Aug 26, 2009

Hey, look who dropped in this time, Gerri (FitzGerald) Nimmo of Ottawa, formerly of St. Joseph’s Academy fame. It would be good to have more St. Joe’s kids sharing their thoughts with us prior to our get together in Gander in 2010.. Remember guys and gals, we tend to think that it was a big draw to have some chit-chat on our website from former GA and HM students prior to our big Gander ’05 reunion. Sometimes all it takes is a shared memory or two to spark an interest in attending…So below are Gerri’s and fellow students’ thoughts on Goodyear’s. And extension of what we talked about last time…


In the early 1950's, the Goodyear's stores were an every-day part of our life in Gander - the canteen, the grocery store, and the "H"-shaped dry goods store. We lived in the Eastbound Inn (which later housed the Royal Bank, Milley's Style Shop, Toytman's and Sears) so we lived very close to all three stores. Almost every day, one of my brothers (there were 4), or I, were in the canteen for a treat, an ice cream cone for 8 cents or a coke for 10. To order ice cream we had to go around the corner to the 'ice cream counter', we could not order from the main counter facing the entrance. 

We have fond memories of Eli and Willis who worked at the canteen for a number of years back then.  When I was about 10 years old, my mother used to give me 35 cents and send me to the canteen with a note for a "pack of Luckies". They got used to me coming in and always had a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes ready. Of course, as were the times then, my father disapproved of my mother smoking, but we never told!

The school bus stop was right outside the canteen.  The bus would take us to the RC school on the American side and on cold winter mornings we would all cram into the canteen's tiny front porch, with the swinging green doors, to keep warm. There was a window facing the direction the bus came (up around the loop from the airport) and one of the Kelly's/Quinlan's would scrape the frost, (probably condensation from the crowd) off the window to watch for the bus.  Occasionally the staff would ask us to clear the entrance to let customers in, but they were very nice about it, and we would all cram back in again the next day.  Sometimes we would go inside the canteen, over to the left, where there was a large (oil-burning?) stove and we would huddle around the stove to warm up, or we'd  put our mitts on top of it to dry out. Quite often, Mr. Lannon (Clar), who lived in the railway houses, would drive by and offer us a ride and the rush was on - about 10-12 of us, it seemed, would pile into his car, sitting on each other's laps.  If someone was squeezed out, Mr. Lannon would say he'd be first in the next time!   As my parents were friends with the Lannons, sometimes he would say - to my delight - "Fitzies in first".  Leo Brazil and his siblings would remember these rides.

 Most of my memories of Goodyear's grocery have been captured by others writing in; however, I remember a good-natured guy called "Hussie" who used to take our orders.  He was so pleasant that my mother would wait, if he were busy, so he could take her order. She said he gave her the best of everything and always trimmed the fat of any meat she bought.  I remember the strong smell of the big round chunks of cheeses at the cheese counter and the wide rolls of brown paper on the counters which they would reel off to wrap our orders and tie with twine.  A few times I was in the back area - that was where the butchery was - and I recall seeing the large barrels of pork and the bloody table where they used to cut up meat.

My memories of the dry goods store are similar to others - there was the hardware store on one side of the "H" and clothing, toys, etc. on the other side. I remember going to pick out a present for a friend's birthday party once and all the colouring books, crayons, 'cut-outs' (paper dolls and clothes) were kept behind the counter and the clerk would take out one at a time for me to see.  It took forever to select a colouring book - wasn't much fun.  My brothers would go there to get their rolls of 'caps' for their cap guns  as 'cowboys and indians' was the popular game back then.

 Now the old Jenkin's drug store had pleasant memories - when I was about 10 years old, Betty Jenkins and I were good friends and quite often when we were bored we would go into her father's store and look at comic books; he would come out from behind 'the dispensary' and tell us to select a chocolate bar - 'free'.

Geraldine (Fitzgerald) Nimmo

Class of 1959 - St. Joseph's Academy


I hope you mentioned the jukebox at the canteen. The jutebox at the canteen was over to the left near the big stove, and it was blaring away all the time - playing the old country and western songs that were the rage back then - one song for a nickel and six for a quarter (?) if memory serves us right.

Lorne Fitzgerald,

Class of  1958 St. Joseph’s Academy 


My first job when I finished  my  Grade 12 Commercial (Niagara District High School 59/60 - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario)  was as a Clerk/ Bookkeeper at Goodyear’s in Gander,

Danny Bursey (Liz's dad) was the Manager, Roy Bursey (I think Danny was his uncle) was the senior Bookkepper - I has a crush on him for about a week - quickly got over that one.

 I remember Goodyear’s would send their books in from the Bishops Falls and the Deer Lake Stores once a month for us to balance. Of course we had the latest equipment to use, an old hand crank/pull adding machine. With all the input of vouchers etc. if you were one penny out - you stayed ’till you balanced.  If memory serves me correctly I put in a lot of over time - NO OVERTIME pay in those days.

Roy would look for my errors and I would have to look for his.  Pay - the grand total of  (50) - yes that was FIFTY CENTS PER HOUR.

 During that time the union wanted to get into Goodyear’s, it was a big deal back then.  I was talked into joining the organizers and recruiting potential members, as soon as Mr. Bursey got wind of that, he was on my tail before you could say "jackrabbit" - I was quickly promoted to JUNIOR BOOKKEEPER now a real member of the "office elete" making me off limits to the Union organizers. They tried for a few months to unionize but in the end Mr. Bursey saved the day - NO UNION.

In April of 61 ( the Thursday before Good Friday) the Deer Lake store was late with their books - Mr. Bursey had me hightail it over to CNT, send them a telegram, books were to be sent ASAP, he wanted them on Tuesday (day after Easter Monday).  While I was sending the telegram, Mr. Ev Milley came out of his office to say hello, (I babysat his children when I was in high school). He asked me how I liked my job at Goodyears, and I responded - I liked the Job and staff but the pay was poor. He promptly offered me a job as Toll Operator (Long distance &  information Operator) Problem was he wanted me to start EASTER MONDAY - Now how was I going to go back and tell Mr. Bursey I QUIT- after a short talk to Mr. Milley about how I felt I needed to give a two week notice - he laughed and said "never mind that stuff I`ll call Danny for you".

Monday morning sharp I was at CNT - Probably the ONLY time I was ever on time for work in the six years I worked there. I`m sure Betty Ireland can verify that. BUT I did work a lot of the evening shifts and midnight shifts - my saving grace. Yes the pay was a LOT better.

Jane (Dempsey) Donnelly:

GA Class of 1960



Good evening, Jane.

This is most interesting as I followed a similar path as yours in 1958 when I graduated from grade Xl, Gander Academy.I went to work at Goodyears in the office but I also worked as cashier in the grocery store and in the Shoe Department (with Mr. Hussey and Mrs. Kieley). 

And, yes, Danny Brusey was the Manager, Roy Bursey was the senior Bookkeeper but Clarice Diamond also worked there and Joe Goodyear was also there (then Clarice and Joe married).

Then in September I went to work as Toll Operator in the CNT.  I was there 2 years (Helen Kearsey was Supervisor) and then I went to work in the office of Gander Lumber Company (Edgar Baird, owner).  In between all of that I took typing and shorthand.

It would take pages to continue the story but that is a record of my Gander working days - quite similar to yours.

Thanks for the sharing

Marion Pardy,

GA Class of 1958


Hi Marion nice to share with you.

Looking at the dates, I was there after you, I remember  Mrs. Kieley, Mr. Hussey, Lud Hoddinott, but don't remember working with Clarice. Maybe I was there the summer they (Clarice/Joe) married. Joe was hardly ever there when I worked there, I think he was into his horses at the time. I didn't see much of him


Jane (Dempsey) Donnelly:

GA Class of 1960


Bob's (Pelley) mention (last edition of Faye’s Place) of the big cheese bought back a memory of the summer I worked at Goodyear's Grocery.

In those days, the cheese was on a circular board with a large knife attached and whenever anyone wanted it, you had to cut off approximately the amount they had asked for, i.e. a pound or 1/4 pound, etc. Same with salt meat, take it out of the barrel with a huge hook and make sure that it was to the customer's satisfaction. If someone wanted 2 lbs of fresh meat, you had to go to the butcher and get him to cut it, pork  chops were cut also at the time of purchase.

Can you remember Lucky Strike and Camel cigarettes, Target tobacco and plugs of chewing tobacco? There was this cute young fellow who worked at the Laundry that summer and everytime I passed by he would give me the "whistle." One day he came into the store and when his time came to be served (everyone had to wait to be served), it was my turn to serve him but he seemed reluctant and appeared to want one of the gentlemen to wait on him but, unfortunately, he was stuck with me.


He appeared to be blushing when he asked me for a "plug of tobacco" and the devil in me made it very difficult for him by questioning the brand he wanted and so on. He just wanted to get it and get out of there!


He was really embarrassed because, of course, it wasn't for him but for his boss who was an elderly man. After all, here he was in jeans, leather jacket, white socks, tall, dark hair, etc. and this was not doing anything for his image. He left and I did not meet up with him for many years later. I married him then!

That's it for now, folks!

 Carol (Mercer) Walsh

GA Class of 1954

Hey everyone, Next time we’ll talk about the Gander fire of 1961 (or anything else you want to talk about as well)…Already have heard from a few on this topic. Please let me know your memories to be included on that by writing  AND. again, thanks for all of your contributions, without you where would we be?