Keith and Eva Coolen

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Eva Christian Coolen was born in 1924 in Upper Prospect, daughter of Hilton Christian and Muriel Duggan. Eva's grandparents are Nathan Duggan and Monetta Mason who grew up in Prospect. Her Grandfather Christian was the first lighthouse keeper on Betty's Island starting in 1904. She had three brothers and one sister. She attended school in the village where the Sisters of Charity taught. Her family kept hens and pigs, and a garden. She remembers her mother in front of the stove singing to the children.

Keith Coolen was born in 1922 and brought up in East Dover. His parents are Richard Coolen and Mabel Beck. Keith's grandparents are Martin Beck and Jessie Redmond. He had three brothers and four sisters. Keith went to a one-room school in the village with between thirty-five to forty students, all being taught by one teacher. He finished grade eight and started grade nine before he left to go on the fishing boat with his father. His favourite subjects in school were English, and Geography. He didn't like Math.

Growing up, Keith weeded the garden, looked after the hens and cow, made splits for the stove to help get the fires started, and cut firewood. He remembers skating in the winter whenever possible or coasting on the hills, and playing ball in the summer. He says, "We made our own fun, fishing off the wharf, making little boats and sailing them." His first job was working on the highway, smashing rocks with a hammer. Later in Halifax he was employed digging ditches and putting cement in them for which he was paid 30 cents an hour. He also worked on an extension of the Simpson building in Halifax and at the shipyards.

Keith and Eva married in 1944. They met at a church picnic. The wedding took place in Upper Prospect and it is remembered as quite a party because afterward he was headed for the Army. He had already taken his physical and was ready to go when the shipyard he worked for refused to release him. He was considered too valuable to the yard. They raised four children, all boys.

Both Eva and Keith grew up during the Depression and learned to be frugal and to realize the value of the things they owned. Both say it was "good times." Keith says, "Before radio or television there was a lot more compatibility between neighbours and people .... were all pretty much in the same circumstances. Nobody was well-to-do......." They both recalled how things changed with World War II, changing for the better with fish bringing in higher prices.