Sept 18, 2006

Last time I asked about ‘nicknames’ and ‘school dances’ and came up with the following contributions:


Faye, ask Morley about his nickname, he had one.

-Jim Butler, Class of 1959


Bun-Bun’ was given to me by either Bill Geange, Jim Davis or Ron Elson. We were playing hockey in Corner Brook and staying at the Glynmill Inn. I guess I was helping myself to the buns at dinner time (after all, I was a growing boy ) and thereby the nickname which stuck for a while.


Bucko’ Trainor  (hockey coach)--Don't know where he got his nickname , but will make a few calls.  Charlottetown was his hometown , so maybe someone will know.

Morley Smith, Class of 1959


‘Boots’. This nickname was given to me a long time ago, when I was very young. Growing up on the Army side was an adventure for me and there wasn't an area that I didn't explore. As a result, the respect I had for my clothing was next to nothing. I must have driven my parents nuts. My mother told me later that I was going through a pair of runners every week. Back then, the runners, or as we called them 'sneakers', were made out of cloth-type canvas and were very flimsy.

I was about 6 years old when she decided the only thing that could stand the rugged abuse I was giving my footwear was leather boots. She bought me these pair of boots that laced up over my ankles, were very sturdy, but weighed a ton. I was a skinny little kid and must have looked a sight wearing these big heavy boots. And they were heavy, believe me. I could just barely run to keep up with the rest of the kids in their lightweight runners.

Here I was,  clumsy, tripping over everything and looking like Herman Munster. One of my friends started calling me ‘Boots’ or sometimes, ‘Bootsie’. My mother didn't like it, me being given a nickname, and discouraged my friends when she heard them.

By the way, the boots lasted the whole summer, but they were pretty beat up when school opened. The experiment worked because the next year, I had boots again. Eventually, I graduated back into the canvas runners, when I behaved a little better. But the name stuck with me.

Even today when some of us old guys get together, inevitably, someone will call me ‘Boots’. It brings back a smile and some fond memories.

Jack Pinsent, Class of 1960

Our talk about school dances last visit, sparked this memory from Doris Moss.

As for memories for a Gander high school web page, let me tell you about the only high school dance I remember--it's the one we didn't have.

I remember it well: I was the President of the Student Council (HMA) (1955/6) and I was planning the graduation "dance". Dances at that time were "sockhops" on gym or assembly hall floors with music from records, 78's, 45's, maybe 33's. I had never been to a dance, therefore didn't know much about it or the music-making thereof.

Somehow, however, I contacted Ed Gogh who volunteered to bring the Airport band to play for our dance.

I was ecstatic, as were the others who I had let in on it. I was even granted permission by the Principal to proceed with this innovation.

But suddenly and without adequate explanation, plans for the dance with a real, live band had to be scrapped, possibly inappropriate for this age group (16+) on school property.

I remember the "dance", however: not many boys there, the girls were standing around listening to records, I suppose. I was trying to entertain them with probably "Musical Chairs" and definitely with a skill contest as to who could find the most words in the word ‘WASHINGTON’. I think I ended up winning the contest but I don't remember any prize. I also don't remember any food being served or any fancy dresses and neither a limo nor corsage in sight. Not much of a "Prom", I guess. But we all got through and it was just great to meet most of the 'graduates' 49 years later in Gander, August, 2005.

We will probably outlive the town itself, according to the news reports, these days. Saaaaad!

I did eventually get to a fancy dance though. It was in St. John's, it was a "formal"; it was the "Tri-Service Ball" of February 14, 1958. I was asked by a guy I used to talk with in the MUN Library. Both he and his brother were "troublemakers", according to Librarian Sadie Organ and her assistant, Ada Greene. They, like many other students, were in the ROTP to help with finances. Of course the uniform was useful for many functions, but I had no formal dress! Oh, woe is me; I rubbed my pennies together and bought an inexpensive blue thingie and borrowed some shoes. I had told my parents about the upcoming event and on "the day" I received by mail, a prettier blue and longer dress from my mother, but it didn't fit very well. Oh, woe is me! Anyway, three years later I married the guy and got me another blue dress and three wonderful daughters, two of whom, like the dresses, arrived on the same date.

That's it for now.

Doris (Moss) Cowley, Class of '56.


I remember back then we used to have street dances. I lived on the Army side right where the school was in that area. Elvis and Buddy Holly were popular at the time. But the dances outdoors would often have life bands. Like the Solidaires where Cliff Powell used to play the bass.

Rod Hippern, Class of 1956



And these words of wisdom from Cam Pritchett in Florida:


It's a shame that all these growing up memories will be lost in the future, as we leave this world as we know it. I think there could be a library full of books on the growth of Gander, if someone had a few hundred years to write them. All the very best for now,

Campbell Pritchett, Class of 1959


And more thoughts…

Have you noticed that almost every photo of Gander, be it from the Av Museum or elsewhere, deals almost exclusively with the airport and/or airplanes?  It would almost seem that early Ganderites took no "domestic" photos at all. I have yet to find a shot of the old Co-op on the Army side (where my mother sent me to get peas but I came back with nothing because I asked for "round split peas", not knowing at 6 years old that it had to be one or the other).

And what I wouldn't give for photo of the Esso and Shell workshops near the railway tracks where so many of our fathers worked. I remember well the magic of the electric grinder in the Shell shop that spun out a shower of wondrous yellow sparks when someone sharpened a woods ax. And a photo of these shops might even show the little runoff from the end of the runway and the little dam that created a great pond for us 6-7 year olds "to fish". That was almost as much fun as digging in the dump out behind Vatcher's garage.

How about the old library near the hospital where so many of us got our first taste of reading about the big wide world, the carpenter shop that smelled so good, the Nolan and Broderick jewelers, the kindergarten…

Robert Pelley, Class of 1962


I keep hearing these stories about places called the ‘Army Side’ the ‘American Side’…you know--the old town of Gander.

So tell me kids which ‘side’ was the best place to live and why? Would love to hear your version of that exciting place we visited during the 2005 reunion, that has all grown up in trees.

There was something about that scene during the reunion where two school buses (packed with us old duffers) parked in a bunch of woods. There was just some remnants of old streets left.

People on the buses were pointing and talking,  while outside a young lady and her dog walked by. The young lady looked curiously at the two vehicles, but continued on her way.

Those on the bus tried to retrace their early neighborhood, remembering an earlier time and place. To the young lady this same neighborhood was but a forest of young trees that provided a haven of another sort.

Thanks for the visit. Next time let’s talk ‘old Gander’ and those days of growing up there. I love those stories. You see, when I came to Gander (the new town) in 1958-59 it was on it’s way to becoming ‘but a memory’ then.

Faye Raynard Class of 1959


Email me those memories, snippets, & SSS (send some snaps)  to and the Webster will get them posted for us, right here  on Faye’s Place.