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Work life of Leo Hayse (Told by wife Jane Hayse)

Leo Hayse in his garden at home

Leo Hayse

As I was sitting with Jane Hayse in 2013 she told us about her Husband (Leo Hayse) and his travels away to work.

Leo was 15 when he started working. His first job was over in Bay L’argent, in a herring store.  At 16 he worked in Glenwood in the lumber woods.

Lee's brother Lonz operates a machine while working on the railway

Leo’s brother Lonze Hayse “on the track”  CP Rail

From there he travelled to the CP Railway, in her words “the track”, as it was referred to locally. He spent three years working on the railways.

After he left the track, there was construction work that was  started on the airport in Gander and he had a hand in that as well.  Leo also had a try at fishing over in Fermeuse for a while and as well worked in Trepassy in a cookhouse where his father worked.

Leo did go to school to achieve a trade in heavy equipment which helped because he acquired a job with the department of highways.

Lee and Jane Hayse’s photo taken at the wedding supper

Jane Hayse wedding photo

Once married in 1969 he worked in Churchill Falls and Labrador City. Back then when work ran out there was no staying home, you had to start working somewhere else as soon as a job became available.  There weren’t many permanent jobs so you had to take what you could get Jane says. He worked about 20 years as a painter before retiring.

Times were hard back then for a family so Leo had to go away to support them.  While away working he would send home his pay as a money order to pay the bills and do some grocery shopping. She says it wasn’t grocery shopping like today.  They would go to the local store in Parker’s Cove with a note of what they needed.  Sometimes they would even have to write it down (charge it).  There were two shops that you could pick up your groceries and pay later and they were Fred Synard’s and Alb Synard’s.  Fred would pack up whatever was on the note and bring it to her.

His first check from Lab City was for $38.00 which she still has the stub for.  He would get $1.47 an hour at that time.  At the end of his contract he would receive a bonus for the job if everything passed inspection.  That bonus would be taken for their Christmas money.

Christmas shopping was done from the catalogue. It used to be the Eaton’s catalogue or Simpson Sears.

“Hardships was had by a lot of people in those days.”  Jane Hayse said upon finishing her interview with us. ” Things weren’t easy but we got through it and we’re better people for it I tell you.”


Credits: Special Thanks to Jane Hayse