Hoisted Up! (3054 views) I can still remember the sound of motorboat engines as they slowly steamed up and down the shore off Cape Bonavista. This was very busy and very rich fishing ground during that period from the early 1900s to the time of the ... click to read moreI can still remember the sound of motorboat engines as they slowly steamed up and down the shore off Cape Bonavista. This was very busy and very rich fishing ground during that period from the early 1900s to the time of the fishery closure for both codfish and salmon.
The picture depicts the way it was in that era. The fishing stage shown still stands today. It was built in 1952 or 1953, and tourists can visit it at Cape Shore Restaurant, Bonavista. The property at that time belonged to John and Charles Mifflin, my uncles.
Mifflin's Cove was a very busy place, but then, so were the other places on the Cape Shore Road in the summertime between May and September of each year. The way of life then was not as we know it today - no electricity, only kerosene lamps. They say hard work never hurt anyone, but I myself think my mom and dad worked as hard as anyone did. They never got rich from the fishery, that's for sure, but they loved doing what they did.
The picture is of my dad, Mark Mifflin, hoisted up to the stage. This was done every day after the fish was cleared away, and lowered into the water the following morning.
After my brother Eugene and I got older, we abandoned the fishery. So did my sisters Edith and Lillian, to settle for a better way of life, or so we thought at the time. Anyway, it's all over now; only the memories remain, but it was good "the way it was."
Nurse Myra Bennett as told by daughter Grace Written by Grace E. Abelseth (nee Bennett/Benoit) born August 27, 1923
I need to say something about my parents. Dad was the eldest of 12 and at a very early age he had to go with my Grandfather to hunt and fish, to provide food for the family. He was of French descent, and named Benoit. The Benoits came from France and settled in Nova Scotia. Some of them went to Newfoundland, others went ... click to read moreWritten by Grace E. Abelseth (nee Bennett/Benoit) born August 27, 1923
I need to say something about my parents. Dad was the eldest of 12 and at a very early age he had to go with my Grandfather to hunt and fish, to provide food for the family. He was of French descent, and named Benoit. The Benoits came from France and settled in Nova Scotia. Some of them went to Newfoundland, others went to USA and some of them stayed in Nova Scotia and were known as The Acadians. Some of those who went to Newfoundland were denied fishing rights by the English if they had a French name, so the name was changed to Bennett.
When Dad was 16 he joined a ship from Halifax, who happened to be in Daniels Harbour, as a cabin boy. Later he became first mate and when the cook quit he became the cook. They sailed to the Netherlands, Barbados and Trinidad carrying rum and "pitch" for road repairs. When the war broke out in 1914 Dad joined the Merchant Marine and carried food and other supplies to Europe. It was many years later that the Merchant Navy were recognized for the contribution they had made to the war effort in the first World War and the second World War.
The first World War ended in 1918 and many Newfoundlanders were killed. Dad came back to Daniels Harbour and his father and uncle helped him to build a house. He had seen a house in Halifax with four bay windows on the front, one for the dining room and one for the living room and two upstairs for the bedrooms.
He had to go into the woods, chop down the trees, and saw the lumber in the saw mill and using an ox and sleigh haul it out to the site in which he was doing the building. He had put a verandah on the back, it had four bedrooms, a bathroom, a place for linen, and two clothes closets. There was a space for a bathroom but indoor plumbing wasn't used in Daniels Harbour, that would come later. large kitchen and a pantry was built and in the pantry he found a running spring. What a find!!! We had fresh water without going to the well under the hill to bring buckets back to the house. He put a pump in and it served us very well.
In the meantime a nurse was recruited in England and she set sail on April 13 (Friday) 192. Rev Greavett was consulted as to the best place to have her stationed. He decided Daniels Harbour would be the place as she was mid way in the district she was to serve. After sailing from Liverpool England she arrived in St Johns Newfoundland. She had an introduction to Dr Fisher who was practicing in Corner Brook and used to go on his rounds with him while she was awaiting the ice to clear so she could get to Daniels Harbour. She eventually sailed on the S S Home, a distance of 120 miles, and it was March 27th before she reached Daniels Harbour.
Everybody was on the beach when the steamer arrived to get a look at this strange nurse. She boarded with Mr and Mrs Moss. Mr Moss was the local school teacher. They turned their dining room over to her for a clinic, and their kitchen was used as a waiting room. Mrs Moss used to serve tea for those waiting to see Nurse Grimsley.
My Mother was born in England. She had five brothers. Two sisters had died in infancy. My grandmother was very kind to her neighbours, often bringing them in to her dining room if they had very little to eat. Mum used to tell the story of a small girl who came knocking at the Grimsley's door and said her mother was sick. Her father was out trying to get a job. When my Grandmother went to her home to investigate she found her neighbour about to deliver a baby. Mum and her brothers had just sat down to Christmas dinner, she brought the other children home and had her children leave the table to allow the other children to enjoy the dinner.
Mum was 14 when she went to work for a Jewish tailor, making men's suits by hand. She worked 14 hours a day and turned her money over to her mother. She could have taken the tram to and from work but she preferred to walk, and besides the tram costs money. She learned to speak Yiddish by listening to her employers.
She decided to finish her education and to go in training for a nurse and midwife. She applied for a position in Saskatchewan after working for ten years in England. The war had just ended so shipping was at a premium, the soldiers were just returning with their brides, to Canada. To fill in the time Mum decided to take a course in Instrument delivery and anaesthesia. She studied under the well known Dr Annie McCall. Meantime the governor's wife from Newfoundland was in England to recruit nurses, Mum was approached and went on a two year contract. She sailed On Friday April 13th 1921.
Her first delivery was for a Mrs Benoit and that's where she met our Dad. They started to see each other and on January 26th 1922 they were married. Navigation was not open, there was no way to get a ring so my Grandmother's ring was used. Granny put on a small reception for them, and they moved into a small house on the hill overlooking the house Dad was building. Rev Greavet married them and he said to Mum 'I'm coming to your house for Sunday dinner any time that I'm in Daniels Harbour; Mum said "You would be more than welcome if you don't mind eating out of tin cans"!
Granny fixed them up with bedding and dishes. I was born on August 27th 1923, my brother was born September 3rd 1926, and my sister was born June 24th 1930. The baby who was her first delivery is called Aunt Margaret the only remaining sibling of my Dads family. She was born on August 12th 1921.
A short time after my parents were married Dad arrived home bringing a young lad with him. His mother had died and no one seemed to care what happened to him. Dad said to Mum "look what I brought you" He had walked many miles along the coast because he had heard about Mum and was sure that she would take him in. Dad cut his hair, Mum prepared a bath for him, his clothes went into the stove, and Mum went to the store to get flannelette for pyjamas, and of course he was fed. He fell asleep on the day bed in the kitchen and when Dad got up in the morning he was crying. Dad wanted to know what he was crying about and he said "I thought I had died and gone to Heaven". Poor lad.
When Mum came to Daniels Harbour there was no organ in the church. She got busy and taught the children to sing and act and put on little concerts until she had enough to buy an organ. She played that organ for 50 years, but there came a time when she was unable to walk up the hill because of breathlessness. The old church next to the cemetery in the middle of the village caught on fire and nothing was saved except the organ. They used the school for the worship services until the new church was built, and it happened to be built next to the school up a steep hill.
The lad that I talked about in another paragraph, left our home while Mum was in Corner Brook having me. She was heart broken, they had planned to adopt him. He kept in touch however; He went to live with a Salvation Army Brigadier and had a good home and a religious upbringing. When he grew up he married a nurse and they had a family, but he never forgot what my parents had done for him. He used to come for holidays in Daniels Harbour, bringing his wife and all the children to visit Mum and Dad. I sat beside him at St Clares Hospital on one of my visits to St Johns, when he was dying of cancer. He was quite lucid and told me how he used to hand the boards up to Dad when he was building the house.
I have already mentioned the mother and child that my Mum brought back from England because she had no place to go except in the poor house. She came to live with us, and looked after us when my mother went on a case that required her attention. She later married and moved to St Johns, but Mum kept in touch and used to send her clothing, and she and Dad visited her home whenever they were in St Johns.
My Mum learned to card and spin wool, to hook mats, to clean lamps, to make soap and cook like a Newfoundlander! She made all our clothes, knitted our socks and mitts, and skin boots. The skin boots were made of tanned seals skin and they were a work of art with pleats at the heal and toe and fastened with a coloured woven cloth, the same size as a ribbon. They were so warm and comfortable with two or three pairs of socks, and a favourite for doing the set and eight and thread the needle, those were the only dances that we knew. Rufus Guinchard was in his glory playing the fiddle.
My Mum also did the books for Dad's store. Everything was charged and Dad would take lumber or fish in payment. If some of the men couldn't pay, Dad would supply them with groceries at no charge. Then the depression was in evidence and Dad was requested by the Government to hand out the "dole". He put the men to work clearing land and building a road, and gave them extra groceries in payment. Through all this activity Mum carried out her duty as the only medical help, with a district of 200 miles from Port aux Choix to Sally's Cove. She delivered all the babies, extracted teeth, was the school nurse, and visited the elderly and patients who were dying .I've often seen her carry, in her basket, soups and jello to a patient. During the depression she worked for no pay and my Dad supplied the medicines, the dressings and bandages, and plaster of Paris. This went on for eleven years.
Three of my mother's brothers went to Australia and during World War 1 they joined the Australian Army. One brother aged 19 led the battalion at Gallipoli and was killed by a sniper. His name is on the list of war dead at Canberra, NSW, Australia.
Another brother aged 16, he lied about his age, got a bullet in his leg. He spent some time in the hospital and the doctors wanted to amputate, he said NO. After the war the 16 year old, as time went on, married an Australian and was able to set up a sheep farm. In 1928 a girl was born. During the Depression he lost the farm and Dad paid his, his wife and child's way to Daniels Harbour to live with us. Dad built a shed for him to do carpentry and set him up to raise pigs. The dining room chairs that are in the Heritage House are the ones that Uncle Ed made.
The third brother married an Australian girl and they had four children. I have kept in touch with my first cousins and their children and grandchildren, in fact my sister and I went to Australia in 1994 to meet them.
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Twenty Fourth of May Excursions in the Forties
Twenty Fourth of May Excursions in the Forties
Twenty fourth of May was a popular holiday in NL back in the 1940s, and still remains so today. The folks in St. John's took advantage of the holiday to go fishing, ... click to read moreTwenty Fourth of May Excursions in the Forties
Twenty fourth of May was a popular holiday in NL back in the 1940s, and still remains so today. The folks in St. John's took advantage of the holiday to go fishing, as well as go on excursions to the surrounding countryside. This interesting picture, taken on 24 May, 1940, shows my Father-In-Law Ernest Shute, with his uncle Mr Robert Avery (left) and his son Gordon Shute (right), on such an excursion.. Note the vehicle. Mr Shute was proprietor of a plastering business in St. Johns at the time. Mr Avery was at one time the oldest taxi driver in St Johns, remarkably still driving at the ripe old age of 100.
Never to be daunted, people back in the 40s, when on a Sunday jaunt in their best duds found ways to take advantage when they came across a blueberry patch. Here my Father-in -Law, Ernest ... click to read moreBerry picking in Your Best Duds
Never to be daunted, people back in the 40s, when on a Sunday jaunt in their best duds found ways to take advantage when they came across a blueberry patch. Here my Father-in -Law, Ernest Shute, out on such an excursion on Labour Day weekend in 1947, is seen using his bowler hat to good advantage.
Back in the 1930s when Ocean pond was mostly a Mecca for vacationers, there was even then a real sense of community, with various activities organized by the summer residents. One such activity was an annual ... click to read moreEarly Regattas on Ocean Pond
Back in the 1930s when Ocean pond was mostly a Mecca for vacationers, there was even then a real sense of community, with various activities organized by the summer residents. One such activity was an annual regatta, with races held on the pond that year on Wednesday July 16, 1930. My wife's family had a cottage there, and her father Ernest Shute, was involved with the committees organizing the regatta that year, acting as a timekeeper. For those interested attached is a newspaper clip from The Trinity-Conception Shopper, April 20, 1993 describing the event
I put a Christmas pic of my Dad as my cover photo on Face Book during Christmas because I think of him a lot during the Christmas season. He dearly loved Christmas and especially as he got older -he certainly enjoyed his ... click to read moreI put a Christmas pic of my Dad as my cover photo on Face Book during Christmas because I think of him a lot during the Christmas season. He dearly loved Christmas and especially as he got older -he certainly enjoyed his grandchildren; buying gifts for them and watching them open their gifts. My Mom and Dad ran a retail business for almost 40 years in BaieVerte and a store in Burlington. They sold just about everything you needed which included -clothes, hardware items, wallpaper, wool, groceries, yards and yards of material, sewing supplies, toys, footwear, groceries, paint, etc.
I clearly remember the Christmases as a teenager when I worked in my Dad's store. I remember the day leading up to Christmas when Dad would start giving away turkeys to his loyal and faithful customers. Then on Christmas Eve he would always give away a turkey and a box of chocolates to the last customers of the day as he closed up the store early.I loved working in my parent’s store- I started there when I was 12 years old. I learned to do cash, cut off material, weigh up produce, price the products, take stock, do up the daily cash, make bank deposits etc. It was during Christmas that I loved to work there, I loved it when you would ask the customer –“Do you want that gift- wrapped?” I really loved to gift- wrap things for the customers and feel like I done an okay job as a teenager. It was great to meet the different people from all over the peninsula who would come to shop at the store. My mom would have all these beautiful dishes come from S.O Steel in St. John’s. These dishes would arrive in boxes in wire crates of packed straw shipped via the many boats that would land at the Government wharf. Dad would go to the wharf- and pick up these large crates of dishes, use wire cutters to open them up and then we would price them to pack on the shelves.It was great to play with those wire cages, get in them and pretend we were animals—lol. What I really like about working in the store was I got paid for it as I got older. It was great to be a teenager and to have a nice healthy bank account at such a young age.
I remember one Christmas when the store was closed for Christmas Day and Boxing Day and a man had passed away-in a nearby community---- the wife of the man called and asked if she could come and look for a suit of clothes to bury her husband in. It must have been a real sad Christmas for that family. Looking back now -we were certainly blessed to have such great parents who tried to be there for people in need.
Waking up Christmas morning was exciting –as we got older- there were 8 of us ranging in age from 4 months to 17 years old. Stockings were hung up and down the door facings and they were filled to the brim. In our stockings we had lots of fruit, like apples, oranges, bananas, and even grapes. There were always a few pieces of chocolate wrapped up in coloured foil shaped like a bell or a Santa and there were those peanuts in the shell. There were always some Avon products in there as our grandmother always purchased these products just for Christmas giving. Not sure who the Avon lady was at that time but she must have done quite well by my Nan Roberts. I remember when I was about 15-16- I got the one thing I really wanted for Christmas and that was a hair dryer- my first one. I remember receiving craft kits, Nancy Drew mystery books, stationary (that’s for writing letters-do people still use that?)-LOL. I remember one year getting a jewelry box, not like the one I got when I was younger and had a ballerina in it, this one was bigger-taller and had drawers in it. The Avon lady also sold lots of Avon jewelry and over the years my Mom and Nan must have given me every item they had in their little catalogue. I still have most of that jewellery and still wear some of it. I remember one year receiving a watch and you could change over the face and the straps to different colours. Do you remember those Spirograph sets where you would take those plastic shapes and different colour pensand make these shapes on nice clear white sheets of paper? I saw some of those sets in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago- I didn’t know they were still made. I do remember receiving one of them one year. I remember new flannel pyjamas and even as a teen getting a one-piece set- of red and white fleece ones.LOL. I remember getting a chord organ, a typewriter –plastic- but you could type on it and we would take turns typing notes back and forth to each other. I remember getting a little sewing machine and I could use it to sew clothes for my dolls. (I still have that that sewing machine). It wouldn’t be Christmas without receiving a doll and with 4 girls in the family- we had our share of dolls. My favourite after the cuddly dolls you could dress up and my Nan made clothes for -were the Barbie dolls. I loved my Barbie! We would spend hours playing Barbie’s, dressing them up-undressing them, getting them ready to go to work, to go to balls and fancy parties, getting them ready to go to the beach. Then along came Ken and whoa that was so cool to have a boyfriend for Barbie. Then along came Skipper- I believe she was Barbie’s younger sister, not sure about that. Then one Christmas there was a “black Barbie- she came with a beautiful white Nurse’s uniform on. I am sure that my friend Tana and I and my sisters played with our Barbie dolls until we were 11 or 12. I just can’t see that happening today, maybe I am wrong. Tell me if you know of even a 10 year old playing with Barbies. One year for Christmas, Santa gave me a beautiful Barbie Doll trunk. There was a place for storing the Barbie’s and their clothes and all the little accessories that they needed.
What would Christmas be like as a child if we didn’t get some home knit wool socks and mittens and caps from our Grandmother Roberts? She would spend that whole year knitting for just this occasion. She had to- because with 8 grandchildren, a husband, a daughter, a son-in-law, and I am sure she donated enough of that stuff to the church sale-plus what she gave to other family members -that she had to be at it all year long. What I loved about the Christmas holidays was we would all play with each other’s gifts, especially the dolls my sisters and I received from Santa. One year my younger brothers had a race track all spread out in theupstairs hallway, even the sisters loved playing with that. My brothers had chemistry sets, microscopes, dinkies, and other cars and trucks.
I remember spending a whole day in my roomduring Christmas break reading my new Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery novels, just hoping that I would not be interrupted. I remember going to my friend Tana’s house and she would show me her gifts and then I would see what her sisters Toby and Trudy got as well. Then Tana would drop over to my house and we would do the same thing with my gifts and my sister’s gifts.
After we had our Christmas gifts opened we had to get ready and go to church –the turkey would be in the oven, the pot turned off for an hour and off the Green clan would go to fill up a one and half church pews as we listened to the Christmas message and the real meaning of Christmas. Of course this changed as time went by- my younger siblings’ would probably not even remember doing that. After a while the Christmas morning church service was no longer a ritual as the church changed to meet the different needs of its church people. Then it was home for Christmas dinner- lots of food needed to feed a family of 12.
It seems like there were always small children in our house ---when the last one was born the first one was 17 and gone to university. At one point my parents had 5 children under the age of six. I do remember the Christmas of 1973.......my baby sister was 4 months old when my brother came home from his first semester at MUN. I and some school friends including my friend Tana had just come back from a 2 week Mediterranean Educational cruise.
We were also very fortunate that we had our maternal grandparents live with us. Talk about built in babysitters. Talk about great- they were always there for us when our parents were away. Now a days young couples fly the grandparents across the country to babysit. Having our grandparents live with us was amazing; someone else to go to if you wanted money when Mom & Dad weren't around. It didn't matter that our dad had a store-because we never spent our money at Green's Store- we used to go across the road to Jim's Store or next door to the Rexall drug store and buy comic books for 10cents and a bag of Adams or Scotties potato chips for 5 cents. All I needed was for grandmother to give me a quarter and we had it made- you could get a lot for 25 cents. Now my grandfather Roberts was not as generous with his money as Nan was. I could hear the change jingling in his pocket and he would almost have to be begged to part with it- but Nan now she was different. My Grandfather Green- now he was pretty generous when it came to handing out coins, I never minded asking him for 25 cents to go to Jims.
The hustle and bustle of Christmas on our street was wonderful- all the businesses would have Christmas lights up and I dearly loved the Christmas music that used to be played over an outdoor speaker on top of Jim’s Store. It seemed to be a very busy time- people lined up in the stores making their purchases for the special ones in their lives. Traffic slowing to a crawl as drivers tried to get in and out of parking spots. When I reflect on that time, it seems lots of snow and extreme cold were things that were a part of our normal winters, unlike now when it seems to be something we need to analyze to death and no longer like.
Looking back on my childhood- is something I always seem to do at Christmas time. Today is what we call “Old Christmas Day”……I put my reflections of Christmas pasts to rest until next year.
Growing up in a remote community in Newfoundland has furnished my soul with many memories, but none so majestic as the joys of Christmas.
When I think back on those memorable days as a child it warms my heart.
Mountains of snow surrounded the community and Icycles clung with pride to the roof tops. Frosty the snow man occupied every yard while Jack frost adorned each window. Both children ... click to read moreTHE PERFECT GIFT
Growing up in a remote community in Newfoundland has furnished my soul with many memories, but none so majestic as the joys of Christmas.
When I think back on those memorable days as a child it warms my heart.
Mountains of snow surrounded the community and Icycles clung with pride to the roof tops. Frosty the snow man occupied every yard while Jack frost adorned each window. Both children and adults were buzzing with the excitement of Christmas.
I grew up in a family of seven, my mother and my five siblings. My father died tragically at the age of 41,which left my mother with six children under the age of nine.
It was a great tragedy indeed but miraculously my mother somehow made it all work.
Christmas eve was as exciting as Christmas day, well almost. This was the day the tree went up and everything came to life.
Paper was cut out, glued into links and used for garland, then pop corn carefully strung and wrapped around each limb. The star, made of cardboard, was wrapped with tinfoil and placed at the top. The aroma of pine, to this day, bestows such a peacefulness within my soul.
After the tree was decorated it was off to bed. This was one night we never complained about bedtime. Rocks were heated on the wood stove all day, wrapped in towels and placed in the middle of each bed. By the time we crawled in the flannel sheets were toasty warm. They were then moved to the bottom to warm our feet. It's amazing how a simple thing like a rock gave one so much pleasure. I loved my rock. We'd giggle and play eye spy until we drifted off to sleep.
Ah, Christmas morning, how close to heaven can a child be? "Ok, time to get up," our mother would shout. Down over the stairs all six of us would race.Underneath the tree, there were presents for everyone and six socks hung from the mantle.
It was a magical day, one that will remain with me forever. Dolls, games, coloring books, toy guns and sleighs.
When I think about those days now I wonder how my mother managed to make it all so perfect.
Every little girls dream, a beautiful doll in a beautiful box. I'd carry that doll to bed with me and admire the perfection of her face. I named her Cindy. You could say that doll became my best friend. Even the box she came in was somewhat of a novelty to me.
Our stockings were filled with coloring books,crayons and fruit.
Ida Vaughn who lived across the brook from us had knitted six pairs of mittens and baked a christmas fruit cake topped with the most delicious icing. What a wonderful gesture on her part ,however, I couldn't comprehend why my mittens only had 1 thumb and 1 finger. I thought maybe she ran out of time or wool.
Oh yes, and then their were the mummers.Who could forget such a tradition. I truly couldn't embrace the logic behind it.
Groups of people coming to your house wearing long underwear and homemade quilts draped over their heads. They'd sing songs, dance around the kitchen and before you knew it they were gone. From a seven year olds prespective it was a very strange phenomenon until many years later I became a proud mummer myself.
Of all the amazements of Christmas the one that will remain with me forever is not the gifts that were placed under the Christmas tree but the gift that was so carefully wrapped and placed with my heart. This is a special gift from my mother that only I can unwrap. I will always be thankful to her for this.
Stay Out! In my life l have had three experiences with ghosts. The last being after my mother passed in December. The one l'm writing about now happened when my children were young.
In February years ago, my sister's family were all going away for a few days. She needed someone to come morning and night to put the dog in and out, and take care of the plant seedlings she had. My daughter, Monica, said she ... click to read moreIn my life l have had three experiences with ghosts. The last being after my mother passed in December. The one l'm writing about now happened when my children were young.
In February years ago, my sister's family were all going away for a few days. She needed someone to come morning and night to put the dog in and out, and take care of the plant seedlings she had. My daughter, Monica, said she would take care of the dog and so the first three days went off without a hitch. It was the evening of the fourth day that unexplainable things happened.
It was dark when my daughter and l went down the road to Nancy's house. Upon arriving there, Monica went around back to call for the dog and get her evening food. When l descended the stairs into the basement I didn't know which way to look. All the shoes and boots from the closet were strewn across the floor. Then l noticed two larger men's boots were placed toe to toe in front of the room where the plants were. Someone wasn't happy with me going in there.
I wasn't long heading back upstairs, grabbing Monica and racing for home. Our heads were swivelling around 180 degrees making sure nothing was after us. I never realized how closely we were pressed together as we raced home, until l was telling my husband what we saw and realized my shoulder was sore.
My husband drove us back down and looked all around, but nothing was amiss. The next day l notified my sister as to what happened, she said, "Oh that's just the mother-in-law. Since she passed, many strange things have happened. Sometimes when we are just sitting around the vacuum comes on. We figure she's just trying to tell us the house needs cleaning."