do you remember

Dec 8, 2012


We’ve got a few things to talk about here as the flurry surrounding Christmas season is in full swing. So let’s get to it with some recollections about ‘days of yore’ in Gander.


Peter Blackie 1954


Cutting Christmas trees was a family affair and a fun day of snow-related activities and "boiling up" once the tree(s) had been cut and secured for the trip home.  Many a time, when we did not have a family car, rope was tied to the tree securing the branches to prevent damage and hold the ax. Then, we used our sled to drag the tree home over the snow.  It was great fun, but exhausting.
Pat Dempsey Hiscock, GA Class of ‘56


Reminds me of our Xmas trees. Dad always picked them out and we decorated on Xmas Eve.  Our tree was always a mishmash of different things.  Glass bulbs, angel hair (all in little balls and just thrown on the tree). Tinsel everywhere!!! 

One year we had a beautiful pine tree and it was the only tree I remember thinking was so beautiful.... I still remember that tree (not the decorations though). 

We used to go to the Airport club for a Xmas party and I remember they would show us a movie.  The snow was always coming down in big snowflakes (not those big storms).  I remember Mrs. Simmons' tree was always beautifully decorated and it always made sense.  She had " Bubble Lights". 

As I always remembered that, in later years, I bought "Bubble Lights" also.  (Copycat me).  
Liz Bursey Lyons, Class of ‘60


The lights were never left on for very long. For several reasons. Drying out the tree, might cause a fire and burning extra “juice”, as dad would say. Whenever we would have a visitor during Christmas, the lights would be turned on. Once the appropriate compliments were made by the visitor, they would be turned off. It was a rule that you always gave a favorable compliment about your host’s tree.
Jack Pinsent, GA Class of ‘60


Music was a big part of Ed Goff’s family, according to his daughter Anne.


When we would go to our aunt and uncle’s house in Calvert (on the Southern Shore) (there were eleven children in their family and five in ours) our parents would always have a sing song going. Aunt DeSales would play the piano and Dad would have his saxaphone and we would all sing.

Whenever Dad's two sisters and their husbands would come to Gander with any of the children (Cousins) (Dad's two brothers-in-law were brothers) we would have a great time singing and playing music. We still will sing etc. when we get together which is not very often as we are all living all over the world. “
         Anne Goff Andrews, SP Class of ‘66


Nolan’s Jewellery Store was a popular place to shop:


My parents were friends with Jack Nolan and I remember being in his store when I was little.  I have a really pretty green candy dish which I love and use often.  My father bought it at Nolan's as a gift for my mother and she loved it too - that has to be over 60 years ago.  I looked up info on it awhile ago and it was made by Maling Pottery, in Newcastle Upon Tyne, which was apparently one of the largest pottery makers in the world.  They operated from 1762 until closing in 1963.
Geraldine Fitzgerald Nimmo, SJ Class of ‘59

And speaking of gifts, Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, Class of ‘56 remembers:

Santa Claus brought all of our 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.
She doesn’t remember when she got a leather covered photo album that she still has it.
It was 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…the other buildings in this area by the old Airport were Saturn and Jupiter.

Patricia Dempsey Hiscock, Class of ‘56



Marion Pardy, GA Class of ’58,  tells us that a group of CNT/Aliant telephone operators held a reunion in November…we hope to have some photos on that soon. Marion says: “Like Gander Academy, there was a strong bond among telephone operators.”


And, after the column here last time, we heard from Terry Belbin, son of a former CNT operator.

My mother, Margaret Belbin was a CNT operator in Gander for about 25 years beginning around 1971 to 1995.  What a lot of you are saying about the atmosphere there is very true.  It was more than a job for mom, it was a social event.  She was always coming home and relating the funny stories and antics that went on there.  Some of the names I've been seeing here I remember Mom talking about.  She worked with people such as Gladys Stryde, Betty Ireland, Betty Kelly, Louise Curtis, Mrs. Steeves, Ann Woodford and many others.  She certainly enjoyed her job, thanks in no small part to the people she worked with.

I'm sure all of the telephone operators remember working what I believe they called the 'Mobile' position. Back in the late 70's I was working at the Coast Guard radio station in St. Lawrence, NL and whenever a ship wanted to call someone on shore we went through the mobile operator at Gander. 

On more than one occasion I would be on one end of the line and my mother, Margaret Belbin, would be on the other, connecting the call.  I don't know if the telephone operators had to, but part of my job was to listen to these conversations, I guess to make sure a boat wasn't in trouble and not telling us.  I can tell you I heard some very interesting conversations that I assume people thought were being conducted in private.  It helped to pass the long midnight shifts.
Terry Belbin, Gander Collegiate, Class of ‘75

That’s it for this time. We hope that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season. Merry Christmas to all.
During the holidays, be sure to come to the corner of the site  check out our post Christmas ‘imaginary train ride’. You’ll be surprised at who you will meet on this journey. There will be music, merrymaking and more.
A special thankyou to each and every one of you who have helped make this column possible…
Who would have thought we would have so much to say? And we are just one little part of the big picture here!
Here is the breakdown of your memories recorded on this corner of our Flight website to the end of Year 2012:
2004-2005 several memories/ on Liz Morgan Marshall (GA Class of 1959) website in preparation for our first GA reunion.
         2006 -   8 columns
         2007 -  17 columns
         2008 -  17 columns
         2009 -  20 columns
         2010 -  17 columns
         2011 -  21 columns
         2012 -  20 columns
            Total - 120 columns
Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959.



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