Jan 11, 2008

OK folks, here is a mixture of bits and pieces such as “wintertime in Gander” and a belated New Year’s good wishes, including that first kiss for Dave Gilhen…


When we lived on the "airforce" side, we had the "coop hill" to slide down. It was actually an ammo shelter next to the runways converted to a Coop store warehouse.  Very convenient because they also had a good supply of cardboard boxes!

But how many kids grew up sliding down the side on an ammo dump!

Bob Pelley, Class of 1962


Sounds like fun Bob. The snow I remember in Gander was our class' snowball fight in the classroom. It was bedlam, with  no teacher present. Snow everywhere. Just about everyone remembered it. Jack Pinsent said he remembered hearing about it and they wished it had been their class. Our class  had a reputation for being a little rowdy. Not bad--just rowdy. Well anyway, when the teacher arrived, (Mr. Taite), we just sat in our seats with big snowball 'splats' on the blackboard. He didn't say a word, just went on with the lesson, as if nothing had taken place.

As the snow melted, dripping down the blackboard, on our seats, the floor, Garfield Roberts said he got chewed out by  Liz (Morgan) Marshall who accused him of putting snow on her chair as she sat in a big puddle of melted snow.. He was shy and quiet at that time and claimed (later at reunion time) that he didn't do it!! So Liz, whaddya think of that?

Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


While everyone's on the line, I'd like to add our very best wishes for a Happy 2008. Hope you're able to keep warm and comfortable without too many blankets stacked on the old bed.

Campbell Pritchett, Class of 1959

Speaking of snow fun. I remember when we lived in Gander on the Canadian side, whenever we got a big snow storm, the snow would drift up against the side of Gander Gardens. We would climb up those iron ladders on the side until we reached the roof and jump off into the snow drifts. Sometimes it took a long time to dig ourselves out.

Crazy kids! It's a miracle we even survived. Also in the new townsite, there was a ski run on the side of the hill going down to Gander Lake. We did a lot of skiing and tobogganing on that run. I spent more time on my butt than actually soaring down the hill. We were always wet and frostbitten.

Bob Mckinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961



I grew up in New Glasgow, NS, and we had a great hill near our home, and we used cardboard boxes all the time for sledding.  Now there were double runners, which was a mean machine in the 40's and 50's, a large wooden 'toboggan' like thing. We didn't have one, we had sleds, sometimes we had a toboggan, but mostly it was cardboard boxes.  The incline to our front lawn also served as a sliding place. I do not remember where we got the boxes, they could have come from Eastern Woodworkers, Dad's business, as we lived just down the street from it. Or the boxes from Eatons, as they delivered all the stuff Mom ordered for us for Christmas, always delivered in mysterious big boxes.  We would get those after Christmas. One thing I remember we used to do for the huge snow storms that blew through Pictou County, we would build forts, and we would have carved out seats, we would make counters inside as though it was a kitchen.  Snow was always so deep, and our imagination took over.  We inherited that building sense from our father I guess. 

Audrey Mingo Grantham, Class of 1958

And then there's another favorite Newfie sport, ice fishing. This is dad, I think at Cobb's Pond, and on the back he has written that he is with Debbie (McKinnon) and the dog.

Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961 



We are in Nova Scotia for xmas but going to Hotel Gander for New Year 's Eve Ball....Morley can relate to that!! Haven't done that in 20 years..Looking forward to  celebrating with  family and some old friends again.

Mary and Bob Warren, Class of 1959


To you all from Prince Edward Island. It is unfortunate that we have lost a number of classmates since the reunion.  We see now how important it was to have that reunion as soon as possible.
      Best wishes for health in the new year.

Morley Smith, Class of 1959


Time to get out again on the cross county skis and run some loops around the property (in London, Ontario, these days). I just  have to suit up and go out the back door from the basement. And you know, there isn't a time I do that when I don't think about the kindness and generosity of Frank Stirling (Class of 1960). He invited everybody in the Grade 10 class back in '58/'59 to come to his place any time and borrow from the plethora of  ski equipment in his basement. I took him up on it many times. Sometimes with Frank, Bob Warren and Ken Barnes. Sometimes just with Gerry Smith (very sorry to hear of Gerry's recent passing) and sometimes just alone. It was when I was alone that I had the worst spills and limped home with the worst bruises. Sometime I ended up going so fast on that run down to the lake that the only way to stop from going right into the lake was to sit back on the skis and turn into a human toboggan.

David Naish, Class of 1960


Hockey in Gander.  Playing on Deaman's Pond was ok but we were extremely lucky that Gander Lake didn't freeze over in the winter.

There is story about when the harbor froze over in Clarenville and of one of the players who got a breakaway - they found him two days later at the other end of Random Island!

Imagine if someone got a breakaway on Gander Lake....we'd spend our time searching from Glenwood to Suley's Brook. 

Bob Pelley, Class of 1962



And a KISS for the New Year (remember we asked about sending in your ‘first kiss’ story awhile back? Well leave it to the ‘hockey player’ extraordinaire)…


Just so you wont regard me as just a hockey player,  I`ll give you a first kiss story but you may find it difficult to believe in an age when kids are dating and having sex before they are into their teen years.
     I was raised in a devout Catholic environment and educated in a Catholic parochial school system. Within my parish there were two schools - one for the boys and one for the girls. The schools were separated in distance by about a city block. Very seldom were there any events where the boys and girls would be brought together.

Once in a very long while an after school dance would be arranged. These dances would usually take place in the boys school and would start at about 4 in the afternoon and go on until about 7 o`clock. On these occasions the nuns would escort the girls over to our school and then stay around to chaperone the event. The nuns were very conscientious chaperones so there was not a chance of any hanky-panky. As a matter of fact, there would be very little dancing going on. The boys would stay in little groups on one side of the hall and the girls the same on the other side.

One of our male teachers would have to start things moving by coercing us into going over and asking the girls to dance. As you can imagine, there was no slow dancing going on and the dancers were as far apart as was physically possible and still dance. Even throughout high school there were no girls in our classes and most of my teachers were male.
     Shortly after high school, I joined the military and my first posting was to Foymount, a small radar base in the Ottawa valley. On the first New Years that I was there, a big party was held in the mess and many of the locals attended. At the stroke of midnight, as usual, couples were embracing and welcoming in the new year. I was unattached and standing around like a dumb dolt when this girl grabbed me and gave me my first REAL KISS. After getting over the shock and regaining my composure, I thought -  hey that felt pretty good, I wouldn`t mind a little more of that.

The rest is history.

Fifty-five years, 10 grand children and 3 great children later we are still together and I can only look back in amazement at the life altering impact that first kiss had on my life.

Dave Gilhen RCAF 1955-57.