Dec 7 2007

From ‘first kiss’ to a bit of hockey to whatever…the conversation continues among classmates so here’s what we’ve come up with so far…


Here is my contribution the your "First Kiss" discussion, or should I say, "First Non-Kiss". Let me explain.

Back in the mid 1950s a bunch of people in my class were attending an evening birthday party at someone's home on the Army Side. I cannot remember whose party it was, or all the participants, but I do remember that we were all on the verge of entering our teenage years, around the age of emotional discovery (and curiosity).

During the evening one of the games played was called "Post Office". Again, my memory fails me as to the details of the game, but through the course of events I ended up having to go into the assigned room with one of the best-looking girls of the group. While in the room we were supposed to kiss. I now assume I was supposed to take the initiative in this venture, however, me being the "really" shy type, we both sat on the edge of the bed (yes, the assigned room was a bedroom) and waited the prescribed time to make the group think we had kissed. Our return to the game was met with cheers and comments, but only two of us really knew what had (not) happened!

 Now I better send this before I chicken-out!

- Jim Butler, Class of 1959

Hi Faye:  I'm late responding because I've just spent another 2 weeks of my life in and out of hospital.  I'm sure our fathers must have met, I think my father did encourage me to meet some of the younger airmen, I can think of two:  one who was mourning a death in the family and one who was a real happy-face. 

My father was the first Anglican minister in the airport town and he started the altar boys and choir and had a lot to do with starting up the Boy Scouts who met in the  hall adjoining our living quarters.

I used to ride my bike around the arport to get to music lessons on the American Side or to the old terminal on the RAF Side and sometimes a certain boy would ride with me to the gravel pit or to Radio Range Road, I knew him through Sunday School. Once I got lost in the woods on a ride to Gander Lake with two brothers. Basically, I was socially behind, being the youngest in my class and quite truthfully, I don't remember kissing anyone. I do remember not wanting to kiss anyone. 

When I finished Grade 11 in June, 1956, having turned sweet 16 less than two months prior. I had a birthday party and my parents gave me a set of luggage (Samsonite, aqua 2-piece).  I was on my way to the big city/Memorial University with my scholarship to study PreMed. 

Happy-Face had found someone else and Sad-Sack had been transferred. The older males I met in Gander that last summer recognized me as the minister's young daughter and came to my house only to practice the piano or to practice avoiding my mother who seemed to worry a lot about going to movies or for walks with people who were teachers or Air Traffic controllers.

My first year in St. John's was spent in a girls' hostel where you had a pass for Saturday evening 'til 11pm and for Sunday afternoon. I made some friends there and I met people from Queen's Theological College and I taught Sunday School. All of this came to an end over the  next two years and I made changes and choices which were  irreversible. I've enjoyed reporting this little bit of history which I've rarely thought about and if the info. is of any interest you may use it; nobody but I is to be identified by name. 

- Doris (Moss) Cowley M.D. (HMA/56)

I always remember one story my uncle shared when we were kids. He told us that he had taken his first date somewhere and later, back home on her doorstep he decided to lean in and 'go for it'. Only to find after that first kiss, he looked down and had one foot in a pan of fudge. Her mother had set out the pan briefly to cool (no refrigerators in those days). She was making it as a treat for when they got back...and of course they had no porch lights in those days.

- Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959 

Jack Pinsent’s story about his Christmas tree brought these thoughts from classmates (under Past Reflections).

When in Gander, and we had those Christmas/NewYear’s parties for us young ones, Joyce (Mingo)  and I would often walk to the Army side or whatever side it was, and it would snow and like you say, those big flakes.  It never seemed to be a horrific storm, just tons of snow would come down.  Happy place.  

-Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958

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). 

We use 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 always made sense.  She had " Bubble Lights".  As I always remembered that, in later years, I bought "Bubble Lights" also.  (Copycat me).  Funny how you remember things.


I got such a hoot out of the way Jack (Pinsent) told about his father conserving the "juice", just lighting the tree for company. And if the bulbs went out, then he's right, it was probably because we were fiddling with them!! 

No Christmas was complete until one of our cats decided to climb the tree.

I also remember those little candles with the bubbles inside? We didn't have those, but I would babysit for people who did. I thought they were just about the best thing going.

-          Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


So what about ‘Hockey Night in Gander’ any thoughts on that or the players?


I remember Angie Carroll and Dave Gilhen. I thought it was “Gillhan”, however, as Mr. Wells (our teacher) would have pointed out, in exasperation, “you can't even spell your own name so the odd error with other words less familiar, is no reason to fail Grade 9.” Ah the old days!

  - Dave Robertson, Class of ?????


 I was transferred out of Gander to Beaverbank N.S. in February of 1957, just as the Gander All Stars were looking forward to opening the playoffs against Grand Falls. There was still a month left in the season but it was obvious we would be facing off against the Grand Falls team.There was a great deal of rivalry between these two towns at the time and I was devastated at the propect of missing the series. Our coach in Gander that year was a man named Doggie Kuhn - for years a star in the American hockey league.

I was away from Gander for about a month and settled in to my new surroundings in Beaverbank when I got a call from the Commanding officer of the base ordering me to be in his office early the next morning. I suffered through a great deal of anxiety that night wondering what kind of trouble I might be in.

As it turned out the Commanding officer and Doggie were great friends and Doggie had asked that I be returned to Gander for the playoffs. The next day I was flying back to Gander to take up my regular duties as Communications Tech on the Gander base and to take part in the playoffs.
     I can't say Flo (my wife) was all too pleased with this turn of events since she was left with three young children to take care of on her own.

After being off skates for over a month, it took a little time to get back into game form. Gander played well in the playoffs against the Falls winning the best of five series 3 games to 2. We met our match though in our next opponent which was Cornerbrook.
     These games were very exciting and, because there was no television in Gander at that time, the rink was always packed.I had three good years in Gander and met some wonderful people there.


-          Dave Gilhen, RCAF Gander (More on this guy’s hockey career next time).


I remember they had several hockey age levels, PeeWees, Bantams, Midgets, Juniors, that sort of thing. We were pretty small in those days so I guess we were PeeWees.

We didn't have any hockey equipment because we couldn't afford it. Just a stick and skates. Some of the kids had shin guards but the rest of us put magazines inside our socks. Taking a puck in the shins didn't hurt quite as much but it still hurt.

Now a days you can't play minor hockey without the proper equipment, and that includes a helmet with a faceguard. But I don't remember any of those kids getting seriously injured. Most of the boys in the area played in the league. I don't remember who they were except a few we hung out with. Cal Warren, Denny Mullins, etc. I remember Denny because he was a big kid and you didn't get in his way.

I don't remember the lady with the cow bells (the woman fan in the stands at the rink). The Gander Flyers had some pretty good uniforms (government money), but some of the teams who came from places like Buchans, Bell Island, etc. wore absolute rags. Their shirts were ripped by grabs and clutches and never replaced. I can only imagine what the locker room smelled like.

I think we discovered a way of getting into Gander Gardens without paying. It's pretty vague but I think we climbed up one of those steel ladders on the side of the building and crawled into an opening, coming out at the top seats. I wonder if anyone else remembers that. Anyway, it worked for a while.

I feel so guilty. I should go back and pay for all those free hockey games I attended. Chances are the guy who was collecting tickets is probably deceased now.

Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961

And more hockey stories are coming in as we speak. Stay tuned. And send us yours to be posted here by emailing: