It seems that everyone had a mud story, especially the Moms. Even 60 years after the build, their memories of red clay and pink underpants were vivid. With the passage of time, that hardship softened into humour.
“Oh gosh, the red clay. Oh, my it was awful. My kids’ underpants! None of them had white underpants. They were all red or burgundy or whatever. You couldn’t get it out, you could make it lighter or change the colour but once it was in there!” -Deloris Branchaud
“(At first) there was no phone service except for the one phone in our backyard on a telephone pole, so anyone wanting to make a call had to come through our red clay from front to back to get to the phone… but that was quite a nice way of getting to know people”. -Avryle Wilson
“Everything was dyed red. I used to dry leggings and coats beside the furnace and bang them against the wall to get the mud out.” -Barb Colleary
“The kids would come in covered in red clay so then you would put them in the stationary tub and wash them down.” -Jean Scobie
The men had their moments with the mud as well. The following befell Jim Burns:
“Workmen stomping around in “thundering great boots” left large holes which could rapidly fill with water, making odd sticky hazards in the sea of red mud. Out walking one night, Jim Burns stepped into one of those deep holes and found his rubber-booted leg firmly and trapped by the muck. He managed to work his leg out, but there was no way he could free the trapped boot; the best he could do was leave the boot where it was and keep slogging along with one bare foot.” From Rita Morrocco’s book: The Light from One Candle, pg. 126
Roy O’Grady talks about mud on the worksite (subtitles available in FR and EN). Watch the video with the transcription (EN).
Doloris Branchaud recalls the ‘Awful red clay’ (subtitles available in FR and EN). Watch the video with the transcription (EN).
Click to hear the audio and read the transcript of Barb Colleary speaking of the children in the mud.