July 11, 2008

Hey it’s summer already and we are having rain everyday, with sprinkles of sunshine in between in Boston area. Understand that you in the Maritimes are having much the same, with fog unfolding along the coast. Anyway we are continuing on the theme of ‘Our first Jobs’ and here are some additions to the last time when Jack Pinsent helped kick off this topic.


Hi Faye, well naturally my first paying job was baby-sitting.  It was great fun and I still have a wonderful recipe from Gail Taylor who lived across the street from us on Elizabeth Drive for ginger cookies, which I make at Christmas time. I used to make them all the time but now my cookie making days are diminished due to dieting, etc.  She was the wife of an EPA pilot who was often away, so she needed me quite frequently as I lived across the street. She had Danish furniture with purple upholstery which I thought was the height of elegance and at the time I think she was the only one in Gander with this avant guard fashion.

One evening she came home early and about 6 - 8 kids had dropped in to visit me while she was out.  She did not take very kindly to this and never asked me again. Who can blame her. We were quite bad when baby-sitting at times, both having friends over and eating and drinking them out of house and home. What in heaven's name were we thinking. Christmas Eve was always a plum as you were there for hours and always got an extra bonus for the holidays.

Oh yes, and I used to stick up pins at the bowling alley near our old school. That paid really good money.  It was fun too.

My first legal job was as a sales clerk at Eaton's at age 16. In the candy department.  It was so thrilling and didn't we think we were the cat's meow. Norma Rowsell worked there as well.  We wore our best skirts and sweaters and high heels. Naturally, we were not supposed to eat the candies but we did - my favorite were coconut somethings, white, chocolate and pink candy coating around coconut.  The boys used to come by and talk to us on the Friday night and Saturday, but Mr. Walker, the manager (how in god's name did I remember that name out of the blue) was not amused and when he was headed our way we made sure to dust, or tidy, or some other busy work and the visitors would scuttle away.

Norma's mother worked in the men's department which was right next to the candy department.  We were in a good position to see who came in to the men's department (boys) and the head of that department was quite cute.  Cannot think of his name but he had black hair and gorgeous blue eyes.

Eaton's used to send every employee a Christmas card and I still have several. They are very grand and large.  Quite a collectable now.

The summer I graduated, I got a job as a telephone operator at CNT. That was the most prestigious job in town for girls and paid really well.  We really liked working the midnight shift because when most people had gone to bed and we were not busy, then you could talk to the guys at the Air Force base in Gander and also the guys at the American base in Thule, Greenland who were also working the night shift. It made the time go rather quickly. Imagine, talking all night.  Now I cannot imagine what we could have found to talk about. Silly things I guess.

Michal Millar Crowe, Class of 1960



The first job I had was at Pinsent's Resturant after I finished grade 11...but hated every minute of it. Then to Milley's Style Shop, Toyman's clothing shop and finally Canadian National Telephone Co as a telephone  operator. I worked there for 7 years ‘til Bob got transferred out of Gander...And I have been a kept woman ever since (haha).

Bob’s first job was packing groceries at the Co-op and he made enough money to take me to the movies and buy us a drink (soda) and treat on Friday night. He then worked with a construction co. for a few months.

He went to Mun University for one year but it wasn't for him. Went to work with EPA AIRLINES serving coffee on the flights to Labrador...I guess you could say he was their first ‘flight attendant’…but he'd do anything to be able to fly. After a few months, he went station mgr at Wabush, DeerLake and Goose Bay. We were married in 1963. Bob decided to go get his commercial flying License in 1964, and made a sucessful career for himself. We were based in St. John's, Montreal, Moncton, Gander, Toronto and Halifax. Since Bob retired from Air Canada we are busy traveling, spending time with Family and Friends and enjoying our retirement home in  Glovertown, NL.

Mary and Bob Warren, Class of 1959



My first job was right out of High School, cleaning and grooming aircraft cabins, and dumping honey buckets, with Seaboard and Western, I think they were called, who also handled Flying Tiger and a few others. We were paid $10.00 flat rate per aircraft, which worked out to be about $10.00 per hour.

I remember one night, I got called in for 7 aircraft. It would be a few years before I matched that pay rate. I'm pretty sure Walter Mesh was working in Operations for them. I worked with Walter, and his son, for many years later.

Dennis Pritchett, Class of 1962



Shall ruminate on my first job.  It was a product from the Veribest Co. (like Cool Aid) which I sold door to door for 10 cents a package.  However I made more money by collecting pop bottles and returning them to Mr. and Mrs. Lushs' store on the Army Side for 1 penny apiece.         

 Cheers, Joyce Noel O’Doherty, Class of 1959



It is hard to pinpoint my first job, not like my parents shoved me out the door at 12 or anything, but early money from around age 12 years was babysitting my younger cousins, I might get 50 cents or a $1 if it was overnight; then in Gander I worked short times at Toytmans and Goodyear's, in the summer months, and babysat a lot for families .  We left Gander in August 1958 and moved to Middleton, NS.  Once I graduated from my Secretarial Course in Middleton, I moved to Halifax, my parents put me in the YWCA on Barrington St., and I went to work as a Court Reporter for the Juvenile/Family Courts of NS in August 1959. 

 I took evidence in Court via shorthand, and typed up my pages and pages of evidence on an old Royal typewriter where I made some typo mistakes (which is normal) at times and erasing wasn't easy, usually there were several copies made with that black copy film. 

 I am sure you all remember that stuff.  And on the Gestetner machine if you needed many copies. That is what we knew back then, it was just a normal procedure. 

I loved my job tho, I worked out of the Department of Welfare office at first, a Probation Officer and I would drive to the Court House, and when noon hour came around, the Judge, the Probation Officer and myself headed out for lunch.  Of course there were the well-dressed Mounties in abundance at all the hearings, one for each case I guess.  I managed to nab one of these handsome fellows in uniform, when in Court at the Dartmouth Court House. then he got transferred to Liverpool, NS and I would visit there until some sweet thing from Liverpool caught his eye.  Thought I would put that in here, all part of my first job. 

 Finally the Province of NS opened a place for just Juvenile/Family Court.  In those days, kids were sent off to the Shelburne School for Boys, and the girls went to the School for Girls in Truro when found guilty for about the 3rd of 4th time. Time to do time. One of the really funny incidents happened, not in the Court House, but the two Judges I worked for: Judge J Elliott Hudson and Judge Marshall Black, were called circuit Judges. 

 On one occasion Judge Hudson, the probation office Henry MacNeil and I travelled to Sheet Harbour. On the way home the two ol' guys decided to go for a swim, so found their fav swimming hole, and away they went. I just sat in the car in amazement I guess, or stunned maybe! Both Henry and the Judge are now deceased. 

 Another time a female probation officer and I were required to transport a juvenile to the Boys School in Shelburne. He was one burly 15 year old, a good size.  All we did was keep him in the back seat, can you imagine!  However, when we stopped for lunch somewhere along the way, he got loose, go figure!  but... our trusty Mounties came to our rescue, captured him and they continued the trip to the Boys School.  

Sharon and I went back to Halifax.

Also involved in the Juvenile/Family Court was the unwed mothers situation, when most of them gave up their babies for adoption.  If I wasn't taking evidence in Court, I was asked to hold the baby while the mother came into Court and would have to identify this baby as hers, as she cried and cried. So did I. That has changed today. And in reverse to the Court, new parents would come in to adopt a baby, and as they waited in the room, being interviewed by the Social Worker for the last time, I would hold the baby until the SW brought it to its new parents.

 I was married in 1965, and left my Court Reporter job in September of 1967 for the birth of my first child in November of ‘67.

Audrey (Mingo) Grantham, class of 1958



I got my first job in Gander about two days after I arrived there in Sept. 1958. A classmate,  Clarence Lehr, said that he needed help in the school canteen and assigned me to work there. The pay was nothing—zip, but I would get to meet all the kids who came to buy chocolate bars and Pepsi, whenever we weren’t in class. I remember we would only have ‘Pepsi, No Coke’ as that Saturday Night Live Routine with John Belushi used to go. Anyway, the school canteen was under the stairs on the same floor and our 11th grade classroom, downstairs at Gander Academy. And, Clarence was the manager. I’m not sure where the profits from the venture would go, (probably bought hockey sticks and pucks, or books, or some such thing).  I remember before the school dances and some school activities, we would open shop, prior and during intermission. Also, the canteen would be in operation during recess each day. I can’t remember anything else that we sold there. Does anyone else remember the canteen and who worked there? Clarence?

Faye Raynard, Class of 1959



Obviously , when in Gander my career path was firmly established. I would be in the military until 1977. However, most of my postings were to rural areas and this gave me an opportunity to work part time for farmers and, on one occasion, for an apple grower. These experiences gave me some idea of just how hard farmers work. Most of the farmers and the apple grower were one poor crop away from bankruptcy. The astonishing thing for me was that, in spite of hardship, these guys were the most upbeat, optimistic and humorous individuals one could ever hope to meet. It truly made me feel good to be helping out.

    On a couple of my postings I worked as a phys ed instructor in local schools. The military was good about cooperating with the local authorities on these kinds of projects so I was able to be away from my military duties for about an hour and a half each day. The work was rewarding but that was at a time when physical activity and sweat were second nature to kids.I wouldn`t want to be the one trying to get kids off their duff now to engage in physical activity.

Dave Gilhen, RCAF Gander 1957


So folks what about next time—here’s a topic suggested by Jim Butler, Class of 1959: . Famous people who you are related to, have met, or perhaps admired when you were young? Or tell us anything else that you might want us to remember about Gander? Next time, let’s talk about restaurants too. Which ones there were in Gander in the early days, what you liked to eat there, socialize, etc. Who were some of the regulars that you got to see in the restaurants, whenever you had an extra dime in your pocket. Thanks, Mary Warren bringing up this topic, and Carol Mercer Walsh as well. We’re open for any topic of discussion here…well almost any. Thanks, Just click on the address below and it’ll let you fill me in on what you are thinking about…magic…