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The Hot Sauce Story
"Mommy! I'm so excited for my third birthday!" I explained without being able to pronounce my Rs. "I know! I am too," My mother said, "You are such a big girl now!" It was almost time for my guests to arrive at my party! My Aunt, Uncle, baby Cousins, and other family friends. My mother was cooking away and I asked, "Where is daddy?" "He is getting some last things for your party, don't worry, he would never ever miss your birthday!" my mother replied. I was sitting in the dining room watching my mother in awe as I saw her dice up hot peppers. chop, chop. And make them into a paste with vinegar and lemon juice. I wanted to be like her someday! Following the chopping and the squeezing, she put it into the blender to sort of smooth it out. I wanted to use the blender to make my own delicious foods that everyone would love! My mother put the chunky mixture on the stove top for a few minutes to warm. She stepped away for a moment, because she always tells me, "A watched pot never boils." She came back once the mixture had warmed to a boil. "Now, I am going to put this in the blender to cool." My mother told me. "Why are you going to put the goop inside the blender?" I asked. "I need it to cool away from the stove top because I want to bottle it up," she replied. When she was waiting for it to cool she wanted to do a last minute tidy of the house to make sure everything was spot on. Before she went on her way she told me in a stern voice, "Do not under any circumstances touch any button on the blender. The top is open and if you press the button it will splash everywhere!" I sat in the dining room, the urge to press the button was unbearable! I sat fidgeting in my seat. I then told myself "What is the worst that could happen? My mother said I was a big girl now. So what's the harm?" I got up when I knew that the coast was clear. I climbed on the counter and I began to count, "One... Two..." I was so excited! The moment would come that I would finally be able to touch a blender! "Three!" SCREAM! I pressed the button! When I pressed the button I felt nothing but burning hot sauce on my skin. "It burns! It Burns!" I yelled. The dark red mixture burnt my eyes like fire, it was intolerable! Salty tears ran down my red face. My mother came out of the bathroom faster than light to see what the problem was. She came out to me covered in cherry red burns and hot sauce. "Let's get you into the bathtub!" my mother said. My skin burned as the cold water touched my face and arms. Splash, splash. My father just came in the door and was very confused at the sight he saw. But he is a dad so he grabbed his old Samsung camera and went into the bathroom where the salty tears were still running down my face. "Happy third birthday!" my father exclaimed. My screams became louder. He then asked, "Why are you rubbing your eyes?" I didn't respond to this question because it was too hard to talk about at this moment. He brought the camera into the kitchen, there was hot sauce everywhere! My mother managed to clean me up as well as she could just in time for my first guest to arrive. When the first guests had arrived, they asked, "Why is there a blister on your forehead darling?" I decided to not tell the truth and throw my mom under the bus by saying, "Oh ya, mommy burnt me with hot sauce!" The guests had traumatized looks on their faces. "Don't worry," my mother said. "It's a long story." She then had to explain the story and why there was hot sauce all over our kitchen. Before the other guests came, we needed to wash the walls, the floors, counters, tables, the cabinets and the back door! And when I say we, I mean my mom and my dad! The party then continued as normal. During the party I still felt the burns on my skin, they we as prominent as when I got burnt. After the party, after everyone went home, I was doused in slimy aloe vera oil to try and reduce swelling and keep the burning away. Once I was covered in the clear ooey gooey plant, I went to sleep and thought about the crazy day. I was a very curious kid, and I didn't really care if anything bad happened as a result of my actions. This was the day that I realized that I never want to use a blender ever again in my whole life, and that sometimes curiosity can sometimes get the best of you. Make sure to always think before you do things because it may result in something like this!
Old time Christmas in Newfoundland
Christmas time used to mean a lot more to us when we were kids than it does today. When we were growing up, the only times we would get anything new other than clothes or school supplies, would be on our birthday and at Christmas time. Christmas would be the best because the whole town would be getting new stuff all at the same time. It wouldn't be anything expensive, but it would have been things that we would have appreciated. Every Christmas was basically the same; about a week before Christmas, my father used to go in Nar Wes and cut a Christmas tree. While he was in cutting the tree, my mother would put a few wreathes on the doors and windows. When he brought the tree home, he would stand it up in the living room in the tree stand. My mother would decorate it and we used to love helping her. She would start by putting the bulbs on the tree and then hanging tinsel on all the branches form top to bottom. Once the bulbs and the tinsel were on the tree, she would throw some angel hair (big balls of cotton pulled apart), which she loved to use, on the tree. The tree would finally be topped off with a multi-coloured shiny star. When she was done with the tree, she would take some garland and make an "X" on the ceiling and then take a multi-coloured snowflake ball and hang it from the center of the "X." She would then put some more garland around the windows and around the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Once she was done with the tree and the garland, she would hang a gold banner across the top of the doorway with the words "Merry Christmas" written on it in red lettering. That would have been it for the decorating; now, all we had left to do was the worse part of the entire Christmas. We had to wait. When we finally went to bed on Christmas eve, we could barely sleep because of the excitement of knowing that when we got up, it was going to be Christmas morning. When my father called out for us to get up on Christmas day, every one of us just bolted down the stairs. We would just pass right on by our breakfast sitting on the table in the kitchen and head straight into the living room. When we got to the living room, we were never disappointed. Christmas morning was the absolute best day of the year for any kid; not just in our town, but anywhere you could have thought of. What a feeling we got when we opened our gifts on Christmas morning and found a holster and gun set and a straw cowboy hat with a star on it with the word "Sheriff" written above it. There would have been a string hanging down from each side of the hat to tie under our chin to keep it on our head. The guns would have held these rolls of caps that would have made the gun sound like a real gun; a decision that I thought our parents may have regretted after. Sometimes we'd get this blue plastic case with the word "Matchbox" or "Hot Wheels" written on it and there would have been a few dinkies inside. Sometimes we would even get the figure 8 racetrack with it where the pieces snapped together to make the track. We'd also get comic books, colouring books and crayons every year. I sure do miss the old time Christmas.
Raising Kids in Newfoundland
Before we had indoor plumbing in our house circa 1970, I remember my father used to get up before us to put the fire in. After he'd get the fire in, he would start getting our breakfast ready, which was the same thing every day. He'd toast a loaf of homemade bread every morning for all of us who would be living there at the time. To toast the bread, he would put it right on top of a wire toaster that was flat on top of the stove so the bread would be singed as soon as it hit the toaster; a couple of seconds from start to toast. The toast would then be topped off with Eversweet margarine. The smell that came from the toast was incredible. He'd also have a cup of tea each ready for us to go with our toast. To get water for the tea, he used to have to take a pot down to a well we owned down over the bank beside Martin Davis's store. The well was a wooden barrel that was put into a pre-dug hole in the middle of a stream. To boil the water, he would pour some of the water out of the pot into the kettle that was always sitting on the stove. Back then, tea came in a package about the size of the block of the Eversweet margarine and it wasn't in bags. He would put a spoonful of loose tea leaves in the cup, then pour the boiling water over it. We'd put the sugar and canned milk in it to our own liking. While we were stirring in the sugar and milk, we could see the tea leaves twirling around in the cup as it kept rising to the top and going back down. After we finished stirring it, all the leaves would settle to the bottom, and then we would dunk our toasted homemade bread into it. We sort of had an unspoken competition going on to see who could eat the most and we'd eat up that loaf of bread in a matter of minutes. When we were finished with our breakfast, all the tea leaves would be stuck to the bottom and the inside sides of the cup. We could also see leftover sugar on the bottom where we didn't stir it enough because we were too anxious to see if we could get more slices than anyone else. After we finished our breakfast, my father would have to throw some more wood into the stove so my mother could start baking more bread, and then he'd head into Nar Wes to cut some wood. That stove used to be going all the time; even in the summer because that was what my mother not only baked bread with, but she also had to use it to cook our suppers every day. When she used to do the laundry, she would use a washer that looked like an over-sized propane tank standing upright with two rolling pin shaped wheels tight together going across the top for a wringer. She would put a couple of pots of water on the stove to warm it up and dump it into the washer and then throw the clothes into the water. When the washer was finished, she would take each piece of clothing individually and run them through the wringer. Once it had all gone through the wringer, she would then put them in a basket and take them out to the clothesline. There would be a really long stick holding up the clothesline that would be leaning so the clothesline would be close enough for her to reach to put the clothes onto it. Once she put all the clothes on the line, she would take the clothesline pole and stand it almost straight up and drive the bottom of it into the ground for stability and so that the line would be high enough for the wind to get at the clothes to dry them. When I think about all the work our parents went through to keep us fed and clothed, it totally astonishes me.
Growing Up In St. Alban's NL
When we were knee high to a grasshopper, our parents would go to mass on Saturday night and we would wait until Sunday morning to go. Our parents would go on Saturday night so my mother could cook for us on Sunday morning and we could come home to Sunday dinner; Chicken, stuffing, salt beef, potatoes, carrots, turnip, cabbage, pudding, gravy - which we could smell before we even got close to the house. We would wait until Sunday morning to go because we thought we were too big to be seen going to church with our parents. Once we were finished with our Sunday dinner, however, we didn't mind being seen with our parents at all, because Sunday was family day. Some Sundays we would go down to Lew Cove for a picnic. We'd go swimming for a while, which mainly consisted of just crawling around in the shallow water. Then we'd do a bit of fishing right there on the beach. Our fishing poles were cut by our father. He would cut the longest alders he could find and take the bark off them to let them dry out. For a fishing line, we used that white line that they used to use for tying up packaging; for a hook, we would use a safety pin, and for our bobbers, we would use a little piece of wood about the size of your finger, but not as long. There would be a notch cut in it all the way around to tie your line on to prevent it from slipping off over the bobber. We never caught one fish the entire time, but we didn't care. If we got tired of fishing, we would use our fishing poles and swing them at the hoss stingers (dragon flies) that were flying around everywhere. Come to think of it, I don't think we ever caught one of those either. It seemed like every Sunday, we'd have a cold plate for supper; Cold chicken, ham, potato salad, mustard salad, beet salad, cole slaw, a couple slices of beets, sweet mustard pickles. You wouldn't be able to smell it like you'd be able to smell a cooked meal, but it was every bit just as good. If a Sunday was a bit too cool to go swimming, we'd go in Nar Wes or up long path somewhere picking raspberries. When we'd go berry picking, everybody would have a small pot each, and our parents would have a really big pot each for us to dump our smaller pots into once they were full. If we ever got thirsty while we were picking berries, we'd just dip our faces in the nearest brook. You'll never find a bottle of water that tastes like that did, that's for sure. Once all the pots (big and small) were overflowing, we'd head home. I don't know how many of you have ever been raspberry picking, but by the time we got home, the pots wouldn't be much more than half full. That wouldn't be because we ate them, but they had settled and they were almost like jam by then. When we got home, it would be close to supper time and my mother would start making up our cold plates. After supper, we'd watch some T.V. until we went to bed. The next day we'd have our fresh homemade bread with fresh homemade raspberry jam on it. Yum.
Buried in my heart: Memoir
The orange sky was splotched with grey and blue, as the sun sank below the ocean. The ground was a lively dark green that faded into the oxidized iron rocks, exposed to the salt spray. Overlooking the freshly painted white picket fence, I could see the infrequent ebb and flow of the ocean waves. A stream that ran parallel to me produced a light, splashy flowing sound. Extraordinarily lively and beautiful, for land with buried endings. Bright orange flares from the sun and rushing water seemed to fade into the background as I breathed, "Here is your spot." My grandfather and I were close. He spent his days circling the town that he lived in, trying his best to keep up with everybody and everything that was happening. Everyone knew him from the navy blue colour of his Toyota Tacoma truck. His birth name was Leonard, but most knew him by his middle name, Ross. I knew him as Pop. One memory that sticks with me is of a time he took me to get ice cream. There was a small convenience store known as Woody's, the best place in town to get ice cream. Woody's was granted its name as to allude to the owner of the store. This white building overlooking the bay was extremely weathered, even at that time. Upon entry, a pungent smell of stale alcohol and smoke overcame me, but quickly faded as the excitement over their delicious ice cream replaced it. Often I would try one of their 160 flavours of ice cream, but on this particular day, I was feeling plain, a vanilla soft serve type of plain. Pop went to the back of the store where they sold the beer, picking out the cases he needed for the next couple of days. His eyes were squinted in confusion when he saw that my unlicked ice cream was melting. The younger lady that was working the front of the store smiled and told him that he owed $2.49. My grandfather started to laugh his nervous laugh as he said: "I thought you were going to pay for it." A tired mid-afternoon was spent at the bedside of my pop. We spent almost an hour talking about his life. We spoke about playing cowboys and Indians as a child, shooting gunpowder and bearings from a copper tube as a teen, his appliance fixing business as a young adult, the trailer park he owned during my childhood, the family dog that was given to him when his hair was white and all of it in-between. The conversation concluded with a statement of how proud he was of me and a request. This request visiting him when his final day was long over every time I had a chance, accompanied by the call to be at church the day he would not return. Long before this request, he took me on one of his regular truck rides. We went all over town that day. There was one place in particular by a large hill. The hill had a large cross on it, this was to commemorate people from that town who lost their lives at sea. Overlooking the ocean with rugged beauty, he pointed out an area where he believed there was a treasure. The area he pointed out was a large area and very general, but the treasure was held there, for sure. Just after that, he took me to a cemetery where his relatives rest, just adjacent and a small hike from the memorial hill. He took me down to the bottom, and we overlooked a white picket fence that needed to be painted; the sound of a soft flowing stream could be heard in the background. The grass was green where we stood, not a headstone for ten feet. It looked bare in this part, but as beautiful as ever. The ocean was still, and the sky was calm. This is where the treasure must be buried, I thought to myself. Pop took a glance out over the ocean and, with a breath, declared: "Here is my spot." I never got to go to his funeral in August 2018, as it was in his birthplace of Twillingate, Newfoundland. He is still very well known to everyone around him as someone who was significant to their town. He will forever be known to me as an essential man in my life who taught me valuable lessons. Every year since his passing, I have visited his resting spot, and that tradition does not have an end in sight. The treasure that is buried will always be in my heart.
The Bull of Black River
The Black River Bull In 1963, the NL Government, under Joseph Smallwood at the time, decided to broaden the economy of NL. In collaboration with a rancher, Harold Lees of Kisbey Saskatchewan they brought in 125 head of hefford cattle to the boot of the peninsula to see how they might adapt to our climate and terraine. They survived the winter in good shape so the following year a further 1000 head were brought in and were fed and grazed all over the boot area from just North of Garnish on up the boot to the Grand Bank/Lamaline area. These animals were quite large and had very impressive horns. By 1966 the ranch was in financial trouble and many of the cattle had drifted off and were starving, poached and lost. In 1966, my friend Jerry and I, were on a salmon fishing trip in to Black River which runs from in back of Marystown to join up with Garnish river and reaches the sea in Garnish. At that time we had to walk in from Garnish Pond across some bogs, streams and woods for about five miles to reach the pools on the upper Black River. Jerry and I left early in the morning and by approx. 9 a.m. we were about halfway in to the river. As we were crossing a small marsh, I looked ahead and saw a large bull just ahead to the right. I pointed him out to Jerry and, being a bit of a joker, he laughed and started mooing at the animal. This alarmed me and I suggested that Jerry "shut up or he would have the damn thing chasing us." Jerry laughed and mooed again. I was walking faster, heading for some large trees when Jerry passed me running hard. I figured he was kidding with me again, but when I looked over my shoulder it was to see the bull with VERY LARGE, SHARP AND WIDE HORNS charging across the bog at me, just like one of those Spanish bullfighting scenes. I wasn't long catching up to Jerry and we reached the trees just in time. I looked back and the bull was gone. Had just disappeared. What a relief. We stuck around in the trees for awhile and then decided that we were safe to continue on to the river. We walked for awhile and then came to another bog. Looking around and seeing no sign of the animal we started across. We were about halfway to the other side when the trees burst open behind us and the bull charged again. This was getting scary, now the animal was hunting us. I hit it with rocks as big as a grapefruit, and that really pissed it off. It chased us until we made it to the trees again and then, like before, disappeared. This happened several more times with Jerry and I just getting away each time and showed no sign of letting up. We were getting scared witless. I knew pretty much where we were and that Garnish Pond was of to the south about four or five hundred yards so I came up with a plan. I knew that Merle Evans and some of his friends were rowing up across the pond intending to go fishing where Black River emptied into the pond. I suggested to Jerry that we move down to the edge of the pond and wave Merle down and get a ride in with them in boat, so this is what we decided to do. We eventually made it to the pond after several more encounters with our nemesis, and he eventually chased us up two trees near the water. We found ourselves in a cove around two hundred yards wide and realized we would have to get across it to the point if we were to get Merle's attention. The bull was trying to knock the trees down and looked as if he would eventually succeed. As I was waving around in the top of my tree I had another idea. I would swim across the pond to the point to get the boat's attention. As the bull was going from my tree to Jerry's and then back to me, I shucked off my rubbers, jacket and pants while up in the tree. When he went back to Jerry I jumped from the tree to the ground and ran for the water. I could hear Jerry screaming that he was coming, so when I reached the side of the pond I charged out until it was deep enough to swim and boy did I swim. I didn't look back, but I could hear him splashing behind me. I think I probably could have made the Olympics with the time I made crossing that cove, and cross it I did. When I reached the other shore I looked back but couldn't see Jerry or the bull, so I shouted that I was going out on the point to see if Merle was near. I got out to the point and was just in time to see Merle and his group just a few hundred yards away. I took of my undershirt to wave over my head and, standing there in just a pair of shorts, started yelling for help. Merle and the boys came to shore and were somewhat amazed to see me there in the state I was in but after hearing my story agreed to go in and pick up Jerry. When we had rowed in to Jerry we found him down out of the tree picking up my clothes and gear and, while still looking a bit peaked, he was laughing. I asked him what happened to the bull and this is what he told me. Jerry said that the bull had chased me out into the water but seemed not to like the mud he got into as he went further out so stopped and then came back to threaten his tree again. A short while later Jerry said the bull's head went up as if he was listening then Jerry started to hear voices up on the trail that we had been on. In a little while it became clear that it was a group coming out from the river. By the sound of the voices a group of Englishmen, probably part of the contingent employed at the shipyard, were passing by laughing and carrying on as they walked along. By this time the bull had headed of up through the woods towards the trail. About five minutes later he heard the laughs and conversation change to screams and shouts of alarm as the bull arrived on the scene. He said the last he heard was the shouts and screams fading off into the distance and a short while later we rowed the boat into the cove. Well, I had worked with a few Englishmen and some were a bit hard to take but after that morning I decided that we were square. I got dried off as best I could and then dressed and we went on to the river with Merle and his group. We spent a few hours fishing, but when the boys decided they were finished for the day Jerry and I quickly decided to join them in the boat on the way out rather than to walk out the trail and take a chance on meeting the bull again. We had a few laughs over the experience over the next months and years, but for the longest time whenever I went into a club where Merle or any of the boys were I swear I could hear someone going, "mooooo."
Quarantined? Does that mean I don't have to go to school? "Yes," said my mother, "that was what Dr Kane told me and for at least two weeks." Wow! Two weeks off in early March 1952. The first March Break? Ten weeks or so ago I'd turned 10 years old, and I liked and excelled at school, with placements no lower than 3rd in all the grades I had attended. Representing Mundy Pond Salvation Army school in "Spelling Bees" on CJON, or was if VOCM? It was one or the other radio stations, TV not having yet arrived at our home. But I remember the last Bee I represented Mundy Pond on the radio, a memory that haunts my dreams to this day sixty-odd years later, when I could have won for our school if I hadn't become tongue tied and forgot how to spell one of the simplest words in the dictionary, "Animal." To say I felt beastly at the time would be a misnomer. But spelling bees and all other school things were far from my mind at that time in my life. All I thought about was the things that I could do, the places I could go like the public library on Duckworth St. (if memory serves me right) and a zillion other things that "ten year old and barefoot" boys did in 1952. The next morning my whole world fell apart when Mom said to me, "Where do you think you are going? We are under quarantine and you cannot go outside. "But Ann (my 6 year old sister) has Scarlet Fever, not me, so why do I have to stay in the house?" Mom told me that everyone but Dad had to stay inside during the quarantine period, so go find something to do. I cannot say with accuracy what I did to fill those two weeks but one thing I succinctly remember that I did. That was learn how to play Checkers. When my Dad came home from work, usually around 6:00 p.m. and supper was finished, my dad would get the checker board out and he would teach me how to play. I remember to this day my anxiousness while whiling away my day until supper was over and Dad and I could start playing checkers. The Saturday night before our quarantine ended I sat down with the checker boar as usual but my Dad picked up the board and all the buttons and placed them all in their box. Bridging on tears I asked Dad, "What did I do?" With the somberest voice I ever had heard from my Dad in all of my ten years he said, "Randolph, my son, when the teacher cannot beat the student it is time for the teacher to quit." My first "Quarantine" taught me a lesson that I will never forget. Perhaps this Quarantine will teach me another and maybe someone else will also be taught a value to never be forgotten.
Remembering Uncle Jacob Lynch
I remember the day my Uncle Jake drowned in Octagon Pond. It was July 13th, 1946. It was two weeks after the capelin rolled in Newfoundland. I recall as a boy seeing capelin "run" so plentiful that the ocean would turn black and dories had no choice but to go with the flow until the large school of fish dispersed. Dad salted a quantity of fish and dried them on the flakes over blasty boughs. Not far from our home, less than a mile west, on Topsail Road, was the Octagon Club. It was a very popular night club, especially during the war. Octagon Pond was within yards of the club. Uncle Jake, aged 30, had just returned from the war and was a single man. This was where he had been born and raised. He was known as a very experienced, superb swimmer and he loved the water. Around 7:00 in the evening on that faithful day, I was taking in the capelin when Uncle Jake walked down the road on his way to the Octagon Club. His back was to me as I called his name. He was my hero. He turned when he heard my call and waved at me, as he continued walking to his death. It was a beautiful summer evening, calm, still, sunny and warm. Later that evening, around dusk, Uncle Jake decided to swim across a narrow inlet of Octagon Pond. The water was calm, clean and clear and pleasantly warm. For him it was another refreshing dip. He swam to the far side of the pond and waved at his friend who was with him, standing on the shoreline. Suddenly, heavy dark clouds gathered from nowhere. Uncle Jake was halfway back on his return swim when lightning flashed several times. Uncle Jake's friend said it appeared to hit the water where he had last seen Uncle Jake. Early the next morning, my father and my Uncle Eddy, Dad's brother-in-law, took a rowboat and went to the area where Uncle Jake was last seen. Dad told me years later, that the sun was rising in the morning sky and cast a glare on the calm water that made it easier to spot his brother's naked body on the bottom of Octagon Pond, in six feet of water. My father reluctantly related how he and Uncle Eddy used a large fish jigger hooked in his brother's thigh and pulled him into the boat. Uncle Jake survived the war only to die tragically by lightning a short distance from his home. Wilf Lynch Victoria, BC
by Hayward J. Prince I was born in the 40's in the small outport of Princeton on Bonavista Bay in Newfoundland, the son of an inshore fisherman. The fond memories related here are of my younger years till age fifteen, when I left home to live in the city. THE LOFT The smell from newly-barked twine was in the air and men sat on the floor or on wooden blocks as they mended their nets. One of those men was my father. This was the scene as I entered the door leading onto the loft, which was on the top floor of a two storey building situated close to the water's edge and attached to our wharf. To get up there you had to climb some wooden steps, then cross the flake, which was slanted upwards till it came level with the door. Dad was happy that I had come to visit and proudly told a stranger that I was one of his boys and I seem to recall I was just as pleased to be one of his sons. There was a relaxed atmosphere in the loft that day as the men worked on their nets. One man would relate a yarn; then another would tell a joke, and laughter filled the room. They were happy because spring had finally come to the shores of Bonavista Bay and the fishing season would soon begin. Looking around the loft, I discovered that other sons before me had spent some idle time there as well, probably, like me, watching their fathers mend their nets. The evidence was in their neatly carved initials in uprights all around the room. Dad told me that loft was actually the property of Uncle Sam, but he didn't need the space himself so kindly let my father and others use it free of charge. Dad and his net-mending buddies are gone now, but the old building and loft is still standing, although the wind and the rain have taken their toll. But if those walls could talk, what stories they would tell! They'd probably tell you of some fine fishermen, contented with their lot in life, knowing they would never become rich from their labours, but confident the sea would give up the fish to provide the necessities for their families. They would also tell you of the years when fish were plentiful and other years when they were few, and of times when storms nearly washed the old loft out to sea. They might even tell you of some boys who had spent some idle time there and stored in their minds and hearts memories that would last a lifetime. (P.S. Since I first wrote this story, I'm sad to be told that the loft finally gave way to the wind and rain.) Hayward Prince Princeton, NL
Under the Bed
By Marina Gambin Placentia, NL When I was a child in Branch, "under the bed" was a very significant part of our house. That of course, was at a time when we didn't have closets, plastic storage containers or anything of that nature. All kind of stuff was packed in cardboard boxes and shoved in as far as possible because beds were usually set up next to a wall. I don't know why I loved foraging under beds but I always thought I might find something important or different. That was me, a child with an overactive imagination. The first time I ventured under my parents' bed, I was probably about five years old and what a scary incident that turned out to be. The cat scratched me, the feathers from the mattress nearly smothered me and my woolen sweater got caught in a metal lath that was hanging down. I had to scream and scream until someone came and rescued me. In our bungalow on the Hill, there weren't a whole lot of places when we played hide and seek indoors. My sisters and I would try to be innovative when hiding under a bed. One time, Jean unwrapped a roll of wallpaper and wound it around her body. Our mother wasn't too happy later on when she needed to spruce up her walls. Yes, a roll of wallpaper was another item you might find tucked away under a bed. Of course, if you were in trouble or trying to avoid getting whacked by a sibling, under the bed was the first place you headed. More than once, I got poked out of there with a broom or a mop. When my brother Reggie was trying to get back at someone under there, he would jump, jump, jump making the old springs squeak and the mattress sag. After I learned the truth about good St. Nick, I always went searching under beds before Christmas. If I happened to find a box with Simpson-Sears or Eaton's on it, I peeked and then spent agonizing weeks trying not to blab. One time I found a really nice pair of green earmuffs and I dreamed about skating on Red Cove Pond wearing them. However, when Christmas came, that gift was for Jean, not me. That was a let down I caused myself by snooping under the bed. Once when I was scrounging around under there, I found a big medical book that my mother had hidden. The mere fact that it had been concealed made me very curious and I investigated. One chapter involved the facts of life complete with big coloured pictures of the human body. To a twelve-year-old of the 50s, an age when nobody told you anything, such illustrations were pure fodder for the inquiring mind. Another page describing the incidentals of baby-making accompanied by diagrams caused me to crawl under that bed more than once and scrutinize all the details. Given that I only understood half of it often left me more confused than informed. Oh yeah, it was a major hiding place, under the bed. As rebellious teenagers, we hid our Export A cigarettes and explicit magazines that we weren't allowed to read. You might find anything in there from a bottle of liquor to old love letters, from a box of flannelette diapers to a photo album. Of course, the chamber pot was in there. But times have changed and things are different today because all I find under my bed are dust bunnies and small change.
Fond Memories of my Earlier School Days
In 1958 I took grade 10 in a one room school of all grades, K-10, in Burnt Cove, Notre Dame Bay. It is renamed "Newville" now. The teacher at that time, Lila, now resides in Springdale. We've lost touch with each other since then. I hope to see her again someday. With a classroom of many grades, there couldn't be much one-on-one time, as I understand. I really worked to pass grade 10 and 11. I wanted to teach, but I knew I couldn't achieve it if I slacked on my studies. While the teacher was busy, explaining lessons to the lower classes, I'd take my science, or geography, or whatever subject I preferred and look at questions in the chapters in the back of each book to study at home. I'd white them down to learn over and over. I loved reading and still do. I knew my teacher did all she could and realized that the lower classes needed help as well. The teacher helped me a lot, but she also appreciated my willingness to study. In June I passed my exams at Twillingate, and when the teacher received my results, she walked a long way from Indian Cove up to Burnt Cove to tell me I passed; there were no phones there then. Later in September I knew I wouldn't be able to take grade 11 at Burnt Cove, so I went to Grand Falls and stayed with my sister, and went to Windsor Salvation Army High School by bus. It seemed to me like I moved to a very big city, compared to where my home was. It felt so nice to have lots of help in grade 11. Major Snelgrove and Major Dave were my teachers, also Cecil Cooper. I passed grade 11, then I attended summer school at Prince of Wales Collegiate in St. John's. I was given a few choices as to where I would rather go to teach, Capelin Cove or Manuel's Cove (now renamed Bayview). I chose Manuel's Cove because it was nearer to my home. Later the causeway was put there a short way across. The next year I went to Burnt Cove for my second year. The new Salvation Army school opened that year. I taught different grades too. I never had that cruel punishment in my class, the leather strap. If you're kind to any child, he or she will obey you in more ways than one. I had to teach my brothers and sisters, they also played a few sly tricks on me. I taught a pair of twin boys and after school closed, they said, "Do you know that we used to switch seats" I never did, they looked identical and always had their haircuts alike, and dressed alike. They were two funny lads. If they ever read this, they'll be taken back to being so tricky. They live in Ontario now. Then in 1964 I married the man that I met the first year I taught at Manuel's Cove. I have fond memories of kind people who were helpful and friendly to me, many of them have passed away. One more pupil I'll mention, my cousin who left home and went to Toronto, Joy. She visited me on her holidays and gave me a gift I'll always cherish: a pretty dished shaped like an apple, with "To my favourite teacher" on it. It's lovely. Now I'm in Oram's Manor in Gander. How time flies! What a lovely home for me and my husband. We love it here! Thanks to all the new friends we've made, the staff, and the owners. Vina Greenham
Wow the memories! My uncle had a dump truck, sometimes Dad would borrow it on a Sunday and take a load of neighbors' kids to a beach 12 miles from home. No pavement - lots of potholes, lots of road dust and coal dust. Oh the happiness in the back of that old truck!! Once home it was right to the bath tub.