Readers from Prince Edward Island have no doubt picked up on where I’m going with the title of this post; but for those of you who don’t call PEI home, you may want a bit of an explanation. You see, “Who’s yer father?” is an iconic Island phrase. I’m not quite sure where it came from, however I do know that if you’ve had the good fortune to be introduced to (read: interrogated by) a dyed-in-the-wool Islander, then you’ve probably heard these three words, or some variation of them. To a certain extent, they equate to a “hello”, but they are to be taken literally. On an island where there is absolutely zero degrees of separation (seriously – just spend some time here and you’ll see), it was apparently agreed upon that the best way for two people to become acquainted with one another was to discuss their fathers. Because what ends up happening on PEI is that, if you talk long enough, you’re either related, or related to someone the other person knows, or have mutual friends. Here’s what it looks like:
Person A: “Now whose son might you be?”
Person B: “Oh, I’m so-and-so’s boy from the valley there. Ya know?”
Person A: “Ah yes, so-and-so from the valley. I actually know such-and-such from by the creek there.”
Person B: “Ya don’t say! Such-and-such is my mother’s sister’s girl (ie cousin), married to Joe on the corner.”
Person A: “Joe on the corner? He’s my first cousin two times removed!”
Person B: “Well, do ya know…”
And so on, and so forth, until both parties realize that they are in fact related a few different ways. It all sounds a tad incestuous – and sometimes it might be – but really, it’s the reality of living in Canada’s smallest province, where the population has yet to attain the 150 000 plateau. After a while, it becomes nearly impossible not to be related to everyone else.
So where am I going with all of this? Well, I’m not going to ask you who your father is (but feel free to leave a comment below to that effect, if you like); however, seeing as how this is the standard introductory post you see on most blogs, it seemed like an appropriate way to segue into getting to know each other a little better. Or maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.
If you’ll recall from my last post (see below), I said that this blog will be one which revolves around the history of Prince Edward Island. Well, that focus hasn’t changed; however, I would like to point out that the history in question is “human” history, mainly because I don’t really know much about what went on here prior to the arrival the first aboriginal peoples around 14 000 years ago. That means I’ll be dealing with anything and everything that falls between that point and the present day.
So what do I plan on writing about, exactly? Well, it could be anything, and not necessarily in any order. I suppose I could structure this blog chronologically, but I think it’s more exciting and refreshing to move back and forth through time, so that you never know what’s coming next, and things don’t get stale. However, to further ward against becoming tiresome, I am open to suggestions, so if there’s some aspect of PEI history that you’d like to know more about, always feel free to comment or send me an email, and I’ll see what I can do.
So how’s this blog going to work? Well, I still haven’t decided yet, but it would be nice to put out at least one post per week. They’ll probably be snapshot in nature, meaning they’ll be short(er), and focus on an interesting event, person, or place in Island history, and be expository as opposed to persuasive; however, from time to time I may toss in longer posts, and maybe even some that try to argue a certain viewpoint. We’ll see how it goes. But no matter what, the posts you read here will always be light and informal, if what you’ve read thus far is any indication.
Is there anything else you need to know? Not that I can think of. But I will reiterate what I mentioned above: this blog has absolutely no connection to PEI’s sesquicentennial celebrations in 2014, and the fact that this blog seems to coincide with it is purely happenstance. That said, the Charlottetown Conference we’re commemorating here this year is a fascinating event in Island history and a fairly seminal event in the road to Canada, so I just might have to write about it at some point.
Anyway, here’s hoping you enjoy the posts to come as much as I know I’ll enjoy writing them!
PEI History Guy