Nina J.S. Gosse and her home-book diary
I wonder about the identity of Nina Jessie Shelia Gosse of Spaniard’s Bay. In the 1930s and 40s, she lived on Brown’s Avenue. Her birthday was in March, either the 17th or 18th. In 1 9 3 2 , s h e was 12 years-of-age.
During those years, she kept what she called a “home- book diary,” which is made up of a bit of this and a bit of that.
For example, geography: proofs that the earth is round. Literature: admirals all. History: why the growth of corn is important to civilization. Arithmetic: if “x” equals the price of a turkey and “2x” equals the price of a sheep, what is the price of seven turkeys and six sheep? Needlework: how to knit a heel. And so on …
Evidently a hockey fan, Nina writes on Feb. 10, 1937: “the hockey team in Spaniard’s Bay, generally called by their name, ‘ Spanish Pirates,’ were playing in Bay Roberts tonight … with the ‘ Rovers.’ The score was 7 to 8. Pirates 7. Rovers 8. The ‘ Spanish Pirates’ colours are red and white. The ‘ Rovers’ are black and blue.”
On March 27, Nina makes this diary entry: “there are two hockey teams in Spaniard’s Bay, senior and junior.
“The juniors are named ‘ Pirates,’ and will represent Spaniard’s Bay in the Junior Championships, to be played in St. John’s next November.”
The team is comprised of Richard Ryan, Joe Smith, Wi l liam Noseworthy, James Brazil, Gordon Gosse, Vi c t o r Sheppa rd , Lawrence Mur r i n , Wi lbert Hutchings, Dewey Hutchings and Willie Gosse. I wonder, are any of these players still living?
“Average weight of the team is 144 pounds,” Nina adds, “and the average age is 17 years.
“They have a uniform very much like the City (St. John’s). The sweater is white with two red bands around the sleeves. Red number behind with a large red P on the breast, red bands round neck and wrists. White shorts with white socks make up this classy uniform, having two red bands.
“The senior team have not as yet an association behind them. The average age of this team is 19. During the winter, 1937, they have played 12 games at the arena at Bay Roberts.”
Dec. 25, 1937 is a “fine warm day.” Nina and her grandmother attend the 11 o’clock morning church service. That afternoon, Nina and a girlfriend go to Shearstown, arriving “home again at exactly 5:30 p.m. We had a grand time.”
The following day is “snowing and drifting all day. All at home.” Nov. 20, 1938: “pouring rain all day.” Nina records the marriage, on Nov. 24, 1938, of Myra Gosse and Heber Vokey, both of Spaniard’s Bay. Two days later, My r t l e P ike a n d Jame s Dwyer o f Shearstown tie the knot. “Congratulations is extended to them.”
Dec. 23, 1938: “snowing all day. All at home, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, snowing in the morning, but in the afternoon it cleared away and was fine.” That afternoon, Nina and a girlfriend take a walk.
Dec. 25: “Christmas Day fine in the morning, but stormy in the afternoon … Stayed in all night.”
Nina is a member of the Girls’ Friendly Society, a social and service organization for girls and young women. She notes on Nov. 24, 1940: “the G. F. S. girls were enrolled by His Lordship the Bishop giving each girl a card by joining. Here’s hoping that by joining the G.F.S. it will help us to live a pure, clean and holy life, and may God’s blessing rest upon all the members and help us to follow our motto, ‘ Bear Ye One’s Another’s Burdens.’”
That same day, Nina writes: “Sunday morning. Grand day. Practically the first snow, but not much.”
Nov. 17, 1949 is “very windy. Stayed home all the afternoon.” Following tea, Nina and her girlfriend go “out to church service at 6.30.”
I’m mesmerized by Nina J. S. Gosse’s home-book diary. I repeat, I wonder about the identity of this thoughtful Spaniard’s Bay lass. Are any readers able to help me flesh out the portrait I have drawn of her?