My dad came here from New Glasgow in 1902. My parents had eight boys and three girls - and every damn one of us worked in the coal mine. Every damn one of us. I've seen eight of us in the coal mine at one time. I said, Jeez, if we ever have an explosion down here, they're going to wipe us out.
Now we're whittled down to two boys and two girls. All the rest are dead.
I had no education - when I left school, I was in grade three. What bit of knowledge I have, I picked up myself. The way I figured it, If one man can learn to read and write, why can't another man learn to read and write?
I started to work in the pits when I was 13, trapping. Then I left the mine and went into the First World War. I was with the Cape Breton Highlanders. In 1940, I joined the army again. After the war, I came back to No. 2.
In 1929, I got my overman's papers. In 1940, I wrote for underground manager but I failed.
This is what you call a coal company house. I got one of the nicest views in the Glace Bay area. Before my time, there used to be a coal mine right below us. During the 1925 strike, we'd go down there and dig coal.
All the pictures you see on the wall - some of these are my grandchildren and some are my daughters. We had nine children of our own and adopted three girls and a boy. People told me, You're crazy. I said, No, I'm not. I said, If we're not rewarded down here, maybe God will reward us in Heaven. I don't know how we did it on a coal miner's small wages, but we brought them all up.
I was president of the Army-Navy Club four times. In the fifties, I was president of the old Hub Club. I've been a service officer of the Legion for about 30 years.