Item AAAB5774 - Arthur Mayse interview

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Arthur Mayse interview

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  • sound recording

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AAAB5774

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  • 1984-03-28 & 30 [date recorded] (Creation)

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CALL NUMBER: T4133:0001 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Birth at Peguis Reserve, Manitoba; early memories of Swampy Cree people at Peguis Reserve; memories of father, Reverend A.W. [Amos William] Mayse; father's tales of the Boer War; fraternizing; with the enemy; father emigrated to Canada; worked as a carpenter, became minister; father was in WWI; war wounds; was in Boer prison camp; earlier release by Jan Smuts; YMCA rep in WWI; back to Winnipeg; refused commission in Black and Tans; rural ministry in Manitoba; took salary partly in trade and had first pick of charity clothes; Mr. Mayse hated school; his father was self-taught and had a good library; read everything, including religious material; moved to British Columbia. [TRACK 2: blank.];

CALL NUMBER: T4133:0002 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Living in [Port] Hammond BC; first work experience; father's church in Nanaimo; primitive conditions in the coal mines; clothing and equipment of miners; many beer parlours in Nanaimo; father's popularity; favorite fishing spots; anecdote of hazardous fishing trip; Turner rowboats prized; commercial fishing; early commercial fishing methods and boats; memories of Sointula fishermen; Sointula pukka fighting; Nanaimo miners fished for trout, not salmon; early trout fishing equipment; social consciousness; father never was a union miner; lied to get into army; South Africa; Reverend Mayse went underground in Nanaimo mine accidents; panic in town; miners invited Reverend Mayse underground, managers didn't argue; dynamite misadventure. TRACK 2: Continuation of dynamite misadventure with Rev. Mayse; vegetable garden; powder bosses; Reverend Mayse destroyed cars; pit ponies on islands; Italian miners; soccer important in Nanaimo; library; Millstream Park; rugby versus soccer; holidays with father; Chinese persecuted in Nanaimo; Chinese accused of taking jobs; few Chinese women or children; fight between Chinese and Haida boys; Chinese cooks; idyllic but racist town; Mr. Mayse and friends made a water cannon to frighten Chinese; backfire; collecting cascara bark for money; cruel pranks; fights with air guns and crossbows made from umbrellas; good shot with slingshot; gangs racially mixed; miners lived in southern Nanaimo; some of the cottages still there [as of 1984].;

CALL NUMBER: T4133:0003 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Nanaimo childhood; Guy Fawkes day was celebrated as Bonfire night; Hallowe'en destructive; Nanaimo's tamale wagon; miners' children; fishing and writing at Cowichan Bay; Reverend Mayse sided ;with the workers; holidays at Cowichan Bay; acquiring a dugout canoe; shaman procured canoe by threats; Indian fishing methods; most gear was cedar; old style Cowichan sweaters described; Padre Cook of Cowichan; Queen Victoria medal; John Page and the medal; shaman had grape arbor and soul box; healing and hurting with soul box; rite of boys purification among Cowichans; Wolf Song was stolen from ;the Haida after the Battle of Sansum Narrows circa 1820 to 1840. Haida blamed for other raids; Haida slaughters and weapons used. Reverend Mayse left Mr. Mayse to his own way on holidays. TRACK 2: 38; pound salmon won prize; Bruce McKelvie; first sale of fiction; principal angry but kept on; Oyster River with Reverend Mayse; memories of old-timer James McIvor; washed ashore from sloop; McIvor ran cattle; threatened loggers; tea with McIvor; McIvor's customs; McIvor angry when offered help; McIvor's nephew visited briefly; tried to buy wife; McIvor fishing with haywire; hated cities; died in Comox in 1940's. Walter Woodiss, Oyster River old-timer, storyteller; tall tale of salmon; Woodiss's feud with a black bear and accidental killing of same; Woodiss's Inn; Percy Elsie "mayor of Oyster River"; fried chicken known as fried seagull; ghost at Comox; WWII airman at Comox rode his bicycle through "Dancing Annie".;

CALL NUMBER: T4133:0004 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Indian rancherees; shaman Cultus Tommy; Chinook trade jargon terms; Padre Cook well loved; friend at Cumberland; stories of Ginger Goodwin; Cumberland memories of Ginger Goodwin and hostility; to trial and government; Dominion police were hated, man hunters; no shame in evading the draft; met Cougar (Cecil) Smith; Mr. Mayse now lives in Cougar Smith's house; Cougar Smith's peculiarities; Roderick Haig-Brown, great Canadian writer; friendship with Haig-Brown; dam on the Campbell River broke his heart; last meeting with Haig-Brown; last impressions; better known outside Canada; Haig-Brow;n a fine and pioneering fisherman; fished steelhead. Mr. Mayse disliked high school; paid for clothing with poetry prize won at UBC three years in a row. TRACK 2: Mr. Mayse paid UBC tuition by logging in the summer under a false name; BC loggers and equipment; railroad logging; unions; woods accidents; logged Upper Vancouver Island; logging camp cooks; anecdote of 'foul feeder'; fight between logger and foul feeder; logging camp cook; flunkies, bed makers, logging camp pump tenders; eccentric and proud train men; high riggers; Harold Larson would post on a spar; woods near-misses; spark catchers jobs; bunkhouse moving accident; Paddy the straw boss; Paddy nearly caught in a blast; lemon extract mad man incident; bringing out man lost in the woods; gone mad, tried to escape his friends; wild Great Dane dogs abandoned in woods; harassed spark catchers; Mayse had to shoot one.;

CALL NUMBER: T4133:0005 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Great Danes hunted in Pike's Peak area; shot one; partner Paddy Gorman; Paddy attacked by a cougar while snoozing; scraps of loggers songs; never wrote them down, always regretted it; logging; company owners were remote; unions starting camps; decision logging versus writing; went to the Vancouver Province; space writing for Province; offered staff job; clannish and proud reporters; story ;of ascent of Mount Waddington; two expeditions at once; Mr. Mayse carried homing pigeons in a basket to file the story; rough country; beauty and tragedy of the pigeons; walking out to tidewater hungry; a ghost story at Leefall Point, Mount Waddington, where a climber had fallen to his death. TRACK 2: Worked at the Vancouver Province as Torchy Anderson's junior man; they covered a huge forest fire that threatened Campbell River and Courtenay on Vancouver Island [Sayward fire, 1938]; Torchy was Mr. Mayse's mentor and friend; longshoremen riots; Torchy was fearless; Torchy squealed when angry; his grandfather saw a Sasquatch; the Rum Tum Club and the Sonofabitch Club; creating a story on injured trapper at Mission. Mr. Mayse wrote police constable's report while drunk; cop demoted; Torchy and his wife Marion; moved to Saltspring Island; memories of Province newspaper women in 1930's Vancouver; wild party on Grouse Mountain; Christmas cheer and story of upside down reindeer; camps for single unemployed men; joining the American Newspaper Guild; had BC union card number 3; union's failure; left holding the bag; not fired but put behind the eight ball; refused marrying raise.;

CALL NUMBER: T4133:0006 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1984-03-28 & 30 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Mayse quit the Vancouver Province and joined the Vancouver Sun. The Sun was tougher and wilder; front page exclusives as revenge; union succeeded later; hostility to union. Mr. Mayse drafted and discharged for TB scars; army lost files; returned to the Sun as military writer; Mr. Gallagher, an alleged spy; moved to Toronto with no job, $100, a wife and a dog. Selective service twits said there were no jobs; walked into a job at Maclean's. Toronto run of luck; sold short stories to the Saturday Evening Post; break fiction editor of Maclean's; a few good Canadian writers; editor bought fiction; Calvinist, liked gloomy tales, had to trick him; Canadian writers were "cry-babies"; Americans were pros. TRACK 2: Canadian writers resented criticism; Mayse emulated American writers; today's market poor for short stories; in the 1940s and 1950s the stories were not literary but a good product; wrote serials for Saturday Evening Post; later published as novels; approached by an agent; returned to the coast; end of fiction markets; never seen as a serious writer; writing is lonely work; Jack Scott criticized Mr. Mayse's success in the U.S.; considered a move to the U.S.; writer's; work should speak for itself; but book tours are necessary; dislikes writer's grants except for poets; many writers are poseurs; major literary figures in Canada; dislikes commercial versus literary distinction; Mr. Mayse now writes a newspaper column; wrote for "The Beachcombers"; column is a good platform; a lucky and happy man; importance of luck.

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Susan Mayse, 1984-03-03

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Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-295.

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  • Copying Restriction: None. [As per verbal instructions from donor.]
  • Copyright Status: Copyright assumed to be held by Susan Mayse.

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Accession number(s): T4133

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speaker: Arthur William Mayse, interviewer: Susan Winifred Mayse

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