do you remember

April 9, 2011

Here it is, Part 2 of  the answers to question…”You’ll know I grew up in Gander if I told you….” Thanks so much to everyone who checked in with great comments on this one…

“You’ll know I grew up in Gander if I told you….
…that the first trout I caught was at the "gully" with Jim Peckford.
This was a place we would go to on our bikes "trouting" on a Saturday.  I have looked for it a few times in the last few years and I couldn't find it if it is still there.
         Jim Simmons, HMA Class of 1956

that we went sliding on the power plant hill. The hill was really the road that went from ground level to the second floor level of the steam plant where there was a hatch that coal truck would dump coal into the plant. It was fairly steep and great for sliding before it was sanded.
         Robert Newhook, GA Class of 1962

You knew you grew up in Gander, when you reminisce about:

  • having to stop just down from the old hospital and police station when the buzzer sounded as an aircraft  flew over the flight path to the runway before you were able to proceed on your journey to the old Goodyear's canteen or other destinations such as the Royal Bank of Canada, Goodyear’s stores, the movies at the old STAR theatre, the drugstore, the airport or to get home (when we lived in Mars)
  • the hospital being operated by the Military and your doctor was a member of the Military
  • the town being divided into sections such as the American side, the Canadian side, the Army side, Union East, BOAC
  • being treated to a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night, is an annual celebration observed primarily in Great Britain, on or about 5 November. ... or Christmas parties by the Military
  • our police being members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
  • when I travelled on a bus that had train wheels and ran on the train tracks
  • travelling, via railway, to Grand Falls to see a dentist. . . when your meals were served on china dishes, the cutlery was silver plate and the meals were delicious
  • spending every possible day at Deadman’s Pond swimming, capturing “spanny tickles” enjoying our lunch of lemonade, homemade bread sandwiches with fillings of our own choice or a fabulous lunch that had been provided us by the cooks at one of the commissaries along he way
  • being ferried to and from school on the “DOT duty bus”  (the bus that took our fathers to and from work)
  • attending the two room school on Chestnut street and in later years being schooled in Duffy’s Tavern the old drill hall on Foss Avenue and various other converted Military buildings
  • the death of our school principal, William Hunt, and marching en mass to the church to attend his funeral
  • being privileged to grow up in the 1950’s to attend the dances, with music by a live band - The Solidaires - run by the Newfoundland Airport Club on John Street  (I trust I have spelled the band name correctly)
  • walking/marching up Foss Avenue to the church singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” of if it was around Thanksgiving I think we sang “Bringing in the Sheaves”
  • when we spoke of “swinging both ways” we were talking about the back of the pews in the old Military Chapel which was later used as a church for Catholic, Anglican and United parishioners . . . the Catholics had their own alter, etc., to the left of the main door (which was in the middle of the building) and the Anglican and United Churches had an altar to the right of the main door
  • some kids “dogged” the Teacher’s Hostel or the barracks used to house many of the single girls who worked at the airport and surrounding commissaries
  • your home was a “welcome port” for family, friends, or strangers . . . we shared without fear and with great generosity, doors were never locked and no matter how meager the resources of our parents pantry were, it was like in the story of “the loaves and fishes” nobody went hungry and the unwritten rule was to decline a second portion if you were asked if you wanted one!
  • friends living by the railway track in Quonset Huts (half circles made from corrugated steel)

Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, HMA Class of 1956


…when I talk about trading comics at the Star on Saturdays and that a comic with a forel (front cover) was worth 2 without one.   
         Jim Butler, GA Class of 1959

I can recall walking to the old terminal and/or Deadman's Pond as a child and, when a plane was landing, we would lie stomach down on the side of the road because the plane was so low.  It makes me wonder what the cars did as there were no lights to stop the cars - maybe they just did it out of common sense!
         Marion Pardy, GA Class of 1958

…when I don’t look up every time I hear an airplane go overhead, or I can sleep through almost any amount of noise. We lived in Bldg 66, Washington Ave., on the American side, and airplanes were coming and going 24 hours a day, not to mention the runups of those huge piston engines; we were very close to the 13 end of runway 13/31, or whatever it is now.
         Dennis Pritchett, GA Class of 1963

You'll know that I grew up in old time Gander if _ you lived on the Canadian Side,  because we on the Army Side won every ball game ( and hockey also ) we ever played you.
Sorry Bob,  couldn't resist
         Morley Smith, GA Class of 1959
As a teenager growing up in Gander,  I enjoyed the freedom , somewhat, of school.  More laid back than the school I left in New Glasgow.  Except for Mr Loder, who loathed anyone,  that would be a male and a female, talking in a school corridor.  Almost suspension there.
         Audrey Mingo Grantham, GA Class of 1958
"Looking back....

  • The international status of Gander Airport made growing up there a unique experience. My friends and I would get dressed up and spend Sunday afternoons watching passengers from all over the world come through the airport. (Barbara B. do you recall this, such fun checking out strange fashions, hair styles, etc and imagining what it would be like to live in far away lands.) My dad,  at that time, worked with Seaboard World Airlines would sometimes have a cargo plane come through Gander with a load of  monkeys, elephants snakes, etc.  My brothers and I got to go aboard to see animals we had only ever read about in books. We were absolutely elated.
  • It was interesting to talking to some former school friends at our first reunion about how growing up in Gander was truly a cosmopolitan experience and how lucky we were to have had such an experience. We were blessed to live in small neighborhoods where we always felt safe and cared about.
  • No one ever locked a door or worried about kids being harmed, neighbor helped neighbor with whatever was needed. I remember my dad taking buckets of coal and arm loads of wood for neighbors who had run out and had no money to buy more until their next paycheck. At Christmas time all the places at our table were filled with our family as well as men with whom my dad worked who had no family in Gander and no one to spend Christmas with. It was another example of how people took care of each other.
  • I am sure we all have many, many memories of compassionate people whose greatest gifts were to take care of each other without thought of getting anything back. It doesn't get much better than that anywhere.    

Alice Taylor, GA Class of 1960

You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you .... that I alternated between going to the Star and Globe theaters most nights of the week.

Eric Smith, HMA Class of 1956

Thanks folks. Still working on the solution to the mystery photo of who we believe is “Wee Bobby Clark” with two lovely ladies believed to be celebrities. Stay tuned.  Thanks, comments and questions to Faye at


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