Tales and Yarns

My La Scie

Author:  Garry Tizzard

My La Scie


From July 11th, 1949, until June 30th, 1950 my father, Rev. Aubrey Tizzard was the Lay Supply minister on the La Scie United Church pastoral charge in Green bay, Newfoundland. My father kept a daily diary, or journal, from the year 1940 until his death in 1984. I have all but three or four of them in my possession and value them greatly. They are a wealth of information and from them I am gleaning a vast knowledge of what life was like as I grew up in and around Newfoundland and some parts of Nova Scotia. Hence, I am writing a book of these cherished moments in time. Fifty years ago, when my father was thirty-one years old and living in La Scie, he wrote in his diary one day, May 10th, that he and his mother sawed off seventeen sticks of wood. I don’t know why he specified the number of sticks of wood but perhaps he knew how many he had to start with and was keeping track of how much he had used and how much he would need for the rest of the year. He also mentions that he had sixty more to saw off.

This practice of sawing off wood and splitting it was something that everyone did all year long, but even more so in the winter months. It was all cut with a buck saw and split with an axe. Sometimes, just enough to do for a day or two was all that was done and other times, when there was lots of time or a bit of extra help on hand, quite a bit would be split up and packed away in the woodshed or porch.

I still burn wood today and I’m sure that if my father and grandmother could see how I do it, they would be totally amazed. I have about 16 cords of the finest hardwood, usually rock maple, beech and yellow birch, delivered to my back yard sometime in late summer. I then either cut it up myself with a power saw or pay someone to do it for me. We split it with a hydraulic wood splitter and then pack almost all of it in my basement. No more going outside on cold or stormy days. A winter’s work back in the fifties, shortened to just a couple of days in today’s world.

The thing that really caught my eye from Father’s May 10th entry was the fact that a plane had circled the harbour a few times dropping single tins of milk and then trying to parachute a full bag. The bag broke and it all came crashing to the ground. At this time of year the harbour ice was breaking up making it impossible to land the plane. There was not enough open water to use a plane equipped with pontoons and not enough smooth ice to use a plane equipped with skis or wheels.

It was customary here in La Scie for the mail plane to bring both, mail to the Post Office and dry goods and supplies to the local merchants during the winter months. The only level place to land of course was the harbour. Why the plane was bringing milk that one particular day we can only speculate that the merchants’ supplies were getting low and instead of waiting for the coastal boats to arrive they must have decided to have the mail plane drop a few tins off to tide them over.

As luck would have it though, they didn’t have long to wait, for the next entry in my father’s diary reads as follows: Thursday, May 11, 1950, “Schooner Maggie Blackwood, first ship for the season, arrived 2:00 p.m. today”. The weather was fine and clear, the ice was a nice ways off shore.

The M.V. Clarenville was the next ship that came in harbour and it arrived at 11:30 a.m. on May 20th. The next one was the M.V. Northern Ranger arriving at 10:00 a.m. on May20th. The arrival of the coastal boats in the spring of the year was something everyone looked forward to with great anticipation. The stores and shops would be fully stocked again, friends and relatives from up or down the coast could visit more easily, and people just generally didn’t feel quite so isolated anymore.

I don’t remember anything of the coastal boats during the short time we were living in La Scie. Nor do I remember anything of them in Pilley’s Island, our next home for two years. However, I do remember something of them in Campbelton, 1954, and again listening to the ship to shore broadcast on our radio in Hillgrade. The coastal boats didn’t come right into Hillgrade but anchored a short distance out in the bay to discharge passengers and freight onto smaller boats that went out to meet it. Seal Cove and Summerford were the two main ports around home where they docked.

Another interesting incident that occurred while we were in la Scie was the time when my father went to Little Bay Islands for Presbytery. He left La Scie at 9:30 on Tuesday morning, May 23rd, 1950 and got back home on Friday evening, June 3rd. The Presbytery meetings were over on Friday, May 26th, but for the rest of the time my father and several other ministers were ice bound in Little Bay Islands.

When Father finally left Little Bay Islands on June 2nd, it still took him nearly two days to get home to La Scie. Here then is the sequence of events, written by my father, after leaving Little Bay Islands at 8:00a.m. on Friday, June 2nd, 1950: Arrived Nippers Harbour 11:00 a.m. after a little difficulty in the ice - got on board Mr. May’s boat and arrived Indian Burying Place 12:45 p.m. - had dinner at Mr. Sid Stoodley’s and walked to Snook’s Arm, arrived there at 3:20 p.m. - had lunch at Mr. Chesley Foote’s and then he landed me to Round Harbour - had tea at Mr. Adams’ and then got landed to Tilt Cove at 8:00 p.m. - stayed overnight in Tilt Cove - next morning got a boat to take me to Shoe Cove - baptized a baby there and then left for home - arrived in La Scie at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 3rd.

I was born in La Scie on March 16th, 1950. We only lived there until June 30th of that same year and I never returned until my 50th birthday on March, 16th, 2000. I fell in love with the place immediately, and as a result of years of saying I was born in La Scie, hearing both my parents talking about it so much and from reading my father’s diaries, I actually felt I was home. I, my wife, Janet and my youngest son, Jason, stayed overnight there, but due to an impending snowstorm the next day we had to leave earlier than expected.

When our family moved from La Scie to Hillgrade in 1950 we went by passenger boat, the Lady Bartlett. It took us about six and one half hours to cross the bay. In the year 2000, when my wife and I drove from La Scie to Hillgrade, it took us about four hours. Not a bad comparison but I think I would like to make that trip by boat again, just for old times sake.


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