Residents return to Buchans after many years away
© Pauline Dean photo/Special to the Advertiser
Nina Walker (left) and Merrill Reid were given the honour of cutting the CHY cake during the senior social at the Curling Club. Both will turn 84 this year.
Buchans Come Home Year (CHY) brought together many families from far and wide – families that visit often, others who haven’t been “home” for years.
Ethel (Harris) Smith, Mary (Harris) Pridham, Audrey (Harris) Mullins and their brother Bill Harris are four of the five children of Ches Harris who came to work from Carbonear – “safety” Ches as he was known in Buchans. They stayed with Eric Pottle, son of their cousin, Mildred Tracey. Getting to see old friends and taking a look around their old hometown kept them busy, but they had one problem, Bill said.
“It’s hard to get your bearings,” he said. “You’re saying, ‘someone’s home, across from the school,’ but the school is not there; ‘someone’s house across from the mill,’ but the mills not there.”
He thought a map with a key to who lived in what house originally might help at future events.
The four went to the adult Meet and Greet at the stadium and were pleasantly surprised, especially Mary, who said she now has found nine others from her graduating class of 1966, and is now planning a mini-reunion.
Recording visitors’ names was easy for one Buchans’ resident. Donald Carter lives at 62 Jackson Street, and during the Come Home Year celebrations, the shed on his property had an open door policy – if the door was open, visitors were welcomed in to have a cold beverage, and sign a banner he had ready for just that purpose.
“Every Come Home Year I’ve been doing this,” he said. “The first one, I threw it away, but last year, I said, ‘I’m keeping that.’” Pointing to the 2007 Come Home Year banner displayed in the shed, he said that sadly, ‘four of the people who signed are now gone.’” They include his Mom, his brother, and a couple of friends.
Some of the CHY visitors don’t wait too long before returning because they live relatively nearby. But accommodations can be a problem when you no longer own property in the town, but that didn’t stop the Goodyear’s.
“I’ve been up twice since we had the 50-year reunion of our class,” Aubrey Goodyear said, “and I said to my wife Mary, ‘we’ve just got to get up for a few days.’ We couldn’t get a place to stay (in Buchans), so my sister-in-law has a place on the other side of Buchans Junction, so we’re down there.
“I’m just loving this,” he said about the event. “The only part that I find hard and embarrassing is that so many people come up and call me by name and I know the face but I don’t know the name of the individual. And they tell me some wild stories!” he joked.
John and Joyce (Moran) Roynon were back to Buchans – this time with her sister Janet Stewart and brother Roy Moran, Jr. There were many whom thought they may have been former classmates had things turned out differently.
Joyce and her sister were toddlers and her mother pregnant with Roy when her father, Roy Moran, one of the victims of the 1951 Norseman plane crash at South Pond near Buchans, died in September of that year. Their mother returned to Ontario immediately following the crash and it was only in recent years that she began sharing the story of the crash with her children. They were in Buchans to take a memory box to the gravesite at South Pond, which they were able to do July 29.
Terry Booth, goal tender for the Buchans Miners when they won their final Herder Memorial Trophy in the 1962-63 hockey season, was also on-hand for the festivities.
“I played for thirty years after that,” he said, “and I won three Ontario championships, but that one stands out.” As he spoke with long-time friend and Miners team mate Frank Walker, they reminisced about those times when wearing the protective gear hockey players do today was not mandatory.
Over the years, thousands of people became a part of the Buchans mining experience. One of those was Ray Reynolds, who was visiting from Ontario. He is the brother-in-law of the late Ern Noseworthy.
“I worked with the prospectors – Pete Brockie, Tubby St. George, Mort Verbiski,” he recalled. “We all worked together in Tulks Hills actually and we worked down where they’ve got that mine at Millertown. We brought in some wonderful samples. It just blows my mind how long it took for them to go in and try to extract it – years after we brought in the samples.”
He married Buchaneer Gloria Noseworthy, Ern’s sister, who worked in the assay office where those ore samples were tested.