Feb 27, 2008

Here’s a  few bits and pieces of memories shared here by the gals re Valentine’s Day…and there’s more. Please remember with us some of your growing up experiences. Next time we’ll talk about  those  good memories of pieces of ‘Old Town Gander’ shared by fellow classmates. Here we go…

Valentines Day memories:

“My recall is that when we were in the younger grades we had a valentine's box in the classroom.  We would purchase those large books of valentines that you cut out or punched out and then put them in the box for classmates - usually with "guess who" instead of a signature.  And in the high school grades, my mind goes blank. No doubt we sent and received those "lubby-dubby" valentines to a "significant other"; alas, I didn't even keep one of them!! I'm sure others have more "heart-throbbing" stories than this one.”

“My elementary school days were in New Glasgow, NS., and Valentines was always a fun time. I remember only bringing so many to school, to my favourite friends, but never for the guys.  Elementary School remember. Apart from what we did at school, we could always access Betsy McCall (a paper doll with cut-out clothes) who I believe showed up month by month in the magazine GOOD HOUSEKEEPING magazine. We faithfully cut the page out, played paper dolls until told by our mother to move on to something else. At that point, we placed Betsy and her attire, in boxes.

“Each month depicted some celebration - February, of course, saw Betsy and us celebrate Valentine's Day. This may seem crazy and a little anal retentative to today's reader of these notes but it made quite a bit of sense to a young girl growing up where and when we did.  Suffice to say, the imagination and hours of fun spent on such an activity can never be duplicated. Today, I buy a magazine called ‘Home Companion’. Each month it has a cutout section, like years gone by. I always save them for my grand daughter Amy, but she doesn't have much interest in dolls, or cutouts.  I save them anyway.  I have the urge to cut them out, but I haven't.  And the February issue always has the Valentine Theme, and always in addition to the cut outs, has a framing Valentine picture in another section.
”When it comes to being older and guys and valentines, I forget!!  Did I not get any valentines as a teenager?  I dunno. I just remember my younger years.”

-Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of ‘58.


“I remember that box and the handing out of the valentines.  Now when I think back on it I feel that it probably wasn't the right thing to do as some kids did not get many and it was like a status symbol.  Well, we didn't think of those things back then.  I do remember colouring those little girls that had valentines all around their skirts and we would cut them out and they stood up once you hooked up the cardboard on the back.  I think some of the kids (esp.boys) did not enjoy that little craft at all.

 - Liz Bursey Lyons, Class of 1960  


“I remember buying the valentines at Goodyear's, but I can't remember taking them to school.  Maybe being in Grade 11 it wasn't done.  Do any of you guys remember sending me a valentine? NO?  Oh well…-

- Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958



My dad being a military guy, meant that our family was always being posted somewhere. We had to be ready to pick up and go with very little notice. It was often difficult saying goodbye to friends that you never met again. That is why it is so nice to keep in touch with all of my Gander ‘newfound’ friends. With military pals scattered to the winds, it is difficult to trace a childhood memory sometimes. In this picture our family was on the way to another base, but here we are leaving a cabin we had shared for a few weeks in St. Huberts, Quebec. My dad was on course there for six weeks during summer. I don’t think I was very happy that day. That’s my aunt behind my brother Gary, seated (with his gun) and my father with our favorite piece of luggage—a cardboard box…

- Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959

The Purse - the Purse.  it is always about the purse.  You fashionista - you. Great shot and your dad and aunt  looking so great.

Michal Millar Crowe, Class of 1960


Looks like Nfld luggage to me.... We all had luggage like that. But ours was o lot more solid and of better quality, being "hard bread" boxes, not the flimsier "Butter Nut Bread"  kind. You should have kept the box - with all the stuff being shipped after being sold on Ebay, boxes like that are becoming rare.

R.G. Pelley, Class of 1962


Yeah, we were trend setters with our luggage, and didn’t know it.

Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


“That picture brings back memories of many military moves. The picture of your dad (Wally) reminded me of Beaverbank. I had a vague recollection of him when you mentioned him before but, seeing the picture, I realize that your dad and I did meet on occasion.”

Dave Gilhen, RCAF Gander 1955-57


“So nice to hear. See there was a connection between us. We did follow you around, or vice versa. And all this because you appeared on our Gander Academy website one day in a hockey uniform. Small world, huh?!!”

Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


Yes, isn't that funny. I too got my first official luggage at about age 13. It was a small red suitcase with white trim. And yes, I too was so proud with it. It was a good size, for a weekend and taught me to pack small. I think I too kept it forever. FR Hey, don't you wonder where these things ended up?”

-Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958


“And speaking of luggage…I remember that train ride from Gander to St. John's. When we went to visit the grandparents in St. John's, we had to go to the station in Gander at about 3:00 AM (not quite awake) and board the train. It was a very rough ride, especially when they combined a steam engine with a diesel (only in NF). I guess it's like having a chuckwagon team comprised of a horse and a donkey.

“The conductor would walk up and down the train either punching tickets or yelling the name of the next town. We used to stand between the cars where you could stick your head over the barrier and see the full length of the train. We brought sandwiches and drinks (or a thermos of coffee or tea) because the food on the train was too expensive.”

Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961.


“I recall a couple of people in Gander who I really connected with and wondered if any body knows of there whereabouts. Vinnie Doyle and Dave James are both from Gander and I spent a lot of time with them. Dave was in the Air Force and stationed with me in Gander. Vinnie, if he is still around, would be in his late eighties. Dave would much younger. Both could really spin a yarn and were great fun to be around.

“Vinnie used to have me in stitches with his stories about the Newfoundland or St John`s bullet - the train that ran between Gander and St.John`s. Apparently, that train took forever to get from Gander to anywhere with many stops along the way - some just to socialize.

“Must have been like the Blueberry Special that ran from Halifax down through the Annapolis Valley.In blueberry season that train would stop at blueberry picking grounds to let passengers pick. It took forever to get anywhere on that train but, of course, anybody who took passage on it was not in a hurry. Those were the days before life got so complicated and people were a lot less tied to time. People then had time to talk to one another and socializing was a pleasant pass time.
     “If  Dave and Vinnie are known to anybody in the group, I would appreciate hearing something of them.Thanks.

Dave  Gilhen, RCAF Gander 1955-57


“The Dave James I knew grew up in Gander, and we called him Pop. His father was the airport manager for years, Jack James.

Dennis Pritchett, Class of


“There's a story about the Newfie Bullet that you may have all heard, but I'll tell it anyway;
One day during a stop at Clarenville, a little old lady got onboard and settled herself in a seat with her bags and things. When the conductor went around checking tickets, he stopped beside the lady, and she said; ‘Leave me know when we gets to Brigus Junction, wuntum.’

“The conductor said he would and off they went. Some time later, the conductor was making his rounds, when he noticed that the lady was still on board, and sound asleep in her seat, five miles beyond Brigus Junction. So the conductor, as they would in those days, frantically pulled the cord and stopped the train. He then had the engineer back up to Brigus Junction.

“When they were sitting in Brigus Junction again, he gently shook the lady by the shoulder, and when she awoke, he said: "You can get off now ma'am, we're in Brigus Junction." "Oh no sir!" she said, "I don't want to get off. I was in to Clarenville to see the doctor this morning, and he gave me some pills. He said take one now, and take another when you gets to Brigus Junction."

“ It's true, as far as I know.”

Dennis Pritchett, Class of ?????


The Newfie Bullet, now there are stories in that. The Railway used to run "Trouter Specials" out of St. John's every May 24. From St. John's to Placentia with stops at any and every pond after it passed Topsail. I'm not sure, but I think that is where the name of the rum distributed by the NLC came from - "Trouter's Special".

Jim Butler, Class of 1959




Yep, I was a Gold Cord Girl Guide by the time I got out.  Loved being one. Every summer I attended GG Camp in Edgerton, Nova Scotia.  My father came down each year and built wooden platforms to put the tents on, and anything else Mrs Henderson wanted, she was the head honcho.  To me she was a very old lady, you know, with  the real short haircut in back, and slightly longer in front and straight, and grey, and I figured she was 90. 

Mom taught me to knit, to get a badge, and cooking, etc........ and of course we all loved getting those badges.  But I was too damm shy to be out front and centre in this stuff,  but my sister Joyce was out front and center.  I have my GG uniform hung in my closet, and it is beyond tiny. Was I ever that small?
In this picture taken at Camp Edgerton around 1951 or 52, I am in the front row, second from left; Mrs Henderson is in the back row, sixth from left. I know you needed to know all this but...I didn't pick up the skills of leadership as Jane (Dempsey) did, and Jim (Butler) did in Scouts.  But now I am a sassy 60 something--make my own rules.

Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958


So folks share with us what you would liked to have seen saved as part of the Old  Gander that no longer exists. Send to Faye@villagereporter.com and webster will post it for us thanks, Faye.

PS: The picture of the two little girls in the Jan 11 edition has been updated to include their identities as Debbie Mckinnon and Diane Butler.