I was thinking last summer, after having a chat with Michael Stanley while he was tending his garden in downtown Victoria, and then, a few minutes later, running into his father Malcolm going for coffee at Island Chocolates, how it would be a good idea to gather interviews with the children of the late-1960s-early-1970s “back to the landers” here on the Island.
It turns out that scholars Alan MacEachern and Ryan O’Connor already did this, assembling their work, helpfully, in a chapter of an open access e-book, Children of the Hummus: Growing Up Back-to-the-Land on Prince Edward Island.
So now, in addition to listening to Malcolm and Christine Stanley’s reminiscences of their back to the land move to the Island in 1975 (in an earlier project from the same scholarly team) you can read Michael’s:
“The Dixon Road was … my entire life,” says Michael Stanley. His family moved to this well-wooded area in 1980, when he was two, and exploring the woods became his and his sisters’ prime source of entertainment. His father was a potter, his mother a weaver, and the family also raised animals. As a child he helped his mother make cheese and yogurt and bread and pasta. The house, initially lacking electricity and water, was a hippie shack built of recycled barn board; his parents built onto it four times over the years, giving it something of a maze quality. It was filled with objects: books, art, and, in Stanley’s words, basically anything that was homemade, sentimental, or just cool. Of his room he says, “It was pretty typical when I was younger. It was filled with posters of—” (he pauses) “—trees and leaves. Maybe that isn’t so typical!” All in all, he states, “We had an all-encompassing little microcosm in the woods. I didn’t know anything different until I had to go to school, and I realized, ‘Ooh, I’m not like all the other kids around here.’”
We owe much to these generations; it’s good that their thoughts and reflections are being preserved.