Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Collective Memories Grand Falls-Windsor - Sealing Sweep

Harry Pinsent
I’m spending this week in Grand Falls-Windsor talking to folks about their memories of Main Street in Windsor and merchants such as Becker’s, Chow’s, Cohen’s, Hiscock’s, Munch’s, Riff’s, Stewart’s, and many more who started shops and businesses in the area. The Heritage Foundation is working with the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society to gather and learn more information on Windsor as the society has a large number of interviews focused on Grand Falls, the company and the mill.

Yesterday afternoon Audrey Burke and I had the pleasure of talking with 93 year old Harry Pinsent about his life and his memories of growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor. Harry had vivid memories of growing up in the community and has certainly seen the town change over the years. Harry grew up in a family of six including his only surviving sibling Gordon Pinsent. Harry described going to school in Grand Falls-Windsor and the joy of being able to wear jeans in the summer instead of the shorts required for the school uniforms!
Harry's equipment for his work as an electrician.
Once Harry finished school he worked for the mill briefly before signing up and flying overseas with the RAF during the Second World War. When he returned to Grand Falls-Windsor Harry worked as an electrician with the mill until he retired at the age of 65. Harry married and together with his wife raised a family of fifteen. Harry described some of the shops on Main Street in Windsor and High Street in Grand Falls. He also had memories of leisure activities such as dances, picnics, and going to the movies.

Harry's mother Flossie is in the centre of this picnic.

One story which stood out during the interview was Harry’s description of the Sealing Sweep. Harry remembered the Methodist Church on the West End of Gilbert Street where movies were shown while the new town hall in Grand Falls-Windsor was being built. He saw the first “talkies” or talking pictures at the church. Harry explained that bingo was also played in this church however you couldn’t play for money. In the sound clip below Harry explains the only gambling allowed in the town – the Sealing Sweep.
Do you remember the Sealing Sweep? Or do your recall memories of shopping or working on Main Street? Let us know in the comments or email terra@heritagefoundation.ca or call 1-888-739-1892.

~Terra Barrett

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