In 1972, I visited Corner Brook, Newfoundland for the first time with my boyfriend, Rick. I was nervous meeting his family but they were very friendly and made me feel welcome. My only experience with Corner Brook prior to this occasion was traveling through on the train, the Newfie Bullet, on two occasions.
Rick is the only child of Melvin and Sylvia Smith. However, his father's youngest sister, Marie, is only six years older than Rick and she also lived in Corner Brook. Marie was more like a sister to Rick than an Aunt.
Melvin and Marie's father died in 1971 and Marie sold the family home. She and her son, Jeff, lived in the apartment in Melvin's house. Jeff was in Kindergarten when I met them.
Jeff was a cute little boy, with dark brown hair and eyes, smart, a very verbal child. He was curious, energetic, a typical boy. Every morning Marie walked to the top of the stairs with Jeff and kissed him goodbye as he headed to school.
Fern Street school was a short walk down the road from the house and Jeff walked to and from school every day. Corner Brook was like so many Newfoundland towns at that time. People did not lock their doors and children were free to go anywhere. Walking to school posed no danger to children.
The conversation at the top of the stairs often went like this: "Now, Jeff, come right home after school."
"And don't walk in the water."
"Don't forget to give that note to the teacher."
As Marie kissed him, Jeff asked, "Any more constructions?"
Smiling, Marie said, "No, Jeffrey. That's it for today."
So Jeff walked to school, constructions and all!