Last time we were wondering about what some Gander kids did after school in the 1950s and early ‘60s. Some played sports, some had part time jobs, some just got together with friends. Here is a sampling.
After school is a long time ago and I don’t remember a lot that I did. I babysat a lot and played the piano in assembly. I also rode bike a lot too. Played basketball after school and did some refereeing. Oh yes, I worked in the school office one year and then at Goodyear's until I left to get married. I guess I helped at home a lot too, being the oldest of six I had to do some work at home.
- Gertie Price, Class of 1958
OK Faye, you’ve mentioned that you went skating with Michal (Millar) Crowe. I don't recall where the rink was in the new town but I can remember on the Canadian side it was in the old Army drill hall off Foss Ave.
When we first arrived in Gander in 1951, there was a natural ice rink in one of the hangers (13 ?). It was so cold in those days that they just left the doors open when they flooded it and it froze. At the Gander Gardens off Foss, we went to watch the Gander Flyers play Grand Falls/ Bishops Falls, Corner Brook, St. John's, and would you believe Bell Island, to mention a few teams. The Flyers were mostly RCAF guys in those days. They brought in a coach for minor hockey from Amherst, N.S. He used to live across the hall from us and he used to tape my hockey stick for me. We also went to public skating in that building. The girls from the Army side used to come up and we would hold hands when we skated around the rink. Remember those days?
- Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s, Class of 1961
Great to hear from you Bob. When we first talked about arranging the reunion in Gander (in 2005), some questions wereasked? What years of graduation should be invited? And should the kids from St Joseph's be invited ?
The second question was there because growing up in Gander we played sports and hung arround with the kids from St Joseph's. They were our friends. Maybe there was a conflict between religions in other places (and there was ) but defintely not with us. I am very happy about that.
The only Roman Catholic school we had a problem with was St Mikes in Grand Falls, and that had nothing to do with religion. We played hockey against them every year and we never ever won a game.
I don't know what happened after we graduated, if the tradition continued, but we could only dream of beating them.
Anyway, it came down to the fact that due to numbers, we could not invite St Josephs kids to the reunion.
Glad to hear that you have been in touch with Faye. She has been, and still is, our official "nag "
She can get response from all who ever touched down in Gander .
- Morley Smith, Class of 1959.
Thanks Morley, you made my day!! And speaking of music, how many of you collected and listened to those ‘45s. I used to babysit at one place and that home had a great Hi-Fi system (probably just a good record player at the time) with wonderful Glenn Miller music. Also used to enjoy listening to the DJ play tunes on CBG Gander.
- Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959
Ref Glenn Miller and "In the Mood", I know that one alright.... It was the theme song of my radio program on CBG in ’61-62. It came on every Saturday evening between 6-6:30....hard to get more prime-time than that!
It was called "Teen Talk". I have called CBC archives in Gander and St. John's but couldn’t find a copy.
I also had a "great experience" at CBG because of it. One evening we were taping the show and we smelled smoke. I went to the equipment room and thought it might be coming from the transmitter. Having fiddled a bit with old electronics, I opened the door of the transmitter to have a better look.
The only trouble was that when you opened the door, it opens a safety breaker...with the result that in my great enthusiasm to investigate the problem, I also knocked CBG of the air for 5-6 minutes!
I understand that caused quite a kafluffle, with an investigation with "head office"! I was told rarher firmly that opening transmitter doors is a no-no.
- Bob Pelley, Class of 1962
A lot of childhood romances that lasted a lifetime started at general skating. For example, Cal Warren and Queenie Power. Perhaps Bob Warren and Mary Osmond also. You'll have to ask Mary that.
I remember that green lane that someone mentioned in the Flight. You had to pass through it if you were going back to the Army side. We used to stand there in a group for hours until the girls had to go home. I guess that's why that green fence was there. There were some choice homes on Chestnut St. and they probably didn't want us hanging around in sight.
- Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s Class of 1961
I think it was Gerry Smith, whom I thank to this day for never taking up smoking. I still choke when around smoke (but make up for lack of vices with my wine consumption, I am an oenophile).
Gerry snitched some cigs from his Dad and we ensconced to the woods--at about 4-5 years old .
We lit the cigs and did our best to inhale and convince ourselves this was terrific. I nearly choked to death. Was the worst thing I ever tasted. We stumbled out of the woods, went to the Gander apartment, I had the presence of mind to go to the bathroom, wash my face and clean my teeth with toothpaste. Waste of time! My Dad, a wonderful man and confirmed smoker, took me back into the bathroom and gave me my usual belting. Didn't fool family for a minute…
- Ken Barnes, Class of 1960
I remember skating with Leo Lannon, he was a great skater. Leo and his wife live in Appleton, that's before you cross the river into Glenwood. Bruce (Carter) and Leo hung out together as kids, a nice guy!
- Edna Burry Carter
I spent 20+ years in Girl Guides of Canada, started as a Guide in Gander at age 11. and as an adult in Kingston Ont, Shilo Man & Calgary Alta as Brown Owl (with the Brownies) Guide Captain (Guides) District Guider, District Commissioner, Provincial Trainer and Several committees was part of the committee in the formation of the Pathfinder project (while in Calgary) did a lot of camping - Camp commandant, quartermaster - “Jane of all--Master of nothing,” as they say
Yes, I have lots of Gander stories, I was in the GOBC, team captain of the Wiz Kids, still have all the paper work/memorabilia etc.
- Jane Dempsey Donnelly, Class of 1960
Someone mentioned Neil Bridger and how he played the accordian as well as guitar. Dennis Pritchett recalled this memory about his best friend:
“Neil was a multi-talented individual, and not only in music. Neil's cousin, Dave, would visit him every summer. Dave was about our age, but he was both hearing and speech handicapped; you should have seen Dave and Neil communicate with sign language, both single and two-handed.
Does anyone remember Norm Stanley? He was known by most as "Dummy Stanley" but this was not necessarily said negatively. Some used it as any other diminutive and, because he was so well able to fend for himself and was so "woods-wise", the name for some was used almost reverentially. He was a very kindly man, very friendly, despite his inability to speak and wouldn't harm a fly. He used to live in an old log cabin beside the railway tracks near Twin Ponds. I'm sure everyone has seen him selling rabbits downtown. He was a real character, and Neil would converse with him (in sign language) whenever they met. .
- Dennis Pritchett, Class of 1963