by Jim Butler
Well, it's over, and from all reports, onsite and via e-mail, it was a tremendous
success! The registration desk opened on the convention floor of Hotel Gander at
10:30 am and continued until 4:30 pm. The Meet & Greet was crowded when I arrived
there at 7:00 pm. It seemed that people were eager to "meet and greet"!
I had a little trouble with the slide show that night, but Wilson Hoffe and
his wife bailed me out and we ran the show from his laptop. For the Newfie Night,
on Friday evening, thanks to a rep from the Salvation Army, it was up and running
early. And it attracted a crowd.
The Silent Auction went well. There were over 50 items up for bids and raised
over $2500 to be shared equally between a special project for Gander Academy and
the Aviation Museum.
Friday morning started with a tee-off time of 7:00 am for the golfers, and ending
at the Gander Golf Clubhouse for lunch. One highlight of the golfing was
Wilf Green's "hole-in-one" on the par 5 eighteenth hole! Actually it was a great
third shot from about 150 yards to the green and into the cup! Congratulations
The Newfie Night commenced at 8:00 pm and we were entertained first by Ross
Goldsworthy and, later by Eddie Yetman and the Drop-Outs! What can I say about
Ross! He was fabulous! After taking on an authentic Newfoundland accent, he
entertained the crowd for almost an hour with story after funny story about
Newfoundland sayings and situations. He ended with his helarious story of
Cinderfella. When he finished everyone gave him a standing ovation! Congratulation
Ross and thank you!
Ed (better known to me and a lot of other people as Eddie) Yetman and his group,
consisting of Dora (Butt) Hickey and Mike Yetman, entertained with songs and lead
a singsong with everyone joining in. BTW, Eddie, wrote a song for the reunion and
I have his permission to put it on our website in Real Audio format, so you can
listen to it.
Vern Grantham (Mingo), that's Audrey's husband did an excellent job and also
contributed his talents to entertaining the receptive crowd.
The night was complete with a variety of Newfie food including smoked caplin,
balogna, hard tack, lassy buns, etc. We had a great time!
Saturday morning many registrants went on a bus tour of the Gander area. The tour
included visits to the Silent Witness Memorial, the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery,
the Old airport sites of American, Canadian and Army Sides and the old terminal at
the RAF. One bus went on a side trip to Deadman's Pond and then on a quick tour of
a new section of the town of Gander. The tours were led by Dave Hanrahan and
Peter Blackie and both were interesting and informative tour guides.
The highlight of the reunion started at 6:30 pm. The banquet was an excellent
buffet and was followed by entertaining talks by Principal Roland Clarke and
Peter Blackie. It banquet part closed with Jim Butler and Roy Sceviour extending
their thanks to all those involved in the organizing and running of the reunion.
Faye (Lewis) Raynard asked that everyone sign a tablecloth that she had
in the hall outside the banquet room. I won't tell you way that was done, but
if you look at our website later in the week, you may find out why!
The dance began at about 10:30 pm after a flurry of picture taking on the stairs
outside the banquet room. Here all the classes from 1948 to 1963 posed with the
reunion sign for photographs. Those, too, we hope to have on the website later
in the week. The DJ for the evening provided all the great music of the 1940
to 60s, with a smattering of Newfie music in between, until the wee hours of
the morning. At 2:10 am he told us that this was definitely the last tune and
that he was shutting down so we could go home!
At 10:30 am Sunday morning a solomn service was held in memory of the many
students and staff who had passed away during and since our time at the Gander
schools. The service was ogranized by Rev. Marion Pardy and Rev. Bill Noel, both
students of the 1958 graduating class of Gander Academy. The service included the
reading of the names of the deceased, with candles being lit to represent each
group and one for those unnamed and anyone known to individuals and not part of the school reunion.
After an excellent brunch provided by the kitchen staff of Hotel Gander and some
other photo ops for teachers of Hunt Memorial Academy and the organizing committee,
we said our goodbyes. This part of the reunion was most emotional and there was
hardly a dry eye in the room, as old classmates repeatedly said goodbyes. No one
seemed to want to leave.
All the best and thank you very much for coming!
for The Flight Reunion Committee
August 30, 2005