Town of L'Anse au Clair

Labrador, Canada

Billy's Mouse Toy

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Tin mouse toy made before 1939 (larger version)

A Community Voices story by Marilyn Dumaresq.

This little toy was owned by my husband Billy Dumaresq together with his brother Louis. Bill doesn't remember when they received it but thinks it was a gift from Santa. I would estimate that they received it no later than 1939 as it is my understanding that no toys were made from tin during the war years as every scrap of tin was used in the war effort. At this time Bill and Louis would have been living with their widowed mother, Elsie Dumaresq , and widower paternal grandfather, Bill Dumaresq, in their grandfather's house.

The toy consists of a spiral made of tin about 15 inches long. Two tin mice each about an inch long are fastened to a flat rod about two inches long which is inside the spiral so that it can slide up and down causing the mice to spin around giving the impression that they are running down the spiral when it is held upright.

Though there are a lot of scratches, it can easily be seen that the spiral was originally painted a pretty blue and the mice were grey with little red noses. One mouse still has it original grey yarn tail.

It would appear that the toy was highly regarded as it survived four younger half brothers as well as a move to a new house built around 1958. Bill would no longer have been living in L'Anse au Clair by this time. It was still in the house in 1987 when Bill and I and our children moved here even though the house had been vacated since 1971 on the death of Bill' s stepfather, Hayward Letto, except for summer visits. It is now in our home in L'Anse au Clair.