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Downhome to Keep Me Company
First I wish to thank my sister-in-law, Darlene Hubley-Kean from Badger's Quay, NL, who gave me a subscription to Downhome magazine for Christmas 2016. Last spring I visited Newfoundland and Labrador for the first time, and the kindness of the people, the great food and the peaceful beauty of the province touched my heart. So I have become attached to my Downhome magazine – the stories and the history keep me informed and in touch with Newfoundland and Labrador. Thank you for my calendar and recipe booklet, which are part of my subscription. I hope to visit Newfoundland and Labrador again in the near future, but in the meantime I have my Downhome to keep me company.
Seeking Navy Buddies
I took out a subscription to your magazine to see if two family names of young ladies that I knew from Newfoundland would show up in some issue. These two young ladies and I joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1963. We were in the same training group in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. The young ladies' names were Ruby Barter and Sharon MacKay. We lost track of each other after we left new entry training in December 1963. We were stationed at different sites and I have been wondering where they went and where they are now. I realize that trying to reconnect with them is nearly impossible but I thought that you might be able to help me in this search. We are all in our 70s now and have probably changed names. I was known then as Mar or Robbie, for my name was Mary Ann Robidoux. I know this is a really weird request, but I had to try.
letter to the editor
Hello, I am looking for some help from your readers. A few years ago, I read an article in a Newfoundland newspaper that talked about how some families in Newfoundland had been lead to believe they had Portuguese ancestry when in fact their heritage was Mi'kmaq. I have always suspected that my mother is of Mi'kmaq descent and not Portuguese as she has been told. Anyway, I did not keep the article and can't seem to find it anywhere. I'm wondering if maybe your readers could help me out.
S. Parsons (709 739 8165)
Why should Newfoundlanders have to buy a licence and tags for the "Food Fishery"? We are deemed to be untrustworthy. Our Atlantic neighbours have been treated better since 1992 and the silence of our politicians is deafening. MP Nick Whalen assured me that "everyone was going to be treated the same." That must be an alternative fact. Everyone knows the stocks have rebounded in recent years and according to Mr. Alberto Wareham of Arnold's Cove are expected to double again in the next three years. On the water we are guilty until proven innocent by the armed Fisheries Affairs. We don't even have the right of "freedom of passage" like drug dealer do on land. Why is it that we never hear of any infraction "off shore? In conclusion, I would suggest that we should be allowed to take a fish from the pot anytime; there would be fewer fish caught in the long run. Who has more historical attachment to the lowly cod? PS If the Fisheries scientists wanted to protect cod fishing they should do two things 1) Ban gill nets 2) Ban commercial capelin fishing
Suddenly, St. John's
On February 26th, 2017, our KLM flight from Amsterdam to New York suddenly began to change speed and direction! We were informed we were to be diverted to St. John's, Newfoundland, as a crewmember was ill. The Crewman got the immediate medical attention he needed, and 270+ passengers and nine horses got a surprise day in Canada!
My wife, Wendy, and I are from Norwalk, CT, in the USA. We had never been to Canada before, let alone Atlantic Canada, so far North and East of home!
When we found ourselves displaced in time and place, we looked for some advice. we got our advice, all right, from some of the nicest people we have ever met!
Funny, big hearted bus drivers, Portugal cove Holiday Inn staff, Citywide Taxi drivers who were like volunteer tour guides, Crew from supply ships in the harbor, and Yellowbelly brewery barstaff. Of Course, the terrific gal at the Downhome shop on George st.!
We had time to explore George st, Water st. and Gower St., with its trim Jellybean colored houses, amd more. We saw the huge oil-rig supply ships, like the Atlantic Heron, drank some fine Yellowbelly local beer, and ate hot Poutine!
Jet-lag was never so fun!
We loved experiencing the "Downhome
Way of Life", even if only for a few hours. What wonderful people we encountered all day!
We did have to leave later that day, along with other passengers, and the nine Dutch horses that spent the night on the plane, munching Canadian Hay.
The plane smelled like Noah's ark when we finally reboarded for New York!
What an unexpected adventure for your neighbors from down the coast!
Thanks to all the kind people, including the Doctor who helped our crewman!
We hope to return one day, with a bit more time to spend "Downhome" in Newfoundland.
Best, James and Wendy Kenyon
Visiting the wrecks
I read with interest your article on the wreck of the Pollux and Truxton. I toured this area in 2011 and was fortunate enough to be put in touch with a Mr. Rik Edwards who guided me to the wreck of the Pollux. His mother, Ena Farrell Edwards, wrote a book on life in St. Lawrence including the wrecks. She took the only pictures of the wrecks with her little Brownie camera. The title is âSt. Lawrence and Meâ.
When Rik and I arrived at the scene, the cross has been blown down so we first set it up in a rock cairn. Rik had made many trips to the site as a boy to gather bits of salvage metal for pocket money. As we climbed down the cliffs to the shoreline, I was surprised to see the black bunker oil above the high ride line still on the rocks after all these years. Persistent stuff!
As a CFA, I have only experienced prairie blizzards but I tried to imagine the horrendous force of the February gale in 1942 that forced a mix of freezing water and bunker oil into and out of the little cove that Mr. Brehm mentioned in his account. It was hard to imagine that anyone could have survived. Another example of the big hearted men and women of Newfoundland.
The Little Locket of Petites, Newfoundland
When Georgina Smith (Atilde Courtney), 75, saw a posting on Facebook about a recently published children's book set in the resettled outport of Petites on the south west coat, her curiosity was piqued and she ordered two copies. Georgina, who now lives in Stephenville, was born and raised in Petites.
When the books arrived in the mail, she was astonished to see a photograph of the very house where she was born, as well as a photo of a headstone in the Petites' cemetery inscribed with the names of her three uncles who drowned in a fishing accident on Jan 22, 1935: Norman Courtney aged 27 years, Clayton Courtney aged 25 years and Frederick Courtney aged 21 years. Photos of Petites' Bethany Church also brought back a flood of memories, as Georgina was married in front of its altar and later had her four children baptized there. Bethany Church is believed to be one of the oldest surviving wooden churches in Newfoundland.
The Little Locket of Petites, Newfoundland was written by Lynne Sawford, a 76-year-old woman who operates a bed and breakfast and artist studio in Rose Blanche. She was inspired to write the book after her 10-year-old grand niece, Anne, came for a visit last July. On a glorious summer day, they packed a picnic and went by boat to Petites, three miles along the coast from Rose Blanche.
Anne was delighted to run free and explore every nook and cranny of Petites, which was closed down in 2003 when the community was relocated. Anne made pretend houses in the tall grasses, searched for china figurines and bits of coloured sea glass by the brook, and decorated a driftwood tuckamore tree on the beach with strands of sea kelp and bird feathers.
Beautifully illustrated with photographs that were taken during Anne's exploration of Petites, the book tells the story of a young girl, Wistful Wavey, who discovers her grandmother's long-lost locket in an old chest that washes up on the beach one morning after a terrible storm. The chest had gone to the bottom of the sea 40 years previously when the schooner that her grandfather had been on, foundered on the rocks nears Petites.
The Little Locket of Petites is a tribute to the beauty of this abandoned Newfoundland outport and to the importance of exploration and discovery during childhood.
Copies of the book can be ordered by contacting Lynne Sawford through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lsawford or through her web site for the RoseSea Bed and Breakfast at www.roseblanche.ca From mid May to mid October: (709) 956-2872 and from mid October to mid May: (613) 687-6182. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will send the photo of the book cover under photo submission. Cathy
The other side of the planet
When I was a child, it was commonplace for our parents to tell us that if we dug a hole in the back yard and just kept going we would come out in China! But I'm here to tell you that from south-eastern Australia that's just not true....our nearest landfall on the far side of the world is Newfoundland. And yet, oddly enough, we have good friends in Trepassey. It sure makes 'catching up' somewhat of an odyssey, but we'll happily do it as often as we can. Perhaps it's a shared interest in our Celtic history and music or the hardy and resilient nature of our people, raised in such isolated locations, but we always feel welcomed, included and right at home. We'll be back in July for a wedding.......and won't that be a shindig!
Growing up in Gander in the 1940s
I was so pleased to read Gloria Durham's reminiscing about her time in Gander during WWII. I lived there at that time and am one of the few that has been here almost ever since. I was only 12 years old when the war ended and I have to say we have the same memories. My father was a civilian electrician who came here in 1937. The family followed in 1940. As Gloria said it was "overseas" for Canadians. We lived in the only "houses" in the RCAF section.
It was a very different life from most NFLD children. My parents home was "home away" to troops from all branches of the military. We were treated very well with Christmas parties, use of the swimming pool and bowling alley ect. Movies were open to us, as were all the entertainments. I saw Frank Sinatra and many other stars as well as the first run-movies. As many as parents permitted.
It still makes me feel a little "different"as I wasn't from "town" or the "bay." It was so different when so many settled here after 1945. There was only 14 children when school opened in 1941.