do you remember

Mar 24, 2011

OK we have everybody finishing the following sentence for us with some interesting information about their growing up years in Gander.
"You'll know I grew up in Gander if:….." (we got so many comments on this that we'll make it into a couple of installments).

Meanwhile, we are still looking for help with identifying this mystery photo submitted by Don Carter…This is all that he knows about it…"


"This photo belonged to my dad who at that time worked with AA, American Airlines at Gander. The only markings on the picture are 'Bobby' referring to the gentleman in the middle, 'also the letters mgr' which I think means manager. On the back is written the year 1947. I believe the gentleman was known as 'Wee Bobby Clark' who worked at Gander. I have no idea who the ladies are, but my guess is that they were movie stars. And, yes, let's have some fun and you never know, someone out there may be able to identify them or remember something about the picture."

-Don Carter, GC Class of 1964


Now, back to that all-important sentence…

"You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you I was part of a family of 4 kids that moved in 1945 with our parents into the Eastbound Inn, one of those huge H-shaped barracks left over from the war. By 1952 there were 3 more additions to our family.

It's funny to look back now and see that as the family grew so did our house. As you can imagine, it was shaped much like a hotel - a long hallway with rooms on both sides. 2 or 3 rooms with walls taken down made up the living room, another room as Kitchen and another big room as bathroom. My father would somehow arrange to have the back wall removed and more rooms taken in for bedrooms as the family grew. This happened twice that I remember and it was an exciting time getting these new rooms - 4 in all at the end of this long hall.

It was a great place to live and close to everything (wasn't everybody). We had lots of fun running and playing in this long hallway, racing trains and cars, even riding our bikes (or tykes?) - and the floors were hardwood which made it so great.

The Eastbound Inn had several wings as did most of the barracks at the time. I understand that it was named as the occupants who stayed there during the war were all 'eastbound' - going overseas. It housed the Royal Bank, Toytman's store, then Milley's Style Shop, Simpson-Sears, a large dining (mess) hall, and several other apartments for families.

There was always lots of comings and goings - from our windows we could see people going into the bank, into Sears, into the mess hall to eat. We lived here until we moved to our newly built house in the new town of Gander in 1957.

Thinking back to my days in Gander, it is the Eastbound Inn that brings me back to my childhood in Gander and all the pleasant memories our family had living there.

-Geraldine Fitzgerald Nimmo, SJ Class of 1959


  • "You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you I grew up with kids from around the world, many of them the sons and daughters of airline officials posted in Gander. Those were the days of propeller aircraft, and Gander really did have a period of being Crossroads of the World.

  • And if I told you that I went to Gander Academy, and remember when girls wore tunics and boys wore blazers and shirts and ties to school. And we were taught the basics with discipline.
  • "You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you I learned to skate in an indoor rink, made of natural ice. (Only later did the artificial rink come to Gander.) And remember standing around a pot-bellied stove for precious warmth.
  • You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you I was in the Air Cadets, played drums in the band, and enjoyed marching in parades (especially Remembrance Day) and participating in the annual Air Cadets competition.
  • You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you that when I had problem teeth as a boy (before we had a dentist), I was taken to Banting Memorial Hospital, knocked out with ether while nurses restrained me, and woke up to find the problem tooth missing in my lower jaw.
  • You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you that I lived in an apartment building in my grade school days, like many of my friends. Few people owned their own homes then and I remember my Mother hanging the clothes up to dry from the kitchen window by running them out on a clothesline. In winter clothes had to be reeled back in and defrosted inside. But the community and neighbours were great and all knew each other.........

-Ken Barnes GA Class of 1960


You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you we walked to the airport every Sunday afternoon to see who was going through the Crossroad of the World. This was before secure airports, of course.

You'll know I grew up in Gander if I told you I went to school on the Air Force Base.

AND, if I told you we walked everywhere as youngsters instead of being driven.

-Patricia DeeDee Lannon, SP Class of 1967


You'll know I grew up in Old Gander if I said, "Lets go down to the airport to get Marge to give us one of these big ice-cream cones''

Or if I said, ''I wish I could walk home with Roy Rideout again and listen to some of his jokes."

You'll know I grew up in old Gander if ''let's go for a ride on Harry Newhook's bus after supper.

Or how about if I said, "Let's take our inner tube and walk down to Union East to go swimming ''

-Frank Goulding, GA Class of 1959


I think folks would know I grew up on the Canadian side of old time Gander if I told them we often went fishing in the Gully where the mosquitoes and black flies would eat you alive if you didn't wear that fly dope they sold in a small round can.

-McKinnon, SJ Class of 1961


Now THAT is great idea!!!!


"You'll know that I grew up in old time Gander if I tell you that ":

  • one of my childhood toys was a 50 calibre machine gun
  • we sometimes ate box lunches from the Allied commissary
  • nobody was worried when we climbed up the side of 2-story fire escape
  • nobody was worried when we spent all day out in a frog pond
  • some of our best hiding places were bomb shelters
  • taking a short cut across a live runway was no big deal
  • having a Coke float (with fries) at the terminal WAS a big deal
  • our church had an altar both in the front and the back
  • the two most important preliminaries before the matinee at the
    Star theatre were marbles and trading comic books
  • it was colder in the hockey rink on the American side than outside
  • for many, their favourite music was the Salvation Army at the train station Saturday evening

I could go on (and on) but I'll have to leave a bit of space for the others!

-Bob Pelley, GA Class of 1962

To be continued…we have lots more from your friends in oldtime Gander. Stay tuned until next time. Until then submit anything you want to appear here (including information on the mystery photo to and thanks.
-Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959


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