Mi'kmaq News of Bay St George

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Nana Lainey celebrates a century of life in Mainland:

By FRANK GALE Star Staff Writer

The woman affectionately known as Nana celebrates her 100th birthday in this community today. Anastacia Lainey is possibly the best-known person in the town. For years she was responsible for delivering many of the residents of this and nearby communities on the Port au Port Peninsula. As a midwife, she delivered 202 babies, including two sets of twins - a set of boys in nearby Three Rock Cove and a set of girls in Mainland. She used various modes of transportation to carry out those duties, including car. horse and sleigh, horse and cart. and even on the crosshar of a bicycle driven by Raymond LaCointre. whose brother's wife was having a baby at the time.

Mrs. Lainey has been a resident of Mainland her whole life. born there just two years after her parents made the move from what was known as Big River (now Codroy River) in the Codroy Valley. Their move was made in a schooner in the late 1800s and they were some of the first settlers. There were just five livyers in Mainland at the time.

Her mother, the late Mary Moores, was a full blood Mi'kmaq native. Anastacia married the late Louis Lainey and the couple had 11 children in total. Her husband passed away at the age of 45 in 1945 and she raised the family alone from then on. She remembers always working hard while rearing her family, as often her husband would be away looking for work or working for up to nine months at a time. Her son Norman said his mother was scared of nothing, and there wasn't a task that she wouldn't take on. He said she could handle as much as any man.

He said the story is well known around the community that she would stare down an omery ox the family had for hauling wood and the ox would eventually back off. But she always had a smile for anyone who entered her house, and still does today. Norman said his mother could take care of herself and anyone she had in her care as well, which included all her children and her blind father, John Moores. for the last 12 years of his life. Mrs. Lainey has outlived many of her children. Her surviving children all live in Mainland, including Norman, Agnes Moores and Mercedes Hinks. Those deceased are Peter. Johnny, Joacham, Reggie, Emile, Mary, Bertina and Winnie Pope.

The mixing pan, scrub board and' knitting needles were no strangers to Mrs. Lainey. She also made moccasins and was known to put together a set in one night. She worked the fields, carried water, split and carried wood - whatever it took to help her family survive. Norman said his mother has seen more dinner hours than dinners as there were times when there wasn't enough food to go around.

Today, Mrs. Lainey has about 45-50 grandchildren, 15-20 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great grandchildren. She is godmother to 75 or 80 people in Mainland. And while she has the distinction as a midwife who delivered more than 200 babies, she also delivered two of her own - one of them outdoors next to the corner of her house while carrying two five-gallon buckets of water, and the other just after carrying wood into the house.

Mrs. Lainey doesn't hear as well as she used to and still gets around in a walker, but other than that, she is in good health and enjoys talking to visitors.

Note: As of October 2002 she is still going strong.

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Originally posted on Febraury12, 2002

Copyright 2002 Jasen Benwah

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