April 4, 2008

Today we are going to think spring, you know, gardens and clotheslines, and getting out the old bike and dusting it off…whatever comes to mind. So enjoy some of our classmates’ memories shared here. Why not add some of your comments for next time by emailing me at: faye@villagereporter.com


Faye, I remember getting one of those 'English' bicycles when we lived in Gander. You know, the ones with the brakes on the handle bars. Dad ordered ONE or TWO for all us girls from St. John’s.  I think I rode it a lot. We peddled many times to Glenwood or that area close to Glenwood, to swim, and bike back.  Would that have been Twin Ponds? 

Of course we wore those baggy legged pants, and many, many times it would get caught up in the chain. Now these were gravel roads all the way back then. However, none of us found it too far to go.  I think Edith Staple might have come with me at times, and I can't remember the others. The one thing that happened to me was I would get extremely itchy legs all the way there and all the way back.  It wasn't until many many years later that I figured I had an allergy to the spruce trees or something of that nature, because it still happens if I am walking through the woods.

And sometimes  a group of us would go to Gander Lake (can't remember who came) and we had a lot of fun just being on the very rocky beach, we probably brought food. Sometimes we lit a small bonfire and cooked hotdogs. And remember those bandanas we wore?  Couldn't go without them. 

There was no fear of anything, other than my parents.  Maybe that is why I have a short memory, I can't remember being away from my home too often, just for school and babysitting.  AND...walking to the Dempseys on the Canadian Side on stormy winter weekend nights for parties or sleepovers. Thank goodness for the Dempseys eh!

At least you guys can remember who went with you.  I can't.  Mom has some of it on film, as we drove out of our driveway.  Very shaky film and old now.

Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958


Good day, Audrey.

Well, Liz Bursey was a grade or two below me and Marcie was in my brother's class so I don't think we "socialized" very much. But you and I probably "peddled" to Twin Ponds, being in the same class and because I have a couple of photos of you (eg. outside your Alcock Cres. house).  I remember those chains; in addition to getting slacks caught in them (wearing those metal pants "cuffs" helped), I also got grease on my slacks - mom wasn't impressed, to say the least!!).

Marion Pardy, Class of 1958


I remember walking to Twin Ponds often to go swimming. Mostly it was myself, Jane (Dempsey), Helen (Dempsey) and Betty (Chisholm).  Sometimes Jane and Helen's mother would be talked into driving us.  I remember one time when Helen (I think it was Helen) told her mother she didn't drive as fast as Mrs. Moss.  Mrs. Dempsey didn't miss a beat - she quickly replied ,"well maybe Mabel can play the harp"! 

I always remember that because we all cracked up laughing!  Sometimes I went swimming at Deadman's Pond and I remember one time my class went to Union East for an afternoon outing! Those things didn't happen in school often in those days.  I remember Phoebe Sampson!  Does anyone else?

Elizabeth Bursey Lyons, Class of 1960


Oh yes, I also remember going to Gander Lake as well and having hot dogs and coke.  We used to walk there often.  Then there was the time Beatrice Lester had a bunch of us stay at her cabin overnight and Phyllis Melanson and myself had to walk back to Gander to get smokes.  Anyway we got picked up by the Police walking to Gander and we both told the officer a different story about why we were out so late at night!

Fortunately, he let us out at the shopping centre instead of bringing us home.  Then we had to walk all the way back to the cabin - hiding in the woods every time we heard a car coming (in case it was the Police again). It was quite late when we got back and some of the girls were quite worried but Jane said "don't worry, Burss will make it". Not only that but while we were away there was a cabin—a short distance
away - that had quite a party! 

Next morning a few of us went up to investigate and found left over lobster and lots of cheap champaigne. We took the champaigne back to Beatrice's cabin and some of the girls drank quite a bit of it.  By the time Mr. Lester came to pick us up some of us were feeling pretty good.  

Elizabeth Bursey Lyons, Class of 1960


Yes, I remember the shore of Gander Lake as being very rocky not much sand. But lots of great rocks to contain a campfire, and smaller ones for skipping across the pond (there was a knack to that too).

-Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


Faye, yes, there was sand at Gander Lake and yes, it was very rocky. . . especially on the other side.  The Scouts did a lot of camping along the shore.  I remember helping Eric Smith and Garfield Pardy (and I believe John Dyke) in prepapring their grocery lists.

Pat Dempsey Hiscock, Class of   1956……


Now the circulation of a little tidbit on clotheslines, brought out the following comments:


Ah, the clothes line. Never did like them. They hindered those bike riding shortcuts between buildings especially if there were no clothes hanging from them. Hence the term “being clothes lined” came to be. They hung everywhere, from telephone poles, other buildings or just plain old clothes line poles. Which brings to mind, a clothes drying incident during my youth that still lingers in my feeble memory.

 This one summer when I was about 10 years old, our next door neighbour invited me to accompany them on a salmon fishing trip as a companion to their son. I'll leave out the names so as not to embarrass their friends or relations so I will refer to them as Mr. & Mrs. B. Our trip was to motor to the Big Falls on the Humber River, near Deer Lake where Mr. B would fish and us boys would play, swim in the river and create havoc. Accommodations of course would be in a canvas tent. It was a great holiday.

 The day of our return, the timing of Mrs. B’s laundry didn't exactly meet with that of Mr. B’s intended departure time so in her haste, the wet laundry had to be loaded into the car. As we traveled down the road Mrs. B would open the window and hold the different wet articles of clothing out into the slip stream of air rushing by in order for it too dry. That was amusing enough seeing Mrs. B having to hurry to bring in the clothes as each car approached. Not that she was embarrassed but the roads weren't paved and the passing cars created plumes of dust which would dirty the clean clothes.

What really was funny was when she held out her underwear into the wind. Now Mrs. B could  be best described as a very full figured woman and to this day every time I see a spinnaker sail fill out on a sail boat or a parachute open, I think of Mrs. B’s bloomers billowing into the wind. I really don't know how she managed to hold on to them with all of that resistance.

 After returning home, I related the clothes drying incident to my parents. I can still hear my father roaring in laughter.

 Funny how these things stick in your  brain.

 Jack Pinsent, Class of 1960


Remember those old closelines (non-pulley) that were tree to tree (or pole to pole). After all the clothes were clipped onto the line, they would take a long stick with a fork on one end and push the line up, digging the bottom of the the pole into the ground. What made me think of that is the latest tourism ad for NF and Labrador which shows some lady putting out her clothes in that manner.

 Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961


I usually see clothes lines with the eye of an artist. But this is a super study in sociology..I should have though of that. If I had time (and the talent), I’d love to do a series of paintings showing exactly what she was talking about in her poem.Thanks for the inspiration... Who knows, maybe someday.

Robert Pelley, Class of 1962


Yes, I can remember my mother's generation and Monday was ALWAYS  wash day, come Hell or High Water. And that meant that the kitchen was tied up on Monday mornings, as the washer was dragged over to the kitchen sink and literally all hoses strapped onto faucets with drain into the sink. The sink was filled with rinse water and then garments once rinsed were pushed back through the wringer the opposite way. In winter there was the shoveling of a path to the clothesline and hanging things properly. I remember receiving instructions. The whites generally went out first, because then the darks were washed in the same water.

My mother considered herself very fortunate because her mom had used a scrubboard and lye soap on wash day.

Pulley clotheslines when they came into vogue were the best. I had one of those in the upstairs apartment we rented when I got married. The clothes could be hung out over a parking lot full of used cars for sale. A second apartment up over a bank backed up to a railroad bed, and clothes had a 'charcoal effect' when they were brought in. Funny how things as simple as a clothesline spark a lot of memories.

-Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


And my cousin Beverly and I were close growing up (still are—who else would you sleep with as a kid and allow them to eat crackers in bed). Anyway, she understands the old fashioned ways too.

I got a kick out of her comment on clotheslines:

“I had an old wringer washer when we were first married (1963) but I had the luxury of a rinse tub so I didn't have to have the sink full of rinse water. But I didn't have hot running water at first, so I had to heat my water on the kitchen oil stove in buckets, tea kettles or the tank on the side of the stove. I also remember the poles used for the clothesline. Sometimes if the line was long enough, you had to use two poles. And we won't even mention what would happen when the rope clothesline would break and your clean clothes would drag in the mud and grass, etc. And oh yes! Don't forget to put the pole back and raise the clothesline up after taking the clothes in so no one would walk beneath it and get a nice rope burn around their throat!”

-Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


Just a note on the clotheslines. They've been banned for some time here in London Ontario as "unsightly". Written right into the property standards and bylaw. However, with the electrical energy crunch in Ontario, and CO2 emission reduction targets for coal fired generating plants, there is now a move afoot to bring them back. 

Dave Naish, Class of 1960


Underneath all that snow life  may sometimes grow! For those of you who are planning gardens:

 Reminds me of the first house we had:

1st story: It was a new house and the backyard was full of stumps and fallen trees  but despite the difficulties, we started off with a backyard garden of about 15 by 25.  Next year it went down to about 12x15.  The year after, we figured it was cheaper at the grocery store. We only kept a little space for some easy stuff and the kids.

2nd story: (not very original because I had heard the line elsewhere else). We had a neighbour who was very severe with his family and liked stuff all squared off and tidied up. My own two kids had planted carrots that were only vaguely in a straight line. My neighbour remarked that it seemed rather untidy for a garden. He shut up when I said that unlike him, I was not raising vegetables, I was raising kids.  He never questioned our garden again.

R.G. Pelley, Class of 1962


Thanks again all. Think spring. -Faye