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Pam Pardy checks up on some folks she introduced us to last year, after post-tropical storm Fiona upended their lives.
Meet the winner of our Pet of the Year contest, an extraordinary animal friend!
Ivan J. White writes of growing up in the Mi'kmaw community of Flat Bay, NL.
Special Olympics torch bearer Andrew Hynes personifies heart and perseverance.
Pam Pardy checks up on some folks she introduced us to last year, after post-tropical storm Fiona upended their lives.The clean-up to repair the wreckage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona on Newfoundland and Labradorâs southwest coast continues, a grim reminder for those directly affected on that September day. No one understands better, perhaps, than the mayor of Channel-Port aux Basques, Brian Button.âThereâs not a day that Fiona hasnât been a topic of conversation or hasnât been something that someone from the town has had to deal with,â the mayor admits. The infrastructure damage left by the historic storm that struck the town on September 24, 2022, was âcatastrophic,â he adds.As it raged, Fiona brought with it powerful rains, massive waves and a devastating storm surge that washed more than 20 houses into the sea. Strong, damaging winds with gusts up to 134 km/h were recorded in Port aux Basques. âJust today I was on a conference call with the province about the work that continues, and many residents are dealing with different situations as it relates to their own property. And, you know, Fiona came with not only a lot of infrastructure damage, but with emotional turmoil as well,â he says.Brian wishes he could find a way to forget, if only for a brief while, he adds solemnly. âI think thatâs probably one of the things that I struggle with most. This has been pretty impactful on all of us, myself included. Mental health, for a lot of people, has deteriorated because of the impact of the storm. Thereâs been so many ups and downs, and I feel the reality of that probably more now than I did back in October and November, right after Fiona,â he explains. But amid the wreckage, many also uncovered overwhelming gratitude, drawing strength from their good old-fashioned Newfoundland-style sense of humour. Take the photo of Krystle Collier that went viral last September. Krystle had lost her home, narrowly escaping the stormâs wreckage herself, the night Fiona struck the town. Next morning, when she returned to her what was left of her property, Krystle spied her refrigerator poking out of the rubble. In that infamous snap seen around the world, Krystle triumphantly held up two salvaged White Claw beverages she had been hoping to enjoy that weekend. âIt sure has made me laugh a lot to look back on how all that played out,â Krystle reflects. But beyond the laughter, itâs been the support of others that has helped the most. âFriends and family helped us. We have been supported so much by people that are close to us,â she adds, tearing up.Area resident Jocelyn Gillam understands that sentiment all too well. Jocelyn, now 63, almost lost her life in the storm. As angry waves lashed the shoreline, Jocelyn stepped outside for just a moment, but was almost instantly struck by a rogue wave and nearly drowned. âSome days are good and there are some days I just got to sit in my chair and try to calm myself down,â she shares honestly. If she hears water running sometimes, the memories of being trapped come back to haunt her, she admits. âMost days I tried to get up and go on. I got my family and I got my husband, so you just got to go on for them,â she says, her voice cracking with emotion.Jocelyn adds that she knows that âeveryone has been through so muchâ¦ The area where I grew up, thereâs nothing there. One side of the road is gone. And you look sometimes and say to yourself, âI really canât remember who lived there anymore,â and thatâs so sad.âItâs devastating to see house after house torn down because they couldnât be repaired, she adds. âEverybody works hard to build their lives, and itâs all been taken away in the saddest way.â Friends of hers lost their home, escaping with only the clothes on their back, and another friend lost her life, taken by the storm and washed out to sea. âSome days I sit there in my chair and I think, âWhy did God save me?â âWhy am I still here?ââ Jocelyn admits. âThen I think, âHe must have kept me for a reason, so I better do my best every day.ââJocelyn and her husband Brian just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, and she said that day was one of celebration. âIt was the first day I can honestly say I didnât think about Fiona, not once. But most days I question so many things. Like, why did I go outside that day? I went out and I looked over across the sea and I could see the weather coming. But I was nowhere from my own home. I felt safe. In a blink, a wave just took me off my feet,â she says.While she still goes for therapy on her leg, on the day we spoke Jocelyn had been doing her usual weekly floor scrubbing - on her hands and knees of course. She laughs. âWell, you know what? I come out in the mornings, and I goes over and I stands in the window, and I says, âFiona, youâre not bringing me down today.ââWhile she knows sheâs resilient, Jocelyn explains that nothing has been easy since Fiona. âAt first, there were days I didnât dress. I didnât even shower. I couldnât. I didnât have it in me. I just couldnât do it.â But now, she puts her best foot forward each and every day - like everyone else in the town tries to do, she says. âWe are Port aux Basques strong. This is our home and will always be our home. I say to my husband, âIf the time comes and we got to go, where are we going?â We love it here. What happened to us all that day was Fionaâs fault. Thatâs the only thing we got to blame. Itâs not the town. Itâs not the people in it. Fiona was nasty to us that day, but weâll get through this.â Jocelyn has words of advice for anyone facing a hurricane or post-tropical storm. âDonât be nosy like me. Stay inside. Go somewhere safe. Donât think it canât happen to you, because it can.â Mayor Button understands where Jocelyn is coming from. Once youâve been through a disaster, you finally get it, he says. âNo one really knew just how big of an impact Fiona was going to have. The day after, once we had a chance to see what we were up against, we knew that it was going to be a very big hill we were going to have to climb and this wasnât going to be done in a short period of time.âAs much as anyone or any community can prepare, itâs never enough, he adds. âThereâs nothing that can prepare you for the real thing. We watch things on television and we see events that are happening, whether itâs forest fires or flooding, and we all say, âMy God, these people must be having some struggles and it must be so difficult. I wouldnât want to be in their shoes.â Well, we found ourselves in that exact situation, and we still find ourselves today still just trying to get through it.â Things have gotten better, but thereâs still a long road ahead yet, he adds.Krystle agrees, but she says the main thing is that people are healthy and they are safe and are preparing for the future. Her family of four currently resides in a home owned by her great aunt and uncle. While they will be there for a while yet, the family has plans to move into a new home in the near future.âWe have decided to rebuild in a newer part of town, far, far away from the ocean. Itâs like a new outlook on life and we are excited to start to process,â she shares.One of her first plans once they do move in? Krystle says with a chuckle, âPerhaps Iâll aim for round two of that photo once Iâm moved into our new home. A photo op of a White Claw in my new fridge in my new home. Letâs see what happens.â
Earlier this year, Downhome asked again for your stories of incredible pets for our Pet of the Year Contest -and boy, did you deliver! We received a slew of stories about beautiful companions offering love, bringing comfort and brightening our days together. A number of them were awarded honourable mentions, as youâll discover on the following pages. Their stories range from hilarious to heartwarming, and sometimes a mix of both.But first, itâs time to meet this yearâs winner. She was chosen above all for her friendship, determination and bravery. Hereâs the story of Sue the English setter and her human, Deborah Scott.Sue is a five-year old English setter. She lives in Marysvale, NL, with her mom, Deborah. âSheâs gotten me through a lot, the good girl,â Deborah says. âI lost my husband last year and then she lost her bigger brother. So itâs just me and her now, and weâre doing OK.âBut things were far from OK one night last summer. In August of 2022, Deborah owned a cabin on Bonne Bay Pond and was in the process of getting work done on it before moving in - until those plans suddenly went up in smoke. âAugust 12th, last year,â Deborah recounts in a hushed voice. That night was the first time Deborah had been out socially since her husband passed away. âI had a couple of friends over for supper and we went to visit at another cabin. About 11 oâclock I came home and got settled away, got in bed, and went to sleep.âSue usually curls right in under the blankets and snoozes quietly, but this night, Deborah says, she was agitated. âShe started jumping on me and barking. In my sleep, I just sort of pushed her aside and told her to be good, but she kept at it and kept at it and kept at it.â Eventually, Deborah sat up to see what Sueâs problem was. She was shocked to discover the room was filled with smoke!âThe whole cabin was black with smoke,â she says. âWe crawled out, literally crawled, and 10 minutes after we were out, it was fully engulfed.âIn nothing but pajamas and bare feet, Deborah took off to a nearby cabin for help, with Sue right by her side. The RCMP called the Southside fire department, but by the time they arrived, the cabin was a total loss. If it hadnât been for Sue, the loss would have been much more tragic. The bond between Sue and Deborah is stronger than ever. âSheâs everything to me,â Deborah says.Sue loves to run for miles and go for rides in the car. Sheâs devoted to Deborahâs two grandsons, who call her Sue Magoo because sheâs so silly. She has a lot of allergies, so Deborah makes her special vegetarian treats (romaine lettuce is her favourite), and she loves to stroll around the pond. But after a small snafu involving a bird and the kayak, Sue hates getting in the water.âSheâs very lovable,â Deborah laughs. âSheâs with me wherever I go.âAnd how do you thank a dog for her heroism? âGive her everything she needs,â Deborah says simply. âSqueeze her, love her, thatâs all you can do! I just look at her sometimes,â she adds with a laugh. âShe can be a nuisance, and I just say, âWell, you did save my life!ââ
By Ivan J. White, proud Miâkmaw, Flat Bayer and fatherI will start with an appropriate introduction, one that connects me to both the people that claim me and the land that sustains me. My name is Ivan Joseph White (Ivan J). I am the son of Ivan and Joanann White; grandson of Gus and Susan White, and Theodore and Pauline Tobin. My family, although extremely large, is incredibly close. We are tied together by the love we know for each other and the values of sharing, inclusivity and collaboration.Growing up in the Miâkmaw community of Flat Bay, I was surrounded by friends and family, and never once felt unsafe exploring the lands and waters there. When I tell you it was different from your experience, you may not trust that it was. So I will preface this with words like âunique upbringingâ and âthis is not your story,â as they are my favourite ways to express how different it really was. In general, Indigenous communities, if they have been recognized at all and not left in obscurity or as background noise, have been recognized through a settler lens - and that perspective is locked in the past, in stereotypes. To allow you to see me, and to subsequently recognize my community, I will start with what I know as Miâkmaw culture, the culture I grew up with in Flat Bay.I am 40 years young, and I will tell you that culture was not feathers, smoke, pounding on drums or dancing. No one did this. The survival of a people resulted in difficult decisions, including the termination of knowledge sharing around the language - which was completely lost in the late 1970s with the death of Mary Francis-Webb, a midwife to hundreds of families from the tip of the Northern Peninsula to Cape Ray. She was strong Miâkmaw woman who spoke four languages and will be remembered in perpetuity for the strength of her character that was matched only by her ability to heal. Difficult decisions left us with hunter-gatherer, some agriculture, and a whole lot of barter and sharing knowledge skills, and stories, as culture. Miâkmaw culture is about actioning a genuine love and care for others in the community that most people would only write about, or experience, through fiction.For most of the population on the island of Newfoundland, there is an innate capacity to be able to speak of their experience and ability to âlive off the land.â I wonât, and canât, argue this as a falsehood. But the experience and abilities we share as a circumstance of living, and surviving, on this island are not the same as the identity that I grew up exploring and experiencing in Flat Bay. It was fundamentally different. It was holistic. A story was as valuable, in fiction and non-fiction form, as the mending of an axe handle or a bag of vegetables. Connecting and growing together through story means something to my people, and I feel it always will. My home has endured a multitude of hardships: isolation, exclusion and oppression make a good overarching trilogy of themes in chronological order to describe these hardships. But it remains strong, friendly and open to this day through the Bay St. George Miâkmaw Powwow; the Flat Bay Bandâs implementation of social and economic programs beyond basic services; and groups of volunteers who bring people together to make Flat Bay much more than a community - they make it home.Flat Bay has always provided a great sense of belonging and comfort to me. It taught me the importance of sharing, and I give back and promote those values with the work that I do now for, but never without, them. Truth and Reconciliation to me, represent the past, present and future. The truth of the past is that we all hear and acknowledge the shared history from the Indigenous perspective. My story, my familyâs story, my communityâs story, my nationâs story, are all valid pieces of our collective story - humanityâs story. Reconciliation makes the present and informs the future, where we must all work together to share, include and collaborate on making sure the next seven generations know they belong and have the knowledge to survive, grow and do the same for as far as we can imagine into their future. Ivan J White, Miâkmaw from Flat Bay, is the Indigenous education specialist with Memorial Universityâs Office of Indigenous Affairs. He writes from his home in Shallop Cove, shared with his wife Crystal; two kids, Bella and Ivan Jacob; and their fur babies Chess, Checkers and Juno. Seven generations, or 840 years, is a Pan-Indigenous concept that helps us perceive the future and think of ways to preserve the good things we have and do for the people who will walk Mother Earth in future.
By Dillon CollinsTo persevere is defined as the ability to continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty. Perhaps no young athlete across Newfoundland and Labrador embodies heart, intestinal fortitude and perseverance quite like Andrew Hynes.Andrew - a 35-year-old Special Olympian based out of Portugal Cove-St. Philipâs - was born with the multi-system disorder Williams Syndrome. Yet his tenacity, good-natured attitude and heart has propelled him through more than 25 years of success in athletics. His latest and most personal accolade saw the veteran of local and national sport journey across the globe for an opportunity reserved for an elite few.Andrew and his longtime friend, Lynette Wells, were selected to be a part of the torch run leading up to the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Germany (June 17-25, 2023), representing the Law Enforcement Torch Run Special Olympics for Newfoundland and Labrador. The duo were two of only 110 participants from around the world in the torch's final leg - with Andrew being one of only 10 athletes, and the only selection from Canada.âItâs pretty mind-boggling what happened over there,â shares Andrew in a recent sit-down with Downhome. âIt was a pretty emotional experience for me as an athlete and as a person. My parents couldnât come with me, so I was there all by myself. But I knew that the person who went over with me was going to take care of me, and I knew that I was going to have great people surrounding me.âAndrewâs relationship with Lynette goes back over two decades, with the pair originally selected as torch runners for the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Kazan, Russia. Those games, however, were cancelled amidst the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.Shaking off the disappointment of events beyond their control, Andrew and Lynette applied and were selected for the prestigious honour in Germany, with Andrew - a longtime dedicated Special Olympian in his own right - over the moon to represent his country and home province overseas. âI just got goosebumps from you saying that actually,â Andrew shares of the reality of being the only Canadian athlete selected to carry the torch.âItâs mind-opening, itâs crazy. Like, thereâs so many good Canadian athletes in Canada and they picked a guy from a small community in Newfoundland. I mean, we donât get recognized very much for sports and stuff down here in Newfoundland, but weâre going to get recognized for this, thatâs for sure.âEmbraced by his fellow torchbearers and the hordes of athletes represented at the games, the experience was eye-opening and monumental for a young man who overcame no shortage of hardship to reach it.Andrewâs mother, Corena Boland Greeley, a superb athlete herself and longtime rower, recently overcame stage four bowel cancer. Her fight helped propel Andrew during his 40 km trek across nearly four days.âItâs pretty amazing to see my mom doing so well now,â Andrew shared proudly. âI went over to Germany and it finally came time for me to go. She was really happy for me. And so was I. So itâs really nice.âBack home with his torch in tow, Andrew has endeavoured to share his own piece of sports history with his family, friends and home province. âI was wondering what I was going to do with it, and I actually got it and I was like, man, Iâm going to go here, I want to go there. I want to take [the torch] because itâs not only for me, itâs for everyone else who got me there.âWatching his mother and the extended Greeley clan at the lake - a legacy family in Newfoundlandâs rowing culture - Andrew was bitten hard by the sports bug at a young age. Individual achievements would morph into a love of team sports - from track and field to floor hockey and soccer - where Andrew would suit up for Special Olympics Canada in a series of national games across two decades.âGoing down to the pond and watching my mother race, and watching my step-father race, and his family are so involved in it. I was a little kid just going down and watching my mom race and watching her row. I wanted to get into sports. And once that opportunity came around, I went into sports and got my own medals. Yeah, itâs pretty cool,â Andrew recalls proudly, searching for a moment for advice heâd pass on to budding sports hopefuls. âYou just need to keep going. Don't listen to other people if they doubt you, just donât listen to that. Just fight and go to the gym. Working out really helps. If you go to the gym, you put in the work, good things will happen. So keep working out and keep grinding, and it will come.â
By Denise FlintHouse cleaner Frances Delaney has a brain tumour and will die if it isnât treated. But Frances believes that treatment wonât save her and so refuses any medical intervention. Instead, with the help of a young friend, Edie, who sees her as a second mother, she develops a bucket list to enjoy her final days. Thatâs the starting premise of Bobbi Frenchâs first novel, The Good Women of Safe Harbour.Francesâs first tentative steps towards living life before itâs too late are fairly modest. With Edieâs guidance she gets a manicure, she buys some new clothes, she goes to a fancy restaurant. But Edie keeps pushing to ensure Frances dies without regrets, and so contrives to reconnect her with a friend she became estranged from 40 years ago. Thatâs when everything changes.The Good Women of Safe Harbour takes a mundane woman of a certain age and class, and turns her into a hero as we accompany her on her journey towards making peace with her past, her present and her future. Perhaps the most poignant lesson the book teaches is that there are women like Frances all around us who have never truly indulged themselves, who have never really been noticed, who have lived quiet and unassuming lives with little apparent impact on the wider world. Yet their lives are still worth living, worth examining and worth celebrating. French writes with both wit and compassion, and the interaction between Frances and her old friend, Annie, resonates with authenticity. You care about Frances right until the end, so hereâs a friendly warning: keep a box of tissues handy.Q&A with the AuthorDenise Flint: You used to be a psychiatrist. Did you draw on that background to sculpt the characters and their behaviour?Bobbi French: Definitely. In that work I think I met so many women whose difficult lives were due to factors beyond their control. When I sat down to write the book I was thinking of them, especially the ones who were wise and witty and very overlooked. Without those experiences this character would never have come to be. I think being a psychiatrist helps in writing fictional characters, in general, because you have a unique sense of peopleâs interior worlds. That almost feels like cheating because you have this insight into character. Itâs a very different background to have.DF: This book has been nominated for the Stephen Leacock award (among others). How much of a surprise was that?BF: On a scale of one to 10, Iâd say 30. I donât think of this as a humorous book. Itâs the intertwining of the hilarious and the tragic. While the book is about many different heavy things - loss and grief and loneliness and illness - I think thereâs a lot of light and joy and warmth and good humour, and what Iâm hoping is that that kind of recognitions sees all that. There was so much discussion around publishing the book and whether people would engage with a book about a cleaning woman whoâs dying, and the feedback is that people find it hilarious. That it softens death and dying pleases me no end.DF: You have mentioned all the book clubs youâve been invited to speak at. Whatâs that experience like?BF: I wasnât prepared for how important and wonderful those experiences have been. I count some of those evenings amongst the best of my life. Those probing analyses show how deeply readers are engaging with the story. Itâs so gratifying. Thereâs lots of laughing and love for the book and the characters. I could never have imagined how touched and moved people were by the story and the people. DF: What was your path to becoming a novelist?BF: My path was boredom and isolation. I have always loved novels, and I wrote a bad short story in high school and was convinced I could never write fiction. I wrote a travel blog and a memoir; and one day, I had some significant deterioration in my health and was unable to work, and I needed something to occupy myself. I had convinced myself I couldnât do it, but I had never tried. It came out of having time and space to turn illness into something good. Iâm very surprised by this whole journey.DF: Whatâs next?BF: I am currently working on my second novel, which again concerns a woman of a certain age living on the island of Newfoundland. I hope it engages the way The Good Women did. The second novel is always the hardest - no one was waiting for your first novel. Thereâs pressure, but thereâs joy. What could be finer than a waiting audience for a story about the women of Newfoundland?
By David Vardy Gus Etchegary passed away on May 7, 2023, just three weeks short of his 99th birthday. In a life long lived, Gus gained a legacy for many things. He was most widely known for being an articulate and passionate spokesman for the fishery. While I was deputy minister of provincial fisheries, Gus chaired a provincially appointed independent fishery advisory committee. In recent years he led the Fisheries Community Alliance, of which I am a proud member. Born Augustine A. Etchegary in St. Lawrence, NL, Gus was just 17 years old when he helped in the rescue of 186 survivors of the Truxton and Pollux shipwreck in February 18, 1942. He befriended Lanier Phillips, one of the survivors, a Black seaman in the US Navy, who served on the destroyer USS Truxton. This friendship endured right up until Phillips died in 2012. Growing up in St. Lawrence, the âsoccer capital of Canada,â Gus became an acclaimed soccer and hockey player. The leadership skills he learned playing sports prepared him for his future roles as plant manager, company president and community advocate. He was COO of the largest fish harvesting, processing and marketing company in the province, Fishery Products Limited (FPL), which in 1984 became Fishery Products International (FPI). Gus was a titan, a tectonic force. With a powerful vision and voice, he called for the rebuilding of depleted fish stocks to help revitalize the fishing industry. He saw the future of FPL as a global, vertically integrated firm, supplied by a fleet of offshore trawlers and inshore fish harvesters. In the early 1970s, Gus led the Save our Fisheries Association (SOFA), which drew national and international attention to foreign overfishing. SOFA advocated for the creation of an extended economic zone (EEZ), which was realized - but only to the 200-mile limit. Gus pushed prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper to extend jurisdiction to the edge of the continental shelf, including the nose and tail of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, as well as the Flemish Cap. They promised action, but did not deliver. Over the years, Gus hammered away at politicians of all stripes. For him the fishery was too important to become a political pawn. Speaking out through every medium available, including open line shows and letters to the editor, his was a constant, articulate voice for decades on the fishery. Serving as a Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) commissioner, Gus worked for many years to reform NAFO. He believed that, as the coastal state, Canada should have a greater voice than its single vote among 13 contracting NAFO members, so that overfishing would not destroy our coastal communities. To better protect the fisheries, Gus advocated for better fishery science and better management. He often spoke in praise of Dr. Wilfred Templeman, director of the Fisheries Research Board. Gus felt that research boards, independent of political pressure, could speak truth to power and outside of DFOâs structure. If groundfish stocks were rebuilt and managed properly, with better science and stronger enforcement of fishing rules, both inside and outside the 200-mile limit, it would yield benefits more significant and more sustainable than those from non-renewable resources such as oil and gas. For his amazing accomplishments and contribution to public life, Gus was awarded an honorary doctorate from Memorial University in 2008. In 2013, he published an account of the fishery mismanagement, entitled Empty Nets. It laid out his vision for improved fishery management and a revitalized approach to stock rebuilding and sustainable fishing. Gus and his wife, soul mate and first mate Kay, were intrepid sailors. They once journeyed 42 days around the province on their sailboat, La Reine Basque. They visited many of the fishing communities where Gus had spent his early days. With his passing, Gus has left an unfillable void. Who now can speak with his authority and wisdom? Or hold the passion that inspired those who love our province and believe in its future? Gus Etchegaryâs legacy can only be fully realized when decision makers act urgently to rebuild depleted stocks, so that fishing communities can regain their independence and self-reliance. Then, and only then, will Newfoundland and Labradorâs greatest fish titan rest in peace! About the author: David Vardy had a career in public service, holding positions such as clerk of the Executive Council, president of Marine Institute, deputy minister of fisheries and aquaculture, and chair of the Public Utilities Board. He was a founding member of the Muskrat Falls Concerned Citizensâ Coalition, and more recently served on the Premierâs Economic Recovery Team (PERT) and the Expert Panel on Churchill Falls.
By Kim Ploughman When Elizabeth and Michael Hackett set out in a schooner in late May 1900, to venture from English Harbour East to the Bay of Islands, it was simply a matter of moving for employment. A decline in the herring fishery in Fortune Bay in the early 1900s launched the Hacketts, whose ancestors hailed from Ireland, off to more bountiful waters. The fish were reportedly plentiful on the islandâs west coast. Aboard the 21-tonne schooner, The Belle, were Elizabeth and Michael, their five children, extended family members, two sharemen, two dories, fishing nets, a big bull, a cow with calves, eight sheep, three lambs, and the makings for a new house and its furnishings.Their journey took several weeks, including an unscheduled layover in Port aux Basques following a rare celestial event - a solar eclipse. Veronica Hackett was just six years old at the time. Many years later she recalled the event for her grandson, Paul F. McCarthy, who wrote down her story. Downhome received a copy of his notes, in which sheâd said: âThe sails seemed to flatten right down on the water. Mother and all us children were screaming, and poor Dad was doing his best to get her straightened up. They didnât think sheâd come back. Then as it brightened up, it came up to blow a gale, and we had to go back to Port aux Basques for another three or four days.âBy late June, the Hacketts finally arrived at their destination - Woods Island. They called it Innismara, Irish Gaelic for âisland in the sea.â According to the book Heartbeat: Bay of Islands Newfoundland, written by Joseph Hackett and edited by Bernice J. Hillier (1992), at that time there were already 200 people living on the largest island in the Bay of Islands, which spanned 2,000 acres. It was used as a fishing station by the Basque (from late 1500s) and the French (from the late 1600s), and seasonally by the Miâkmaq. By the 1780s, European settlers began to occupy the island year-round.It was not long before Michael was headed down the Labrador, to take part in the summer fishery. He left behind his two sharemen to build a four-room family house at the waterâs edge and keep the home fires burning. In the following decades, Elizabeth Hackett would birth six more children, which they raised in a larger house built in 1905, in the shelter of the Blow Me Down Mountains. Nine of the 11 children survived to adulthood and carried on the Hackett bloodline.Little did Elizabeth and Michael imagine that their resettlement in the early 1900s would send ripples through time, affecting generations and a region of Newfoundland where their name is spoken to this day. Reunion & Resettlement HouseIn 2022, 122 years after the Hacketts stepped ashore on Woods Island, their extensive offspring reunited. Downhome reached their grandson, Richard Furlong, at his home in New Market, ON, recently to get the story of the long overdue reunion.The first spark was lit by a library presentation. âIn 2015, the local Corner Brook [Public] Library presented a history of Woods Island, mentioning fish merchants - but one of largest, the Furlongs, were not included,â he says. âSo, the family decided it was time to bring them and the Hackett heritage out from the dustbins of history.âHe and Dr. Rainer Baehre, a professor of social, cultural and historical studies at Memorial University Grenfell Campus, put off their own presentation in 2019, focused on the history of the herring industry and the Furlongsâ role, which attracted numerous relatives. The clan then embarked on a trip to Woods Island, during which the boatâs skipper, cousin Peter Hackett, suggested a family reunion. âWe identified over 700 relatives around the world, from the UK, Ireland, Japan, Canada and Asia, who were offspring of the original nine children who survived,â says Richard. Close to 275 of them signed up for a reunion that was held in August 2022.Woods Island, meanwhile, had fallen victim to the government resettlement program of the 1960s. It was abandoned after the Hackettsâ descendants all packed up and relocated to nearby Benoitâs Cove or Curling, where Richard was born. It was decided that the reunion would be held in Benoitâs Cove, where attendees could tour the Woods Island Resettlement House and Heritage Centre. The white house had belonged to Richardâs uncle, Peter Hackett, and was floated over from Woods Island when the family relocated. Now it is a museum of photos and artifacts from the island life. The Hackett relatives used this location for their meet and greet event. The reunionâs opening was rung in with a hand-held fog bell from Woods Island and a performance by the Benoitâs Cove Native Drumming Group. Nine family branches attended, each branch wearing a different coloured T-shirt representing their lineage back to one of the original Hackett children. Other events included a kitchen party, a BBQ and a bonfire. The reunion led to the creation of the Woods Island Heritage Project (WHIP) committee. Its goal is not only to plan the next reunion, but also to foster a commitment to heritage preservation. Richard explains, âIt has a broad mandate to strengthen the region through tourism, with a long-term focus on the history of the immediate area, as well as the Bay of Islands.âRichard says the committee will be looking at the history of the merchants and fishermen, the French Shore, resettlement and Indigenous peoples, as well as the Gloucester fishers and merchants from the US who visited and collected fish from Woods Island fishers. âWe view the area as a gem for visitors, as there is so much history to share,â says Richard. Among the committeeâs goals is to enhance Resettlement House and refurbish the islandâs aged graveyards. Michael and Elizabeth both died in 1933, and were buried on their Innismara. Nearly a century later, their descendants are determined that the Hacketts will not be forgotten.
Interior designer Marie Bishop answers your questions Q: What are the most creative ways youâve seen pets (their beds, food dishes, toys etc.) incorporated into a home design? Iâm looking for some ideas for the home I share with a dog and a cat. A: Great question. There is no doubt we have become a society of pet lovers. These furry critters have become our friends, our babies, our family. While they have always shared our living space, there is a recent trend to create a dedicated âdesigner spaceâ for our beloved pets. Some would say itâs about time. Our fur babies have nestled their way into our homes as much as our hearts. Most pets have a designated doggie bed or kitty pillow somewhere in your main living area and likely in your bedroom, too. But what do you do with all their accessories, toys, treats, outerwear, grooming tools, medications and, yes, family photos?As with any design idea, this can be as elaborate or simple as your budget and space will allow. Of course, it also depends on the number and size of the pets you have. Letâs say you donât mind investing a little money, effort and floor space for your pet. The most obvious space would be located in or near your main living area; no one likes to be left out. If itâs close to the entrance you most frequently use, so much the better.For starters, you could invest in an open-faced, locker style unit with hooks, baskets and possibly drawers. This takes advantage of vertical space to keep everything tidy and organized. The hooks can handle leashes, rainwear, vests, a small backpack for snacks, those little baggies and your sun/rain hat. Glass jars on an upper shelf could display treats. Baskets at the lower level are great for the toys, squeakies and towels for drying wet and muddy paws. Drawers can store food, medications, even a notebook for appointment reminders and medication schedules for times when someone else is in charge. Add a serviceable rug next to a comfy doggie bed, as well as a waterproof placemat for the food and water dishes, and youâve got a great Doggie Den.If you have unused space or a space you could repurpose - like the cubby under the stairs, a storage area or a dead space at the end of a hallway - you can add more character and personality with a funky light fixture, a fake plant, a photo wall, or even an accent colour or mural to give it real canine character. Cats, on the other hand, have different needs. They will thoroughly enjoy the fact that youâve created a special place for them, possibly wonder what took you so long, use it occasionally - and continue to claim every other comfortable surface in your house. The best you can do is protect your furniture with nice-looking throws that will need to be replaced every now and again. But if you are a cat lover, you already know this.Indoor and outdoor cats will equally a creative indoor space that lets them hone their feline prowess. Cats love spaces where they can climb, hide, scratch, watch from above and sleep. Itâs easy enough to create if you donât mind giving them a little vertical space. This, too, can be designed in an underused area of the house where you can set up angled and level platforms on the wall, carpeted vertical spaces to scratch, tunnels to navigate and a spot to nap. The ideal Kitty Condo.Another consideration for indoor cats is the dreaded litter box. Fortunately, kitty litter has come a long way in terms of a long lasting odour control, quick clumping, easy scooping, mess-free product. But itâs not something you want in plain view. There are many convenient options available that look great and keep everyone happy. The most practical one Iâve seen is a small cabinet with 2 doors on the front and a kitty entrance on the side. Inside there is a shelf about 6â-8â from the top to store cleaning cloths and litter disposal bags. The bottom section houses the litter box and a hook on the inside of the door holds the litter scoop. On top of the cabinet you could arrange a few cat-friendly plants such as Silver Vine, Cat Thyme or Catnip. These are actually healthy for your cat and will keep them away from your more prized houseplants. Place this unit next to your Kitty Condo with a basket of toys and a container of treats, and your kitty will be purring for hours on end.Maybe when you have your special space all fitted out for your furry friends, you could send me some photos featuring your proud pets. Itâs always wonderful to share the joy and even better when everyone in your house, including your pets, love their space. Got a design question for Marie? Email your question to email@example.com!