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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Market Day

This fine Greek Revival building still stands in downtown Trenton. Over the years it has housed the police station and market building, with awning roofs around its perimeter to shelter the produce stalls of visiting farmers. Today it is home to the Trent Port Museum, with a fine little theatre on the second floor.

The market square was just down the street from 134 Front Street, home to Al Purdy and his mother Eleanor in the 1920's and 30's. Al shares his very earliest memories of  an experience when he briefly lost track of his mother.

"I was about three years old.....
..A farmer and his wife were passing by in their horse-drawn wagon, on the way to market with a load of farm produce. They heard me bawling, stopped, and tried to find my mother. But she wasn't in sight or sound. Speculating that my mother might have gone to market herself, they took me onto their wagon. We clopped off to market while the farm-wife tried to comfort me with soothing words. But I was not to be comforted so easily.
The market was jammed with people. Farm wagons piled with bright orange pumpkins, yellow onions and brown potatoes were backed up at the market square. Puppies in cages awaited buyers. Chickens squawked in other cages...."

Purdy describes sheer terror. And the way it stays with one, always threatening to return.

Passage quoted above is from Al's autobiography 'Reaching for the Beaufort Sea' published by the very fine Harbour Publishing in 1993. (pages 12-13)

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