The case for a North­ern Penin­sula mu­seum

Northern Pen - - Editorial -

Dear Editor,

I was born and raised in St. An­thony and will be 83-years-old on Dec. 3.

I am a full bred ru­ral New­found­lan­der and I am so proud to be able to blow off about that.

As they say in ru­ral New­found­land and Labrador, I have been a “jack of all trades.” Start­ing as a young boy, just out of school, it was in the fish plant. At age 20, I be­came an in­shore cod fish­er­man or, should I say, cod “fisher­boy” — sea­sick and all.

From the fish­ing boat I went to north­ern Labrador where, for a number of years, I taught Inuit chil­dren. But still on the move, I spent years in charge of se­cu­rity at the St. An­thony Air­port.

But in my life­time, I have al­ways had a great in­ter­est in the his­tory of ru­ral New­found­land, espe­cially where I was born and raised, the tip of the Great North­ern Penin­sula.

And I am dis­mayed when I look around and how much of our valu­able ru­ral his­tory and her­itage have been de­stroyed or see how our peo­ple could sit idly by and per­mit those in author­ity de­stroy so much of our valu­able his­tory. There are those who may quickly add “send your valu­able his­tory to us and we will give them a per­ma­nent home.” But that is not the an­swer be­cause there are many peo­ple on the North­ern Penin­sula who have never been across its bor­der and never will, espe­cially the el­derly.

There­fore, there is a great need for a pub­lic mu­seum and what a place bet­ter than St. An­thony, when pub­lic space is more read­ily avail­able?

In my life­time, grow­ing up in St. An­thony, I have had great in­ter­est in telling other peo­ple who we are and what we do, both here and abroad with prob­a­bly 500 let­ters to the editor and seven books pub­lished so far.

For the past two win­ters, I have been tak­ing my work just a lit­tle fur­ther, by mak­ing large mod­els, about six feet by three feet of a great chap­ter in our his­tory. Thus far three sit in my base­ment work­place and ready to view and wait­ing for a home, with more to come. They are the fa­mous salt cod fish mer­chants who used to buy the dry cod from the in­shore fish­er­men.

I have al­ways had the urge to let other peo­ple from other parts of the world know who we are, as well as those at home.

It was on Aug. 10, 2009 that I wrote a three-page let­ter and put it in a bot­tle and threw it into the At­lantic Ocean near my home in St. An­thony. On the three-page let­ter, I told about Dr. Wil­fred Gren­fell, our town and its peo­ple and the cod mora­to­rium which crip­pled New­found­land and Labrador.

Some 544 days and 3,520 km later the bot­tle was found on a beach in Brit­tany in South­ern France by Joy Nash, a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Arche­ol­ogy and her friend Jean Pierre. Within 15 min­utes she had made voice con­tact with me, a con­tact which will re­main for a long while.

Thanks for giv­ing me the time, so I will be able to let those in author­ity know just how im­por­tant it is for this area to get a home here at home for its his­tory.

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