Archive for the ‘Education’ Category


Florence School – Combined Primary and Grade One (40 students)

Fill in the Blanks and e-mail me Please – CAPER


Starting with Row 1 in front:

1st Row à             _?___ ,  Elderick Kempt, Marie Jessome, ?? Gerrow, Evelyn Young, Marie Moffat, ___?___  , June Reardon

2nd Row -à   Peter MacDonald, Michael Young, Harry Gerrow, Jimmy Wallace,  ___?___ , ____?________?___ ,   ? Lovell

3rd Row-à    Barbara Jessome, SissyPatey, Geraldine Serroul, Kaye Mansfield, ___?___  ,  ___?___ , Eric Simm

4th Row à    Henry MacKeigan, Colin MacDonald, Peter White, Tom White, Peter O’Neil, Brian Micehitis, ___?___ , ___?___ ,

5th Row à    ___?___  , ___?___  , Thersa Nugent,  ___?___  , ___?___  , ___?___  , Lorreta Marks, ___?___  ,



Your Tools of the Trade of Darning

Hey do you remember when it was common practice to have your socks darned? A hole in a sock cannot just be sewed together with a needle and thread, this would cause a lump, when darning is used to cover the hole, no lump is made.
Some people would say why would you want to darn a sock, when you can just throw away socks with holes, and buy new ones? Have you ever had a pair of socks that fit so well and felt so right, not too tight, stays up and very comfortable? This would be one of those times to darn. How about a “security” sock, the ones your child just loves, or just a challenge, to see if you can do it? No matter what the reasons, you save bucks by repairing.

Darning socks is like trying to solve a puzzle. One must decide where to start and from there, the weaving begins, in and out until the patch is complete. Choose the wool that matches your sock in thickness and color. Use a round hard object (a round hard ball) to place inside the sock to hold the sock in place and maintain the hole in one position, while you work on it. The round hard object also helps guide the needle end to slip smoothly across the hole. Start by turning the sock INSIDE-OUT and work in good light. When darning a hole in a sock, the hole is slowly filled by weaving yarn in and out, from one side of the hole, to the other side of the hole, creating a network of yarn stitches which cross to fill the hole.

Darning Socks Images

In-side-out sock with ball inside, and first stitches placed across

Secondary stitches placed, and sock turned inside-out again

Thread a Darning Needle

To thread the needle, fold the wool in half, about an inch from the end of the wool. Pinch the wool between your fingers, and press it against the eye of the needle. The wool will easily slip through the eyelet of the needle.

Darning, Placing the Stitches

Trim off any ragged edges around the hole.
Start, by choosing a blunt needle with a large eye, and a length of yarn that is comfortable for you to handle. Do not make a knot at the end of the yarn.
Whether you darn a cotton sock, or a wool sock, the repair is the same, match the yarn to the sock.

Darning Egg – Can Use a Light Bulb
Use double yarn strand for heavy duty work socks and single strand for dress socks. Single strand yarn will do for light duty socks.
Acrylic yarn is the most available yarn, and can be used on every type of sock.
Start three stitches away from the hole, and leave about half an inch of yarn sticking out of the sock. From here on do an over the sock hole edge and then a under, on the other side of the hole.
Alternate the over and under of the hole edge, on each new row. This helps provide a smoothness, so you will not feel a lump in the sock.

Each row will be stitched the opposite of the preceding row. This helps blend the stitching to the sock. On the far side of the hole, stitch a couple of stitches into the sock before coming the other way (back towards you). Always go a couple of stitches past the hole on both sides. If the sock is badly worn around the hole, make a couple extra stitches past the hole. When you run out of yarn, just finish with a couple of stitches into the sock, and cut off the yarn, leaving about a half inch sticking out of the sock, do not knot the end. Add new yarn into the needle and start with two or three stitches into the sock and carry on, just like when you first started.
Completely cover the hole in one direction with yarn, you should have spaces between each row the thickness of the yarn.
Start the secondary stitches, keeping the yarn as close together as possible, to obtain a tight weave. It is under and over stitching until the hole is completed. Keep the wool tension moderate while darning. Use the end of the needle as you darn, to position the stitches for a uniform look.
Turn the sock inside out again for a finished look. For very large holes, because of the circumference of the darning ball, darn to the center of the hole, pull all the yarn through and then continue finishing the stitch across the hole

There is One – Let’s Get Started

How to Reinforce a Worn Sock

If you catch it early enough, before an actual hole develops, you can reinforce the area in question. Just start darning the area, using the worn, bare threads of the sock and weave in and out of them. You do not have to add the secondary stitches, just go back and forth until the weak area is completely covered.

You can even stitch in reinforcement on a new sock (preventive maintenance), reinforce the area that will be the first spot to wear. This will extend the wear time for the sock. You can use a entirely different color to add some flair

Darning Socks, Extra Tips

When first learning to darn, start with a shorter pieces of yarn, this lessens the wool from bunching into knots while drawing the yarn through the strands.
Later you will learn how to let the yarn “lay”, off to the side to prevent bunching, you can then lengthen the yarn as you master this technique.
At times, while darning, use the end of the needle to position the darned wool for consistency, this helps make a professional looking job.

On very large holes, darn to the center of the hole, pull all the yarn through, and continue on to the other side. The reason we do this is because of the circumference of the ball makes it difficult to weave all the way across, in one pass.

Darning Story

Way, way, back in elementary school, our teacher had everyone in the class, bring a darning needle, yarn and a sock with a hole in it. He was going to teach us how to darn a sock. In the first ten minutes, I had completed darning the hole in my sock and presented it to my teacher for inspection.  He took one look, took me aside, and wanted me to admit I had brought the completed darned sock from home and was pulling a “fast one”.
I quickly came up with a solution to clear my name, let the teacher cut a new hole in the sock, and I would darn the hole and clear my name. Done!  I was quickly delegated to help other crying students who were having a difficult time.


Darning cloth

In its simplest form, darning consists of anchoring the thread in the fabric on the edge of the hole and carrying it across the gap. It is then anchored on the other side, usually with a running stitch or two. If enough threads are criss-crossed over the hole, the hole will eventually be covered with a mass of thread.

Fine darning, sometimes known as Belgian darning, attempts to make the repair as invisible and neat as possible. Often the hole is cut into a square or darn blends into the fabric.

There are many varieties of fine darning. Simple over-and-under weaving of threads can be replaced by various fancy weaves, such as twills, chevrons, etc., achieved by skipping threads in regular patterns.

Invisible darning is the epitome of this attempt at restoring the fabric to its original integrity. Threads from the original weaving are unravelled from a hem or seam and used to effect the repair. Invisible darning is appropriate for extremely expensive fabrics and items of apparel.

In machine darning, lines of machine running stitch are run back and forth across the hole, then the fabric is rotated and more lines run at right angles. This is a fast way to darn, but it cannot match the effects of fine darning.

  • A darning egg is an egg-shaped ovoid of stone, porcelain, wood, or similar hard material, which is inserted into the toe or heel of the sock to hold it in the proper shape and provide a firm foundation for repairs. When the repairs are finished, the darning egg is removed. A shell of the tiger cowry Cypraea tigris, a popular ornament in Europe and elsewhere, was also sometimes used as a ready-made darning egg.
  • A darning mushroom is a mushroom-shaped tool usually made of wood. The sock is stretched over the curved top of the mushroom, and gathered tightly around the stalk to hold it in place for darning.
  • A darning gourd is a hollow dried gourd with a pronounced neck. The sock can be stretched over the full end of the gourd and held in place around the neck for

Pattern darning is a simple and ancient embroidery technique in which contrasting thread is woven in-and-out of the ground fabric using rows of running stitches which reverse direction at the end of each row. The length of the stitches may be varied to produce geometric designs. Traditional embroidery using pattern darning is found in Africa, Japan, Northern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Mexico and Peru.

Good Job of Darning Socks

Nine Steps to Darning

  1. Pick a thread that is close to the colour and thickness of the existing sock yarn. You can also use a dark color for horizontal stitching and a lighter color for vertical stitching. It doesn’t have to match exactly – no one is going to see the bottom of your foot.
  2. Thread the darning needle with one or two strands of thread, depending on the weight of the sock. Don’t tie a knot in the thread; that will leave a lump in your sock.
  3. Pull the sock over the darning egg. (A light bulb will also work if you are gentle.)
  4. Trim away any ragged edges, but don’t make the hole any larger.
  5. Sew running stitch for a few rows above and to either side of the hole.
  6. Push the needle through one end of the hole and make a large running stitch to the other side of the hole.
  7. Repeat back and forth until the hole is blocked up with parallel stitches.
  8. Now do the same technique across the parallel stitches, weaving in and out of the previous stitches.
  9. Fill in any gaps with more weaving and running stitch, until the hole is completely healed.


You Go Girl

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.

Welcome Aboard


Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

“First Female Black Fighter Pilot – You Have Come a Long Way Baby”


Early School Picture – Florence, Cape Breton

(Picture courtesy of Eric Simm)

This poor woman had 55 children in her class. Yet we have not heard that any of them turned into serial killers, or rapists or muderers.

Identify any? Please send me an e-mail. CAPER

I am pleased to note two of them are wearing Sailor Suits – good stuff.


Front Row extreme right: Audrey (Newton) Steele

This school picture of students at Bras d’Or School taken it is believed prior to the 1950s. If you can identify anyone please e-mail with the name of the person. Thank you. CAPER


L to R: Melvin Barrie – Grade 10, Dal MacDonald – Grade 11, Evangeline Graham – Grade 11, Nancy Jessome – Grade 10, David Robertson – Teacher, David Campbell – Grade 9

(Picture courtesy of Dennis Jessome from Nancy {Jessome} Gauthier – CAPER)


Where are they now? Send me an e-mail if you know.


Black Slaves – Some of Whom Came to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton

The Struggle of Blacks in Cape Breton – In the early 1900’s many immigrants came to Cape Breton as laborers to work for the Dominion Iron and Steel Company. They settled in the city of Sydney and in the Cape Breton mining towns of Glace Bay and New Waterford. Among the immigrants to settle in Cape Breton were West Indian Blacks from Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent, Guyana, and other Caribbean locations. Other Black settlers came from smaller Nova Scotia centers such as Guysborough and Tracadie. The plant hired individuals accustomed to tropical climates on the premise that they would be able to withstand the hot conditions associated with the steel making. One group of immigrants originally from the West Indies came over from Alabama because they were offered double the wages they were making. These individuals did not stay long as the harsh bitter winters were to difficult for them.

The West Indian immigrants continued to immigrate to Cape Breton for the first few decades of the 1900’s. Following the first group of wage laborers, there arrived a group of West Indians who established small businesses in Whitney Pier. They were proud owners of grocery, book, and jewelry stores, and provided other services such as shoemaking, tailoring, carpentry, and plastering. The immigration also brought professionals from West Indies to Canada. One of the more socially prominent immigrants was Doctor Alvinus Calder, a native of Grenada, and a graduate of McGill University who set up a practice in Whitney Pier. A lawyer named F.A. Hamilton, from Barbados, practiced law in Sydney and published a province wide weekly newspaper about Blacks called The Gleaner.

Religion – The West Indians formed different social organizations and worshipped in the churches of their choice. The early West Indians worshipped at St. Cyprian’s, St. Albans, Trinity United, the United Mission, and St. Philip’s African Orthodox Church. St. Philip’s became the focal point of the Black West Indian community. It is also the only African Orthodox parish in Canada.  St.Philip’s was established in 1921 as a result of a racial incident that occurred when the Black people of Whitney Pier were met with opposition to their attending a local church. Some blacks continued to attend services at the religious institutions. However, others did not feel comfortable attending and sought a church of their own. Thus came the need within the Black community of Whitney Pier for a church catering to their distinctive needs. Soon after the incident, members of the Black community applied to the African Orthodox Church in New York seeking permission to establish their own congregation in Sydney. Permission was granted and St. Philip’s African Orthodox Church was formed. St. Philips is proud of it’s African and West Indian background but welcome all races to the church. Often you will hear Archbishop Vincent Waterman state, “There is only one race – the human race.”

Black Lady of Poster – Note Willie O’Ree Hockey Player on Poster

Education – Education was a motivating force in the lifestyle of most of the families from the West Indies. Education meant opportunity. The children of the West Indian families knew early in life they needed to have an education. Both the quality and quantity of education would determine their future and their pursuit of happiness. The West Indians came as people who were already well educated and taught their children the value of education.  

Overcoming Obstacles The West Indians who served in the First World War fought as well as any other Canadians and received a measure of recognition. However, these same men and women often had to win respect all over again in the streets of Cape Breton. Fewer job opportunities were available to Blacks than to other workers in the steel and coal industries. Jobs offered to black laborers were usually known as “dirty jobs” such as laborer in the coke ovens department of the steel plant. (This would be the area, which lead to one of the worst toxic sites in Canada). Blacks from the West Indies were among many cultural groups recruited to work in the coke ovens. Advancement in the steel plant and coalmines was highly unlikely for Black people.  

In an attempt to have the public become more aware of the contributions by people of African descent, Black History Month was established. Now known as African Heritage Month, it is a celebration that takes place each year during the month of February. It began in 1926 in the United States by an African American named Dr. Carter G. Woodson.   Dr. Woodson selected February because it was the birth month of two significant people he believed were instrumental in the freedom of the slaves. They were President Abraham Lincoln, who brought emancipation into the United States, and Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who promoted the importance of education for his people. Since slaves were not permitted to read, write, or attend school, Douglass knew what had to be done to abolish slavery and uplift his people.In 1995, the House of Commons declared February as National Black History Month. African Heritage Month was never intended to restrict activities about Black history to once a year, as is often the case. It is a way to promote a culture that although significant in contributing to society, has often been ignored. It is time to reflect upon what has been done throughout the year. 

With Hard Work and Education Mayann became Lt Gov of Nova Scotia 



Community Profiles

Mayann FrancisMayann, Francis, a former resident of Whitney Pier is presently the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. She is a graduate of Dalhousie University and New York University. She served as the Director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She is the first Black woman to be appointed to positions of these magnitudes. She has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and on the boards in the interest of her community of Whitney Pier and for all of humanity. Mayann was also the first female Ombudsman of Nova Scotia.

Phyllis Arthur –was the first black schoolteacher in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Phyllis began her teaching career in 1955 at a one-room schoolhouse at Meadow’s Road, Sydney Forks, where she taught grades 1 through 8.

Phyllis never planned to become a teacher. Her decision to go to teachers’ college was largely the result of a discussion with then Sydney Academy principal, Dr. G.G, Campbell, who encouraged her to become a teacher.

Phyllis moved to Sydney and began her teaching career in Whitney Pier. She attended school herself in the Pier area and enjoyed the many ethnic backgrounds found in this community.

A few years ago, Community United for Black Education (CUBE) honored her as a role model for black students. Phyllis now retired remains busy doing volunteer work for many community organizations and her church.

Blacks have served in Canadian Forces in every conflict since 1812

Dr. Alvin Calder – Dr. Calder was born in Grenada. The first doctor of African descent to practice medicine in Cape Breton, he was respected and admired by many people. He served as the President of the Medical Association of Cape Breton for several years. Dr. Calder, along with F.A. Hamilton, were instrumental in the building of the Menelik Hall, the first Black owned community hall in the Maritimes.
Carl “Campy” Crawford – In 1964, he became the first Black municipal police officer east of Montreal. His friendly demeanor he had patrolling the streets of Sydney made him a role model to many. Campy was inducted into the Black Wall of Fame at the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia for his accomplishment.

Campy passed away in 2003 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Since his passing the Cape Breton Regional Municipality has established the Carl “Campy” Crawford Leadership Award in his honor and memory.

George Anthony Francis – George Anthony Francis was born in Santiago, Cuba and as a boy seemed to have a calling toward the ministry. At the age of 20, he moved to New York to pursue his studies in religion under the direction of the African Orthodox Church. After a time he was ordained a priest in the faith.

In 1940 he moved to Sydney and settled in at 19 Hankard Street, where he lived for the next 42 years. He presided over the congregation of the African Orthodox Church in Whitney Pier. In addition to the church duties he gave numerous time to community organizations.

In 1952, he was made a Commissioner of Oaths for the Province of Nova Scotia. In 1980, he received a Community Service Award from the government of NS and a citation for his services to the Canadian Red Cross Society. It should be noted that Fr. Francis was fluent in the Spanish language and acted a s a translator when needed.

In 1978, Fr. Francis became ill but continued working until his death in June of 1982 at the age of 74. Fr. Francis’ death left a void in the community in general but especially at St. Philip’s Church.

His love was like an adhesive that bound the community together.

F.A. Hamilton- F. A. Hamilton was born in the British West Indies. He came to Nova Scotia to attend Dalhousie Law School. After graduating from Dalhousie he became the first Black lawyer in Sydney. In 1950, he was the first Canadian Black to be appointed King’s Counsel. He also established the firs Black newsletter called the Nova Scotia Gleaner. Although published in Sydney, the paper provided news on all Black communities in Nova Scotia.Victor Jones- Victor was the first Black overman in the Glace Bay mines. For 32 years, he worked underground and another 3 on the surface. Now retired, he serves on various community groups and committees. If there is work to be done to support the Black community, Victory is willing to accept the challenge.

Blacks were quick to join the Canadian Military – War Hero Stanley Grizzle

Thomas (Tom) Miller– Thomas Miller was the first Black municipal alderman in the Atlantic Provinces. He was elected in 1955 to represent the constituents of Ward 5 in Sydney, NS. He served until 1972, leaving behind a legacy of community involvement and commitment to human rights. In his honor the City of Sydney (now the Cape Breton Regional Municipality) had established the Thomas Miller Human Rights Award. This award is presented annually to an individual dedicated to helping promote human rights.

Winston Ruck (1923-1992) – In 1940, Winston Ruck started his first shift at the Sydney Steel Plant. He was elected to the executive of the Steelworker’s Union, local 1064, in 1964 and for another term in 1967. In 1970, he was the first Black to become President of local 1064 of the Steelworker’s Union and later he became Area 5 representative of the United Steelworkers of America. After he retired from the Steel Plant, Winston was asked to assist the Black United Front, an organization that was formed to advocate for the rights of African Nova Scotians. He took the challenge and spent several years guiding Black United Front and their affairs. Mr. Ruck worked tirelessly for the betterment of Black Nova Scotians and in 1990 Winston was awarded the Thomas Miller Human Rights Award.

Jonathan Skeete– (1952 –1987) He was the first indigenous African Nova Scotian from Cape Breton Island to be recruited to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He generously gave his time to the youth of his community, Whitney Pier. He provided guidance and was an exemplary role model. In memory of the contributions he made to the community, the United Mission Youth Centre holds the Jonathan Skeete Memorial fun Run each August a memorial baseball game in his and Carl “Campy” Crawford’s memory. The Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sponsored an event called Operation Show and Tell honoring the late Jonathan Skeete and saluting all African Nova Scotians.

Clotilda Yakimchuk– In 1954, she graduated from the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Hospital School of Nursing. She was the first person of African descent to serve in the capacity of the president of the Nurses Association of Nova Scotia. She also served as Vice Chair of the Eastern Regional Health Board. Clotilda retired from the Cape Breton Regional Hospital as the Director of Education Services in 1994, but continues to volunteer her time on many boards and committees.



Colonel M.A. LeLoup began her military career as an officer in the Cape Breton Militia District and joined the Regular Force in 1979. Upon graduating from UPEI in 1981 with a Business Administration Degree, she was posted to CFB Borden where she was employed as a Supply Officer. Her subsequent postings have included tours at CFS St John’s, Newfoundland; Mobile Command Headquarters, Montreal; the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights; the Combat Training Centre and 3 Area Support Group in Gagetown; and the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

She has completed two UN tours: she spent one year (1991/92) with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) as the Deputy Commanding Officer/Chief Logistics Officer for the Canadian Contingent. She later spent two years (1996 – 1998) in UNDOF HQ as the Chief Logistics Officer living in Syria. In 2003/2004 she spent six months in the Arabic Gulf as the Deputy Commanding Officer/J4 of the Theatre Support Element for Operation ATHENA.

Her command appointments have included Officer Commanding Supply Company at the Combat Training Centre Gagetown, and four years as the Commanding Officer of the Technical Services Branch at 3 ASG Gagetown. In 2002, she was appointed G5 (Structure and Future Plans) in Land Force Atlantic Area Headquarters in Halifax. In June 2005 she was promoted to her current rank and appointed Director of Supply Chain Operations at NDHQ.

Colonel LeLoup is a graduate of the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College.