Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Retaining Wall in Heart's Content



Does anyone have any information on this retaining wall on Main Road in Heart's Content? How old is it? Who built it? It is located just alongside the Anglican Cemetery in the Heritage District. If so, please email Katie at katherine@heritagefoundation.ca or call (709) 739-1892 ext. 7.

#OralHistoryRoadshow - Port Blandford

Oral history event on local stores. Photo by Katie Harvey. 2017
On Wednesday afternoon Katie and I headed out to Port Blandford to meet with the Conservation Corps' Port Blandford Green Team and Calvin Efford with the Port Blandford Heritage Society. Calvin contacted the Heritage Foundation about having the Oral History Roadshow come to Port Blandford. The Heritage Society suggested we focus on the stores in the community as there have been over twenty stores in the community through the years, and many local people have memories of both shopping and working in these general stores, convenience shops, and grocery stores.

Thursday morning we met with the green team and provided an overview of how to do oral history interviews including consent, recording equipment, questions to ask, and how to process the material once the recording has been done. Following this meeting Katie and I interviewed two women in the community about their experience with stores in the community.
In the afternoon we held the public oral history event where twenty five people came out to share their memories of local stores like Roland Greening's (later Wanda's), Powell's, Pelley's, and other small stores. There were stories about the charge system, how everything was noted by hand, and memories of the delivery service first by horse and cart and then by vehicle.

Following the afternoon event Katie and I interviewed five community members about their stories and memories of working and shopping in Port Blandford. We are still looking for memories of the stores in Port Blandford so if you have one let me know by calling 1-888-739-1892 ex. 5 or emailing terra@heritagefoundation.ca

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do You Know of Any Metal Grave Markers in Newfoundland and Labrador?


On a recent camping trip to the New-Wes-Valley area, I visited the Lumsden United Church Cemetery and came across the headstone of William Tuff, son of William and Susanah Tuff, who died 9th of October 1847 aged 28 years. What caught my attention with this headstone was that it's made of cast iron. I have seen one other cast iron marker, at Bethany United in Carbonear, and a small sheet metal marker in St. James Cemetery, also in Carbonear.


In a 2012 ICH Newsletter article, Patrick Carroll wrote about the tin monuments in Bonavista Bay, which you can read about here. There are also a few interesting zinc (or white bronze) grave markers in St. John's. The hollow zinc markers have an distinctive blue-gray colour that is easily recognized once you know what to look for.

The zinc or White Bronze grave marker of Isabell and S.H. Parsons at the General Protestant Cemetery in St. John's

Do you know of any others metal grave markers around the province? Do you have a relative whose grave is marked with one? Do you know anything about the makers of these headstones, particularly the cast iron ones?

~ Kelly

Monday, August 14, 2017

New project to share traditional stories which have "come from away."


"Tales from Afar: Old Stories from New Residents"

The St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership and the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL) are looking for old stories from new residents as part of a project to collect and share the diversity of oral traditions that exist within the region.

The goal is to create a showcase of traditional stories and folktales from around the world. The project will end with the creation of written booklet of world folktales. The booklet will be made available online, printed, and shared through key organizations and at community events.

What kind of stories do you want?
We are looking for folktales, legends, myths, stories of saints and miracles, ghost stories, fables or stories of talking animals, or traditional children’s tales -- any story that has been passed down by word of mouth.

Who can share a story?
If you come from away, and know an old story, we want to hear it! Storytellers could be recent refugees, temporary foreign workers, international students, newly arrived professionals or economic migrants, or could be well-established immigrants who have long since made St. John’s their home.

What if I’m worried about my English?
Don’t worry! We’ll work with you to edit it your story into a final form that makes you happy!

How can I share a story?
Stories can be submitted in written form, or participants can sit down with a collector and record a spoken version of their story.

To share a story, you can:
Deadline to share a story: September 29th, 2017.

Friday, August 11, 2017

#FoodwaysFriday - Recipe for Chop Suey


Where is that recipe from?

On a recent trip to Spaniard’s Bay for the Oral History Roadship Judy Symonds brought out some papers she had recently found while cleaning out her mother’s belongings. There was an old newspaper clipping from 1950 as well as a small recipe book. Although I didn’t have a chance to scan all the recipes I had a look through the book and scanned a couple of pages. The recipes inside were reminiscent of the time with white layer cake, salads with fruits like bananas and pineapple topped with sliced eggs, and fruit cake filled with raisins, sultanas, cherries, and almonds.

Among the recipes for shortbread and cakes was a recipe for Chop Suey which includes mince meat, tinned tomato soup, rice, macaroni, onion, boiling water, and fat pork. These ingredients seem to resemble Newfoundland’s version of goulash which typically consists of minced meat***, and macaroni in a tomato sauce with variable vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and occasionally mushrooms more than a Chinese meal. After a quick internet search and a discussion with a friend from New England it seems like the chop suey recipe is a version of American chop suey which is a pasta dish resembling Newfoundland goulash with macaroni, ground beef, onions, and peppers in a tomato based sauce. It is interesting that the recipe showed up in a handwritten notebook in Newfoundland. I would love to know the background behind the recipe, where she found it, and why Judy’s mother kept the recipe.

The origin of chop suey itself is a hotly debated topic with folks arguing it is an American Chinese creation and others saying it was a Chinese dish which was adapted to the available American groceries and particularly vegetables. If you want to learn more about the Chinese community in Newfoundland and their expression of Chineseness check out Dr. Mu Li’s thesis “Wanderers between Cultural Boundaries: Exploring the Individual Expressions of Chineseness in Newfoundland”.

Share your stories and knowledge of food with the hashtag #FoodwaysFriday.
Tell us your favourite recipe and let us know the origin story!

***Judy Symonds emailed to clarify that the minced meat in the recipe simply means ground meat. 


~Terra Barrett

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Merchants and Memories of Main Street Windsor: The Untold Stories


In September 2016 researcher Terra Barrett spent a week in Grand Falls-Windsor collecting stories and memories of Main Street, Windsor. This was part of the Merchants and Memories project which was a partnership between the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society. The Society wanted to focus on Windsor to celebrate the diverse community that grew up on Main Street across from the train station. This podcast is a selection of memories about Main Street which take the listener back to the heyday of the shopping district of Windsor. Take a listen to learn more about fights at the pool hall, movies at the Vogue Theatre, people watching at the train station, and shopping at Riff’s and Cohen’s.

Download the MP3

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The X-Ray Machines of Old St. John's

If you talk to enough people about the way St. John’s used to be, a few reoccurring stories begin to emerge. Some of these stories describe the advent of new machinery in the downtown. For instance, the allure of the first escalator in St. John’s, at Woolworth’s department store, is an oft-cited memory. As the story goes, crowds of people showed up in the store for the sole purpose of riding the escalator. Lynn Anne Hollett also recalled the stir caused by an early TV set, which could be gazed at through the window of Great Eastern Oil on Water Street. Though no sound could be heard through the glass, there were usually "about four deep there of people watching that black and white TV." However, while escalators and TVs are all around us these days, other contraptions of downtown St. John’s have (perhaps wisely) fallen out of favour. One of these contraptions is the shoe store x-ray machine, otherwise known as a “fluoroscope”:


Wayne Guzzwell, who went on to become a CBC producer, and who later oversaw the Cabot 500 celebrations in 1997, the 50th Anniversary of Confederation Gala, and the Vikings 1000 Islendingur arrival ceremony, shared his memories of the gadget during our interview: 

Wayne: I wanted to go to the Royal Stores because the Royal Stores had this neat machine that—you put your new shoes on, you’d stand up to the machine, and you put your feet in the machine, and then there was a scope, and you’d look down, and it was an x-ray machine. And you could see your toes inside the shoe. So you could see if there was enough room for your feet. So, you know, our feet were probably massively radiated by the x-rays, but I thought I was Superman at the time, because I could see my feet through the shoes. And that was a really neat aspect of the Royal Stores, that x-ray machine. And that’s the only thing I would buy at the Royal Stores, or my family would buy, was shoes, and it was because of the x-ray machine.

Lynn Anne Hollett also brought up the x-ray machine during our interview, saying that "at least once a week you'd get away with it":

Lynn Anne: It was a big thing. Can you imagine what we were exposed to at that particular time? I mean, it was just like if you go over there now and put your foot into a sizer and say, “Okay, we’re going to do an x-ray right here, right now.” And I mean, you’d go down there for play. I mean, at least once a week you’d get away with it, to get down there and have an x-ray done of your foot. [laughs] Those poor salesmen. I don’t know how they fared, or how long they lived after that particular thing.
Andrea: So the salesmen would have to administer the x-ray?
Lynn Anne: Yeah! Yeah, right? No lead aprons or anything then, no, definitely not.
Andrea: So that was a big thing for kids, mostly?
Lynn Anne: Oh yeah, and adults! I mean, can you imagine? They can tell the exact size of my foot because I’m getting an x-ray. Wonderful! 
Andrea: Do you think the appeal was mostly seeing your bones?
Lynn Anne: Yes, of course! And it was new, and it was amazing. Like, “That’s my foot!” I mean, what doctor ever showed you an x-ray if you ever had one as a child? None! You know, as they sat smoking in their examining room. But you know, who knew that radiation was a problem or that it existed? You know, nobody. 

These exciting (but in all likelihood, highly regrettable) machines certainly drummed up business for the shoe stores during their heyday (around the 1950s), but by the 1970s, they had largely been banned.

Do you remember the shoe store x-ray machines?


Media Release: Tales from Afar: Old Stories from New Residents

"Tales from Afar: Old Stories from New Residents"
New project to share traditional stories which have come from away.


St. John’s, NL
For immediate release


The St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership and the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL) are looking for old stories from new residents as part of a project to collect and share the diversity of oral traditions that exist within the region, and to create a showcase of traditional stories and folktales from around the world.

“When European settlers first arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador, they brought stories from their old countries,” says foundation folklorist Dale Jarvis. “That is part of the reason we have such a unique oral tradition here in the province with our stories of fairies and superstitions. But that process didn’t stop; new people coming here are bringing their own traditional stories as well, and adding the richness of our local lore.”

Jarvis believes that sharing folktales can highlight the commonalities between cultures, and help build a common understanding between people by bridging cultural, political and religious divides.

“Sharing the stories we grew up with is a way of bringing people together,” Jarvis says.

Jarvis, a group of researchers with the foundation, and the St. John’s Local Immigration Partnership are embarking on a pilot project called “Tales From Afar: Old Stories from New Residents”

Project organizers are looking for folktales, legends, myths, stories of saints and miracles, ghost stories, fables, or traditional children’s tales -- any story that has been passed down by word of mouth.

Participants could be newcomers in the truest sense of the word - recent refugees, temporary foreign workers, international students, newly arrived professionals or economic migrants, or could be well-established immigrants who have long since made St. John’s their home.

“If someone knows a story, and wants to share it, we want to hear it!” says Jarvis. “We will work with participants to edit and polish the stories once they are collected.”

“Tales From Afar: Old Stories from New Residents” will culminate in the creation of written booklet of world folktales. The booklet will be made available online, printed, and shared through key organizations and at community events.

To share a story, email ich@heritagefoundation.ca or call 1-888-739-1892 x2. Stories can be submitted in written form, or participants can sit down with a collector and tell their story in spoken form.

Partners:

City of St. John’s Local Immigration PartnershipThe Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) is a multi-stakeholder partnership designed to help address key immigrant issues, encourage broader stakeholder collaboration and promote St. John’s as a welcoming community. Building a welcoming community in this sense means fostering the conditions where social connections can be made between people, namely between newcomers to Canada and Canadian-born residents.

Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, Heritage Foundation of NLThe ICH Office works to safeguard and sustain the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador for present and future generations everywhere, as a vital part of the identities of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and as a valuable collection of unique knowledge and customs. This is achieved through initiatives that celebrate, record, disseminate, and promote our living heritage and help to build bridges between diverse cultural groups within and outside Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information, contact:

Dale Jarvis
Intangible Cultural Heritage Development Officer
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
PO Box 5171, St. John's, Newfoundland,
Canada A1C 5V5
Phone: 709-739-1892 ext 2
E-mail: ich@heritagefoundation.ca

Online submission form for stories:
https://goo.gl/forms/QWmJY9haiyItAeop2

Long Since Demolished House in Freshwater, Conception Bay (1995). #Folklorephoto



A House in Freshwater, Conception Bay that has since been demolished. Photograph taken in January 1995 and is part of the slide collection of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation.