Our history, supported by a cast with many extras

Paul Sparkes
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Published on July 20, 2014

In a column published in May 2012, my topic was Lindbergh’s history-making flight of 1927, and more particularly, Jimmy Stewart’s 1957 portrayal of the event in the movie “The Spirit of St. Louis.” To illustrate that column, a friend very kindly accessed the movie and isolated some stills. This is one that we did not use. It shows the replica buzzing St. John’s harbour as cameras in an up-to-date plane above fill the movie reels. Bill Bryson, in his 2013 book “One Summer, America 1927” touches on this point in the epic journey: “Shortly after 6:00 p.m. eastern time Lindbergh passed over the last rocky extremity of North America on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland and headed out over open ocean. Now he would be out of touch for sixteen hours if all went well; forever if it didn’t.” — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

A column on favourite cereals from a generation ago had no room to include these reproductions of The Straight Arrow illustrated series of “Injun-Unity” collector cards. These were available in Nabisco Shredded Wheat packages where the cards served to separate the layers of cereal-biscuits. Shown here is a cover (Indian on horse rampant) and one of the series, this one on building fires that will perform unattended. At the time when kids collected things, these cards drove young boys crazy (1940s and 50s). Shredded Wheat boxes in those years bore an illustration of the company’s mills at Niagara Falls. — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

A column on favourite cereals from a generation ago had no room to include these reproductions of The Straight Arrow illustrated series of “Injun-Unity” collector cards. These were available in Nabisco Shredded Wheat packages where the cards served to separate the layers of cereal-biscuits. Shown here is a cover (Indian on horse rampant) and one of the series, this one on building fires that will perform unattended. At the time when kids collected things, these cards drove young boys crazy (1940s and 50s). Shredded Wheat boxes in those years bore an illustration of the company’s mills at Niagara Falls. — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

I wrote a column in April about coffee and (my presumed) difficulties in getting a good cup. Reader Elizabeth Scammell Reynolds (who was the subject of a column in May 2012), shown here with her grandaughter, Alix Reynolds, came to the rescue with a recipe she discovered in The Telegram some 10 years ago. In a bowl you place two cups of any fine or coarse ground coffee and add four cups of cold water. Stir to wet all the coffee; cover the bowl and leave 10-12 hours. “This is what you get” — Elizabeth explained as she uncovered a bowl which she had set aside the previous day — “a muck!” You carefully debowl the material through a colander and stir it somewhat to encourage its passage. She next strains it much more thoroughly via a coffee filter in a funnel in a bottle. You now have an essence and you use approximately one-quarter cup to a coffee mug then topped with boiling water. “The colandering filters out the oils that are rough on the innards,” Elizabeth explains. It made an excellent cup. — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

The several discriminating people to whom I showed this old postcard had a common reaction — “weird” (expressed with wrinkled noses). This postcard, entitled “Joys of Married Life”, was sold by Raphael Tuck and Sons as part of their “Little Men & Women Series of Postcards.” The cards were available here a little over a century ago. I discovered it in a stack of dozens of postcards sent and received (in Newfoundland) in about 1910. — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

Picture called to our attention by Howard Dyer when he sent in a photo of the Knights (Archbishop Howley Assembly, Fourth Degree) assembled at the re-dedication of the well in October 2008. Father Duffy’s well, on the Salmonier Line, is still a popular stopping place. Since this picture was taken, perhaps in the late 1920s, the spring and surroundings have been built up rather like a shrine. — Submitted photos

Published on July 20, 2014

This map from “A School History of England” co-authored by C.R.L. Fletcher and Rudyard Kipling was published by Oxford in 1911. Presumably this colourful illustration is based on actual maps or fragments. The caption given in the book says “This is a map of America (and the way to China as men believed it to be) which an old Pilot shewed to King Henry VII in the year 1500.” Among the  identifications, one indicates “The Newfound Land of Master Cabot.” It shows us stuck to both “Labradoro” and Greenland. By the way, the Fletcher and Kipling book is an intriguing read, especially as it nears its end (somewhere around 1910) and, challenged by the Boer War and home rule for Ireland, Kipling’s British bully-and-bluster almost (almost) fails him.
— Submitted photos

You have probably seen movies of uniformed soldiers marching up main street, celebrating some signal event.

You may also have noticed  small boys running alongside. Some may have been marching proudly,  others out of step.

Well, that’s a column in more ways than one. The boys are the attendant little things that don’t figure in the great final purpose.

But such things have their value. They deserve a little time in the sun. They are the things you set aside but do not discard as you dig around to support the theme of a column; they are the “extras” you cannot fit in just yet, but you keep in their own file.

So here, this week, are some of those things which have been sitting patiently on my desktop or languishing in a closed manila file.

Bringing them together will appear like a reunion of people with no common interest. But they are entertaining and mildly informative on their own merit.

I could easily fill two broadsheet newspaper pages or warrant several online clicks if I pushed forward on the stage all the extra notes, book marks and cryptic self-reminders that decorate and order my little world.

 

Paul Sparkes is a longtime journalist who has always been intrigued by the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. Drop him a line at psparkes@thetelegram.com.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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