I was born in Newfoundland and lived there until Dad moved our family to Ontario. Every summer I get homesick for the island. I have so many wonderful memories of playing in the woods or on the beaches. My husband and I would later move back there to raise our own children.

Summer in Newfoundland is beautiful, there are loads of trails to hike, and of course bonfires on the beach as well as swimming. It is a nature lover’s paradise. Recently my brother gave me this wonderful aerial photo of the old house, which, sadly, is long gone. Looking at it takes me back in time. There have been many changes since we were children.

Port au Port West, NL, Canada – photo by Barra Studio

Our house looked over Bay St. George, a wild, tumultuous bay – unlike the quieter Port au Port Bay. This photo was taken on one of the rare calm days. The beaches on Port au Port Bay are mostly sandy beaches whereas Bay St. George beaches are very rocky. It was awesome on a stormy day to watch the waves crash loudly on the shores. It was also the lullaby I fell asleep to.

As a child we often visited our grandparents who lived just a little ways up the road, or to play with our cousins who lived nearby. I also remember going often to Mr. Martin’s house across the road. He had built wooden stairs down to the beach – the steep banks would have been difficult to navigate even for agile children. I don’t know why we addressed him as “Mister”. He was actually our great-grandfather’s step brother – but that’s another story. My husband insists we don’t have a family tree, we have a family forest – easy to get lost in it. But I digress, yet again.

You will see I labeled the photograph. “The old homestead” was built by my grandparents. At that point in time they did a lot of farming, as well as fishing to feed their large families.

“The pond” was formed when Port au Port Bay flooded the area during a storm. After that a breakwater wall was built to keep the bay at bay (pun intended). We used to go skating on the pond in winter – in more recent years it has been used for snow mobile races.

We had a barn on the property where we kept a cow and chickens, and, from time to time, a pig. I remember what fun it was jumping from the hayloft down into the hay below. It was not an easy life for our parents. There were a lot of chores to do from cutting wood for the wood stove to making home made bread to hauling water – we did not have indoor plumbing – that was a task my older brothers especially detested on laundry days. Everybody had chores to do from eldest to youngest. Still, I am so grateful to have been born there and to have these memories to treasure.

27 thoughts on “Summertime and missing the ocean

      1. Yes, that would be nice. We do have lovely rivers here – what is it about water that forever draws me? Something in the psyche from growing up by the sea I suppose.

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  1. I understand Carol. Such a beautiful picture you paint, and I relate to ut so well. The buttersweetness, the mournung, all of it. I feel exactly the same about my home village and my grandparents’ farm that has now been pulled down. Keep writing about it Carol. It sounds beautiful 😊

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    1. Thanks Lorraine, it was and is a beautiful place: craggy rocks and cliffs – points of land jutting out into the sea, lots of green forests, and much of the land is as it’s always been albeit the trees are much younger than other places in the country thanks to clear cutting back in the day, but by and large fairly pristine.

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      1. I understand Carol. Hope you can, and I know that it would be wonderful but that you will also feel sadness. Sending you much love

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    1. Did I ever tell you there was a huge American presence in Newfoundland? My Dad worked on the American Air Force base that was built in Stephenville during the Second World War. He brought many a serviceman (and often their families too) home for dinner. Come over to where the true North, strong and free, will show you beauty that Newfoundlanders call “God’s country”. hahahaha

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  2. What wonderful memories. Each one is yours to keep forever. Nothing lost. Everything gained, because in your mind’s eye, map or no, you were there. You lived it, and loved it, or rather; you’re still living it, and loving it. Even better, and so appreciated, is your sharing your memories, a most important & nostalgic part of your story with us your readers.

    I will probably never get to see Newfoundland as you have, but I have a better sense of it, and why you love it so much. Thank you! 🙂

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