Sept 18, 2006
Last time I asked
about ‘nicknames’ and ‘school dances’ and came up with the following
Faye, ask Morley about his nickname, he
-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
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
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
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
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
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
email@example.com and the Webster will get them posted for us,
right here on Faye’s Place.