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?

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