Jan 21, 2010

OK last time we met here, we were all getting ready for the holidays. Hope all had a great time and best new year wishes to all. Before Angus Taylor and his wife packed up and left for home he shared this little story on my question about vehicles, old ones that were memorable in our growing up years. With a little encouragement from Jack Pinsent,  Angus recalled…


“Jack was right when he mentioned my story about the father's first car. I'll never forget it. It was a 4 door Chev in the 40's vintage.....used. Well used.......if you know what I mean. It was a car, not unlike all others that had a starter button. That meant we could get inside and push the button and the car would lurch.

So what eh? When you're 6 or 7 years old that can be a  bit of a thrill. It also had the standard frontal crank system that meant giving her the crank when she (it was a female Chevy) would'nt go.

But those were things she had. 

Let me tell you about some things that she didn't have. She had no back seat. And besides, the latches on the back doors, particularly the right side, were a little....'iffy'. Now we didn't realize it at the time, but we actually introduced the concept of the minivan.

We were ahead of our time.

All that space in the back. And we never needed any entertainment systems. We did that on our own.

What was both ingenious and thrilling was that my father tied a rope between the two back door handles, lashing them closed which served two purposes. The objective was to keep the doors closed while under way. Safety was of uppermost importance.

 The other purpose was to provide a security line for us to hang on while under way. Sort of like hanging on to the painter of a boat while she rides the bumpy waves.

Keep in mind now that we are small enough to stand up with no fear of hitting our heads even though we made passage over roads known for their ubiquitous potholes, making our feet at times come clear off the floor. Hanging on was great fun, kind of like 'clinging' except you were inside. Anyway, when we travelled, the routine was to get in the back, slip the loops over the handles and hang on!!! And of course, be quiet.

Well one day when my younger brother Gord was riding in the back  (hanging on  the right side but not as tightly as he should've), the 'perfect storm' of coincidental events occurred. We were rounding the corner at 'Steam Plant Hill' making a 90-degree left turn  (did I tell you the latch on the ride side was a little iffy?). Normally this would not have been a problem.

But here's the 'perfect storm' part..... for reasons unknown at the time and since, the rope had come undone on the handle of the right door as we rounded the corner. Not only that, but the door swung open. Not only that (see what I mean about the 'perfect storm' thingy?) Gord lost his grip (if he was at all hanging on), and tumbled out the door into the ditch. Father, concentrating as he should on his driving was oblivious to all this and kept on driving until I sounded the alarm ...

'Dad! Dad! Gord fell outta the car!'


'Gord fell outta the car!'

'J@#*+ !' as he applied the brakes. 'How in the name of $%*@ did he do that??!!!'

In the meantime, Gord, who was all of about 3'2" at the time, gets up on his feet and walks out of the ditch with a look on his face that says....'I don't know what happened....... but that was great......can we do it again?'

'Get in the car ....what the @*&^+* is wrong with ya? How many times have I told you, you have to hang on!'

And, hang on we did after that you can be sure. Mother wasn't with us at the time thankfullly ...she'd a been mortified. We thought it was pretty cool. Nobody got hurt.

We reengineered the security system and eventually got a new used car. That one had only 2 doors....none in the back, which had seats. Nice..... but not nearly as exciting.

Speaking of old cars. We all know how the scent of certain things takes us back to our childhood. For me one of them is that old car musty smell. I actually like it and if they ever put it in a spray can, I'd buy it.

Hmm ......what's the website for Frabreeze, maybe we could get something going here.


Angus Taylor, GA Class of 1962

I was having look at the Gdr website. Had a good look at the photo on Faye's page (last time) that Audrey contributed. Noticed that some girls had short light coloured squared-off neck ties. Others had light coloured "normal" ties. One had a regular but dark coloured tie.

What's the story, why the diff ties. A rank thing like in the army? Or maybe we were all so poor in Gdr that we used what we could find?

Bob Pelley, GA Class of 1962

The uniform ties were Red (1st Gander Company) and Yellow (2nd Gander Company) cotton squares that were folded like the square ties in your photo and had the winsor knot placed in the middle so the two top loose ends went under your collar and tied in a reef knot in the back.same windsor knot as the  males tie their regural ties. I believe there also had to be a 6" distance from the bottom of the knot to the bottom of the tie, and 2 1/2" wide so all ties were supposed to look the same length and size.

 I remember I had so much trouble trying to tie the windsor knot, Dad did mine for me and I never undid it - I made sure I never got it dirty or messed..

On the odd occasion it had to be washed and retied it would cost me -  I had to iron three of Dad's shirtsand he would retie the knot for me.  The leaders wore black regular (pointy) ties. Same as the British Leaders.

The Scouts had square ties (cotton) but wore their's as a triangle (in back of the shirt) & tied in front with a reef knot if I remember correctly. Patricia & I were in 2nd Co with Yellow ties and Helen in 1st Co. with red tie.

Jane Dempsey Donnelly, GA Class of 1960


I was in the Scouts for a very short time but never got to the stage of wearing a uniform (maybe because a uniform would have cost too much), so I wasn’t able to remember how the Scouts wore the necktie.  I should have known though because Christine and I were Beaver leaders for a while and that was the way we wore our scarves.

Interesting personal stuff from Jane too about the Windsor knot and having to do her father’s shirts!! I liked to human interest side of the story!

Question answered  - Please pass on my tnx for the info!!  

Bob Pelley, GA Class of 1962 


Thanks everyone. Now here is a good topic for next time. Put on your thinking caps. Geraldine Fitzgerald Nimo, SJ  Class of 1959 suggested this one:


There were many building co-op groups all going at once in Gander - my dad was a member of one of these.  Actually no specific place for these co-ops in the sense of a street, an office, etc - no Amish just a bunch of Ganderites!  I don't know all the legalities - but would think it was 12 men forming a group, getting permission from the Planning Committee  of the new town of Gander and getting on with it.  Each of the 12 men and their families moved into the homes they built - the co-op was expressly formed for the purpose of each man building his own home with the assistance of the others - they all got to choose their building lots, type of home they were going to build (we had a 2-story), then the 12 shared their expertise, built all 12 of their own homes and each owner moved in.  There were several homes being built at once at various stages of completion but I remember the excitement when it was announced that a house was completed - the men would often get together to help move that person in - and then all 12 were back to work to complete another.

But as mentioned earlier, these men all had day-time jobs and all this building was being done after 5 and on week-ends, so families didn't get to see their dads much during this time.  I guess a building co-op is just an economical, self-sufficient way of building homes and most of the work is completed by the members of the co-op although they have the option to bring in contractors to do electrical work, etc.

Many of the homes in the new town of Gander were built by these building co-ops back in the mid-fifties - although there were also lots of others built by contractors.  Would be interesting to hear from the 'old Gander' crowd about their recollections of the building of the town and their memories of their homes being built - I'm sure we'd learn all the ins and outs of the co-op groups. Send along any of your thoughts on this topic to me:

Faye Lewis Raynard  brfr1@verizon.net