Aug 28, 2008

So I’m going to try and tie up some loose ends here. Things that people have added after we moved on to other topics. Feel free to pitch any comments our way and we will include them in upcoming ‘round-ups’. Welcome one and all, and your memories are most welcome to the mix.

 Here is something I have to add on ‘An encounter with a famous person’ experiences that people talked about in the previous column:It happened in the early 1950s, probably between 1953-1955.

Back in those days there was a very well known Canadian country singer by the name of Wilf Carter (known as Montana Slim in the US).  In the early 50s he started touring Canada with his wife and his two young daughters who sang a bit of backup and did a few dance routines. (It was apparently called "The Family Show With The Folks You Know".)

When they came to Gander to do a show in the old arena on Foss Ave, they stayed in a transient apartment on the old American side. (I'm pretty sure it was on Power St, not too far from the old rink.)

At the time they were staying there, I had gone to see a couple of buddies of mine who lived in a neighbouring bldg. I looked over and saw two unfamiliar but nice looking young girls playing alone in the doorway on the end of the building, just enough to stay out of the occasional rain shower we were having that day. I asked the guys if they knew who they were. I was told that they were the famous Carter sisters who obviously wouldn't want to  have anything to do with common folk like us.  We obviously couldn't just go over and talk to THEM. 

But because they seemed to have nothing to do and they kept looking over our way like they want to have someone to play with, I asked the guys if they wanted to go over but I guess they were too shy.  So I trotted over alone, introduced myself, started talking to them and got invited in out of the rain.  The girls' names were Sheila and Carol. I don't remember who was whom. I can't remember but it seems to me that they both may have been a shade older than me but one of them seemed to be about my age.  Anyway while we were horsing around, I decided, as a kid might, to try stealing a kiss from this young lass from a far off land and to my surprise even got one back (I think!).

I didn't see her up close after that but when we went to the show, she waved at the crowd in my direction but I'm sure she was really waving only at me!!

Funny about stuff one remembers about things like that.  I remember one joke Wilf Carter told during the show.  While he was introducing a song, he said that years before, he had friends in the iron and steel business.  The wife would iron by day and the husband would steal by night.

If I remember that joke even today, I was probably paying very close attention to what was happening on the stage.

Bob Pelley, Class of 1962


I asked about where people went when they lived in Gander, Before TransCanada Highway was built and roads weren’t  really well traveled  to the outer fringes.


Beyond the "confines of Gander", eh? 

What immediately comes to mind is bicycling to Twin Ponds for a swim, picnic and, on rare occasions, to Glenwood.  Then there were the walks - to Gander Lake, taking what is now the ski slope, I think, and to Deadman's Pond for a swim (but I couldn't
swim until I was in grade 9 or 10!). 

And speaking of swimming, I am reminded of Loon Bay Camp "beyond the confines of Gander"; year one was Intermediate CGIT Camp (a number of us went from Gander) and year two was Camp Council, the "elite" group and Joan Greene and I were elected by our CGIT group to attend - it was there I learned to swim.  Every day we had to enter the frigid Atlantic (I think it was the Camp Directors' way to ensure that we were clean!) but I learned how to swim, at least a little.

My grandparents lived in Bishop's Falls so we went by train or by car to visit them. 

I remember one day Joan Greene and I "skipped" school after morning recess to drive to Bishop's with my parents. For that I was "kicked off" prefect duty.  During the summer I visited my other grandmother in
Southport (my mother's home) and from there to aunts, uncles and cousins in Harcourt, Hickman's Harbour, etc.

Being an airport town, it is strange that my first plane trip was after highschool but, as with today, flying costs money! Since that time, I've been to the US, Costa Rica, Bahamas, Bermuda, Anglola, Philippines,
Hong Kong, Greece and a few points in between.

In some ways my world in Gander was "small" (except trips to the terminal to watch all of the interesting people, colour and clothing, helped that) but, my, they were fun and exciting times. Now my classmates can "correct" or add to my "selective" memories.

Marion Pardy, Class of 1958


Yes, Marion mentions Twin Ponds, our favorite swimming hole. Gander Lake was too cold to swim in, although we did try it a few times. We used to hitch hike out to Twin Ponds or have one of the parents drive us. Sometimes we had to walk. I think it was about five miles. There was a floating raft (diving board) anchored off the point and you had to swim out to it. I learned to swim there just so I could go to the raft with the other kids. I remember one day, Cal Warren and I did a complete tour of the circumference of Twin Ponds floating on inner tubes. Down at the other end of the pond, the Warrens had a cottage and we used to go there to fish off the rocks or the beaver house.

Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961


R. G. Pelley: You should be proud of the document on Gander on 'how it all started' with the surveying and all. It is a great piece of history, and recorded here on our website. Thanks for all of the research you do. A great find.  Did you get it on ebay?  Love the prices of things, nails, tar paper etc. So sand from Gander Lake... Was it sandy down there? I remember it being rocky with very little sand.

Thanks for sharing. A beautiful thing.



And this buried in my notes from Ron Mosher:


Talking about swimming, though, brings back memories of Gander Lake. Remember how cold that was?  Morley, Jim, Bob and a crowd of us would bicycle down to the concrete wharf - I think we used to call it the old American base?  It was where the pump house was situated for the water supply. 

I remember we used to jump off the end of the concrete pier and just barely be able to swim back to grab the side. I'm not sure if it was Ross Patey, but, whoever it was, I remember used to jump in and come up sputtering, splashing and grabbing with their hands without being able to swim one stroke and frantically try to make it to something to hold on to. We'd all laugh and cheer and whoever it was would crawl up and do it all over again. If our parents knew about it, they'd be worried sick for fear that someone would drown.

Ron Mosher, Class of 1959


Speaking of Ross, he recalled his first job in Gander (also shared by others in a previous Faye’s Place).


As for my first job it was at Goodyears in the meat department. I packaged the meat for them and I worked with a Mrs. Hoddinott who used to borrow my little rocket radio to listen to some of the old time bands every day. My pay at that time was 20 dollars per week and out of that I had to pay 15 dollars room and board. After the first year there I got a raise of 5 more dollars so I was then getting rich. In any case, I moved back to Lewisporte and went to work with Imperial Oil. The money was much better there.  

Ross Patey, Class of 1959


That’s it for this time. Next column, I’m trying to have us build a ‘little tribute’ of Ganderites who helped make us who we are today. Got a favorite memory of somebody in Gander and how they inspired you. Perhaps what they wore, or how they corrected you, or praised you, made you feel like you could be ‘somebody’? Who were these people that shaped us and the town of Gander as well. The businessmen, the clergy, the police, teachers, airport friends, influential friends, somebody who stood by you when others might not have. Let’s hear it. Who wouldn’t cherish having their names printed on our website or to realize that what they did made a difference in someone else's lives???? I dunno ….let’s hear it. Write to me at and we’ll get it posted in upcoming column. Thanks again.


Hey we hear that one of us has been ‘flying high’—literally. Maybe you’ll read about this adventure here. It’s a great story with lots of cheerleaders on the sidelines. Nobody ever accused any of us of being dull.!!