Mothers in Changing times

Its Mother’s Day, and once again we give thanks to those wonderful Mom’s who were mom to many, nurtured kids of many families and kept them all fed and clothed.  We all had extended mothers in those days, and no one thought twice about chastising someone else’s child as they would their own, nor would us kids back talk, or fail to obey (well most of us and most times anyway).

We grew up in a simpler time though, and things have changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  When I was a boy, it was nothing for me to take off in the woods and be gone for hours, perhaps walking as far as Friggin’s Cove pond on my own, or to go to McGrath’s Cove or on the beach and wharf for hours on end, out of sight and earshot of everyone.  Or to get off the bus in Elliott’s Cove or Snook’s Harbour and only let anyone know when I showed up with Dad later on.  But in those days everyone who saw us was “minding” us, Aunt Vick looked out to me when I was there as much as mom did, and was just as likely to pull my ear or tell me off for whatever reason.

Nowadays, at least living in the city, those days are gone, I’d not think of letting my niece out of site like that, barely for a minute, let alone the whole day.  I know Random Island is still small, but the modern world has crept in there as well, and I doubt many would let their kids be off like that nowadays either.

There is no right or wrong here, things change, and in some ways I’m glad, but in some ways I do miss the carefree days we had, and wonder if kids today have lost something special with it in the name of the safety we feel we have to provide with all the people who now try to take advantage.

Our mothers didn’t love us any less, just the needs and times have changed.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who give so much to us who don’t realize how much it is till much later.

Who you longs to?

Not sure if I mentioned this one in my sayings post, but this was a common question back home, essentially asking who your parents are.

Well the sarcastic portion of me was likely to respond, I longs to me mudder bye!

My mother, like a lot of Newfoundland mothers was and is parent to many more than her own.  The door was always open, a crowd was always welcome.  We’ve been know to have to take shifts eating to make room at the table.

We never had a lot, but it was shared, and many people called my home theirs, as I did with many others.  We don’t ask for anything when at these extended mudder’s houses, we go to the fridge and take it, cause their home was ours, and ours was theirs.

So to my mudder, my sister, all my extended mudders, and to all the wunnerful mudders I’ve never met, happy mudders day!


The Birthday Party

My little niece can’t seem to catch a break this year, going from pneumonia, to now a flu, or possible food poisoning, yet through it all, she’s a chipper little girl, who takes more responsibility and shows more maturity than most. My niece being sick brought this story to mind.

In 1970, I began my edumacation at Balbo Elementary in Shoal Harbour, and I was a sickly child, tiny, pale, undersized (I was 4’2″ at the start of Grade 8, for reference, my niece is that now in Grade 1). Dr. O’Mahony used to say to mom, some puny isn’t he? Many days were spent in Neta Pelly’s trailor (seen in the picture just past the school), my kindergarten teacher, while waiting for Dad to come get me.    The school was this huge or at least huge to me building full of stairs, rooms, and hallways and the usual school things.

I don’t remember a huge amount about it other than Hughie Reid and I playing on the stairs, and chasing Sharon Adams around (who I wouldn’t know today if she bit me, though I hope she doesn’t). My best friends back then were Danny Moodie (Moody?) and Gregory Steele, both of whom I also hope don’t bite me.

I was neither responsible nor mature when I was 6 or 7, (well probably not mature even now), and this lack of responsibility is at the heart of this story.  Gregory Steele invited me to his birthday party in Grade 2, which would have made me 7 at the time.  Somehow I forgot to admit this fact to my parents, or to get a gift, or to do anything one normally does for a party.  Likely I forgot all of the above, but I do remember clearly Gregory asking me the day of if I was coming.  I responded that I had no gift and so couldn’t come.  He replied that didn’t matter and that he wanted me to come anyway.

Well with that, I was off.  After school I made my way to his place (I don’t remember how) and enjoyed cake and games. My brother, who usually met me at the bus in the evenings didn’t think much of me not being there as I often was sick as noted, and Dad came and got me.

Balbo Elementary (shared on facebook, if this is yours, let me know and will credit)

Balbo Elementary (shared on facebook, if this is yours, let me know and will credit)

The party was located somewhere back up in Shoal Harbour, closer to home than the school, near where Bruce’s Marine is, or was.  Once I was done with the party, I decided it was time to leave, and with no more thought than that, I left, and started walking to where Dad worked.  Dad was working with the Department of Highways as a clerk at Shoal Harbour pit, a location where they used to make concrete pipes, and located approximately where the Shoal Harbour Softball field is now.

So I, a puny little runt, proceeded to walk, at age 7, the approximately 2 miles to Dad’s work.  I couldn’t have stayed at the party too long, because just Mom found out I wasn’t with my brother, (the bus ride took perhaps an hour or more), and called Dad in a panic, and Dad got up to leave to come look for me, there he sees me strolling into the pipe yard as unconcerned about my absence as if it was a normal thing to do.

I really don’t recall if I was punished, or if they were too relieved to even think of that, but I’m sure I did get a yelling at least.  In any event, I guess I grew out of my sickliness, even if I didn’t mature.  Its ok, makes me one more big toy for my niece to play with.  Get better soon sweetie.