do you remember

Dec 16, 2012

Gander train station is abuzz as everyone arrives for the 3-day trip to Grand Falls and then  down to St. John’s aboard the Newfie Bullet. This fictitious outing  includes two 1950s-era  exhibition hockey games (Gander vs. Grand Falls). The adventure is built upon memories shared by many of you on this site. Sit back enjoy the conversation and music. Later, please share your thoughts with us on the guestbook.
NOTE: We have taken some editorial license with time and events  (all of us much younger then).

Musicians Bob McKinnon and David Naish arrive at Gander Rail Station with their equipment in tow.  As has Ed Goff, leader of the Solidaires Band. Bob Pelley, our  ‘official’ tour guide, is carrying a megaphone of some type.

Gander hockey players (a High school team and Gander Flyers contingent) are here at the station with driver Cliff Powell. Cliff  is also part of the Solidaires Band and they’ll entertain on the train ride home from St. John’s.  Brian and Anne Goff are loaded down, helping their dad Ed with the band equipment. Hockey coach Wes Trainor is urging players to stow their gear all in one place.  
Leo Brazil has an order of chips and coke that he picked up at Goodyear’s Canteen for 15 cents. Behind him is Ross Patey, who just got off work from the meat counter at Goodyear’s. Ross says that he recently received a raise to $20 a week, and is “on easy street”.  He also brought his little rocket radio (a Christmas gift) that Mrs. Hoddinott had borrowed to listen to the old time bands.
Jane Dempsey is wondering if her CNR pass is valid for this trip. Her sisters Patricia, and Helen along with Liz Bursey are checking their bags.
Liz’s tells how “Mrs. Dempsey drove to the station and Helen spoke up asking if their mother could drive a little faster.
“You don’t drive as fast as Mrs. Moss,” said Helen
To which Mrs. Dempsey replied “well maybe Mabel can play the harp”.
Ohh, there comes ‘Boots’--Jack Pinsent, running the shortcut. If he’s lucky he’ll round up a new pair of  boots (Wellingtons) in St. John’s. 
Marion Pardy and Peter Blackie have arrived. Marion said that there is enough snow out there it hitch up “Pal to a sled and pull everyone over to the station instead of taking a cab.” 


Angus Taylor reports that the Christmas dance went well this year with Eugene and Les Simms singing  “White Christmas” with the Solidaires Band.
“They were great, young rich baritone sound, with good harmony,” said Angus.
Dave Robertson enjoyed a performance of the Avion Players complete with hilarious spoofs on opera, novels and plays. “They required a young person to play Dick Widdington’s cat. As a result of Wayne Anstey’s performance, he was saddled forever with the nickname ‘The Cat’.”
Denny Pritchett is on time. 
Bob Pelley was elated that band leader Ed Goff had recently set him up with his first set of drums “which he dug out of the basement of the Airport Club.” A nifty Christmas gift.
 What is  Bob McKinnon carrying?
“A big bag of sandwiches and a thermos of hot drinks to share, because food on the train is expensive.” He says that his family sometimes visit grandparents in St. John’s and it can be a very rough and slow ride.
Weather should cooperate. Jim Butler has already checked in at the weather office. The guys there, Fred Mercer, Ed Cooper, Graham Skanes, Clyde Burt, Eric Bowering, Reg Hutchings , Max McKinnon and Peter Stacey assured him, “it was going to be okay for travel”.
George Baker talked of his plans to participate in a debating contest while in St. Johns.

In order to make the train, Lorne Fitzgerald had to leave the canteen before the jukebox finished playing all six selected songs for a quarter. They were playing old country and western songs…”that are all the rage”.
Teacher Clarence Dewling  is seen rushing in from the teacher’s hostel.
Somebody spotted Eileen Chafe cashing in coke bottles at the canteen earlier. She’s thinking of getting some ice cream for everyone when we get to Grand Falls.
Jim Strong picked up a big bag of apples at Goodyear’s… “Out of the barrel, and only the best for this crowd.”  Audrey told him they were probably from Nova Scotia where she once lived.
Someone will fill in doing Clyde Burt’s egg route while he’s away.  He arrived with a breakfast snack for everyone--hard boiled eggs, complete with salt and pepper to dip them in. 
Betty Lush (who has eyes only for Clyde) has baked up a huge gingerbread “from a recipe that was published in Come by Chance Hospital  cookbook in 1944.” Also she has a batch of date squares to pass around. And tucked in Betty’s purse is a bag of homemade molasses candy (the kind that was stretched with butter) just for the hockey games.
Pat Dempsey, “the Girl Scout who is always prepared” brought her handy dandy jackknife along to cut up oranges for those inclined to get sticky.
Agnes Power proudly modeled her new Christmas dress. Her father bought it for her when Bill Toytman came to their home on his sales rounds.  
 Agnes looked beautiful. A smiling Bill Geange agreed. Michal Millar and Faye Lewis are wearing the dresses that they traded with each other, awhile back.
A group of boys is going over their Boy Scout shopping list. Eric Smith, Gar Pardy and Rod Hippern want to pick up some ‘gear’ in St. Johns. They’re attending  the International Scouting Jubilee in Niagara Falls next summer.
Pat Dempsey recalls the last train trip she took to GF was to see a dentist. “The joy was having train meals served on china dishes with silver plate cutlery and delicious meals in the dining car.”
Hope that Ken Barnes and Alice Taylor make it on time from Beaverwood. They took a shortcut along the tracks. And here come the Mingo girls. Their dad is dropping them off…Audrey says that the last time they took a trainride was from Port Aux Basque to Gander.
Roy Rideout and Frank Goulding just arrived in Harry Newhook’s bus.  And, the Salvation Army band is warming up, ready to play before the train departs. Gladys Goulding and Roy Sceviour look out of breath from entertaining over at the hospital earlier.

The Salvation Army Band performs first at the Banting Hospital, then dashes over to the Gander Railway Station to play there.
Looking forward to the soooo slow trainride across NL, Norm Hounsell is reminded of an old joke:
“A gentleman was taking the train across the island, when he noticed a lady, who was pregnant, and was now going into labour.
He said, " You shouldn't have gotten on the train in your condition".
She said, " I wasn't in this condition when I got aboard".  
Ron Mosher and Ina Snook are holding hands (to keep warm). And, Mary Osmond, accompanied by her sisters Effie and Joyce, is scanning the crowd, looking for Bob Warren who is over with the other hockey players. 
Quiet everyone…what is that announcement??


(click on your ticket to get aboard the train)



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