Where are they now?

Susan Flanagan
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Wanted: more details about two young hockey prospects

Myrna Kielley was a freelance photographer here in  St. John’s from the 1970s until a couple of years before her death in 1986.

Myrna and John Kielley. — Submitted photo

Born in Denmark, Kielley met her husband, John Kielley, a Newfoundland pilot, in Greenland where they were both working. They got married in Denmark and settled in St. John’s and lived out their final years on Shea Street.

That’s a key detail — the fact they moved to Shea Street. My husband and I also moved onto Shea Street in 1998 on the day our fourth child was born. Up until then, I had never heard of Myrna Kielley.

When Myrna’s husband John died in 2000, their family held an estate auction. As I lived just a few doors up, I popped in for an early viewing and saw a table I thought would look great in our house. When my husband came from work, I discussed it with him, and as we needed a table, he headed down to make a bid.

When he came back, he said we were going to need a truck. I said we could just carry the table up the street. But it wasn’t the table he had bid on.

My husband, the man who hates clutter, had bought the entire contents of Myrna and John Kielley’s darkroom (John started working with Myrna after he gave up flying). To give you a bit of perspective, the darkroom included several heavy pieces of magnifying machinery at least six feet long.

There were boxes of large glass slides showing icebergs in the Narrows at the turn of the century and tin suitcases of traditional slides showing both Newfoundland and Danish scenes.

Besides that, there were more than 10,000 paper prints of all dimensions from poster size down to wallet size of thousands of people and events from the 1970s on. We could have wallpapered The Rooms there were so many boxes of black and white prints.

And they were all tossed in higgledy-piggledy. No rhyme or reason. At least not to us.

There were bar mitzvahs and debutante balls. There were hockey teams and picket lines. There were couples dancing at the Old Colony and family portraits. There were citizens of the year, politicians,  athletes and newsmakers.

Family and friends had great fun looking through the stacks of 8x10s to see who they recognized. I sold some photos to pay off our investment and then I set about delivering pictures to people we could identify. You can imagine their surprise when a stranger showed up at the door waving a black and white photo that had been snapped 20 years previous.

Once we distributed what we could, I called up the Centre for Newfoundland Studies archives to donate a bazillion negatives and the rest of the prints. Finally, our house was no longer a depository for Kielley photos.

Or, so I thought. Even now, an envelope of Myrna Kielley photos can turn up when I least expect it. It happened this week. Two hockey players with telltale 1970s hairdos fell out of a cabinet in my closet.

The elder wears the navy and red PWC gear and looks like he was photographed in the Kielleys’ living room. The younger could be a sibling of the first. He’s wearing a white Pepsi jersey. The photos were printed on thick, patterned paper by Monkey Color in Hialeah, Fla.

I have similar photos of my own children posing in their hockey gear. But who are these boys? And why are they now presenting themselves to me?

Maybe they went on to play Triple A or major junior hockey. Maybe they are IceCaps season ticket holders. Maybe they have children of their own striking the same pose for a photographer somewhere.

Maybe they’re reading Bobby Orr’s new book and listening to that new hockey song that sounds like it was recorded underwater on the radio.

Maybe they are watching YouTube videos of Czech teenager Tomas Hertl’s four-goal game, or Andrew Gordon kissing Marcus Johansson after he set him up for his first NHL goal. Maybe they don’t follow hockey at all.

But I’m still curious to who they are.

So boys/men, if you recognize yourselves from these photos, please email and let us know what you’re up to and if you were indeed photographed in the Kielley living room. If you do, I have a lovely print you can put in a frame for Christmas.

Susan Flanagan enjoyed Marie Maher’s 99th birthday party on Thanksgiving weekend. She can be reached at susan@48degrees.ca.

Organizations: Newfoundland Studies, NHL

Geographic location: Shea Street, Denmark, Newfoundland Greenland Old Colony

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