Interview with George Root, September 20, 2010

George Root.JPG


Interview with George Root, September 20, 2010


Oral history interview with George Root, who has lived in or near to Deseronto, Ontario, all his life.


George Root


September 20, 2010


Edgar Tumak
Amanda Hill






48 minutes 44 seconds

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbit/s


Edgar Tumak
Amanda Hill


George Root


Deseronto Public Library

Time Summary

0.0 Family raised two miles north of Deseronto on a farm. His father, William Root, came to Deseronto around 1900 and had three farms. He suffered from rheumatism, so moved to Deseronto (in around the 1940s) and got a job in the optical plant and worked there for many years. Built himself a house on Thomas Street. William originally lived on Maple Avenue, on a small farm.
2.00 George worked at Deseronto Electronics (on the match factory (later the arena) site, Mill Street) for a long time, making Arvo radios and Snider[?] record players. Then Ideal Vendors took over the site, manufacturing vending machines and George worked there for 26 years. Mr Brand was the original manager, then Charlie Gray took over.
3.30 George took a course in refrigeration in the 1960s and was then responsible for fridges in Ideal Vendors until it closed down in around 1970. The vending machines were for soda. They also made filing cabinets and skate sharpeners.
6.20 George set up his own refrigeration company. He didn't have a lot of education – they went to a one-room school, by horse. Took a lot of night-school courses to get his refrigeration licence.
7.40 Repaired ice-machines, hotel, store and domestic refrigerators, working out of his garage at home. His business was called Root Refrigeration ('get to the root of the trouble').
9.02 Discussion of house on Thomas Street (at corner of Centre Street) that William Root built and his job at the optical factory.
11.20 One of the family farms was taken over by Eric (who also did welding), George's brother, and another brother, Cecil took over another. His sister Mary also lives on a farm. William had 200 acres in all. Bought his first tractor in 1945, which is still in operation, being shown at fairs.
14.50 George talks about the CCM bicycle he bought in 1942, which he still owns and which he rode to school. He also skied to school in the winter.
18.23 His brother Cecil left school at 11 and his sister was the only one of the family to go to High School. Mrs Callaghan was one of his teachers. Sometimes there were as many as 36 children in the school, sometimes only 20. Cold in the winter, with one stove. The Women's Institute donated a large canner, so that the children could bring in jars of soup and have hot soup at lunchtime. Everyone would come to the Christmas Concert at the school. There was an organ at the school, but no piano. S.S. 3 Richmond on Highway 502.
23.17 Has lived in his current house (at Thomas and Second Streets) for 51 years. Paid $2,800 dollars for it. In poor condition. Had a black and white television, which was in the room next to the one with the stove, so they watched it from a distance. George earned about $50 a week at Ideal Vendors.
25.42 George married his wife in 1960, through correspondence. She was from the United States. She helped George in his business, picking up parts. She lived in Candor, New York and worked in a shoe factory in Owego for nine years.
29.08 Stores in Deseronto: Oscar Fitchett's store on Main Street, Stover and Sager's store on St. George Street (opposite the LCBO) – George remembers his father buying a big bottle of drink for 10 cents there. There was a dry goods store on the corner of Thomas and St George Street (in the apartment building – the Clement Block). There was a creamery where the optical plant was, later (the fleamarket) when George was a child. Small stores in people's houses.
31.52 Waterfront area – foundry in the fleamarket building before the creamery. Nora Rathbun. Sawmill – Hawley Brothers' furniture. His father paid $75 for his building lot – houses being torn down. The front of George's house was burnt during the big fire of 1896.
34.30 Pool hall on Main Street – Cecil played there, 10 cents a game. Women weren't allowed in. Gambling went on, too. Hudson's mill – owned by Mr Burley. Root family's wheat would be turned into porridge there.
36.28 Horses were the main means of transport. Hired people to shovel the Boundary Road clear of snow in the war. Talk of 'Bennett buggies' – horses towing cars because people couldn't afford gas, named after Prime Minister
38.20 Family attended the Little Brethren church, with Sunday School in the afternoon. They took their own lunch. The church was moved from Mill Street.
40.10 Dance floors around the town in the 1940s – would charge a certain amount for each dance. Therrien's grocery store was next to Griddle Me This restaurant, which would deliver groceries by horse and cart.
41.50 Went to church in Belleville, then went to the Baptist church with his wife. Now attend a Wesleyan church, which is easier to access for his wife.
42.45 First car was a Model A Ford. His girlfriend drove the car into a ditch. George flattened the tire and didn't get into trouble with the police, who assumed that a blow-out had caused the accident. His girlfriend found a new boyfriend, as George's car was wrecked.
45.45 Music – George plays electric steel guitar (dobro) in a band – the Salmon River Singers. Used to camp in a trailer at Pleasant Bay in Prince Edward County.