I recall a conversation, back in 1939, between a liberal and a conservative. My grandfather, Leon Beauregard, and my grandmother, Louisa Beauregard (nee Langevin
) were having a loud disagreement about electrification. The farm in Canada used oil lamps for light in the evenings. I found the lamps charming and even magical at age nine. Sometimes a lamp had to be lit just to go to the outhouse when it was totally dark. The province
was in the process of studying whether the inhabitants wanted electrification or not. The liberals in parliament were pushing for electrification and the conservatives were against it because of the cost.
My grandfather was a liberal and for electrification
, my grandmother, the conservative, said no farm could afford getting electricity to it. The plan under discussion offered to allow
a farm ten years to pay for the wires and poles to come down the dirt road upon which they lived. An extra charge would be made to connect the farm house to those wires. She said the additional cows and pigs they would need to cover the payments would be too much work. She blasted him by saying he was not capable of carrying a full man's load even now. He retorted that a hand could be hired (they already hired one hand for the summer) that would carry the extra work. She was adamant in her position, saying that the war (Canada had joined England in the war) was taking more manpower for the army every day and soon there would be nobody to hire.
She scoffed at his recklessness to put them in debt. He stated she could not understand how the world was changing. He pointed to Bernie and me and stated: "They have electricity all the time in Detroit, we should have it too." I think she won the argument
because when we went back for our annual visit the next year they were still using oil lamps. However, the year after that, they did have electricity.