Showing posts with label stephenville. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stephenville. Show all posts

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, July 29, 2016

Welcome to Harmon Air Force Base - Your 1950s guide to dress codes, bars, and $1 lobster.

Another gem from HFNL Board Member Lloyd Kane! Lloyd shared with me a booklet from the 1950s that gives new residents some hints on what services Harmon Air Force Base and the town of Stephenville had to offer. The base commander of the day wrote in the introduction:

"For those of you who are about to be assigned here, I hope this booklet will help answer the many questions you must have.  Our facilities are improving all the time and their location, hours of operation, and so forth are pointed out in the booklet. I hope you will make good use of them, as they were put here for you."

The booklet includes useful information on dining hall times and dress codes, bar locations, base chapel services, the base exchange, tips on hunting and fishing in the area, schools and banks, and shopping. It also notes, "for seafood fanciers, items such as lobster is plentiful and inexpensive in season. A lobster dinner for example, costs about $1.00."

The booklet also has some photos of amenities, such a those shown below, the NCO Open Mess, interior of the base exchange, and the teen club.

You can download a copy of the booklet as a pdf here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"Sharing the Memories – stories of Harmon AFB" a huge success! Listen in here!

We had an amazing night last night sharing stories and memories at the CanAm Lodge here in Stephenville. I want to thank these three generous, funny, and knowledgeable men for giving their time and their tales: Bill Pilgrim (left), Ron Olson, and John F. Young (seated). We made a rough recording of the night, and you can listen in and hear them spin their yarns.

Thanks to Debra Coughlin for organizing and pulling together speakers, to Larry Bentley and the gentlemen of CanAm Lodge for hosting us all in their historic building, and to the audience that packed the room and then stuck around to share their own stories. It was a memorable night!

Download the mp3

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Peeling Potatoes - Gary Danewood remembers KP Duty at Harmon AFB

Wednesday was a busy day for interviews at the Friendly Invasion 2016 celebrations in Stephenville! I started off the day interviewing Gary Danewood, pictured above with his wife Sharon. In this clip, Gary remembers peeling potatoes as part of his KP duties when first arriving in Stephenville.