Oct 5/07

So another summer is behind us and, sadly, we have lost some of our Gander ‘mates’.

While we still continue to keep contact and share thoughts and memories by email, here are some late summer submittals as we turn to fall and ahead to winter.

Remember, the topic for our upcoming ‘visits’ here will be: “What we used to do after school. Perhaps that first job you had. Or maybe you went to scouts or GOBC. Or could it be that  you just spent time with friends. Definitely didn’t sit around on the computer like we do now, or watch TV. Tell us about it…Here’s what some had to report so far, about today and back THEN…email me at  faye@villagereporter.com



Mary Osmond and Bob Warren spend time in Nfld in summer and here is what she had to say…

“Faye…we pick berries mostly blueberries and partridge berries,sometime bakeapples but they are very scarce. I make jam but refuse to do jelly, usually buy them at the local sales.

Mary Osmond Warren, Class of 1959



 Dave Hanrahan was “Mr Air Force Cadets in Gander.” Though when I was in the air cadets for a very little while, the only thing I ever learned was (the song) …. "The North Atlantic Squadron".

Bob  Pelley, Class of 1962 


Bob, Audrey (Mingo) wonders if you can hum a few bars of that for us?

Faye Lewis Raynard, Class of 1959


I told her "not a chance..." but I can share the first two lines :

“Away, away with the fife and drums,

 Here we come full of rum,

etc., etc., etc.,

By Bob Pelley, Class of ’62


Mary Osmond Warren checked in as she traveled to visit her son and family in Virginia this summer.

Hi Everyone,

 I am in VA. now for a short visit with my son and his family and Bob is in NL. He had to stay home to take care of his greenhouse, garden and boat. Having a great time......

Sat Night: Frankie and the Four Seasons happened to be performing at the Wolf Trap Park and we were lucky enough to get two tickets, so Glen (my son) and I went. It was lawn seating only left but we had a great view!! about 7,000 there. Everyone brought their blankets, coolers etc and  sat on the lawn...It was a great show...brought back some great memories because he sang all the old tunes of the 60's...

-          Mary Osmond Warren, Class of 1959


I still keep hounding people for pictures to go with some of our memories and stories. Every once in awhile, I find a goodie in my email like this one Bob McKinnon (St. Joeseph’s Class of 1961) found of his family.


Eric Smith who has already submitted some great old photos, says:

“Re pics and memories of Gander:  The only other pictures I have are of our family and some of the Boy Scouts. I recall that we spent a lot of time down around Gander Lake. We even started building a cabin among the birch trees when we were 13 or 14.  We lost interest after the walls were a foot or so high. On one of these excursions, I cut my leg to the bone with the axe (stupid thing to do).  Jim Simmons, John Dyke and others put a tourniquet on my leg, then constructed a stretcher and carried me all the way to the hospital.

“ I don’t remember that incident but I was in scouts with Eric Smith and others like Garfield Pardy. I must have been somewhere else that day. I did go to the Canadian Scout Jamboree.

“Yes, Cubs and Boy Scouts, like most everything else, there were duplicate packs in Gander. One at St. Josephs and one for all the other people.

“I remember going to scout camp at Trappers Brook. I developed a terrible migrane headache and was taken to someone's house in Gambo for aspirins and supper. I guess they thought I was homesick and the headache was all in my mind (no pun intended). Funny thing though, another guy (Gerry Maloney) saw the proceedings and decided he also had a headache. When we got back and they discovered he deceived them, he had to stand still while all the other guys each got to pour a ladle of cold water over him.

“I was also in Air Cadets. They picked us up in an Airforce bus at the Gander Shopping Centre and took us out to one of the old hangers on the Canadian side where we did our thing. What a rowdey bunch on that bus, singing unclean songs like "The North Atlantic Squadron".

“The Air Cadets were all together because it was run by the military. There was a lot of marching and I think also some firing at the range with army rifles rebored for 22 Cal. Plus a lot of lectures in basic skills like first aid, A/C knowledge and history, etc. A lot of stuff I don't remember anymore.

- Bob McKinnon, St. Joseph’s  Class of 1961


“I have wonderful memories of the Gander 537 Air Cadet Squadron. It has been a very important part of my growing up and the training has been invaluable to me. I was with the "cadets" for over four years.
Dave Hanrahan would be the best person to relay stories about the "cadets". I will put together some information for you.”

-Clarence Lehr, Class of 1959


Eric Smith wrote:

 Hi Faye: Just arrived back from two months at our cottage in Newfoundland. It was an eventful summer. On Aug 1st, the remnants of tropical storm ‘Wanda’ dumped six inches of rain in six hours in our area which took out the bridge between our cottage and the main road.  Fortunately, we were away from our cottage at the time or our car would still be there. Others were not so lucky. Our first inclination was to cut our holiday short, but instead we decided to use my brother Kevin's small boat to ferry us across the river for the rest of the summer. I'm glad we stayed.

 I met Jim Simmons (from my class of '56) for a coffee in late August. He was just about to return to his home in Calgary.   When we built our cottage in 1984 I was kidded about being the only person with a cottage 2200 miles from home.  Well, Jim also has a cottage in Newfoundland which is 4500 miles from his home in Calgary.

 On our drive back to Ottawa we spent a night at Quebec City where we had dinner out with (brother) Morley and Rolla.They had booked at the same hotel for two nights for a post anniversary outing.

Eric Smith, Class of 1956


I asked Jim Simmons what he’d been up to this summer…(Here’s another new visitor to this section of the website. And after hearing this, we all want to know more…)

Faye: So, here goes. Yes, we had a great time in Newfoundland this summer. Spent five weeks there.  Our little cabin is on the shore about an hour's drive from Gander. Betty and I spend very little time there, however.  Our main interest is at an island out in Notre Dame Bay where my mother was raised and where I spent a lot of time in the summers when I was a kid. A bunch of us cousins still maintain the old family home and keep many old memories alive. The full fury and splendor of the North Atlantic can be felt there, as well, many ice bergs, whales, and fish are present.

 It's no secret!  You must have been chatting with Eric.. Eric and I had coffee a short drive from his summer place at Spread Eagle. And I heard of his problem of a recent storm carrying away the bridge on the road to his place.  I am sure he has more than one story about the Spread Eagle ferry which had to be put into emergency operation!

Betty and I met with John and Ruth Dyke on one occasion and with David and Daphne Hanrahan at another time. These fellows were pals/schoolmates of mine growing up in Gander.

 Growing up in Gander:  Well, I sure wasn't the teacher's pet, didn't take school very seriously, didn't work very hard until part way through the last year. Then, I got an interest in engineering and decided to improve my marks so I could enter engineering school and get a meal ticket (as Eric Smith put it).

  My after school interest were playing hockey, (Rocket Richard I wasn't), Boy Scouts from '48 til '55, fishing and hunting, sunday school, and church activities. Assisted the Cub Scout leader a few years.  When we were fairly young a bunch of us built a log cabin at Gander Lake where we would sometimes spend weekends, until, Dave Hanrahan reminds me, we caught the place on fire in the middle of the night trying to keep warm with a homemade stove.  One John Dyke reminded me about was an illegal hunting expedition up Gander Lake to Joe's Brook where we slept in our sleeping bags on the floor of an old trapper's cabin and squirrel's were running over our sleeping bags while we tried to sleep. Only, John reminds me, there were no squirrels in Newfoundland 50 years ago!! We had many experiences such as that.

Apart from school, the activity I have always valued highly was my experience in the Boy Scouts.  All the learnings and experiences have served me well. In obtaining various badges we would have the opportunity to visit the various airport facilities and get practical hands on training. Many hikes, camps locally as well as at other centers, even attended the Canadian Scout Jamboree, the first trip out of Newfoundland for me.

I was also fortunate, because of the job my father had, to spend time with him at his work when anything unusual was happening, and had the opportunity to see situations up close, such as the Canberra jet bomber when it made the TransAtlantic speed record, and spend a day flying over the ice flows off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in PBY Canco amphibious seal spotting plane. All quite interesting when you are a kid.

Please let me know if this is what you want to hear about? (YES, YES, YES)


P.S.  I just got into the website and have some catching up to do.

Jim Simmons, Class of 1956


Good stuff from Jim Simmons….

And I agree with Audrey that having church, Scouts (and community activities like Air Cadets / CGOC) probably helped form our characters.

I'm sure that several other things played a part as well.

Firstly, while (though really without knowing it) we were very cosmopolitain in outlook, we were still physically and socially isolated from many common urban problems of bigger communities of the day.

Secondly, Gander was a very small town, so if someone did something wrong at breakfast, everyone knew about it by dinner - which is a powerful incentive to keep your nose clean.

Thirdly, we lived in Gander during the post-war boom where most everyone was fairly well off for the times, certainly compared to what Nfld knew before the war, so people didn't need to use "less orthodox" ways of getting by.

Fourthly, most of the Ganderites of the period came from small outports where mutual support was the norm.

We were inordinately lucky to live in Gander at that particular era.  So the conclusion is therefore :

"Yes, me son, we's some good, eh?!"

- RG Pelley, Class of 1962