Non-res­i­dent coun­cil­lor leav­ing pol­i­tics

David Moore Jr. says he will not be on the bal­lot in Clarke’s Beach

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

An out­spo­ken mem­ber of the Clarke’s Beach town coun­cil who hasn’t lived in the com­mu­nity for nearly two years con­firmed last week he will not seek re-elec­tion when mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions are held in Septem­ber.

That’s de­spite the fact David Moore Jr. ex­pects to once again re­side in the town in a cou­ple of months.

“You won’t see my name on the bal­lot,” Moore told The Com­pass fol­low­ing the March 4 reg­u­lar meet­ing of coun­cil.

Coun. Moore is a life­long res­i­dent of Clarke’s Beach, but had to va­cate the house he was rent­ing af­ter it was sold in May 2010.

He moved with his young fam­ily to Spa­niard’s Bay, hop­ing to even­tu­ally find an­other place in Clarke’s Beach.

But de­spite his best ef­forts, he was never able to find a suit­able ren­tal prop­erty, at least not un­til lately. He ex­pects to be re­sid­ing in the town once again by June 1, well ahead of the res­i­dency time­frame re­quired by the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act in or­der for a cit­i­zen’s name to ap­pear on the bal­lot.

How­ever, he plans to step away from pol­i­tics, at least for now.

“I’m not say­ing I’m done with it, but I won’t be run­ning in Septem­ber,” he said.

“It makes me feel won­der­ful,” she says of the numer­ous birth­day cards she has re­ceived.

Look­ing through the win­dow, Blanche re­flects on a life that has sur­passed the av­er­age life ex­pectancy of women in 2013 by 20 years.

In many ways, Blanche gives new mean­ing to the fa­mil­iar phrase “ag­ing grace­fully,” though she ad­mits her me­mory is slip­ping a lit­tle.

“If you had’ve called last month, I could have filled a book,” she says. “You ask me any ques­tion and I’ll try to an­swer.”

Big changes

But, Blanche does a fine job of remembering on this day. For some things, Blanche has to stop and think, but for the most part in­for­ma­tion and anec­dotes flow freely.

Born in 1913, Blanche has seen a lot in her 100 years in this world, and a lot has changed dur­ing her life­time. There were two world wars, Con­fed­er­a­tion with Canada, vot­ing priv­i­leges for women, just to name a few.

Eight months af­ter her birth, the Na­tional Transcon­ti­nen­tal Rail­way wa com­pleted, con­nect­ing New Brunswick to Man­i­toba and the Lib­er­als had just won a third straight term in Al­berta.

Ear­lier that Oc­to­ber, the Philadel­phia Ath­let­ics had beaten the New York Giants in the World Se­ries.

Blanche was just over a year old when the First World War broke out. Although, she has no me­mory of that con­flict, one me­mory stands out con­cern­ing the Sec­ond World War.

“My mother and I were in the garden, and planes went over­head,” she re­calls.

Blanche has seen St. John’s evolve into a mod­ern city. As a young girl, Blanche and her fam­ily moved to St. John’s in the 1920s. Coming from Lower Is­land Cove, the move was a big ad­just­ment as, at the time, St. John’s had street­cars.

Of­ten, she and her mother would ride the street­car to go gro­cery shop­ping.

“I was sit­ting down, I was so proud and as happy as I could be be­cause I was get­ting a ride on the street­car,” she says.

Mis­taken iden­tify

Blanche, a de­vout Chris­tian, likes to tell a story about the street­cars. She re­counts be­ing told by her mother that if she was bad, the “black man” would come for her. Of course, in those days it was taboo to say the devil, so the term black man was used in­stead.

When she was eight or nine, Blanche was rid­ing on the street­car with her mother when the car stopped to pick up a man of dark com­plex­ion.

It was a dif­fer­ent time and it was rare to see an African-Amer­i­can man in New­found­land. It was a case of mis­taken iden­tity for Blanche, as she saw the man and hid be­hind her mother, think­ing the devil had come for her.

“I thought, well what did I do now?” says Blanche. Fam­ily Hang­ing above her bed is a fam-

I was sit­ting down, I was so proud and as happy as I could be be­cause I was get­ting a ride on the

street­car. — Blanche Stock­wood

ily photo. It shows Blanche with her seven chil­dren. Her late hus­band, Gideon, is not in the photo, but he is not for­got­ten. A small shot of him hangs in the cor­ner.

“He was a good per­son and he was good to ev­ery­one,” she says, remembering Gideon, who died on Oct. 5, 1980.

Her fa­ther, John Wheeler, per­ished trag­i­cally in the Vik­ing dis­as­ter on March 17, 1931. The wooden ves­sel ex­ploded while a cam­era crew was shoot­ing seal­ing footage for the film The Vik­ing, claim­ing 27 of the 153 men on board. Blanche was 18 at the time.

She’s ex­pe­ri­enced her share of grief over the years, and she’s still in mourn­ing over the pass­ing of her son Robert on Feb. 24. He lived in Mon­treal.

“I haven’t been right since,” she says. Play­ing the pi­ano Blanche still loves to play the or­gan. Hav­ing spent much of her adult life play­ing in churches in North­ern Bay and Burnt Point, Blanche holds an affin­ity for play­ing mu­sic.

“My fa­ther told me I had mu­sic in me,” she re­mem­bers.

Af­ter that, Blanche learned play the pi­ano.

In the 1960s, Blanche started play­ing the or­gan at her lo­cal church. In fact, Blanche still plays the pi­ano at Lux­ury Es­tates.

“They’re al­ways ask­ing me if I’m go­ing to play,” she says.

Her favourite pieces to play have al­ways been church hymns. When asked which one she is play­ing now, Blanche slowly rises from her chair and be­gins look­ing for it.

Us­ing agility not as­so­ci­ated with some­one of her age, Blanche deftly moves to her walker, us­ing var­i­ous ob­jects to help her keep her bal­ance, and grabs a hymn book.

Search­ing through the pages, she finds a page of sheet mu­sic for “Where the Roses Never Fade,” writ­ten in 1942.

“I love all says.

Feel­ing 100

to

church mu­sic,” she

nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

There will be a party on March 15 to cel­e­brate Blanche’s sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone. All of her liv­ing fam­ily will be coming to Car­bon­ear for the fes­tiv­i­ties. That in­cludes her six chil­dren and 10 grand­chil­dren, which in­cludes New­found­land songstress Kim Stock­wood.

“She’s a won­der­ful girl,” says Blanche.

When asked about her great­est in­spi­ra­tion in life, she of­fers a sim­ple an­swer — God.

“Love God, do his work, serve him as good as you can and be good to ev­ery hu­man be­ing,” she says.

Blanche has mixed feel­ings about turn­ing 100.

“I have mixed feel­ings,” she quips. “I won’t see an­other 100.”

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