Visiting Baxter’s and Pearson’s Stores

As youngsters growing up, we spent a lot of time at our Grandmother and Grandfather
Collins’ home, just east of Read Street (formerly Road) on the Galway Road.
Most weekdays, our Grandfather would be working at some sawmill (Handley’s,
Austin’s or Phillips’) and so, on the weekends, we would all pile into his old car and off to
Baxter’s Store we would go. I do not know why but, for some reason, our Grandmother was
terrified of driving up long hills and so, she would get out at the bottom of every hill and walk up
to the top where we were waiting for her. It was either my Grandfather’s driving or the
condition of his car. As I recall, most of his cars had no brakes and so I suspect that that was the
problem. With a family of 14 children, there was no extra money for a new car. She would get
out at O’Brien’s Hill going in to Clear Bay (Baxter’s) and get in again at Coffee’s Hill coming
out. She would do this going to church each Sunday as well.
Most Sundays, we set out to get supplies at Baxter’s and, on our way out from Baxter’s,
we would stop to visit the White family: Bill, Joe and Nellie. We would always enjoy tea, milk
and cookies. Also, if my Grandmother’s hens stopped laying eggs, Joe’s hens always seemed to
be laying. On several occasions, my Grandmother would ask Joe if his eggs were fresh. He
would blurt out, “FRESH, Mrs. Collins, they are fresh out of the hens’ a….!”.. My Grandmother
would get so flustered, as we could not use such language in front of her.
We have good memories of those days, especially staying with our Grandparents, even
though we were terrified of our Grandfather. His sons called him the Governor.
When we were a little older, Ann and Peter Pearson built a store in front of their house
and they always had a plentiful supply of pop and candy. This was great for us. Many days, we
would bike up to the store for a treat.
In those early days, most families were not very well-off and so, the Pearsons would
extend credit for up to a month, and that was a great help. I remember some cases where these
families would pay with tools or other items so they could buy some food. One particular family
was Charlie and Elsie Palmer. Charlie would generally work in the bush or sawmills, but he was
always short of cash. On one occasion, Charlie came into the store with a nice new logging
chain in exchange for some groceries. Several hours later, the Pearsons’ son-in-law, Jack
Huffman, came into the store and asked Peter if he had seen his chain that he had left on the store
I also remember the time when Bob Scarlett, who had just gotten his first car, came flying
into the parking lot on a wintery day planning on making a U-turn. Guess what: he took the gas
pumps right off their foundation. I do not remember when they replaced those pumps, but I am
sure they did.
I have great memories living on the Galway Road, and I would not trade them for

by Robert T. Allen