WINDSOR, N.S. — Terra Spencer has a storied connection to Windsor and the surrounding area, where she grew up. Her recent song, called Cotton Mill, is a dedication in a sense to the Nova Scotia Textiles building and the place it holds in her heart.
Spencer said she still hopes the building can survive in some form and remain a landmark for the area.
“I grew up in Summerville on the Kempt Shore and we came to town for everything — groceries, doctors appointments and whatnot. It was a big deal for us to go to the Valley, and to do that of course we’d drive past the mill and I always thought it was such a beautiful place. It just looked different. We don’t really have a whole lot of industrial infrastructure around here and there was certainly none where I grew up. It was one of the biggest buildings I saw on a regular basis. When the mill shut down, it took on a different character, it became this kind of relic of days gone by. That happened as I was growing up. What really captured my imagination and interest was after it shut down… but then someone came up with this amazing vision to revamp it with luxury condos and I always remember there was going to be a chocolate shop on the bottom. I was so excited thinking about it having this new life. But of course, it got halted and didn’t happen. That made it all the more sad.”
“The place has always held a special spot for me. I’ve found out that I may be one of the few who doesn’t have a personal family connection to someone who worked in the mill, but I’ve heard, since the song (Cotton Mill) made its way out into the world, I’ve heard from so many people who have a connection to the place. People on the street, at the post office, sending messages online, it’s been incredible. What a neat way to connect to this place, a new home for us, we just moved here in the summer.”
“The song starts out with taking a drive with a teacher who was my friend all through high school. We were headed to the valley for lunch one day and noticed there was a smoke stack as part of the textile mill that had this lean that seemed to be increasing over time and it just so happened on that trip that they had stripped away all of the bricks and masonry around it; it was just this sad looking pipe. I realized we both always had this appreciation for this place. We always looked at it as we drove past. I took my dogs for a walk up at Fort Edward and saw that building from a different perspective, it had always just been from the highway, and that’s the morning that I wrote that song, looking at the place, remembering that little road trip and it was this flood of nostalgia and memories of the place. The song just happened.”
Faces Friday is our weekly online feature highlighting members of our community: their strength, challenges and humanity.