do you remember

Nov 02, 2012

Here is some feedback about working for CNT in Gander…When Jane Dempsey (Donnelly) wasn’t working, she was making use of her CNR Train Pass (which she still has today)….


Earlier you were asking for stories re telephone operators who worked in the CNT building in "old" Gander Airport.  I was one of them. 
My recall is that Edith (Staple) Blanchard also worked there, plus Ethel (White) Dyke; Dianne Lawrence and Loretta Smith.  There obviously were others - probably about 13 of us working the various shifts of 8 - 4; 4 to midnight and midnight to 8.
I recall 4 - 5 boards with the cords.  All long distance calls went through the operator and for international calls we booked through the international operator in Montreal. Because all calls went through the operator, we did know a lot about people!
I enjoyed working there and there are numerous stories of our "escapades".  I recall someone smoking (a ‘no-no’ and I won't mention any names) while working when the manager walked in; the person flipped her cigarette in the wastepaper basket and, to our horror, the next thing we saw was smoke emerging from the basket.  Someone quickly stood in front of it, hoping that the manager's visit was brief (thankfully, it was) so that we could retrieve the cigarette and get rid of the "smoking" paper.
Edie - do you recall this?? If so, you might be able to "correct" or "embellish" the story!!
Just, as an item of interest, CNT/Aliant telephone operators are having a dinner in Gander on November 3.  Gladys (Goulding) Stryde tells me that a large number has registered today.  Like Gander Academy, there was a strong bond among telephone operators.
         Marion Pardy, GA Class of ‘58

Re Working at CNT: I did, Jane Dempsey did, the Betty Ireland, and I believe Mary Osmond.  There were lots of other girls but those were the only ones I remember.
I loved the job and believe I told you of the time there was the forest fires in Nfld., in 1960 or maybe it was 1961, and how we all helped, whether at the telephone company or helping with the Red Cross, or whatever else we could do.
         Michal Millar Crowe, GA Class of ‘60

Gladys (Goulding) Stryde, Laura Fox, Betty Ireland worked with CNT/Aliant also but my understanding is that they worked in the new building in "new" Gander.  I don't know if Betty worked in the old Airport CNT building or not as a telephone operator.
         Marion Pardy, GA Class of ‘58

I didn't have much to with the phone business (though I think my sister did work there for a while), so I have little I can say personally about it. And when I left Gander I was only 17, so I didn't have pull much weight with the (older) women of 20-21 who worked there!!
But I do think it is a superb subject (as usual!!).  As a matter of fact, it seems to me that this subject came up from time to time  around the first reunion so I guess people thought it was something worth discussing.  
         Bob Pelley, GA Class of ‘62

Sorry that we didn’t get more feedback on this topic. I’m sure there are stories and pictures out there that people could share…if you didn’t get a chance and do have such memorabilia, please send along to me, Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of ’59 at

Many thanks to those who did respond…hope that you have great turnout at the gathering for these folks. We’d love to hear more about that too.



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