Sunday, December 4, 2016

In Memoriam: John F. Young - #CollectiveMemories Stephenville

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to be the folklorist-in-residence for the Friendly Invasion 2016, a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the closing of Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville.

Over a few days, I conducted a pile of oral history interviews, most of which you can listen to here. I met a lot of people over those few short days, but one of the gentlemen who stood out was John F. Young, who was born in 1927. He was one of those many Americans who had come up to Newfoundland and lived and worked at Harmon AFB. 

John was one of our participants in the incredibly successful "Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" event we held at the Can-Am Lodge. John told stories about coming to Harmon in those early years, and his humour was one of the highlights of the evening.  I've blogged about that event before, where you can listen to the full recording of the event.

I was able to sit down with John and do a longer one-on-one oral history interview with him. Over the course of an hour, we talked about his early life, coming to Stephenville, meeting his wife in Newfoundland, his work with the weather service, the Cuban missile crisis, and his love for hunting and fishing in Newfoundland. 

That entire interview has been placed online on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative, and if you have an hour, give it a listen or download the mp3 here.

Over the past few months, his daughter Tracy has been giving me updates on John's condition. He hadn't been well at the time of our interview, but his doctor had given him clearance to make one final trip to Newfoundland. Tracy wrote that she had been inspired by our oral history work to do some of her own, and had been getting John to tell her some of his stories. 

I got a text from Tracy Saturday night to tell me that John had passed away. I only met him a couple times over that week in Stephenville this summer, but he stands out in my memory of that celebration. I was honoured to have spent some time with him and to have been given the chance to record some of his stories.

A memorial and Military Honors ceremony will be held on December 10, 2016, at 2:00pm in Valdosta, Georgia.  You can read John's obituary here, or if you enjoyed listening to his tales, you can make a donation to the National Audubon Society or the Disabled American Veterans Association in his memory.

Thanks for the stories and the laughs, John.

- Dale Jarvis

Friday, December 2, 2016

#CollectiveMemories Roadtrip - Grand Falls-Windsor

Terra Barrett, Dale Jarvis, and Kelly Drover in the Old Mill in Glovertown. 
This week as part of the Collective Memories Project Dale, Kelly, and I travelled to Grand Falls-Windsor to meet with their heritage society. On the drive out we made a quick stop to the Old Mill in Glovertown. After learning a bit more about the site and the urban legend it has encouraged we wanted to take a look at the building itself. The mill is situated on a side road relatively close to the main road through town but if you didn’t know the mill was there you could bypass it completely. The abandoned mill is covered in graffiti from different decades with some graffiti referencing the red eyes urban legend. It was an interesting but eerie spot to visit and learn more about.
Members of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society and Dale Jarvis and Terra Barrett of the Heritage Foundation. Photo by Kelly Drover.
After our short detour we met up with the GFW Heritage Society in their office on High Street. This meeting was a follow up on the work I did in Grand Falls-Windsor in September on the memories and merchants of Main Street in Windsor. The photographs and interviews are being edited into a booklet for the community however the ICH Office also wanted to do something a little bit different so we met with the society to discuss the booklet launch and the possibility of doing a pop-up exhibition in the New Year. We tentatively decided on the last weekend in February for the launch and exhibit and are looking forward to the event!
Razor, stropper, brick, bottle, and tobacco from Stewart's Grocery.
While in the community we also completed an oral history interview with Brian Reid and photographed some of the artefacts housed by the society. We also returned digital copies of the Merchants of Main Street interviews which can be found online here. If your community has material you would like help digitized or would like to start an oral history project of your own feel free to contact or call toll free 1-888-739-1892 ex. 5.

~Terra Barrett

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Retaining and Recruiting Volunteers, a #podcast with Debbie O’Rielly

Debbie O'Rielly is Coordinator for Volunteer Mount Pearl (VMP), an office created in 2014 by the Mount Pearl Sport Alliance. VMP was established to address the volunteer needs of community groups in the Mount Pearl area, and to act as a hub to connect volunteers and the groups that need them. Debbie does community outreach with seniors, youth and all those in between. She provides volunteer related news and shares volunteer job details on her website, through social media and in a quarterly newsletter. We talk about the work and objectives of Volunteer Mount Pearl, retaining and recruiting volunteers, using social media, linking youth with seniors, bread and raspberry jam making workshops, the Art of Storytelling project, and community gardens.

Download the MP3

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Railway Memories Photo and Story Swap - Harbour Grace

Harbour Grace Railway Station. Photo by Michael Philpott.
Did you work in the building or on the railway line? Do you know someone or have a family member who did? Do you have memories of taking the train? Do you have old photos or items associated with the Harbour Grace Railway Station? The Heritage Foundation NL, in partnership with the Town of Harbour Grace, wants to know!

We’ll be hosting a Railway Memories Photo and Story Swap in the in the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre, 1 Cee Bee’s Way, Harbour Grace on Sunday December 4, 2016 at 7:30pm.

“We are looking for anyone connected to the Newfoundland Railway in Conception Bay North including labourers, station agents, telegraphers, and flagmen, as well as locals with memories of railway travel.” says the foundation’s folklorist Dale Jarvis. “If you have memories or photographs of the Newfoundland railway, we would love to hear from you.”

The oral history project is part of the foundation’s Collective Memories Project. This project is an initiative of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, with funding provided by the Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development. The Collective Memories Project invites seniors to record their stories and memories for sharing.

Come for a cup of tea, and bring photos, calendars, timetables, tickets, objects to show off. This information will be used in the restoration of the train station. There will be a scanning station there to digitize or photograph everything that people bring, so you can take your originals home with you. The information gathered will be used to help restore and celebrate the old railway station in Harbour Grace.

For more information please contact Terra Barrett with the Heritage Foundation toll free at 1-888-739-1892 ext. 5 or email or Natalie Austin with the Town of Harbour Grace at 709-596-3042 or email  Click here for the Facebook event.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#FolklorePhoto: Windsor Taxis and Buses

97-243 GFWHS.
Goodyear Taxi Service, circa 1909, located at the Grand Falls Station (Windsor), was operated by Josiah Goodyear.
It boasted of 8-10 horse drawn “Victorias”, with upholstered seats for passengers.
This weeks Folklore Photo comes from the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society and is circa 1909.  The photo is of Goodyear Taxi Service located at the Grand Falls Station (Windsor).  This Taxi Service was operated by Josiah Goodyear and boasted 8-10 horse drawn “Victorias” with upholstered seats for passengers.  Roy Oldford of Grand Falls-Windsor remembered similar horse and carts being used by Stewart's to deliver groceries to the community in the 1950s.

This photo is one of the images from the Heritage Society which will be featured in an upcoming booklet on the merchants of Main Street based on oral history interviews completed in Windsor in September.  Tomorrow afternoon we are meeting with the Heritage Society to discuss a pop up exhibit to go along with launch of the booklet in the coming new year.

The booklet will focus on the merchants from the bigger well known stores such as Cohen's, Riff's, and Stewart's to the buses (or taxis) which lined Main Street and provided transportation between the towns of Windsor and Grand Falls. Several people described the buses which would run between Main Street in Windsor and High Street in Grand Falls and even delivered lunches to the mill workers.

Included below is a short audio clip from Roy Oldford who grew up in Windsor. In this clip Roy talks about the popularity of the buses and also tells a humorous story about using his friend's father's bus to earn a bit of pocket change when they were teenagers.

~Terra Barrett

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Get your long underwear ready! It's a #MummersFestival #Podcast! #FolkloreThursday

In celebration of the return of the Mummers Festival on November 26th, we are rebroadcasting one of our previous podcasts, an interview with Ryan Davis, the mummer-in-charge of the festival!

Ryan Davis has been running the Mummers Festival since 2009. He holds an MA in Folklore and a BA in Communication Studies. It was his interest in festivals, celebrations, and costuming that led him to mummering traditions. The Mummers Festival promotes the continuation and evolution of traditional arts and performance by encouraging active participation in mummering activities. The Mummers Festival helps to keep mummering alive and contemporary and adds to the population’s pride of place.

In this edition of the Living Heritage Podcast, Ryan talks about what mummers are and what they do, the beginnings of the Mummers Festival and how it has grown over seven years, the successes and challenges of running a festival, and what he hopes the festival will offer in the future.

See you at the parade on December 10th!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

#Folklorephoto Do you have memories of the Newfoundland Railway?

This weeks Folklore Photo is a still taken from one of the 8mm reels that came to us from the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society. This particular film features an event taking place at the railway station in Grand Falls-Windsor. While the date and particulars of the event are unidentified, it is an example of the goings-on that took place around train stations in our province. The film shows a train pulling up to the Grand Falls station, which is decorated with Union Jacks. Crowds are gathered around the station, waiting to see the visiting dignitary step out of the train car. The visitors arrive, step from the train and are greeted with handshakes and photos before they are whisked away in waiting cars.    

A train pulling up to the Grand Falls Railway Station
Stay tuned for the full reels to be posted soon! If you can identify the visitors or any other individuals in the film, please email me at

Friday, November 18, 2016

Collective Memories Booklet Launch - The Story of the Spar: An Oral History of the Hazel Pearl

Left to Right: Roy Hiscock, Ben Hiscock, Minnie Hiscock, Albert Hiscock, and Sarah Hiscock. 
On Tuesday afternoon the Heritage Foundation and the Champney’s West Heritage Group Inc. launched the booklet The Story of the Spar: An Oral History of the Hazel Pearl. The booklet launch took place in the Ella Freeman Heritage House in Champney’s West, Bonavista Peninsula. There were twenty community members who came out for the launch including four of the people who were interviewed about the wreck of the Hazel Pearl. The Heritage House provided tea, coffee, and some treats for everyone to enjoy.

The Story of the Spar: An Oral History of the Hazel Pearl is the second booklet in the Collective Memories Series produced by the Heritage Foundation. This booklet focuses on the Hazel Pearl shipwreck and includes archival research, field recording measurements of the spar, and oral history interview transcripts. The interviews were completed by Terra Barrett and Dale Jarvis, the measurements and drawing of the spar by Michael Philpott and Li Xingpei, background research by Sarah Hannon, and the booklet was edited by Heather Elliott.

As stated in The Sailor’s Word-Book:

Li Xingpei measuring the spar in July 2016.
The spar which sits outside the Heritage House was once a part of the Hazel Pearl. This spar was part what sparked the interest in the story of the Hazel Pearl and was accidentally brought ashore by fisherman Wayne Freeman when it became tangled in his capelin seine several summers back. 

If you want to learn more about the spar or the Hazel Pearl you can head to to hear the full interviews or you can check out PDF version of the booklet here!

The Hazel Pearl booklet is part of the foundation’s Collective Memories Project. This project is an initiative of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, with funding provided by the Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development. The Collective Memories Project invites seniors to record their stories and memories for sharing.
Reviewing old photographs in the Heritage House.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports - #FolkloreThursday #Podcast with Anna Guigne

Anna Kearney Guigné is an independent folklorist and adjunct professor affiliated with Memorial University of Newfoundland’s ethnomusicology program. An historian at heart, Kearney Guigné has extensively written about twentieth-century folksong collectors and collecting practices. Kearney Guigné also explores the wide range of influences that continue to shape our rich musical tradition including such popular media as newspapers, broadsides, songsters, and radio programs, vinyl recordings.

This November, Anna will release her fourth major publication The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports: As Taken from Kenneth Peacock’s Field Collection, 1951-1961. We talk about the life, fieldwork, and legacy of Kenneth Peacock, and the work of selecting songs for publication in this new book.

Take note! 

The University of Ottawa Press and the Canadian Museum of History official book launch of

The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports
As taken From Kenneth Peacock’s Field Collection, 1951-1961

By Anna Kearney Guigné
Wednesday November 30th from 7:30 to 9:00 pm
MMaP Gallery
Research Centre for Music, Media and Place
Second floor, Arts & Culture Centre, St. John’s, NL