It was the year of 1944. At the time Albert Finlay was about 15 years old, nearly two years older than me. He was a very hardworking young man and like all young men would like to have his own money. He wanted to go away to work to earn it.
When Thomas Francis returned from St. John’s, Albert asked him if he got his clothes bag. His father’s reply went something like this, “Albert, it isn’t much use of you going away because there are a good many boys and men went away and they got no work. They are coming back home.” Thomas had been talking to a few fellows from St. Vincents.
Finally Albert said to his father “I am going even if I have to put my clothes in a flour sack.”
So Albert went up to his cousin Mike Finlay and he got a loan of his clothes bag and he packed up his meagre belongings.
The next week the taxi came for him. It was a really cold Winter day. Albert had to walk up to the top of the hill to meet the taxi. I was young at the time but I can remember it well, a young boy with a bag on his back walking in the cold. He wore a three quarter coat and knee rubbers. Can you imagine at his age leaving home for the first time? But he was very determined to find work.
So off he went to the west coast of the province. A year or so later he got his younger brother Gerald to go in there. He never looked back. I think the first or second Christmas they were up there they spent it in a cabin in the woods.
Albert was a hard worker, a good provider. He made the west coast his home, and settled in a community called Pasadena. He married a beautiful woman, raised a lovely family, and made a good living. I don’t think he ever regretted the day he left home as a child, you could say, to seek his fortune!
Note: Mary is the step sister of Albert. Her mother Louisa O’Neill married Albert’s father Thomas Finlay, after their respective spouses died at young ages. Mary lives in St.Shotts with her husband Christopher Molloy. They have 13 children, 35 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.