Linda Woolridge is a Labrador West pi­o­neer

It’s been her home for over 50 years

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY GARY SHAW

Linda Woolridge is a true rep­re­sen­ta­tion of a Labrador West pi­o­neer.

Linda ar­rived in Labrador West on Jan­uary 13, 1963, with her hus­band Wal­ter and a oneyear-old baby in her arms. Their new house, their first home in Labrador West, was wait­ing for them on Vik­ing Street. When they ar­rived at the end of the drive­way, the snow was up to the top of the door.

Wal­ter dropped her and the baby off at a house, strangers to Linda, while he got a loader and the shovel to work dig­ging their way into their home. This was the be­gin­ning of a long and sto­ried jour­ney for Linda.

She was quick to ad­mit that she was homesick for the first year in Labrador West; she was a long way from her home­town of How­ley, in cen­tral New­found­land.

Her hus­band Wal­ter, like so many oth­ers, came to Labrador West for work in the mines. He punched a full ca­reer, 30 years with the Iron Ore Com­pany of Canada (IOC), while Linda jug­gled her role as wife and mother to three daugh­ters with a 35-year ca­reer at Canada Post. There cer­tainly wasn’t much down­time for her.

The early years were spent in a com­mu­nity that was be­ing built, homes and busi­nesses un­der con­struc­tion to fill the needs of a grow­ing min­ing town.

There were no roads in or out of Labrador West in those early years. The streets were cov­ered in snow in the win­ter and mud in the sum­mer. There were very few cars — mostly com­pany trucks — since there re­ally wasn’t any­where to go.

There weren’t many so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties for fam­i­lies in those days ei­ther. Linda said they had a group of 12 to 15 fam­i­lies that gath­ered at a dif­fer­ent host house each Satur­day night. Linda Woolridge

It was a close-knit group; cards, games, mu­sic and plenty of good grub was the theme on these week­ends. Many of this group would send out a big or­der for gro­ceries and house­hold needs and have it sent in on the train from Sept Isle and they would di­vide it all up among the group.

They had the Hud­son Bay Store, I Gro­cery Store and CIBC as their hub of com­merce. Trips in and out of Labrador West were in­fre­quent. You had two choices; go by train to Sept Isle or catch a flight out.

Through their so­cial cir­cle, their jobs and their vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity, Linda and Wal­ter came to have a sense of be­long­ing in Lab West. It be­came their home.

Their three daugh­ters grew up and re­main in Labrador West; and the fam­ily now in­cludes three grand­chil­dren and two great-grand­chil­dren, all still in Labrador, all proud Labrado­ri­ans.

Her hus­band Wal­ter has passed away, but Linda con­tin­ues to be a vi­brant and ac­tive mem­ber of the com­mu­nity.

She says with pride that they didn’t nec­es­sar­ily come to Labrador to find a new life but they sure made one.

“If I had it to do all over, I wouldn’t change a thing,” she says with a smile. “I haven’t a sin­gle re­gret, I am proud to call Labrador West my home.”

“If I had it to do all over, I wouldn’t change a thing.” — Linda Woodridge

PHOTO BY GARY SHAW

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