CYRIL MOOERS

 

 

Cyril was born in Milton, Queen's County in 1931, the middle child of 7.  He had 3    sisters, Jean, Judy and Dorothy (Dot) and three brothers, Dickie, Johnny and Murray.  His parents were John Franklin Mooers & Bertha Krause Lewis.  “During the war” they moved to Dartmouth and his father worked as a mechanic for Harbour Motors.  He went to St Patrick's School – a private Roman Catholic School staffed by Nuns.  “They sure taught us our manners.”  He liked reading but was losing interest in school at age 16 when he heard there was an opening for a “cookie” -  a cook's assistant on board CCGS Franklin in St. John, NB.  “I threw my school books in the ditch and took off,” he says.  He had completed Grade 8 – the end of his formal schooling but says, “I never stopped learning”.

 In 1949 – at the age of 19 he married Shirley Oickle and they had 6 children – 4 girls & 2 boys.  During those years he worked as a cook on National Sea Trawlers.  The children were raised in Milton.  His wife had a “drinking problem” and they divorced in 1966 or '67.  He married again later to “Anne Andrews” but “that didn't last either.”

 He had a “bad accident” in the early '70's and was told he would never work again, “except maybe sweeping floors.”  He then went on to obtain a “welding ticket” from a trade school in Dartmouth which was located in the old Sugar Refinery.  He went to work building the oil rigs and at the Trenton Car Works but eventually went back to cooking on the trawlers for National sea.

In 1980 he moved back to Milton – it seems most of his children were still living there.  At that time he learned basket making from “old Johnny Francis” a Micmac man living in Milton.  “There used to be a lot of them living around Milton but they got moved to the reserves.”   He also learned wood carving on his own and began making knives with carved handles.  He began travelling around demonstrating basket making at various re-enactments and craft fairs in Ontario.  One of the high lights was when he was asked to teach basket making to a class of “slow learners”  in Valley Heights School in Simcoe, Ontario.  He really enjoyed that, even helping a student who only had the use of one arm to make a basket.  He also won a prize for a basket he entered in a craft Exhibition in Ontario.  He was so popular that he had a hard time getting enough baskets made to his trips to Ontario.  In recent years his health has not been good and his trips to Ontario have been curtailed.

 For the past few years he has been a regular visitor to our Museum bringing his baskets to sell and demonstrating his craft for visitors.  He brings his delicious cinnamon rolls to our pot-luck suppers.  Cyril is “always happy go lucky” and doesn't worry about anything.  He enjoys life and is always ready to learn something new.

 

 

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