do you remember

April 20, 2011

Spring housecleaning time and also time for weeding out things we have kept for years, or will never use. Some things we can never let go, or part with, as evidenced by Pat Dempsey’s memorabilia. See if you agree…

 Childhood Keepsakes    . . . . Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, MHA Class of 1956

We had to be quick of hand and sharp as a tack in saving our treasures as Mom believed in passing things on for others to use and enjoy.  Also, apartment living was not conducive to storing/hoarding things - space as the saying goes was at a premium!

Toy Iron:  Similar to ones used by my great grandmother (there were always two or three on her stove so that a hot iron was always available on laundry day) . . . . made of cast iron with a removable wood handle so that the iron could be filled with water and placed on the wood or oil stove to heat.

Rocking Chair:  My Dad purchased this for me in Botwood when I was four years old.  It has given numerous  hours of pleasure to me, my sisters, my son, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and many a child visiting my home over the past fifty years.


Dolls:  Barbara Ann Scott, Bride Doll, Baby Doll.  Although we played with these dolls the rule was to handle them gently, keep them in pristine condition.  When not in use, they adorned the walls of our bedroom out of harms way.  Santa Claus brought all of our dolls!

Bookmark:  Made of leather and embossed with the words So Far So Good, the Tower on Signal Hill          - - - where my Dad was taught Morse Code at the age of 17 - - - and the word Newfoundland.  This was a gift from my mother for looking after the house and my father, while she was working in the Novelty Booth at the Airport)  who was “laid up” with pneumonia.  My sister, Helen has a similar bookmark containing the words And Here’s Where I Fell Asleep.

Photo Album:  Leather cover, with Photo Album emblazoned in gold leaf diagonally across the front and a Souvenir of Newfoundland with an imprint of a caribou in the bottom right hand cover - size 6 x 4.5 inches. I am unsure of the year I received this book but know that we were living in Mars . . .other buildings in this area by the old Airport were Saturn and Jupiter.

Autograph Book:  Red leather cover  with pastel coloured pages used to record the usual sappy teenage messages, as is still the custom today, and the names and addresses of your friends.  Also included, were messages with more profound messages from the Sisters of mercy who were our teacher. This book covered my boarding school years (1956/57 and 1957/58) at St. Bride’s College, Littledale, Kilbride, Newfoundland.  Out near Bowring Park . . boarding students, as part of their exercise regime were required to walk in a line formation ,two abreast with two Nuns leading the trek and two Nuns following behind.  This was done on a daily basis on a daily basis and covered the route from Littledale to Bowring Park and return. 

Samples:     *     I’ll be yours until Austria gets Hungary and eats Turkey fried in Greece.

                      *            It’s hard to tell what makes a friend, It isn’t looks or styles,
                                    It’s something that I can’t explain that makes it seem worthwhile.
                                    It isn’t anything they say or anything they do,
                                    But what it is that makes a friend, I’ve found it all in you.

                       *          Loving words will cost but little journeying up the hill of life,
                                    But they make the weak and weary stronger, braver, for the strife.
                                    Do you count them only trifles what to earth are sun and rain?
                                    Never was a kind word wasted, never one said in vain.

Rings:  St. Bride’s College, Littledale ring and a gold ring with a single pearl given to me at the time of my graduation from Grade XI by Mom and Dad.

Bracelet:  Five identical “silver filigree” medallions strung together, each medallion contained three blue glass stones and two imitation pearls - - magnificent “bling” by today’s standards.  This was a gift from my Dad upon return from a Marine Radiobeacon Course, Air Services Training School, Department of Transport at Clinton, Ontario.  I am also in possession of a bracelet, necklace and earrings he brought back to my mother . . more ornate yet elegant.

Stationery Boxes:  Clear plastic and green plastic with a yellow plastic rose affixed to the top.  The contents of these boxes varied over the years and held jewelry, paraphernalia and all things secret for our Stealthy Prowlers’ Club . . . yes, we thought we were young Nancy Drews, what more can I say?

Sewing Box:  Wicker with pink satin lining given to me by Mom when I was doing my Girl Guide sewing badge around 1953-1954.  This basket has travelled with me wherever I have taken up residence.

Girl Guide Insignia (2nd Gander Girl Guide Company), etc.    Notebook from August 1954 as used during my first Girl Guide Camp at Northern Arm, Botwood.  Notebook contains notes re sunsets/sunrises, detailed map of the campsite, First Class Cooking Badge requirements, Diary re camp life and Autographs of campers from Grand Falls, Bishop’s Falls, Twillingate, Windsor and Gander.  Guides attending the camp from Gander were:  Patricia and Helen Dempsey, Jeannette Knee and Doris Moss.  The clear plastic stationery box listed above houses these artifacts.

CHE Candidates’ Card:  Supplied to students through the Department of Education Newfoundland - - mine is for the Public Examinations, 1956, Grade XI (Academic) Examination.  The card acted as a “passport” into the examination room and contained a number that had been assigned to us - - mine was 9820 - -our name and the centre at which we were to write the examination.  On the reverse side of the card was the time table for the exams we were to write.  The time period for the 1956 exams ran from Saturday, June 23 to Saturday, June 30. 

School Yearbooks:  These are for the years 1951, 1956, 1957 which is a Souvenir Booklet of the Gander Amalgamated School issued on the occasion of the official opening on November 1st and 1962

School /Promotion Graduation and Public Examination Graduation Certificates:  Two of the Gander Amalgamated Promotion Certificates are signed by William L. Hunt.  They span the period from 1949 to 1957.

Souvenir Booklet/Program of the Royal Visit to Gander of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and his Royal Highness The Prince Philip on June 19, 1959. 

Postcards:  Two fold out coloured postcards featuring the mural, and outlining the story depicted in the mural, at the then new Airport.  The same airport we use today.  Seven regular postcards showing the interior and exterior of the airport building.  Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the existing Airport building in June of 1959.

 And Betty Lush Burt recalls banking in Gander.....

 When our family came to Gander (1940), World War Two was already into its second year.  The Royal Air Force Ferry Command was established here and my father, Charles Lush, worked with them as a cook.  We were one of the first sixteen families to be housed in Gander.  We lived in B Building, later known as Mars, on the RAF side.

Then, banking was non-existent.  Money transactions were administered by the Post Office which was located in a small section of the railway station.  But for me, a three-year old child, that wasn’t a great concern.  Little did I know, then, that within a decade and a half I would be an employee of Gander’s first bank—The Royal Bank of Canada.

Activity at the airport had greatly increased from its original construction stage and the need for various services became very evident.  A bank was a priority.

The Royal bank of Canada opened its doors for business on August 9, 1941 in a room built onto Eastbound Inn.  Bank Manager was Mr. Gerald C. Smith, who had to be  transferred in from the Moncton, NB office.  Newfoundland at that time was a Dominion  and not a province of Canada.  I guess we could look at this as an early connection to our future confederation with Canada! 

The bank was very small:  one washroom was shared by both male and female employees; records were stored in boxes around the walls leading to, and in the washroom, itself—quarters were very cramped!I started work at the bank in 1955.  At that time the Bank Manager was Mr. Jack Austen.  There were a total of ten employees.  Mechanically, we had a proof machine, manual typewriters, hand operated adding machines, and telephones.  Accounts, ledgers, teller logs, money orders, etc. were all hand-done e.g. if someone made a deposit to a savings account, you had to enter it first onto the savings card (the bank’s record), then to the individual’s bank book.  As Gander had no law offices, mortgages were completed in St. John’s, NL.  Accounts royal bank under constructionwere balanced monthly and it had to be “to the penny”.

With the beginning of the new Town of Gander, construction of a Royal Bank at the new townsite was started and relocation to the town square was in 1956.

At this time, the Royal was still the only bank in town. Business was very good; there was always a lineup of customers and the employees were kept very busy!

Betty (Lush) Burt  HMA 1955

Note: Thanks again to Pat Dempsey Hiscock and Betty Lush Burt for their contributions to this page. Others are encouraged to do so as well, on any topic concerning Gander memories…Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959 at


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