Sarah Fraser grew up in Central Port Mouton, not far from Carters Beach. Back in those days, kids played outside a lot so in the summer months, Sarah and her friends walked to the beach in their bare feet over dirt roads. During the winter, she and her friends enjoyed coasting. When they were inside, they enjoyed playing dominoes, checkers as well as snakes and ladders. Though she lived so close to the ocean, she was never interested in going fishing.
In her childhood days, most people in the community travelled by horse and buggy. She did not travel to Liverpool, because it was just too far away. She remembered that the Robertson family, who lived next door, had a car but most families didn’t. Eventually her brother, Ralph Fraser, bought a Model T Ford and she went for her first drive in an automobile. She wasn’t afraid at all; she rather liked it.
Back then, there were two stores in the community, one owned by the Swaines and another owned by the Robertsons. She remembered McIntyre’s store opened later.
She attended the small school (now a private residence) in Central Port Mouton, near the Port Mouton Baptist Church. She walked to and from school everyday. It was near her family’s home so she said there was no excuse not to go because it was so close. She completed grade 10 and said that was enough!
Sarah and her family regularly attended the Port Mouton Baptist Church. She sang in the church choir, as well. Every Sunday night, they would go to a different home in the community for a hymn sing.
On Sunday afternoon, Sarah and her friends, Stella Frausel, Nora and Effie Wagner and Eva Payzant, would always go for a walk. Sarah sadly mentioned to me, “All of those friends have now passed away”.
It was during one of the Sunday walks that a young gentleman from Cape Sable Island, Murray Smith, came driving through Port Mouton in his Model T Ford. Murray stopped and asked the group of girls if they wanted to go for a drive in his car. The girls accepted his offer.
Murray had moved to Liverpool and was an auto mechanic. He was employed at George Milford’s garage on Main Street (present site of Reynold’s Pharmachoice).
Sarah moved to Liverpool when she was in her twenties. She worked for Garneau Seaman in his restaurant on Main Street (present site of Home Hardware). She also worked at a bakery on Market Street (next to present day Bank of Montreal), owned by Doug Crouse.
For the next few years, Sarah enjoyed drives with Murray. Finally, after courting for five years, they decided to get married. They were married in the church parsonage in Brooklyn. Sarah said she didn’t want a large church wedding because it was just too expensive.
Sarah and Murray Smith lived on Meadow Pond Lane in Liverpool, where they had a small farm consisting of cows, pigs, chickens and one horse. They made their own hay and worked hard. Sarah said it was a lot of fun. Neighbors would buy milk and eggs from them. The neighborhood kids loved to visit and see the farm animals. Sarah always had homemade cookies for the kids, too.
After 51 years of marriage, Murray passed away in 1993. He was 88.
Sarah stopped working on the farm, but continued to live there.
She also enjoyed travelling. Her sisters lived in Maine, so she would visit them every summer. She remembers taking the Yarmouth ferry very early in the morning, with her niece, Ethel Heasman, to make the trip to Maine. She loved taking the ferry and she continued to go every year until she was nearly 100 years old.
When Sarah was approaching her mid 90’s, she decided to move to Waterloo Place (Seniors Apartments) in Liverpool. She remained there, looking after herself, until she was almost 101. She then decided to move to Stonehaven Lodge in Port Mouton. Sarah loves living at Stonehaven Lodge and never dreamed she would be living back in Port Mouton; so close to where she was born and grew up. She often sits in the sunroom looking out over Port Mouton Bay and admits that she has always loved living so close to the water.
Unlike most people her age, Sarah takes very few pills. Each morning she takes a cod liver oil capsule and a vitamin C. She recently started taking a pill for slightly high blood pressure, but that is all. Her advice for living a long life is to “stay away from the doctors and pills”.
Sarah took a puff on a cigarette only once and did not like it. She also took a sip of beer and said “that was enough of that!”. Neither appealed to her and she wondered why anyone would like to do either. She never got her drivers license, but she saw on television that cars are now being made that can drive themselves and she said with a smile “I think I might get one of those!”
As far as she knows, no one else in her family has lived to be over 100. Her dad died at 79 and her mom was 83. A few of her sisters made it into their 90’s, but none lived to be the age that Sarah has. She is the last surviving member of her immediate family. Sarah has one son, Jim, who lives in New Brunswick as well as two grand daughters and four great grandchildren.
At more than 104 years of age, it is easy to see that Sarah Smith is a remarkable woman. Her memory is sharp and her sense of humor is amazing. She uses a cane to help with walking but needs no other assistance at all. Before bedtime each night, she sets the next day’s breakfast table for all of the residents at the lodge. She also makes her own bed every morning. She enjoys being part of the Stonehaven family. To my knowledge, Sarah Smith is the oldest person living in Queens County.
As she reminisced about her adventures over the last 104 years, she was quick to say “I’ve had a wonderful life”.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org