.

So don’t call me up and expect me to listen to you ‘explain’ to me how the poor house really wasn’t ‘that bad’. I’m not interested. AFChurch.map.ph.clementsport