EAST HANTS: As East Hants continues to grow and develop as a thriving rural community, local resident, Bob Taylor, wants to give people a better sense of just how this all came to be.
Over the past 10 years, Taylor has been collecting and preserving stories from the past, putting them to paper in his new book, A Milk Can Age, which focuses on one of the biggest industries in East Hants at the time— milk trucking.
“My dad was one of the first ones involved in hauling milk from the farms in 1931 and he did that for 30 years before his untimely death in 1961, then I took over the trucking business and we held out for approximately nine years,” said Taylor, “I knew a lot about the business and a lot about the history, so I started recording it and it ended up in a book.”
The book focuses on about 40 years of history, from the period of 1930-1970, when the transportation of milk from farms to dairies transitioned from trains to trucks.
“When they first started the equipment wasn’t that great, the roads and the weather was never that great,” explained Taylor.
Taylor’s idea for the book, which he wrote entirely by hand, came in 1980, “When I was in the trucking business we decided to restore an old vehicle similar to the old days of hauling milk, and so we got that geared up and I started thinking, well, there are stories to be told and that just evolved from there,” he said.
“We included a lot of stories of things that happened during that period, a lot of characters and a lot of things about the community and so on.”
He spoke with truckers and their families to give readers a sense of their way of life, the difficulties they encountered on a daily basis and most importantly, he said, to pay tribute to his father and other workers in the industry.
“It was hard physical work, working conditions were rough at times but it always got through and everybody looked after each other.”
“There was an old saying the mail must go through, but these guys motto was the milk must go through, one way or another they always made sure the milk got to the dairy.”
“The truckers of those days never thought of this physical labour, it was just a way of life, but you enjoyed life. You always had time to talk and laugh, when I look back, in my conclusion I say, it is awful nice to have all these conveniences, but we gave up a lot too and I think that’s where my story kind of ended,” explained Taylor, “It made it a journey through life, it was an interesting period, all the inventions that came about everything’s changed quite a bit and nothing is as it used to be.”
The book was published locally by Atlantic Print in Bible Hill, where Taylor now lives. So far, he has sold about 400 copies.
“I feel really good, one of the things I wanted, I was hoping that a lot of people would enjoy it and I’m getting a lot of great comments,” he said.
If you are interested in getting a copy of A Milk Can Age, please reach out to Taylor at 902-893-8283 or Cindy Miller at 902-883-8238.