I don't know much more about coal mining than the rest of them. What I do know is that I tried to scratch a living at it while I was at it.
I didn't pack it in when the depression was on because -this place right here always had a day's work. They come clear from B.C. to scratch a day or two of work. You can go all over the world and find some soul that has been to Minto and done some sort of work.
Well, I never cared too much for digging coal. If I had my life to live over again - of course you know it's too late -- I'd never go down a coal mine again. I didn't put much more than 20 years underground. I came out in 1948. I then worked on the strips until 1968.
I still go to the Hootenanny every Sunday night to dance and watch the girls trying to attract attention.
I was down in the mine when I was 9 years old. That's when I first went down. I've been in there mines about 37 years all together.
My dad worked in the mines a lot, he was kind of a foreman. My brothers worked underground and I took my boys underground. According to Frank Coakley, "Billy was a hard man, boy. He ain't very big but, I'm telling you, it took some kind of man to overcome him. He appeared to enjoy fighting. He went to Cape Breton one time. He was telling me that he was going down for a week with his buddy to work in the mines. His buddy said, now, Spencer, keep your damn mouth shut down there or these Cape Bretoners will kill you. Billy said, I know they'll kill me, and, the first night they were none of them Cape Bretoners could do a thing with him. Quite a lad, Billy!"