"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 26, 2018

Newfie Ties

 I was thinking about our trip to Newfoundland yesterday afternoon and missing the island in the North Atlantic known as "The Rock" quite terribly.  The only thing for it was to look at the pictures from our time there in August.
It was a special trip firstly because we had all of the Rascals with us, and we had time to hike and just look at the ocean.
It was also a bit of a homecoming: Ole Rascal was born there and our Middle was christened there, and I myself lived there for nearly three years in my early twenties.
Once you spend time in Newfoundland it gets in your blood.  Of course, it was already in my blood with my Nana being a Newfie herself: born in Topsail, she moved to Montreal as a child but never forgot she was a Newfie.
 Newfoundlanders have a distinct appreciation of nature and of... talking.  You never saw people who could just sit and chat for hours over a cup of tea (with Carnation milk from the can) or a simple meal, or in festive times a bit of a drink.
When I lived there in the 1990's I spent many afternoons chatting with Nan Babb over that strong tea, so many afternoons that I picked up a bit of her Newfie accent that has never really left me.  In fact my neighbour of twelve years thought until just last summer that I was born and bred a Newfie.
 I wish we could go back this summer but alas we have no plans, for now.  I often dream of buying a little house there so we could go to Newfoundland every summer.
Watching the boats come in and out of Petty Harbour.

Middle Rascal

Clothesline... by the ocean.
 One afternoon in Newfoundland, after our oldest two had flown back to Toronto to their jobs, Lil Rascal wanted to hike on her own with her Dad.  It was a 14 kilometre hike so I was okay to give it a pass!  Instead, I drove our rental jeep out to Portugal Cove, where I had read about an antique store in a former church.
I walked into the church and instantly knew I had looked at an old web page, the church was indeed full of... stuff, but it was most definitely the home of Buddy and his wife, who were just finishing up their breakfast!  After getting over my embarrassment (somewhat) I was given a tour, in the true style of a hospitable Newfoundlander.  The fellow had in fact sold antiques, so he offered to sell me something from his vast supplies of crockery, rag-rugs and oddities.
I chose a bean pot and some pieces from a tea set, and after paying him in cash I made my way to the door.  Before I left he said to me "I knew your Mudder you know, Topsail you're from?  My but you look just like her, and your voice is the same too."

I was so shocked I didn't have the sense to ask the name of this "Mudder", so I just explained that no, my mother was a mainlander, although my Nana was indeed from Topsail (and in fact I hadn't mentioned my Newfie blood, I'd simply told him I was "From Away").

He was about the age of my mother so I have to wonder who it was he knew that I seemed to be tied to!
I might have to go back one day to find out.

If you ever get a chance to visit beautiful Newfoundland you have to go.  You'll never forget it, and it might even get in your blood.
Wishing you a lovely day on this Friday,


  1. Hi Dani, lovely post. I would love to visit Newfoundland someday - I've met many Newfies here and there and they are lovely people. Actually, the first time I remember meeting one was in Lahr, Germany. I confessed to him that I had a hard time understanding him - and he told me the same thing! (Although I maintain that my Scottish accent was never as strong as his Newfie one!) I had to laugh at your going into someone's home in hopes of antiquing! Maybe you weren't the first to do so; I'm sure they were charmed by you anyway.

    1. Patricia it was so embarrassing and very unlike me! I don't know what I was thinking. The worst thing of it is that first I tried the front door and it was locked, so I just walked in the side door. You'd think I would have paused. They were lovely to me even though it was basically a home invasion! :)
      So funny, you and your Newfie in Germany! xx

  2. Great post! Sounds like a divine visit indeed! I've never been there, but would LOVE to go. Curious about the accent too. I'll have to Google it and see if You Tube has any Newfie information!

    1. Vava the accent is quite unique! It's a bit Irish and a bit Northern England and then it takes a turn that is very particular to Newfoundland. It's such an isolated island (although a huge island) that the accent has not really changed. I'm surprised when I hear my voice on a recording how the Newfie comes out, I don't notice it when I'm talking.
      You would LOVE it. xx

  3. Lovely post. There are so many wonderful places to be visited! It definitely sounds like you all had a wonderful time. We have no plans for the summer yet either, but it is interesting to see how many links are renewing since we have moved, so we might end up visiting friends here or there...

    1. Stephanie that sounds like a good summer coming your way, are you enjoying living there? It was a big move but it seems to have been a good one, I'm very happy for you and your family. xx

  4. This is a great post. Newfoundland is the only province I have not seen. Perhaps you did not remind your acquaintance of your mother but you grandmother? delightful blog. I'm still having problems posting. What happens is I write my post. I hit submit. Then another screen asks my user name and password. I give them then I get back to the original post, press submit, then sometimes it appears, sometimes not. When it doesn't I assume it's for moderation; actually it just disappears. Ideas?

    1. Ann I'm not sure, it's not coming up in my email feed as a comment to be moderated, it just sometimes shows up there and not here, then I copy and paste it in as I did with this one.
      Can you write your comment after putting in your user name and password? I would try that first , and if that doesn't work maybe set up a google account with your user name and password stored there, then you should be able to comment without problem and without the extra step of inserting your password every time.
      Funny, I think I reminded him of someone who I'm maybe distantly related to! xx

  5. Aww Dani what a sweet post. Love to get there someday. It sounds like a spot that has a far-off feeling and I love that. I think you were meant to go to that house and meet that gentleman! Happy weekend ! x Kim

    1. Kim I think you're right and it gave me a feeling of belonging there too. Newfoundland is a really unique spot in the world and if you ever get the chance to go you would love it. It's a great family holiday too, you can rent a spot right on the ocean and hike the East Coast Trail. It's really spectacular.
      Thank you Kim! xx

  6. I've not been to Newfoundland. It's on my list!

  7. Oh Dani, I had no idea you had ties to Newfoundland! I do, too; I spent five formative years of my childhood in St. John's, and in fact it's the only place in Canada that I've ever been for more than 6 weeks, as a (naturalized) Canadian citizen. My family moved to the States soon after we became citizens; but not before instilling in me a deep nostalgia for both Canada and Newfoundland.

    I still haven't been back since leaving in 2000, although I talk about it every summer. I was determined to make it happen this summer... but what with other plans, it might get pushed out to 2019, sigh. I live in California now so getting out to St. John's is a day-long trek both ways. It's easier for me to fly to China!

    Strangely, I didn't pick up much of the distinctive accent, I don't think. Or maybe I did and lost it quickly when the American third-graders started teasing me. I know I had a stronger "Canadian English" accent at first, which has mostly faded to just a few pronunciations now. I say "room" variants with a short o/u-ish sound rather than the long o of American English, and I've been told that I pronounce "Canadian" in a Canadian way, whatever that means! I also got into an argument with my high school social studies teacher once over the correct way to pronounce "Newfoundland." He insisted that the stress was wholly on the first syllable and turned "land" into "lund." It made me question the accuracy of my own homegrown pronunciation, after so many years away, but I'm still certain that "land" is "land"!

    The only negative thing I have to say about my time there, isn't really anyone's fault. But NF, even in metro St. John's, is not the easiest place to be a person of color, especially a kid who speaks perfect English and doesn't "feel" like an immigrant. There are so few non-multi-generational Newfoundlanders around, besides the tourists. I think I was one of 2-3 non-white kids in my entire elementary school. Everyone was very sweet and well-meaning, but it's hard to be seen as a Newfie if you don't look like one.

    I left my <3 in St. John's, for sure.

  8. I spent 3 years in St. John's doing my masters at MUN. Met My husband there, although he also is not a Newfoundlander. One of the first people I met was from Topsail and my god, he never, ever stopped laughing at me when I pronounced it Top.Sail.

    Never quite figured out the difference between "where's you at?" And "where's you to?" Always made ordering a cab a nightmare.