Dec 12 ,  2009

Here is a bit more on the memory of ‘jackknives, penknives and/or hunting knives’. From there, some recalled how they got involved in Girl Guides,

 - Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959 (former Girl Guide, Scarlet Tanager patrol)


Our first foray into the usage of such a knife, and life threatening object, was when we accompanied Dad/Mom on trout fishing trips and our annual vacation on the Gander River salmon fishing (Glenwood  - after first being transported with all our camping gear, clothing and the inevitable Carnation Milk Boxes filled with our 2-week food supply by Mr. Tapp at Goodyear's old grocery store down by the Railway Station. 

Said boxes were topped up and perishables purchased from a small store in Appleton via a walk across the railway trestle . . . we were always so sure that the gaps between the railway ties on the trestle were big enough for us to fall through.  On one of these treks into Appleton, a shunting train approached and for some reason or another one of my sisters must have panicked because Dad had to retrieve her, hold her and hang over the side of the trestle while the train passed.  Dad knew the engineer so, the engineer thought it would be a great gag, approached us on our crossing and then blow steam as he passed Dad. This made Dad's rescue effort all the more traumatic for us kids but as usual, he persevered and got us all to Appleton safe and sound.)

Sorry, for the transgression . . now, back to the "jack knives."

Now, if you were travelling on the Newfie Bullet or waiting for the ferry to cross the Gander or Exploits River (by car, or other vehicle)   . . . especially on the Newfie Bullet when travelling home from Boarding School in St. John's to Gander for the Christmas Holidays (my sister and I traded in our Trans Canada Airlines tickets to purchase three train tickets to enable a friend to travel home for the holidays) the application of the knives told many a story and held us fascinated and astonished at the user's ingenuity or bent for destruction.

   *    carving of names or pictorial objects, both
         crude and ornate, into the seats, walls and
         window sills
  *    fixing/tuning accordions or guitars . . that provided
        the musical entertainment throughout the entire
  *    can openers and eating utensils
  *    in instances where/when first aid was required
  *    peeling and sharing of the ever present orange(s) or
       other food products with those who were not
       fortunate enough to have a lunch
  *   cutting a plug of tobacco . . . it wouldn't be a well
       rounded trip on the Newfie Bullet if the smell of
       chewing tobacco, oranges, wet clothing and urine were not
       present and pungent
  *   opening beer and pop bottles


Now, as a Girl Guide, I was fortunate enough to have the use of a "jack knife" when camping or participating in other outdoor activities . . . they were used for some of the aforementioned reasons but were prominent at established camp sites, wilderness camping, and winter camping in the

  *    making of camp gadgets
  *    making shelters to secure us from the elements
  *    building and privatizing latrines
  *    reshaping tent pegs
  *    fixing guy lines and/or ropes on the flag pole
  *    securing larders in trees
  *    honing marshmallow roasting sticks
  *    cutting kindling
  *    in and around the kitchen area - for food preparation,
        shelters and kitchen gadgets and work spaces
  *    craft projects
  *    cutting rope and appropriate sized sticks to teach knot tying
        (little jingles or stories were used to show how to shape the knots
         thus making the learning process easier and fun)


Along with our parents bestowed the privilege of owning and using a "jack knife" came the responsibility and accountability for the knife's maintenance, safe utilization and storage.  It was paramount to them that we understood that the knife was a "tool" and not a "toy."

I was always proud to be the owner of my "jack knife" (an inexpensive but useful Swiss Army Knife) and was grateful that Mom and Dad trusted me to use the knife as was intended - not many "young ladies" were so lucky, loved, or honoured by their parents in this way.  To this day, I find many ways to use my "jack knife" in and around the house and keep one in my car for emergency use.  And, most of all, I am still a member of the Girl Guides of Canada Guides du Canada (an Honorary Life Member) and still apply my "jack knife" as needed in the various life-experiencing roles I have played and continue to play.

 - Pat Dempsey Hiscock,  HMA Class of 1956


Patricia was/is a great story teller, she "remembers everything", sometimes to my detriment. I was the sister, Dad, had to rescue on the train bridge, I was terrified I would fall through the holes and fall into the fast moveing river.  I gives me the shivers to this day. 

-Jane Dempsey Donnelly, GA Class of 1960


Yes Faye, I have some memory acquiring little jackknives since I had been a Girl Guide and I think it was important to have one in case one's skill at knots was out of control. Other than sharpening pencils I don't recall much use of my penknife which I had on a key chain. I later progressed to the Swiss Army knife which I carried in the glove compartment of my car until my car was stolen several times and each time I would lose any tools including my knife. Now I don't carry one. I actually found a screwdriver to be more useful than a knife when, for example, my little BMW was stolen with me locked inside the trunk. Although this was 20 years ago I still shudder at the memory of the confinement in that little trunk in the Texas August evening heat.

See if you all can figure out where I got a screwdriver and what I did with it! Regards to y'all.

Doris (Moss) Cowley

P.S. I forgot to mention that the Moss's came from Salvage, B.B. and about 5 years ago I made a visit there to introduce my  mate to the oldest continuously settled village (400 years) in North America. We visited a number of my friends and cousins and stopped in to visit with an old gent, 'Eber and his wife. We shared tea in the kitchen and she showed me all her poetry she had written over a lifetime. I explained that my Aunt Hazel had probably taught everyone in the village and 'Eber interrupted his whittling long enough to state that nobody taught 'e after 3rd grade because he went fishing. Retired now he was supplementing his income with his penknife, whittling birch brooms in various sizes and selling to tourists. We were captivated and bought half a dozen @$15. When I returned there in 2006 they were gone, the house standing still but empty, the shed in the garden still there; it had been floated over from the island where the Moss's had lived long ago, still usable.

Doris Moss Cowley, HMA Class of 1956


I know the word 'Jacknife' and even 'pen knife' but the term I know best is 'pocket knife'.

Clarence Dewling, HMA/GA teacher 1950s.


I remember Gander Guides - I was so envious of my sisters, Patricia & Helen, I wanted to join Guides with them but I was too young. You had to be 11 years old & I was only 10.  All summer I pined and watched them put on their much coveted uniforms once a week. Patricia was in 2nd Company with the yellow ties and Helen in the 1st Company with red ties. Dec. 11, 1953, I tagged along  a few feet behind Patricia, I wanted to ask Miss Thomas (I'm almostcertain that was her name) if I could join that night, the Guide Company Christmas party was on Dec. 16 (my birthday)  and I didn't want the kids to think I was joining just to go to the party. I WANTED TO BE A GIRL GUIDE.

Over the years, I to continued in the movement. Moving with them across Canada as Patrick got posted from province to province.
- 1970-73 Kingston, Ontario  as Tawny Owl and Brown Owl (Brownies)
- 1973-78 Shilo Manitoba Guide Captain, District Guider, District Commissioner (Guides)
- 1978-89 Calgary Alberta Guide Captain, District Guider & Provincial Trainer

During all those years Patricia was an inspiration and supplier of many, Guiding, training & camping ideas for me. Both of us are "Night Owls" and put some of our best trainings together in the early AM hours.

When we were posted to St. Johns Nl in 1989 I opted out of being an Adult leader, I loved the girls BUT some of the parents - enough said. 

Once a Girl Guide always a Girl Guide - I have many happy memories, and I too have run into women that I had in my Brownie Packs and Guide Companies, especially through out the military communities, what a wonderful "high" it is when they tell you that you had a positive influence on a part of their lives.  Many of them went on to be Adult leaders.

Jane Dempsey Donnelly, GA Class of  1960 (2nd Gander Guide Company Swallow Patrol)

I have my Girl Guide Uniform hanging in my closet, so I just checked it out, and on the left arm it says 1st Gander.  Now....  my memory of attending Girl Guides in Gander is blank.  what does that tell you.  I thought it would say New Glasgow (NS). So now I am wondering does this belong to either Donna or Julia.  Mom passed it over to me years ago.  And it is rather small, hmmm I must have gained weight since the 1950's. 

Audrey Mingo Grantham, GA Class of 1958


 I became a member of the Girl Guides of Canada Guides du Canada in 1953 when the movememt was first introduced to us girls in Gander.  I have been an active member, as well as a youth and adult volunteer since that time - - 56 years.  Previously and simultaneously to that/with that, I was an Explorer, CGIT and HiC member . . . United Church of Canada.

I still interact with, hear from, and have visits from many of the girls that I had as Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Rangers, etc.  Several of them worked at the IWK Children's Hospital when I did.  It really "knocked the socks off of them" when they learned that I worked there as well.  I cannot believe how many parents entrusted the care and education of their daughters to me over the years.  I've made their wedding cakes, christening cakes for their children, attended their weddings and the christenings and even mourned the deaths of some. Their careers span the spectrum and their accomplishments are beyond anything that they could have envisioned during their youth and fun times in Guiding.  As my parents taught Helen, Jane, and me, - - - there's nothing a girl/woman can't do - she just has to put her mind to it.


Patricia Dempsey Hiscock,  HMA Class of  1956


First Girl Guides in Gander


In 1952, Daphne Thomas, a Ground Hostess with Seaboard and Western Airlines at Gander together with a few other ladies, selected six girls to begin the formation of a Girl Guide Company.  The girls were (and I can be corrected), Margaret Dooley (Maher), Joan Simmons (Deceased), Kathleen Kane Cornish (Deceased), Ruth Wilcox Black, Carol Mercer Walsh and Betty Barnes Ross.

The girls met for a few months at the homes of the leaders and were trained as Patrol Leaders.  When their training was finished, recruitment began and six patrols were formed.  The Guides would meet in the building across from the Globe theatre that also housed the Canadian Legion Club. 

I still have my Patrol Box which was handmade by my father.  It was passed down the line to each of my three sisters and was repainted each time to represent the name of each Patrol but it is still sturdy and just as good as the day it was made. I stayed with the movement until my last year of high school and I’ve always been very proud that I was one of the very first Girl Guides in Gander.


Carol Mercer Walsh,  HMA Class of 1954