November 18, 2006

 

Just more stuff to share, memories of Gander Academy dances and entertainment--still trickling in …maybe you remember too…hope you’ll share…

 

I asked David Naish if he remembered entertaining during dances at Gander Academy. And he recalls…

“Here's the untold story and the shocking truth…It was in the 1959-60 school year, that Ken Barnes and I teamed up as the unofficial entertainment committee for the school dances. We just had to mention that we were getting the music together for the next dance and word spread. No posters, no formal announcements, everyone just knew, and everything just came together on the appointed Friday.

“We always tried to get hold of the latest hits with the school tape recorder. Sometimes we experimented with the acoustics in the boy's locker room after basketball practice, and did our own take on the music. I would do the vocal and guitar, with Ken hand drumming on the tape recorder cover. On one occasion we did a Cliff Richard number that we'd heard on George Baker's music at midnight (show) from the local CBC station. We didn't have the real thing on tape yet so we decided to fake it and play our recorded version at the next dance. The combined locker room acoustics and the muddy effect of the school PA system worked perfectly, until some people with keen ears picked up on the ruse. It wasn't so much that people objected.

“They just didn't believe it was us, so we did a small concert on stage after the dance with those who could stay. Ken and I ended up playing everything we knew. And yes, Gene Simms was in with us on some of those songs.

“In June this year I came across the reel to reel tape that Ken and I used in the locker room recording sessions. A lot of the things we did are still on it. So are the "guitar boogie shuffle" licks that I learned from Cam Pritchett one cold snowy February 1960 night over at his place. These days I play bass guitar. Every group is looking for a bass. And I still use some of those those licks I learned from Cam, every Thursday night.

- David Naish, Class of 1960.

 

Hey Ross Patey is back and just popped in for a minute with another story. He is amazing once we get him wound up…

 

“By the way how is everyone down there in good old Boston? My wife and I just came back from California . We flew out there for a week. I don’t think that I would like to live out there because it is so crowded--especially San Francisco. Another quick story is while we were in San Francisco we decided to go on a bus tour. We were on a double-decker bus and my wife and I were the only people on the bottom deck. The last part of the tour was we were to go over the golden gate bridge. As we were traveling over the bridge the bus driver was flossing his teeth and we hit the side of the bridge and damaged the bus and it shut down and wouldn't start again. He told his dispatcher that a tractor-trailer had cut him off. In any case we had to get out and climb over the rail of the bridge and walk back to the side we came from to catch another bus.

“Well I guess we really got to see the golden gate bridge. Once again talk to you later.

- Ross Patey, Class of 1959

 

That brings us to the subject of traveling, and experiences, both good and bad, encountered on our trips? Had any of those worth sharing? Anybody?

 

“Here’s one…Reminds me of when Christine and I went on a trip to the Boston area in October, 8-9 years ago. We knew that Thanksgiving in the US and Canada weren't on the same date, so we figured that if we went down on the Canadian Thanksgiving, it would be a slack time across the border. We were going without any real objective, planning to stop in any old motel when we felt tired of driving.

“But we didn’t realize that our Thankgiving weekend coincided with the Colombus weekend in the US. We saw a lot of traffic on the roads but didn't really think about it until around supper time. We started to check for a motel but we amazed to see they all said ‘No Vacancy’.

“No problem says we, we'll just move off the main routes and we'll surely find something on some less traveled road. So off we went, going east-west-east rather than north-south. The motels we did see were still all full and we diidn't see many of those anyway.

So our next plan was to head further south, closer to Boston where we figured there would be more motels... but still with no success. By now of course it was getting dark and it was getting hard to spot the motels from a distance. And sometimes it was hard to read the names until we got close. At one point as we were going through some small town or other, we drove past a building with a hard-to read-sign on the front that said in part “home” and looked like a bed-and-breakfast.

“And we didn’t see a ‘No Vacancy’ sign. So I turned the car around and drove back, turned left through the oncoming traffic and drove into the parking lot on the side of the building. I couldn’t see the sign from there and the building seemed awfully quiet - which means, I thought, that we wouldn’t be woken up by rowdy party-goers.

I could see somebody moving inside the office so I got out and knocked on the door. A chap came to answer, dressed in what seemed like a janitor’s uniform so I figured he must be making sure everything was shipshape for the customers. I said to him that we had been looking for a motel or bed-and-breakfast or anything roughly equivalent for the past 2-3 hours and asked him if he had anything available, adding that I was dead tired. He looked at me weirdly, like I had six heads. He said to me “you didn’t see the sign out front?”

“Yes” I replied, “it said “home” so I thought it was a bed-and-breakfast or something like it and hoped you had a vacancy.”

“Well” he said, “ I glad you’re dead tired... Because if you had taken the time to read the sign, you would have seen that it said ‘funeral home’.

My only reply was “That’s ok, do you have two empty caskets, and if that doesn’t work, can we stay in your parking lot and sleep in the car?”

He said no to both requests, figuring I suppose that these Canadians must too dangerous to have around!

We findly ended up at two in the morning in a smoky, smelly basement room in a damp hotel in Hampton Beach, at triple rate, and often woken up by rowdy party-goers. And we left very early in the morning, still DEAD TIRED.

- Bob Pelley, Class of 1962.

 

“Believe it or not, I have been on the Polar Express to Moosonee. My husband was transferred there from Ste. Sylveste many years ago. My kids were No. 1 @ 2ys old, No. 2 @ 13months, and No. 3 @ 5 weeks old.

“What a trip!!! I thought I would never survive it.

“I plugged the bottle warmer in and blew fuses all over the train. We fought all night - keeping ourselves up and everyone else as well.

“Anyway, after blowing fuses all over the train with that bottle warmer, I ended up in some man's cabin with him heating up the bottle for me.  I am not sure if he just felt sorry for me or just wanted to make sure I didn't do any further damage.

“I walked off the train and left a bag of soiled diapers.

“At that point I just wanted to kill someone. I looked out at all the tents and just wondered which one was mine.

“Anyway we were picked up by a van from the Air Force station (after we had boarded a bus with one child walking not so good, and two that couldn't walk).

“However, I got to love Moosonee and had a good time for two years. Then my husband was sent out to Clinton for an Instructors course and subsequently posted there as an Instructor.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, the first thing I did upon getting on the train was to run into our cabin and immediately turn on the hot water tap and broke it! That's why I had to plug the bottle warmer into anything I could find and then after blowing all the fuses I plugged into, I ended up in that man's cabin with him warming up the bottle for me.

- Elizabeth (Bursey) Lyons, Class of 1960

 

I have one trip to remember where my mother-in-law and I were driving to Washington, D.C. and took a late afternoon side trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. We took in all of the sights and as it was getting dark we decided we had to find a place to stay for the night. Well everything, and I do mean everything, was booked solid for the night. Finally, out on the horizon, a motel, and as we got closer, we could see it was sleezy.

But what to do. Well we checked it out and sure enough there was a vacancy...did we want it for the night? (they had hourly rates posted on the wall).

Well, the room seemed clean enough, but you should have seen it. We just opened the door and laughed. It was complete with mirrored walls (AND CEILING). Same thing in the bathroom.

The bed was huge--a big water bed. The place did seem clean enough so we stayed and bolted the door, sitting on the water bed eating sandwiches and giggling. There was a knock on the door. The motel manager said not to worry--he had something for us.WE opened the door just a crack and he gave us some tomatoes that he picked from the garden next to the motel.

We accepted them through the crack in the double chained door and settled in for the night. Nothing else happened but we still laughed about that night up until the day my mother in law died. We had some wonderful travels together, but nothing to top our experience staying in that waterbed/mirrored motel.

So your story triggered this one for me.

Thanks for reading,

- Faye (Lewis) Raynard, Class of 1959