Downhome Magazine

Home to Red Island

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Our day started with the sun shining and light winds which made for a great boat ride with friends. We got to go back in time and visit Red Island, my nan's home. Nan left Red Island in 1957 at the age of 17. After leaving home she went to college and became a teacher. She ended up teaching on Oderin Island and would only return home to Red Island for holidays when school was over. In 1968 Nan's mother and her siblings who were still on the island resettled to Placentia.
I'm 35 years old and I've heard so many wonderful stories about Red Island from Nan. She talked about her parents, how wonderful they were, about how strong her mom was, about all the hard work she endured but said she would do it all over again because it made her the person she is today. She talked about the school, church, the herring factory, Sand Pond, Wild Cove, motorboat rides every Sunday and make and break engines. She talked about their home-grown vegetables, and their cows and sheep. She talked about stages, fish out to dry, no lights only kerosene lamps, and shared some funny stories about her siblings. Nan could talk about Red Island for hours and she would be so descriptive when telling you stories you could almost close your eyes and picture it all. Nan can sit down and tell you from the top of her head everyone's name and where they lived in Red Island. She always said she would love to return some day.
So, 54 years later, at the ripe at of 81, Nan got to get back to Red Island today. Although it was so different from when she left in 1957, she said, "I'll never forget where I was born and raised, Red Island will always be home to me." To be able to make this trip with Nan is a memory we will cherish close to our hearts. We had a great day. There are no words to explain how much today meant to Nan. I'm sure you'll be able to see from our photos! Big thank you to Tom Whittle and his crew for taking us there. You'll never be forgotten. The last words Nan said when she was getting out of the boat were "If I dies tonight, I'll die happy." We hope she has many more years left so we can continue to make beautiful memories. Nan, you truly are a beautiful soul.
-Jerry Stewart

 
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