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I was looking at my hockey card collection when the idea popped into my mind. We didnât buy our hockey cards in the shops back when I was a boy on Twillingate island. Instead someone, usually another boy, would order a small inventory from the Very Best Bubble Gum Company on the mainland, and sell the product out of their house and at school.I could be wrong, but I think Fred Pelley was the local bubble gum entrepreneur at the time. Later, I sold the stuff myself. It was an easy sell.For two or three cents you could buy a package containing a slab of bubble gum and four hockey cards. I was interested in collecting the cards of the Toronto Maple Leafs, my favourite team. I stopped browsing when I got to goalie Ed Chadwickâs card and stared at it for a moment (this was a few years before I ever heard of Johnny Bower). Thatâs when I got my idea to make a pair of goalie pads just like the ones he wore.I found an old brin (burlap) bag and cut out two pieces. I then folded them in a way to create two smaller bags about the size of the goalie pads I wanted to make. Mom got out her big darning needle and helped me sew up the sides. Then I went down in the basement where Dad was usually planing wood for something or other and collected enough shavings to stuff the bags full. We sewed the top shut, and there they were: my brand-new goalie pads!I cut four short pieces of fishing twine and tied the pads to my legs, one tie just below the knee and another just above the ankle. Then I studied myself, and a strange feeling came over me as I allowed my imagination to slowly transform me into Ed Chadwick. The feeling was something like I had felt at Christmas, when I went over to visit my friend, Ralph Boyd. Ralph had received a set of toy guns for Christmas and they were simply amazing. Getting a toy cap gun for a gift wasnât unusual. But Ralph had received a set of two - along with the belt and holsters. The gun belt even contained some plastic bullets. I asked Ralph if I could try them on.âSure, Bruce. No problem.âI belted on the guns and tied the holsters to my thighs with the two pieces of rawhide attached. I pulled out the imitation-pearl handled, silver pistols, twirled them on my fingers and re-holstered them. I did this a few times and then that feeling came over me. I felt righteous, powerful and fearless! I didnât see two wool vamps on my feet when I looked down; instead I imagined shiny cowboy boots. In that moment in my mind I had transformed into the Two-Gun Kid!Now, about a month later, I fancied myself to be Ed Chadwick. On Saturday afternoon there was a game of shinny planned down on Churchillâs Pond, so I walked down there with my skates, hockey stick and new goalie pads.Even though it was a bright day, it was freezing cold. It seemed like the pond was frozen right to the bottom, and the ice had a granite-like surface.Around 16-20 guys had showed up for the game, and as usual we picked sides. In pond hockey or shinny, it didnât matter how many players you had - everybody played. I was the only one who wanted to play goal. The other team had a player who stayed back and guarded their goal.Equipment-wise, I was as well off as anyone. I think one or two guys wore their older sisterâs white skates because they had none of their own. Some fellers had homemade sticks, or a broken one with only a few inches left of the blade. Nobody had hockey gloves or shin pads, so there was a âno rising the puckâ rule. My boots served as my goal posts.A strong northeast wind was blowing down the pond in my face, and it wasnât long before I was getting cold and less enthusiastic. Like a balloon losing air through a pinhole leak, Ed Chadwick was slowly leaving my system. I had extra wool socks on my feet, which was really working against me. My feet were jammed into my skates so tightly that perhaps the blood wasnât circulating well, so my feet started to get numb and painful at the same time.I watched as a pack of players pushed and shoved each other near centre ice. For a while it seemed like nobody had possession of the puck for any longer than a second or two. Suddenly, Lloyd âPeeweeâ Clarke squirted out of the pack and had a breakaway on me. He was a couple of years older than most of us and was therefore a bit stronger. At about15 feet out, he let go a powerful wrist shot.My reaction was to stick out my left leg turned slightly at an angle, to deflect the puck wide. It worked, but instead of it deflecting off my skate blade, it deflected off my ankle. Pain came shooting up from my numb foot and - âPoof!â - all of Ed Chadwick was immediately gone! Now I was just a near frozen kid on frozen water with the winter wind whipping through my clothing. But I endured it like the man I wasnât, and finished the game in immense pain.After it was over, I took off my skates and squeezed my numb feet into my frozen, snow-filled boots and limped home. When I entered the kitchen, Mom put a chair near the kitchen range and pulled down the oven door. Toward the end of the day Dad would always put a few splits (kindling) in the oven so they would be nice and dry when he had to light the fire the next morning. I shoved my feet in the oven on top of those splits and waited for them to warm up. As they did, the pain intensified to a whole new level.Before I went to bed that night, I told Dad that he could use my brin-bag goalie pads to start the fire the next morning. I was finished as a goalie.Ed Chadwick could bloody well be Ed Chadwick, as far as I was concerned. Being the Two-Gun Kid was much more appealing!-by Bruce Roberts
This Family travelled halfway around the world - twice - to find each other Growing up at the oceanâs edge in Port Rexton, Trinity Bay, NL, Rodger Randell had no idea that across that vast expanse existed a brother heâd never met ï¿½" a brother it would take nearly a lifetime to find. Sitting at the kitchen table recently with his wife, Joyce, at their home in Paradise, Rodger pulls a worn letter from its envelope. For 27 years, it was the only tangible link to a brother (and a branch of his family) he hoped, one day, to meet. Last summer that day finally arrived, and recalling the incredible story of how it came to be still brings happy tears to Rodgerâs eyes.âEven now, itâs still unreal at times,â says Rodger, glancing down at the piece of paper that started it all. Joanne Randell of Aberdeen, Scotland wrote the letter in 1991, seeking information about her paternal grand-father, a Newfoundlander named Joseph Randell who lived in Scotland during the 1940s. The man she described sounded a lot like Rodgerâs father (Joseph), a member of the Newfoundland Overseas Forestry Unit (NOFU) who served in Scotland during the Second World War. It was the biggest piece of the puzzle, however, that didnât seem to fit: Rodgerâs dad hadnât fathered any children during his time overseas. Or had he?âMy father being dead at that time for 14 or 15 years, we werenât sure how to actually bring it up to my mother,â says Rodger. Eventually, he did. To this day, Rodger and Joyce remain stunned by his momâs matter-of-fact response. âIn her words, âOh yes, I knew. There was a little boy. He was two when your father came home,ââ recalls Joyce. Despite their curios-ity, they thought it best not to press Rodgerâs mother (whoâs since passed away) for more details. A Journey to NL Meanwhile, across the pond, Joanne was about to take a leap of faith. Soon after mailing her letter, the then 20-year-old embarked on a vacation to Newfoundland and Labrador.âWe had no other family on my dadâs side living anywhere near us. Nobody could answer any questions, and I just thought, âWell I wonder if [Joseph] didgo back to Newfoundland and have more family,ââ says Joanne, now 47, over the phone from Aberdeen. While here, she mined the local archives but uncovered no leads on her grandfather. She returned home having found nothing, assuming Joseph had died leaving no other descendants.âI didnât think the trip was a waste of time because I enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed what I saw, the countryside, while we were there,â says Joanne. âBut I do remember feeling disappointed that nothing had come to fruition.â She didnât know it then, but her letter was already making waves. Having processed his motherâs shocking admission, Rodger decided to reach out to Joanne, a niece heâd never met. But it was too late. âBy the time we tried to get back to Joanne, she had left that address. She had gotten married, changed her name,â says Rodger. Over the years, he and Joyce scoured the internet for signs of Joanne or her dad ï¿½" Rodgerâs half-brother (also named Joseph Randell, after their father). Several years ago the couple started dreaming of a trip to Scotland with a couple of their closest friends. They hoped having boots on the ground might aid their search. However, when one of their travel companions became ill (and, sadly, passed away), they put the trip on indefinite hold.In bittersweet fashion, last August, Rodger and Joyce (with their son, daughter-in-law and their late friendâs widow) finally embarked on that journey. It wound up being so much more than they could have imagined. A Journey to Scotland Like most tourists to Scotland, they were enamoured with the scenery and the old, granite architecture. But the experience was all the more special to Rodger, given his dadâs service in the NOFU ï¿½" and knowing that, somewhere nearby, he had family. They had no great expectations of actually finding relatives until, shortly after arriving in Aberdeen, their 27-year mystery appeared solved within minutes. Though Rodger and Joyce had combed Facebook countless times over the years, their son, Nick, decided to give it a go. âWhat he knew that I didnât is that he could look by geographic area,â says Joyce.Scanning the profiles, posts and friends of nearby Randells, the name Joanne Ferguson caught Nickâs eye. Her siblings were Randells, and digging deeper turned up photos of her father - Joe - who bore a striking resemblance to men in Rodgerâs family. Giddy, Joyce fired off a message to Joanne, and the family went about their holiday hoping for a reply. However, as their time in Scotland drew to a close, they accepted theyâd have to move on without having made the connection. As the family gathered in a local pub for their last meal in Scotland - just two hours before their scheduled departure - Joanne replied!âAll hell broke loose in that little pub,â says Joyce. Within minutes, she was talking to Joanne over the phone and arranging to meet at the hotel where theyâd been staying. While Rodger and his family ran back to the hotel, Joanne shared the incredible news with her father.âHe was shocked, completely shocked,â says Joanne. âAnd the thing with my dad is, because heâs had a number of strokes, it takes him a long time to process information, an awful lot longer than it would for myself or anyone else.â Nevertheless, 75-year-old Joe was game to meet his âlittle brotherâ for the very first time.A lump forms in Joanneâs throat as she recalls pushing her father in his wheelchair into the hotel lobby. âMy Uncle Rodgerâ¦he just walked straight towards my dad and went on his knees and gave him the biggest hug,â she says. âWe were all crying; we all just were so full of emotion.âAn ocean apart their whole lives, the two men quickly learned they have more in common than most siblings raised under the same roof. Rodger and Joe were both career accountants. They share a lifelong love of sports. Their favourite dessert? Apple crisp. But the most striking tie that binds them is also the most touching: both Rodger and Joe grew up as only children. They are each otherâs only sibling.âIt is something that, growing up as an only child, you miss. And as you get older you miss the fact that there are no nieces or nephews,â says Rodger. (In addition to Joanne, Joe has two other daughters and a son.)That meeting was painfully short - after 90 minutes, Rodger and his family had to leave for their trip home. So three months later, Rodger and Joyce returned to Aberdeen. â[Joe] was very much looking forward to Rodger and Joyce coming back when they came over in November, and he was happy to spend every day with themâ¦ And in my mind that makes me think that he is very happy about it all, even though heâs not really able to say it,â says Joanne, explaining heâs had difficulty communicating since his strokes.The two sides of the family have swapped stories about the past, including what theyâre sure was a true love story between Joseph Sr. and Joeâs late mother, Emily. Joanne believes the pair met in Aberdeen while Joseph Sr. stayed at a boarding house run by Emily and her mother. Owing to her role in the family business, Joanne wonders if Emily was reluctant to follow her sweetheart back to his homeland. Whatever the reason for their parting, the family believes it was amicable. Five years following his return from Scotland, Joseph Sr. married Rodgerâs mom.âIâm sure he thought about his son in Scotland because he wasnât the type that would forget that,â says Rodger, adding his father was a good family man.If his father were alive today, Rodger imagines heâd be pleased to see that his two sons had finally found their way to each other. And while it might have taken nearly a lifetime, good things come to those who wait.âWe feel as close to that branch of our family as we do to any family members,â says Joyce.âIâm happy we didnât stop looking,â concludes a tearful Rodger. âI think it was meant to be.â - by Ashley Miller
Itâs 1984, and the Royal St. Johnâs Regatta is underway. Coxswain Cyril Boland, the father of seven sons, is about to fulfill a dream of his, as six of those boys sit before him. His grandson, 12-year-old Mark Hiscock, leans over to speak to the coxswain as the Holiday Inn sponsored boat pushes away from the wharf. âPop, Iâm going to write a song about this,â he says. If you do, replies his grandfather, Iâll give you my medal. Thatâs how Mark came to write âGrandfatherâs Dream (The Rowing Bolands),â a song he added to the track list when compiling his new solo album titled The Old Fishing Schooner. Also on this CD is another song with close ties to Markâs grandfather. Before he was a coxswain and before he lived in Quidi Vidi, Cyril Boland lived in Calvert, where in 1934, a schooner wrecked during a storm, losing all hands. The tragic tale, told in song as âThe Schooner Gertie,â was passed down through the years and Cyril knew it well. âHe sang it at all the house parties back in the day,â recalls Mark.Mark revisited these two songs and many other favourites in Players Choice Studio, the recording studio of Shanneyganock bassist Ian Chipman, where he laid down tracks for his latest solo CD in between their Shanney commitments. Listen for special guests Mark has been performing and recording since he was eight years old, when he started playing on a local cable TV show on what was then Atlantic Cable. By the time he was 18 or 19 he was playing in pubs, and for the past 25 years heâs been part of Shanneyganock, playing thousands of shows and recording several albums. So heâs quite familiar with recording studios. But his parents? Not so much. Although both his mom and dad often sang at house parties and are skilled musicians - Markâs father taught him how to play accordion - neither had ever laid down tracks in a recording studio. And they didnât really have much interest in going into the studio, says Mark, but he wanted them on his album. So Mark and Ian brought a multitrack portable recorder and previously recorded tracks to Markâs parentsâ house. He had previously given them the recording to practice to, and Markâs dad, just like the pros, nailed it on the first take. âA lot people donât get the chance to record their parents,â says Mark. âItâs too late when they pass on, and I was thinking this was a great opportunity to record an album and get them on this album and get them recorded.âListen to the accordion on âThe Maritime Farewellâ and youâll hear just how well it all turned out - thatâs Markâs dad. Grandmother Boland was fond of singing âThe Leaves Mustnât Fall,â so he got his mother to sing that one on the album. âThey did a great job,â says Mark. âI was very proud.âThereâs a strong family connection on the album, and the songs are mostly ones Mark recalls from house parties at his place, but itâs not all family and friends. A special celeb-rity also makes an appearance. Growing up, Harry Hibbs was one of Markâs musical heroes. His motherâs family met him and saw him play in Ontario at The Caribou, but Mark had never met the famous accordion player, who died in 1989. A few months before his untimely death, Hibbs went into the studio with his band and recorded some songs that had never been released to the public. Russell Bowers, who looks after all the new compilation albums, found the recording and passed it along to Mark.âRussell called me and said âI hear youâre putting out a solo album,â and I said âYeah, getting working on it the next couple of months,ââ Mark recounts. âHe said, âI got a track that would be a good duet with Harry Hibbs.ââThe final version of âSong of Ireland (duet with Harry Hibbs)â has many of the original musiciansplaying on it, plus the accordion and harmony vocals of Mark, vocals from Renee Batten, and Patrick Moran on fiddle. âI can get goosebumps today talking about it,â says Mark. âIn the studio, with the headphones on, and Harry Hibbs singing into my headphones, and Iâm singing harmonies with him, itâs likeâ¦â he trails off, motioning to the goosebumps on his arm.After 1989, Mark didnât think playing with Harry Hibbs would ever be possible. âBut it finally came to be,â says Mark, âand I got a message the other day from one of his family members, saying how much they enjoyed it and it brought tears to their eyes to hear it. When you get a message like that, it sinks in a bit deeper.â Living the dream Harry Hibbs wasnât his only musical hero, and in recent years Mark has had opportunities to play with some of the other musicians he looked up to as a kid, guys like Bud Davidge and Bugs Greene and others. âSome people dream of singing with Sting, or whoever in the rock world. But a Newfoundland kid growing up, listening to Newfoundland music, the majority [of music] that I listened to as a kid, itâs always in the back of your mind as a kid - Iâd love to sing a song with this guy sometime.âSinging songs with people, and for people, is what itâs all about, and Mark plans to play some shows in support of the album, in addition to his weekly solo appearance at The Newfoundland Embassy in St. Johnâs. Heâs been playing in front of audiences for all but the first seven years of his life, and still gets a kick out of playing for a crowd, especially the bigger shows Shanneyganock plays, like George Street Festival or their annual Christmas show. And this April heâll head south with the band for the third year in a row, to headline the Downhome Music and Friends Cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas.When Mark and Chris Andrews are on stage together, itâs Shanneyganock, and the songs tend to be upbeat. But for his solo album, The Old Fishing Schooner, Mark chose mostly slower songs, with pedal steel slide guitar playing by Doug Randell that gives it a Newfoundland country feel. But no matter the label, or who heâs on stage with, playing songs for an audience is still a thrill for Mark.âWhen you get up on stage and get a round of applause, thereâs a bit of an adrenalin rush that goes through you. It feels really goodâ¦ And you know that youâve done a great job, you know that the audience loved the show. Itâs a great feeling to know you can bring some enjoyment and positivity to a room.â
Dr. William Montevecchi leads us in an exploration of Funk Island Ecological Reserveby Elizabeth WhittenLocated 60 kilometres east of Fogo Island, this granite rock rises out of the Atlantic Ocean. Itâs home to a range of seabirds, including gannets, Atlantic puffins, razorbills, thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. The bird not found here is perhaps the most tragically famous former inhabitant: the great auk. Funk Island was one of the speciesâ last known homes on earth, and where they were hunted to extinction in the mid-1800s.Today, itâs an ecological reserve thatâs basically been quarantined from the rest of the world. Only researchers are allowed to access it. Among them is Dr. William Montevecchi, a professor of psychology, biology and ocean sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. âSo itâs essentially a flat rock,â Dr. Montevecchi describes. âItâs less than a kilometre long and less than a half a kilometre wide. And itâs essentially covered in birds.âOnce a summer, Dr. Montevecchi packs his bags and heads out to Musgrave Harbour for the five-hour boat trip. Heâs usually accompanied by a grad student or fellow researcher who studies sea birds or marine biology. âBut usually the maximum number is three people,â he says.A lot of the research they do now is tracking the animals to find out how and where they find food, if the birds are getting enough to raise their young, as well as the impacts of climate change. They also try to get a general idea of the health of the population.Sometimes the venture will be for just one day in June, to put tracking devices on some of the birds, either taped to their backs or wrapped around a leg. Then he might return a month later. Other times the trips can last one to two weeks, timed to coincide with the murre chicks getting ready to go to sea. âItâs a time when we can get a lot of information about how well the birds are doing, or not doing well,â he says.Funk Island is no kind of vacation paradise. Thereâs basically nothing accommodating about it. A bare rock in the North Atlantic, there is no food or shelter, so visiting scientists bring all the necessary items to survive: plenty of water and their own food, which consist of lots of beans and chili, Dr. Montevecchi says, plus frozen foods, oatmeal and cabbage. âCabbages are great,â he says. âYou make a really good salad with cabbages, which is really nice to have.âShelter is provided by a Labrador trapperâs tent, which fits three people and can withstand the wind and storms. He also makes sure to pack a first-aid kit, a small generator and batteries. The most important thing is the satellite phone, which can be used in emergencies and to call the fishermen who pick them up. Even before they land on Funk Island, they assign a day when the researchers need to be picked up, but that day can change. Once, they were done all their research in the eight allotted days, but due to the weather, they had to stay for another eight days.âAnd youâre always, always at the mercy of the weather because the hardest thing can be getting on and off the island,â Dr. Montevecchi says. âIâd have to call and say, âYou canât come.â Thatâs the most dangerous part. Itâs like when youâre in an airplane, when youâre in the air youâre fine. The risky parts are taking off and landing. And thatâs the same with this island. Weâd be fine on the island; we might be cold, we might be wet. You have to worry about hypothermia, but otherwise, the real risk part is getting on and off. So sometimes the conditions are just impossible.âThere are also challenges from the birds. During one trip, Dr. Monte-vecchi was bitten by an angry gannet, which apparently isnât uncommon in his line of work. âYeah, I have a lot of war wounds and scars. Itâs just part of the thing,â he says, adding he bears no ill will to the bird because âIâm a predator.âIn fact, he knows a researcher that used to let the birds bite him after theyâd successfully tagged the creature, just to give the bird a feeling of victory. âWe do take a lot of hits, yeah, you do. But theyâre deserved, I think. Weâre really interfering with them,â he muses.Funk Island TVDr. Montevecchi shares his precious access to Funk Island with the public through the YouTube channel and educational website called Funk Island: A Marvelous, Terrible Place. The idea to create a YouTube series came about a few years ago, andhe credits photographer Nigel Markham with getting it off the ground. He tagged along with Dr. Montevecchi on a trip to Funk Island a few years back and took a lot offilm footage.Initially, they envisioned a TV show inspired by David Suzukiâs âThe Nature of Things,â but Markham thought putting it on the Internet would make it available to anyone who was interested. âThatâs what we tried to do, is make it, in that sense, accessibleâ¦ to people but also to school groups,â says Dr. Monte-vecchi, who also plans to use it in his university courses.While Markham is behind the camera, Dr. Montevecchi is in front of it. âIâm the scientist who works there,â he explains of the showâs set-up. âI give a little tour of the island.â With the viewers and accessibility top of mind, they went out of their way to avoid using too much scientific jargon. Dr. Montevecchi also took along an honour student, Seth Bennett, to appear in the video series. A small grant from Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-Op (NIFCO) helped them pull it all together.The series has nine episodes and there are no plans to make more, but there are future plans for the website, Dr. Montevecchi says. It will con-tinue to grow and be expanded upon, with additional information about the birds, ongoing research and effects of climate change. The History of Funk IslandIn many ways, Funk Island is inaccessible, and thatâs not just due to its distance from the main island of Newfoundland. Itâs been a government-protected environment since 1983, reserved for study. Its location in the Labrador Current means thereâs plenty of fish, which makesit the ideal spot for birds to congregate away from human activityand threats.There was a time long ago when humans frequented this island because of the vast colonies of birds nesting there. While it was never easy to get there (especially before the invention of the engine), people still made the journey in droves. Itâs what led to the demise of the great auk population here. The great auk were highly valued for their meat, feathers, oil, fat and eggs. Unfortunately, the breed was flightless and relatively docile around humans, so they were easy prey.French explorer Jacques Cartier once wrote, âIn less than half an hour we filled two boats full of them, as if they had been stones, so that besides them which we did not eat fresh, every ship did powder and salt five or six barrels full of them.âFunk Island also held a lot of importance to the Beothuk, who used to make canoe trips out to the island in order to get eggs from the great auk. âAnd yes, they did that, but this is a brutal trip, or it can be. And for them Iâm sure it was an adventure, to be pushed to the limit of your capabilitiesâ¦ But I think it was much more than really just a place to go get eggs,â Dr. Montevecchi says. Itâs clear to him that Funk Island was a very dear place to the Beothuk.Indeed, Shanawdithit had told her captors that for the Beothuk, there was a close association between the afterlife and birds, and they believed the afterlife was a âhappy island over the horizon.ââAnd all I can tell you,â Dr. Montevecchi says, âis thatâs exactly what Funk Island is.â
Edna Breen and her daughters share stories of growing up in an historic, and world-famous, section of Ferryland.Story and photo by Dennis FlynnThe two-storey houses and vehicles look like the discarded toys of children in comparison to the enormous mountain of ice looming over on the narrow neck of land. Itâs a scene so startling that it garnered international attention, and photographers from all over the world flocked to Ferryland, NL in April 2017, to see it through their own lenses. Iâm told the iceberg picture even made CNNâs list of top news photos that year. I was among the many Newfoundlanders who made the pilgrimage for a picture and wondered, in particular, about who lived in the older, neatly kept, beige, biscuit-box style house in the foreground that anchored the shot. More than a year later, I am invited inside that very house by the owner.On a cold weekend in December 2018, Iâm enjoying a warm, friendly conversation over piping hot cups of tea with the charming Edna Breen, age 83, owner of the stalwart house and the last remaining full-time resident of the historic section of Ferryland harbour known as the Pool.Her daughter, Tanya Murphy, shows me a beautiful painting she has done of the famous iceberg scene. She points to the dwelling we are sitting in and says with a smile, âIn the spring of 1918, my great uncle, Dave Sullivan, and his wife, Mary Ignatius Barnable, built their house in the Pool, Ferryland. When his wife died, and finding it very lonely with no kids, he asked his nephew and his wife (my mother and father) to move in with him. That was 58 years ago. My parents raised seven kids here and in the 1935 census, the house was valued at $1,000. Today with the iceberg fame, itâs priceless.âThe Pool is an area of Ferryland that is almost completely surrounded by water, with very little natural protection from the wind, not even a tree, Tanya says. It is at the heart of where Lord Baltimoreâs 1621 Colony of Avalon was founded. It certainly matches the description of his colony being a stoneâs throw from water to water. Tanya and her sister, Trina Power, describe it as an amazing place to grow up, with everything as their playground, including the beaches, meadows, boats and stages. They even had the Ferryland lighthouse tower to explore. Neighbours all watched out for each other in those days, and the entire Pool area was open and accessible to the 30-40 children who lived in the half dozen or so houses that once occupied what is now an archeological dig site.Still, it takes a hardy breed of livyer to stay in the Pool in the winters. Trina says, âWe used to get lots more snow and it would block the road to our house for days at a time, but now we donât get enough down here to build a snowman.âTanya recalls that during blasts of high winds, theyâd have to make their beds on the floor of the living room as a precaution since, she says with a laugh, âWe all thought that the roof was sure to come off. The road to the Pool is on an isthmus and in stormy weather, there was sure to be a washout. I remember several times on my way to school, waiting for the waves to go out, and then running the living daylights across the isthmus before the next wave came in.â That makes rushing across a crosswalk in a big city to beat oncoming traffic seem positively passÃ© by comparison. Her mother Edna mentions that while the iceberg attracted tons of interest in 2017, sheâs been seeing visitors from around the world since the 1960s. Thatâs when archaeologists from Memorial University first came out and dug test pits on the family lawn and found lots of artifacts related to the Colony of Avalon, including a large iron key.In the 1990s, Edna herself made an historic discovery. While she was at the waterâs edge watching divers (one of whom was her son) working on uncovering a shipwreck, she discovered a very old coin. Edna did the honorable thing and turned it over to archaeologists, who cleaned it up and identified it as an English coin dated c. 1700. The coin is now in the collection of the nearby Colony of Avalon museum.Edna notes that her husband, who passed away in 2009, was always inviting tourists into the house, whether it was to take a shower or have Sunday dinner. He was a heavy equipment operator who also served as an informal lighthouse keeper in the 1970s and 1980s. That genuine hospitality continues in the Breen home. Just last September, a couple from Switzerland dropped by unannounced with a copy of the front page of their newspaper from 2017, with the house and the iceberg on it. Edna invited them in for tea. Before the couple left, they invited Edna and her family to stay with them if they ever wanted to see Switzerland.One visitor that Edna did not invite inside was a polar bear that showed up at the Pool in March 1987. It arrived on the southward drifting pack ice and was wandering around outside Ednaâs house. Not realizing how dangerous this animal was, about a half hour later, Edna and others were walking along the beach, watching the polar bear skip ice pans on its way out to sea. For days after, the Pool was filled with spectators eager to get a glimpse of the bear.The likable Edna routinely gets mail from all over the world from tourists sheâs met. One lady, an artist from Ontario, gave Edna a framed sketch of her grandmotherâs house in nearby Aquaforte, the community where Edna grew up. Looking through cherished photo albums and a wall of mementoes, Edna pauses at her wedding photo taken in Aquaforte. She says, âYou know I still have that outfit.âKnowing the trim Edna is very active as a walker and in her church choir, and she danced the Lancers for years with a local traditional dance group, I gently tease her, âCan you still fit in your wedding outfit?âEdna replies instantly with a wry grin, âIndeed I can.âWhen the laughter subsides, Edna shows me an image of the former schoolhouse in Aquaforte. Ednaâs mother died at a young age, so Edna helped raise her younger siblings and helped tend her fatherâs shop. Even with the grownup responsibilities, Edna has fond memories of her school days. âIt is gone now, but served many purposes as a tiny school, and a small concert hall, and a place dances were held. We had great times there, and I remember the old pot-bellied stove and us having lunches around it during breaks, and the teacher mixing up the Coco Malt drink and giving it to us all. One of the other students was Georgie, and he was a relative of mine and quite a likeable character. Whenever Georgie decided we needed what he called a âholidayâ from school, he would sneak out and shove an old coat or a blanket or something in the funnels somewhere of the stove, just long enough to fill the place with backed-up wood smoke, and then haul it out before the teacher caught on what the problem was. Of course, you couldnât stay in there then and teacher would have no choice but to shut it down for the afternoon. We got a good many âholidaysâ that way,â Edna recalls.So it went, trading tales and memories for a pleasant few hours with Edna and her daughters. Should you be among the thousands of visitors who pass by Ednaâs house in the summer on the Colony of Avalon walking tours, make time to stop and gaze out at the islands and the Pool. Take a rest or just grab a picture at the famous âGossip Bench,â which Edna painted up and places out seasonally in front of her home for the tourists. There is also a âLiarâs Bench,â but she confides with a grin that she much prefers the gossips over the liars. Gossip is more about a little fun, no harm meant, and better stories, she says.Stories are something in great supply in this little house in the Pool.
Only the roar of the crowd is louder than the pounding of feet on pavement as more than 40,000 runners advance along the course of the 45th annual BMW Berlin-Marathon on September 16, 2018. Among those triumphantly crossing the finish line are two Newfoundland women who stayed the course together so they could finish side by side, each marking a milestone at either end of their running careers. Making it even more memorable, they are mother and daughter.For mom, 56-year-old Donna Power, finishing this race secured her membership in an elite running club. She is now a Six Star Finisher, meaning she has completed all six of the worldâs major marathons: Boston, New York, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Berlin. Daughter Tara, 27, will always remember this as her first marathon race.I had the chance to chat with Tara, Donna and her husband, Henry, at their Paradise, NL, home before they left for Germany. Donna tells me that running is something she picked up later in life. âIn 2002, a friend of mine wanted some help and companionship to run the Tely 10, so I did that and got addicted to it. I have done the Tely, I think, 16 times now and still enjoy it,â she says. The first marathon she ever ran, in Ottawa, her time was so good she qualified for the Boston Marathon.On the other side of this story is Tara, who never ran much growing up but was inspired by her mom to begin training more seriously a few years ago. She says with a smile, âBerlin will be my first marathon ever. To get the chance to do it with my mother as she finishes her last world major is something prettyspecial.âTara adds, âShe has already promised she is going to stay with me every step and not leave me. Who gets that kind of support on any run, let alone their first marathon?âDonnaâs husband, Henry, a triathlete himself, says, âThis is a very emotional and meaningful thing for our family. Donna is incredibly quiet about her accomplishments, but she is a very positive person and inspires and helps a lot of people in the running community behind the scenes. For instance, for years she has been organizing the group runs for many, many folks on the weekends â but she does it from my email account because she is so shy, so I end up getting all the credit.âWhen Donna started running, she changed all our lives for the better. She encouraged us to start running as well, for our health, our mental and physical well being, and to join her on the shorter runs. Now we all love it and have made the best of friends and travelled the world through running and attending these events. Myself and Tara, we canât keep up with Donna, of course, when it comes to marathons, but I always love to go to these races and cheer her on â I joke that I am her per-sonal water boy. And this time around in Berlin I have not one, but the two most important women in my life to cheer for. I canât say enough how proud I am of them both.âAs Donna looks ahead to the upcoming Berlin race and beyond, she says, âAfter I am done with the last major marathon I will keep running, for sure. But I may be a bit more selective on the marathons and do them a bit closer to home. Henry has been very supportive, as this was something I really wanted to get done for a long time. So while I will be very happy, Iâll be a bit sad at the same time to have the Six Majors behind me.â However, itâs ending on a high note, as she says, itâs âa nice way to finish it with my daughter as she starts out.â
Are you a chronic nail biter? Have a smoking habit that just wonât quit? Or perhaps your waistband feels snug after eating, drinking and making a little too merry over the holiday season? Whatever your vice you, along with countless others, likely have plans to leap into 2019 with your best foot forward. The New Year represents a chance for a fresh start and, for many people, this means an earnest attempt at adopting good habits and bidding adieu to the bad ones. And as well-intentioned as your New Yearâs resolutions might be, you may find that year after year, they just donât stick. Whether you want to whip yourself into shape, ditch the junk food or lose the booze, making and breaking habits is something many of us struggle with. But with a clear picture of what you want, along with time and effort, youâre well on your way to making positive changes for the long haul. Whatâs a Habit? You may have seen it defined a few different ways, but according to psychology, a habit is an action thatâs triggered automatically by something in our environment (called âcontextual cuesâ). Eventually, the action is repeated enough times in response to the cue that it becomes second nature. Think of putting on a seatbelt (action) when you get into a vehicle (contextual cue), or perhaps placing your keys into a bowl (action) when you enter your house (contextual cue) ï¿½" we donât have to think about these things, we just do them. So much of our everyday behaviour is habitual. In fact, according to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), studies show that about 40 per cent of our daily activities are performed in almost the same situations every day. âGenerally as human beings, we know that we function best whenever there is a structure, whenever there is a routine. We know that helps to drive our day-to-day activities, responsibilities, and itâs also healthy as well,â says Dr. Katy Kamkar, clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. âNow there are healthy habits that obviously we want to engage in... as well, we can come into a time in our life, or certain situations and contexts, when we find that we are engaging in what we might call unhealthy habits... Often we see habits as learned behaviours, which is great news, because anything that is learned, we can also work on undoing the learning.â Recipe for SuccessTo form a good habit, cues and consistency are key. For example, say you want to get fit. In order to accomplish this goal, you might choose to go for a walk every morning (action) after you eat breakfast (contextual cue). Eventually, after consistent repetition, the act of going for a post-breakfast stroll becomes second nature. âChoose a cue in the environment that will elicit a specific behaviour. For example, taking the stairs every day when you arrive to work, meditating for 10 minutes as soon as you arrive home at the end of the day, or writing in a journal right before bed. The more reliable the cue in the environment, the more likely it is that the habit will form,â says Eamon Colvin, a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa. While many of us might have ambitious goals, Colvin says itâs best to start small and choose something simple and sustainable. âSince habits are automatic, if you choose an effortful behaviour, it is less likely that a habit will form,â he says. âFor example, imagine that I want to be active each morning before I leave for work. If I decide to run a marathon and bench press 300 lbs every morning, Iâll probably be unsuccessful. If, instead, I do 10 push-ups before my morning shower, Iâll likely have more success. Over time, the push-ups will become automatic and I can add in other activities.â In addition to keeping it simple, be specific, Colvin adds. âSaying âI want to start a jogging habitâ is not enough. Once again, you will need to decide on a reliable cue in the outside world that will prompt you to do it.â He says, âJogging could be broken down into: âI want to go for a run around the block each morning before work.â This is better, but a bit more planning could improve your chances of forming the habit. You would also need to form the habit of âputting my running shoes by my bedâ each night, as a reminder.âWhen it comes to kicking bad habits, Colvin says, developing skills in mindfulness can go a long way in helping to identify cravings and learning how to deal with them. âAlso, going âcold turkeyâ rarely works because a growing body of research is showing that willpower is a finite resource,â he says. âSometimes, breaking bad habits really means forming a new, good habit. Consider someone who wants to stop eating junk food late at night. While one solution may be learning to substitute the junk food for a better option, another could be forming a new bedtime habit routine which involves going to bed early.â Paying attention to your behaviour, especially around what stressors lead to the unhealthy habit in question, Dr. Kamkar adds, is also important. âWhat are the triggers that will lead to the behaviour? What are the ABCs leading to the behaviour? Any kind of monitoring that can help build awareness: location and time, thoughts related to the habit, emotions related to the habit... can be very helpful.â The 21-Day Myth You may have heard it said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So you want to become a runner? Just beat the street for 21 days straight and then youâll be lacing up your sneakers without having to give it a second thought. If only it were that easy!While setting aside time to regularly practise whatever it is youwant to accomplish is a good thing, youâll likely need more than 21 days before the desired behaviour becomes routine. The 21-day rule can be traced back to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s who noticed that it took about 21 days for a patient to adjust to their new visage, or for an amputee to adjust to the loss of a limb. Intrigued, Dr. Maltz noticed that it also took himself around 21 days to form a new behaviour. In 1960, he published his findings in a book titled Psycho-Cybernetics, and over time, the 21-day rule becamethe mantra of self-help gurus everywhere. However, changing behaviour is not that cut and dried.âItâs important to have realistic expectations. We all know that whenever we want to instill healthy changes, we need patience and time,â says Dr. Kamkar. When it comes to the process of setting and meeting goals, everyone goes about it their own way. What might work for one person, might not necessarily work for someone else. Having flexibility is key and, Dr. Kamkar adds, placing undue pressure on ourselves with a specific timeline doesnât help.âIf it works, great, and if it doesnât work, then weâve become hopeless and we lose our motivation. Or we engage in negative self talk or self blame, and we can become demoralized and then it defeats the purpose.âSo how long does it actually take to form a new habit? A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Phillippa Lally (a research psychologist at University College London) and her team found that it took their subjects anywhere from 18 to 254 days (or 66 days on average). So if your new âthing,â whatever it may be, isnât exactly sticking after three weeks, donât sweat it. And if you happen to miss your morning walk one day, or you have that cigarette after youâve sworn off smoking, donât be too hard on yourself ï¿½" just get back on the horse. âTheoretically, choosing a cue which stands out and can be linked only to the new behaviour, and consistently performing the new action every time the cue is encountered, should be the most efficient way to form a habit,â Lally writes in an email to Downhome. âBut the odd slip up wonât put you back to square one, and itâs important not to give up.â - by Linda Browne
On a cool winter day, Andrew Riggs is getting ready to head out the door for a walk through the woods near his home in Burin, looking for the perfect trees to harvest. âAnd you know what? Now that Iâm getting ready to go in the woods, itâs going to rain. Now will you believe that?â he jokes.Now 77 years old, a few years back Andrew decided to start a new hobby: boat building. A steelworker who earned a living in Marystown, heâd never built a boat before his first project. Thereâs not much overlap in those skills, so going from steel to wood was a big change.âI just wanted to try âer, thatâs all, just try âer,â he says, adding, âThe hardest work of that is finding the stuff in the woods.â A lot of his time is spent looking for the ideal trees to turn into timber. âYouâve got to find a lot of crooked wood,â he says, âYouâve got to do a lot of walking to get crooked wood in the woods. Spruce and juniper, thatâs all I cut, eh.âThe first boat he built was completed in 2015, a 27-foot trap skiff named Our Star after his late granddaughter, Siobhane. All in all, it took him a little over a year, not including all the time spent tracking down the tools and supplies. Pleased with the result of his first attempt, in 2017, he finished his second boat: Delainey Siobhane, a 24-foot punt. He estimates boats like his havenât been built in Burin in the last 80 years.When they christened the second boat, Andrew and his family held a big party to celebrate, with 50 to 60 people showing up, he recalls. There was a band playing music, plenty of drinks and food â two turkeys were even cooked for the occasion.While heâs the boat builder on these projects, Andrew is the skipper of neither. Both boats went to his sons. Our Star went to Bryan, Siobhaneâs father, and the second boat was given to his son Dean.Dean lives in Espanola, Ontario, where he teaches. He towed the boat from Burin to its new home, and he now sails Delainey Siobhane on Lake Huron, where most folks are on the water in fibreglass boats. The Delainey Siobhane draws her share of curious looks. âThey never saw a boat like that before, eh?â says Andrew with pride.Wooden boat building is a dying skill, Andrew knows, and when he looks about now, âthereâs not too many at that now, eh.â When Andrew began designing his first boat, he didnât seek out the advice of other builders and instead went about figuring it out on his own. âI drawed âer out on my basement floor, rightâ¦ I just figured it out, drawed it out, and it looked alright,â he says. When it came to assembling both boats, he used only galvanized stainless-steel screws, deciding not to use nails as people would have used in the past.Andrew is already planning a third boat that he hopes to start work on in the spring. When asked if he intends to finally keep a boat for himself, he dismisses that idea. âNo, no, I donât want âer, Iâm not gonna keep her.âAnd this time, heâs going to make an even bigger boat. âThatâs going to take me a lot of time to get it out of the woods,â he figures. By Andrewâs recollection, he started boatbuilding when he was 70, âand Iâm gonna be 80 when I christen the big one!â-by Elizabeth Whitten