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Write a letter to the editor and send us your thoughts on down-home living, share news from your hometown, or comment on the stories you've read in Downhome. All will be considered for inclusion in the "Notes from Home" section of the magazine.
When submitting photos to accompany a letter, please remember to include names of any individuals pictured, as well as when and where the photo was taken. Include any other pertinent information you feel may be relevant for caption writing, should your submission be chosen to appear in a Downhome publication.
In response to "Where is this" February 2016 Issue by Burton Janes he asked if I would forward to you my response to him:
Good day Burton,
Just looking at a photo in the most recent issue of Downhome. It appears to me to be a photo of the railway station in Clarenville. The rise of the hill in the background and even the dark building in the upper left maybe the station managers house. I know when dad worked in that area I was with him on a number of occasions. Even though it was much later the when this picture was taken the landmarks look familiar. If it is Clarenville the picture is looking East.
I am writing with my disappointment with your latest edition of Inside Labrador. Indeed it is wrongly named as it should be named Inside Happy Valley-Goose Bay. I cannot believe that a magazine of your usual caliber would essentially ignore an entire region of Labrador, i.e. Labrador West, whose entire representation in your Inside Labrador magazine consists of the photo on the last page of the edition. Shabby work, and we would expect better from Downhomer.
New Friends from Afar!
We have been tossing bottles with a note inside since 2013. To date our bottles have been picked up in Ireland (2), Scotland (2), England (2) and Norway (3)! How exciting to receive an email from someone who has found one of the bottles on a beach somewhere! One took only 6 weeks from here (Musgrave Harbour on the north coast) to Ireland! We have remained in touch with some of the folks and often they tell us how a visit to NL is on their bucket list!! Will let you know if that happens in future....Ron and Lynn McCarthy Musgrave Harbour, NL
After quite a few years as an subscriber to your magazine, I have decided that this time round I will not be renewing my subscription.
I have been a reader who has seen all changes that your magazine has gone through since my first enjoyable read.
I will never be critical of your magazine, because it has brought me great joy and reading through these many year's. I have however, "out-grown" my use for the publication, so to speak. The first issue's were so simple to enjoy. We were a young couple living in Ontario and missing home. The DownHomer at the time, was filled with so much Newfoundland ... and home ... I recognized people, places and things between the pages. It truly lived up to it's motto ... a little piece of home ...... I understand that changes always have to be made to keep things running and to stay up with the times. Topics and materials inside the covers were added and the format of the magazine changed. I endured the change, even though there were differences in the content that, at the time, did not spark my interest, but there were still some old content (and the puzzles) so I endured. Over the past half dozen years or so, there have been many other changes in the down home content. The good feeling and excitement went away and I stuck with it. Now, it's renewal time, I have a choice to make. It was difficult, but I chose not to renew at this time. Other than a few puzzles still there, much of the content has gone to a more eastern Canada, eastern Newfoundland content. I don't see familiar faces or familiar places anymore and that discouraged me.
All said and done, I still feel you are putting out a very good magazine. I can tell a lot of hard work has gone into ( and will continue to go into ) making it a great magazine. I will always praise your magazine and tell friends about it. Thanks for the year's of great reading!
Carleton Place, ON.
I read your interesting article in the September 2015, issue of Downhome magazine, concerning âWild Weatherâ and it sparked some memories of my experiences with unusual weather a number of years ago. These experiences were during the 1960s and 1970s but are still very vivid in my memory.
The first concerns hail. My assistant and I were working with a helicopter on the west coast north of Howley one summer in the mid 1960s when we encountered a thunderstorm, with no rain. The helicopter had pontoons and was sitting on a small lake at the time. I was on the float collecting samples from the lake bottom for a government department survey. Something hit my back and immediately assumed my assistant was clowning around. When I turned around both the pilot and the assistant were busy with other things and paying little attention to me. Then I saw a white object about an inch or so in diameter land on the float next to me. A quick look around revealed that several more hailstones were falling in the water around the helicopter. The shower only lasted a few seconds and not a lot of hail fell, thank goodness as they could have done damage to the helicopter. The storm quickly passed and our work continued without incident.
The second weather related incident concerns a water spout. We were working in Labrador one July day in the early 1970s. We were moving camp from a lake, north of Labrador City, to Schefferville, Quebec, using a Beaver aircraft. We had just landed at a lake near Schefferville and were unloading our equipment when we saw a water spout in the lake quite a distance away. It whirled in the lake for a few minutes and progressed towards the dock where we were working. Thankfully it dissipated about a quarter of a mile from shore.
The third weather event occurred while I was working in Bonne Bay in the late 1960s and was later identified as âball lightningâ. I was driving in a northerly direction along the west side of Bonne Bay. It was raining with thunder and lightning at the time. I looked towards the mouth of the bay and saw what looked like a ball of fire coming in the bay towards me. It quickly moved into the centre of the bay and then towards the road ahead of me. As most people will know the mountains in this area, just north of Doctorâs Brook, come to the edge of the bay. The ball of fire stopped for an instant several feet off the road at the base of the hill. I realized three options were possible. The ball would go up over the hill (about 1500 feet); go out the road ahead of me; or come straight at me. I slowed the vehicle waiting to see what would happen. Thankfully, it took the second option and disappeared along the road heading in the direction I was travelling. The whole experience probably only took several seconds, but at the time seemed like hours.
The final event concerns a rainstorm in the early 1960s. I was walking from the university back to my boarding house in St. Johnâs one autumn night when it started to rain very heavily. The shower lasted about 10 minutes. When I reached my destination, and more light was available, I noticed that my coat was covered with a fine silt-like material. The material did not leave any âmuddy streaksâ on the coat and when it dried the silt could be brushed off the coat with ease. I regret not keeping a sample of the material to see if it could be identified.
Thanks for reading.
Reading the article reminded me of Sunday School picnics where we would play various games and group gatherings. Looking back it is a wonder that we all survived. St Mary's church, no longer standing, on the southside near the dry dock Sunday school picnics were held in Bowring park. We would gather at the church hall and be loaded into the back of stake bodied trucks and be take to the park. Imagine doing that with about a hundred children nowadays. We would have various races, tags and treats. One of those games was The Grand Old Duke of York.
Gathering in a circle everyone would hold hands and sing out:
The Grand old Duke of York, he had ten thousand men.
He'd march them up to the top of the hill (everyone would advance to the center, still holding hands, and raise our arms into the air)
And march them down again (everyone would back out to their original position)
And when you're up, You're up and when you're down you're down (everyone would go to a squat position)
And when you're only half way up, you're neither up nor down (half up and half down)
At least it seemed like fun at the time
Borne and raised in St John's
Loyal reader of Down Home
The Term Rock
The Term Rock
I just had to weigh in on the discussion about the term "Rock" I am sure opinions are divided on this topic. Personally I have no problem with the use of this term. In fact I consider it a term of endearment when used by Newfoundlanders to describe our dear island. I recently conveyed my feeling in a short poem I sent to your website which goes like this:
âThe Name Rock
Some say this term is derogatory
And should not be accepted by any
But I see it in a different light
As a term of endearment by many
The controversy rages on
And on this we seem to be split
But I think the forces of endearment
Will win out in the end on it
For what is a more powerful symbol
That reflects the people we are more
As a solid rock force to be reckoned with
Eternal and solid and sureâ
God Save The Rock.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Poetic License Removal
Thank you for publishing in your July 2015 issue our letter of concern re the direction your publication is taking. Your explanation is totally plausible and I can fully understand your point of view. Even though the Poetic License section has been formally removed from the magazine I will continue to submit to your website and subscribe to your magazine, as I always do, because I think it is a great publication. Although poetry may not be the most popular genre its followers, as you say, do tend to be passionate and vocal, and we welcome the opportunity your website offers to allow exposure of our work. Thanks again, and we wish Downhome every success.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Early 60's memories of travelling Trans-Canada Highway
It was the summer of 1963---our Dad and Mom were driving us to Newfoundland from Fort Wayne, In to visit our maternal relatives in Riverhead, St. Mary's Bay! We were so excited to hear the road had been completed, never having been able to drive there. So all 5 children and 2 adults piled into Dads new aqua Ford station wagon, so anxious to get there. Things went smoothly until exiting the TransCanada highway for the Salmonier Line and other roads that would take us to our destination. All I can remember is Dad looking at the big rocks on the road and asking Mom whether she knew this part had NOT been done yet; shortly thereafter the rocks began pinging the underbody of the car causing gasoline to leak out slowly. Dad stopped the car, and gave us all chewing gum and said "get chewing, kids"---and it worked!! We made it to Riverhead safely. Despite the "Rocky Road", we had the time of our lives, especially me---I loved Newfoundland so much I returned the following year and stayed for 4 years, taking nursing assistant course at the General Hospital and working there. Being around my Grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins was such a priceless time in my life. And to think chewing gum got us there!!
Sharon Garretson Ulrich